Ocean Report – Sept. 16

HISTORIC SEASON CONTINUES: This is the ocean fishing season that will become a cornerstone in the history of the sport. It will either be the season that will be used in comparison and contrast to all of those lesser seasons in the future. It will be the historic high point. Or, it will mark the season when Southern California fishing changed to something different and better. If this season is a product of global climate change, and if this is the new normal, this season will still be remembered as the first time Southern California fully entered this new normal. For now, the ocean fishing is better than the good ol’ days. It is simply better than it has ever been. Never have so many warm-water species of fish been caught off the local coastline. Never have so many yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and dorado been caught in this region. Wahoo have become a species that are being hooked weekly. Blue marlin have joined striped marlin in the Southern California bite in decent numbers.

How crazy has this season been? There was a 45-plus pound yellowtail caught from the rocks of the Mission Bay jetty.

The Pacific Quest out of Fisherman’s Landing in San Diego was on a two-day trip with 10 anglers this week. Those anglers landed 31 yellowfin tuna, 12 dorado, seven skipjack, four yellowtail, and one opah. Two of the dorado were pompano dorado. Those anglers also hooked not one, but a pair of wahoo. This is more like a score on a sportboat fishing out of Cabo San Lucas, not San Diego.

What’s next for this season? Roosterfish off the local beaches. Dogtooth red snapper around Catalina Island? Stay tuned.

OFFSHORE UPDATE: The storm front that moved through this week, dumping as much as four inches of rain in places, did not slow down the bite at all from San Diego up into the Channel Islands. The San Diego fleet continues to focus its fleet in two directions: Mexican waters for limits-style yellowfin tuna fishing or U.S. Waters for bluefin tuna, while the Los Angeles and Orange county boats fish for bluefin offshore or focus along the coast or at the islands for yellowtail and yellowfin.

In Mexican waters, Frank Ursitti, manager of H&M Landing, reported on Wednesday that the Sea Adventure II had limits of yellowfin in the middle of its two-day trip. He said the Joanna had limits, returned from an overnight trip, and that the Ranger 85, on a 2 1/2-day trip, and the Legend, on a two-day trip, both had reported in with full limits of yellowfin. All of the boats also had good numbers of dorado, yellowtail, and skipjack. At Seaforth Landing, the Aztec was on an overnight trip with 29 anglers, and they landed 111 yellowtail, 63 yellowfin, and 14 dorado.

In U.S. waters, the Pacific Star out of Seaforth Sportfishing returned from a 2 1/2-day trip with 23 anglers. They landed 92 bluefin (limits), 59 yellowtail, and nine yellowfin. The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing reported in with limits of bluefin on Wednesday. At 22nd Street Landing, the Freedom has posted limits of bluefin tuna for its anglers Sunday through Tuesday. The Toronado and Ultra, also out of 22nd Street, all had limits on Tuesday, while the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker finished up a 1 1/2-day trip on Tuesday with 25 anglers and they had 50 bluefin (limits), along with 111 yellowtail.

LOCAL ISLANDS AND NEAR-SHORE UPDATE: The half- and three-quarter day boats along the coast continue to focus on Catalina or just along the coast and the incredible volume of yellowtail here. At Catalina, the volume dropped a little, but the number decline has mostly been on smaller-grade fish. The Spitfire out of Marina del Rey had 55 yellowtail Monday and 61 Tuesday and most were 18 to 25-pound class fish. The Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina Sportfishing was out of Tuesday with 14 anglers on a three-quarter day trip and they landed 17 yellowtail, 55 bonito, and 14 sand bass. On Sunday, the same boat with 33 anglers had 47 yellowtail, 165 bonito, seven barracuda, and two sand bass. With such good yellowtail action, no one is even talking about the bonito, barracuda and bass fishing along the coast. 

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, and the final instructional trip of the season, is a two-day jaunt aboard the Commander out of Fisherman’s Landing leaving Sept. 27. Cost is $350 per person. 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 Sportfishing, 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.