Experienced anglers usually don¹t fish over the mud bottoms of Long Beach harbor except to catch White Croaker (Tom Cod) for live bait. These fishes along with Lizard fish are the only ones that can be found in abundance in the mud. Most fishermen avoid these areas. However construction of four oil drilling islands changed the bottom in certain ways to create an interesting fishery.
The islands were constructed by building a rectangle of rocks then filling the area inside with sand dredged from outside. If you meter your depth finder over the area around the island you will find mounds of sand rising 15 to 20 feet from the surface. These volcano like mounds all meter as hard bottom sand and become a home for the California Halibut. Apparently the ocean currents sweep the silt and mud away and leave the hard shell and sand bottom that halibut enjoy. If you fish it right you can¹t miss bagging a “butt.”
When you fish these mounds don¹t use anchovies. The Tom Cod and Lizard fish will drive you crazy. Try to catch smelt around the piers and docks. If you have a large hoop net, drop it down and chum bread over it and pull it up as the smelt charge the bread. Or use a number 14# hook and a bread ball or a piece of clam to catch them one at a time. The Tom Cods don¹t often eat smelt and Lizard fish will only grab them occasionally but Halibut love to eat them, it¹s their favorite morsel around the mounds. Also, smelt last much longer than an anchovy in the bait tank. You can fish all day with 30 smelt. Small Tom Cod to 5 inches are also an excellent bait but very difficult to catch.