My next California excursion was to the Encino Public Fishing Area, which is a lagoon sandwiched between Carlsbad Blvd and Interstate 5 in the town of Carlsbad. The shore is made up of rip rap (rocks), and it looked like a good spot to pick up some smaller species.
I fished a piece of bait on a #12 hook, dropping it next to larger rocks that looked likely to have fish hiding under them. My first catch was a species that was not supposed to be this far north. It was a largemouth blenny, which are common in Mexico.
Largemouth Blenny (Labrisomus xanti) - new hook & line species #337
Opaleye (Girella nigricans) - new hook & line species #338
Kelp Bass (Paralabrax clathratus)
Barred Sand Bass (Paralabrax nebulifer)
Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus)
California Scorpionfish (Scorpaena guttata)
Largemouth Blenny (Labrisomus xanti)
Largemouth blennies have hair-like features on their heads called ciri, but you might not notice them when the fish is out of the water. However, put the fish back under water, and the cirri will stick up like goofy tufts of hair. Their shape can be useful for distinguishing between similar species, so be sure to take a photo like the one below if you need to confirm what kind of blenny you caught.
California Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) - new hook & line species #339
I was pretty impressed with the Encino Public Fishing Area, and I only fished a small stretch of the shoreline when I was there. Next time I go I'd like to explore closer and further away from the lagoon mouth to see what other species might be hanging out among the rocks.