I caught several of my best Kahawai last winter. Big strong healthy fish. Still caught a truckload of Doggies and Red cod. Got a few tricks up my sleeve this winter so might be able to target the Kahawai while leaving the doggies and cod in the sea.
The most common catches up here on the coast during the winter would be Doggies, Red Cod, Skates and Kahawai.
My shortest surf rod is a 13ft backbone elite, and I find it is to short for when the sea gets up a bit. Much prefer to use my longer rods.