WHAT’S NEXT? BLUE MARLIN? WAHOO?: The plethora of warm-water ocean species in the Southern California Bite is just about unprecedented. Few boats in the San Diego fleet (other than three-day and longer trips) are running into Mexican waters. The volume of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, and dorado in our local, warm ocean waters is just incredible, and the fish are stacked up from six to 20 miles off the coast. The yellowtail are from 5 to 30 pounds, the yellowfin from 5 to 100 pounds, the dorado, 3 to 30 pounds, and most of the fish are in that 20 to 30 pound range (75 to 80 percent are the bigger grade). And then there are the bluefin. They are running from 15 to 200-plus pounds, with a lot of fish in the 40 to 65-pound class (or maybe that’s just the biggest fish that are being landed most days. Skippers are begging anglers on the offshore (overnight and longer trips) to bring 60 and 80-pound class gear and not rely on 40 and 50-pound tackle. Even with 80-pound class gear, the big bluefin are winning a lot of the battles. Even the near-shore skippers on half- and three-quarter day boats are telling anglers to come with a 40 to 50-pound rig in addition to the 20 to 25-pound class sticks. All of these species are even showing for the half-day fleet, so not many 40-plus pound bluefin will be landed on 20-pound gear on party boats. All of these pelagic fish are continuing to surge north along the coast and more and more yellowfin, dorado, and yellowtail are showing in the Channel Islands, and the number of fish in that region is increasing daily. The conditions are so Baja-like and continuing to warm that it has many anglers and sportboat skippers wondering if we will actually see fishable numbers of wahoo and blue marlin locally this year. There are already striped marlin, swordfish, and occasional opah being caught, and those species don’t usually show up here until September, but they have already been here for over a month. Are wahoo next?
SAN DIEGO UPDATE: With schools of big bluefin showing as close as eight miles from Point Loma, the entire San Diego fleet has been fishing primarly in U.S. waters for two reasons: No passport issues, and the ability to keep two bluefin tuna per angler (bluefin are closed to take in Mexican waters). In the past week to 10 days, the overnight to two-day boats have been able to land some giant bluefin from 150 to nearly 200 pounds. The New Lo An out of Point Loma Sportfish had three days in a row with fish over 150 pounds and one day with seven big fish. This week, the Pacific Quest out of Fisherman’s Landing and Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing each had bluefin over 150 pounds. So with the right gear and a little luck, there is a real opportunity for a trophy bluefin. Just a few scores to show you how good the overnight and longer trips have been. The Pacific Quest on Aug. 4 with out on an overnight trip with just four anglers and they landed 40 yellowfin tuna and eight dorado. The New Lo An out of Point Loma returned from a 1 1/2-day trip early Aug. 5 and the 31 anglers on board had full limits (62) on bluefin, with fish to 65 pounds, 19 yellowfin, and one dorado. A report from the Old Glory out of H&M Landing as they were heading into dock on Aug. 5 was that they had limits of bluefin and eight yellowfin. The Relentless, also out of H&M, was on a two-day trip returning on Aug. 3 and the 15 anglers on board had 101 yellowfin and seven dorado. The Tribute out of Seaforth was on an overnight trip on Aug. 4 and the 13 anglers on board had 26 bluefin (limits), 17 yellowfin, and three yellowtail. The Azetc, also out of Seaforth on an overnight boat Aug. 4, had nine anglers who landed 18 bluefin, 10 yellowtail, five yellowfin, and five dorado. Again, remember that most of this action is 12 to 20 miles from the coast. For the three-quarter day and half-day boats in San Diego, time on the best fishing grounds is a little more limited so sometimes the scores aren’t as good as the volume of fish should dictate. But the bite can still be really good. On Aug. 3, the Malihini was on a three-quarter day trip out of H&M Landing with 37 anglers and they landed 49 dorado, 38 yellowtail, and two yellowfin. On Aug. 4, the Vendetta, also out of H&M, was out with 13 anglers on a three-quarter day trip and they landed 65 yellowfin and 26 dorado. On Aug. 4, the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was out with 51 anglers on a three-quarter day trip and they landed 41 dorado and 26 yellowtail. The half-day New Seaforth had 49 anglers on an Aug. 5 morning trip and they landed 14 yellowtail and a barracuda.
LOS ANGELES-ORANGE COUNTY COAST UPDATE: The action for the Los Angeles and Orange county-based boats has been similar to what the San Diego fleet is seeing: Lots of fish, lots of variety, and all of it close to home. In fact, much of the action has been inside the Catalina Channel and at the Horseshoe Kelp region. On Aug. 4, the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was on an overnight trip with 28 anglers and they had 34 bluefin, 15 yellowfin, five dorado, and four yellowtail. The Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing was on an overnight trip Aug. 4 and the 36 anglers on board had 51 yellowfin, 10 dorado, and two yellowtail. Also on an overnight trip Aug. 4, 32 anglers on board the Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing landed 57 bluefin, 29 yellowfin, nine yellowtail, and one dorado. Shorter trips were also producing. The Patriot out of Newport Sportfishing was on a three-quarter day trip Aug. 4 with 36 anglers and they were undergunned, landing just 14 bluefin (losing a lot of bigger fish), 10 yellowfin, four dorado, and two yellowtail. The Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina Sportfishing was out with 55 anglers on a three-quarter day trip Aug. 4 and they caught 91 yellowtail, losing at least 50 other fish. The Southern Cal out of Pierpoint Landing had a pair of half-day trips Aug. 4 with a total of 109 anglers and they had 108 yellowtail and 52 barracuda. The Monte Carlo out of 22nd Street Landing had a pair of half-day trips Aug. 4 with a total of 127 anglers and they caught 77 yellowtail and 83 barracuda. On Aug. 4, the Redondo Special out of Redondo Sportfishing was on a pair of half-day boats with a total of 35 anglers and they landed 32 yellowtail, 145 calico bass (100 released), 40 bonito, 21 rockfish, and three sheephead.
CATALINA UPDATE: Few boats are running over to Catalina, but the Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing has been one of the consistent exceptions. On Aug. 4, its three-quarter day trip with 44 anglers saw 58 yellowtail, 102 bonito, 56 calico bass, and five barracuda caught.
CHANNEL ISLANDS NEWS: The water continues to warm up into the Channel Islands and more and more of the pelagic species are moving into this region. In the past week, Channel Islands Sportfishing has reported both dorado and yellowfin tuna on its boats. But it is the increasing volume of bonito and yellowtail that that has been getting the most attention. On Aug. 5, the Aloha Spirit out of Channel Islands had 22 anglers who landed 43 yellowtail, 100 bonito, four white seabass and six each on the barracuda and calico bass. The three-quarter day Gentleman was out with 37 anglers and they landed 15 yellowtail, 148 bonito, 49 calicos, 20 rockfish, eight barracuda, and one sheephead.
INSTRUCTIONAL CHARTERS: The staff of 976-TUNA is hosting instructional charters throughout the season, offering advice to beginning or veteran anglers and on-the-water teaching of techniques for different saltwater species. The next trip is a two-day jaunt aboard El Dorado out of Point Loma Sportfishing in San Diego leaving Monday, Aug. 31. Cost is $400 per angler. Check 976-TUNA.com or call 562-352-0012 for details.
LANDING CONTACTS: Southern California: Virg’s Sportfishing, Morro Bay, 805-772-1222; Patriot Sportfishing, Avila Beach, 805-595-7200; Sea Landing, Santa Barbara, 805-963-3564; Harbor Village Sportfishing, Ventura, 805-658-1060; Channel Islands Sportfishing Center, Oxnard, 805-985-8511; Hook’s Landing, Oxnard, 805-382-6233 (Port Hueneme Sportfishing has merged with Channel Islands Sportfishing); Malibu Pier Sportfishing, 310-328-8426; Marina Del Rey Sportfishin, Marina del Rey, 310-822-3625; Redondo Sportfishing, Redondo Beach, 310-372-2111; Rocky Point Fuel Dock (skiff rentals for King Harbor), Redondo Beach, 310-374-9858; 22nd Street Landing, San Pedro, 310-832-8304; L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing, San Pedro, 310-547-9916; Long Beach Sportfishing, Long Beach, 562-432-8993; Pierpoint Landing, Long Beach, 562-983-9300; Marina Sportfishing, Long Beach, 562-598-6649; Newport Landing, Newport Beach, 949-675-0550; Davey’s Locker, Newport Beach, 949-673-1434; Dana Wharf Sportfishing, Dana Point, 949-496-5794; Helgren’s Sportfishing, Oceanside, 760-722-2133; Fisherman’s Landing, San Diego, 619-221-8500; H&M Landing, San Diego, 619-222-1144; Seaforth Landing, San Diego, 619-224-3383; Point Loma Sportfishing, San Diego, 619-223-1627; Islandia Sportfishing, San Diego, 619-222-1164.
Mexico Landings: Sergio’s Sportfishing, Ensenada, 011-526-178-2185; San Quintin Sportfishing, San Quintin, 011-526-162-1455. 8:36:41 PM