Anglers target yellowfin, bluefin, yellows, calicos and white seabass

By: Bob Vanian

SAN DIEGO — There are currently lots of options for anglers to choose from as they plan a fishing trip. The offshore bluefin, yellowfin and yellowtail bite has been up and down for boats fishing within 1.5 to 2.5 day range of Point Loma but the offshore fishing season continues to develop and is producing action on quality fish as the tuna continue to make their way closer to Point Loma. 

Those choosing to fish around Los Coronado Islands have been finding a mixed bag of fish biting that include yellowtail, barracuda, calico bass and rockfish. Those choosing to stay and fish along the San Diego County coast have been finding lots of calico bass biting along with a few barracuda and a chance at white seabass, yellowtail or halibut. In more northern waters, white seabass have been biting at the Huntington Flats and Catalina Island has been producing a mix of yellowtail, white seabass, calico bass and barracuda.

Those fishing offshore waters on 1.5 and 2.5 day trips continue to report a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail biting while fishing waters ranging from 80 to 165 plus miles below Point Loma.

Some good news is that in talking with Capt. Scott Meisel of Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing he reported finding an area where there was 69 degree purple blue water where he was seeing quite a few schools of bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna at 110 miles from Point Loma. Meisel was encouraged to be seeing schools of fish that were not so widely scattered as what they had been seeing lately. He found this area of fish late in the day and they were still not biting very well but he was thinking that this new area of fish could start providing better tuna fishing sometime soon.

Most of the yellowfin tuna have been in the 14 to 18 pound range and the bluefin tuna have gone from 18 to 100 pounds. The yellowtail have been mixed size fish that have gone from 3 to 40 pounds with most falling within the 5 to 12 pound range.

Private boater Harry Okuda of Alfresco III fished a recent 1.5 day trip aboard Condor. Their fish count on the trip was 58 yellowtail, four yellowfin tuna and five bluefin tuna and Okuda reported catching the big bluefin tuna of the trip which weighed in at 28.8 pounds. They found most of this action while fishing a temperature break found outside of Punta Colnett at around 110 miles from Point Loma. Okuda said that he caught his bluefin tuna on the troll while using a Halco 130 hard bodied jig. Okuda said the big fish on the trip was a whopper yellowtail that bit on the troll and was estimated to weigh between 35 and 40 pounds.

Private boater Chris Broyles of Finology reported about making a run offshore where they fished the Lower 500 Bank which is located about 88 miles below Point Loma. He reported getting anchovies for bait at the Mission Bay bait receiver and then catching about 60 mackerel to add to the bait tank outside of Mission Bay before heading down to the Lower 500 Bank. Broyles worked the area of the Lower 500 Bank and caught a big 30 pound yellowtail while trolling near a kelp paddie but did not locate any tuna. Broyles said they fished until dark and spent the night at the Lower 500 Bank on the sea anchor. He reported some additional action during the night in catching a thresher shark while on the sea anchor.

The fishing around Los Coronado Islands has been producing a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, calico bass and rockfish but the recent yellowtail counts have been off a bit from what anglers have become accustomed to in recent weeks.

The best areas have been the Rockpile, South Kelp, Ribbon Kelp and Middle Grounds with a lot of the fishing being done while sitting on the anchor. Private boaters have also reported success while slow trolling with nose hooked live mackerel at around 2 knots of speed. Anchovies have been working well for calico bass, barracuda and rockfish but anglers have been catching mackerel to use for yellowtail. There have been mackerel to catch for bait between Buoy #3 and the kelp outside of the Point Loma Lighthouse, at the Jetty Kelp and Yukon wreck outside of Mission Bay and in the lee of both North Island and South Island.

Private boater Robert Serdoz of Lucky Charm reported about fishing a recent trip to Los Coronado Islands. Serdoz was fishing with his daughter Heather and they caught one  yellowtail, one barracuda, one calico bass and what sounded like near limit to limit numbers of rockfish. Serdoz started the day at the Rockpile and the surface fishing to be slow but said that the rockfish were biting well. After catching a bunch of rockfish at the Rockpile he went up to the South Kelp and fished a short way below South Island and that is where they picked up their yellowtail, barracuda and calico bass. Heather caught the yellowtail and it was a 12 pound fish that bit on a slow trolled mackerel. Their calico bass was also caught on a slow trolled mackerel and their barracuda bit on a trolled Rapala. Serdoz reported beautiful blue 69 degree water and said it was a nice calm day on the water.  

The San Diego County coastal fishing has been very good for calico bass and has also been providing some barracuda action, lots of rockfish and a chance at white seabass, yellowtail and halibut.

Kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County Coast have been productive for calico bass. Some of the better areas have been the kelp at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia and the Barn. Some of the best calico bass fishing has been found at the Point Loma Kelp Beds and a few barracuda have also been starting to bite along the edges of the kelp beds at Point Loma. Most of the calicos continue to be short sized fish that fall short of the minimum 14 inch size requirement and must be released but there are some legal sized calico bass in the mix.

Private boater Mark Selman of Tin Man reported about fishing a recent trip to the Point Loma Kelp Beds where they had excellent calico bass fishing. Selman said they fished the kelp at the Green Tank where they found wide open fishing on 12 to 15 inch calicos. Selman had live squid and anchovies in the bait tank and said that both baits were working very well. They caught and released over 60 calico bass during an afternoon of fishing.

There have been some halibut biting at sandy bottom areas outside of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. The best areas have been fishing the sandy bottom around the structure of the Yukon shipwreck and the sunken NEL tower. Anchovies have been good baits for the halibut.

Anglers fishing the between the Border Check Station below San Onofre and the area outside of La Pulgas Road continue to find large white seabass biting along with an occasional yellowtail or halibut. The game fish have usually been biting in the same area as you might locate some squid. A good depth range to locate the squid and the seabass has been in 80 to 90 feet of water. The night and early morning daylight hours have been best for the white seabass.

There have also been white seabass biting for boats fishing spots where they might locate some squid at the Huntington Flats. The area to try and locate some squid and white seabass has been starting a short way below Izor’s Reef and continuing on down to where you are outside of the Huntington Beach Pier. A good depth to locate squid and the seabass has been in 80 feet of water. Continuing further south, there have also been some white seabass biting around the structure of the Newport Reef.

The back side eastern part of Catalina Island continues to produce a few yellowtail and white seabass during the early morning hours. Try to find some squid in the area between the V’s and Freddie’s Beach and do your fishing where you might locate some squid. A good depth range has been in 14 to 18 fathoms of water. After the early morning bite quiets down, boats have usually been spreading out to fish other areas. There have been some yellowtail biting at the east end of the Island while fishing off Church Rock and at the East End Light. Up toward the West End of Catalina, there has also been a chance at scratching out a yellowtail or white seabass while fishing at West Cove. Along the front side of the western part of the Island, there has been more of a mixed bag of barracuda, calico bass and yellowtail that have been biting while fishing the areas of Yellowtail Point and Indian Rock.  

It is nice to have so many good choices to pick from of where to go fishing to target such a wide variety of species. Keep on fishing and I hope to see you out on the water!

Bob Vanian is the voice, writer and researcher of the San Diego-based internet fish report service called 976-Bite which can be found at www.976bite.com. Vanian also provides anglers with a personal fish report service over the telephone at (619) 226-8218. He always welcomes your fish reports at that same phone number or at bob976bite@aol.com.

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