By: Terrence Berg
SAN DIEGO LOCAL AND OFFSHORE UPDATE: The San Diego three-quarter and half-day day boats are fishing in local U.S. waters and mostly targeting yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin. Yes, that’s right bluefin tuna on half-day boats. On Wednesday this week, the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing had 66 anglers combined on its morning and afternoon half-days, and there was one bluefin on the afternoon trip and a yellowtail on the morning trip. There were also 376 rockfish landed between the two and a bonito. The day before, the afternoon, half day had two bluefin and a yellowtail. The three-quarter day boats have a little more running room and have been consistently getting into the yellowtail. On Monday, the Malihini out of H&M Landing was out with 13 anglers and they landed 24 yellowtail and one yellowfin tuna. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was out with 32 anglers and they had 28 yellowtail on a Wednesday three-quarter day trip. On Tuesday, there were 27 anglers on this boat, and they landed 56 yellowtail and seven barracuda. The overnight and longer trip boats are able to fish outside the 12-mile Mexican limit (where Visas and Passports are now required) and can enter Mexican waters with just a fishing license. But remember bluefin are currently off limits in Mexican waters, so many of these trips are splitting time between U.S. and Mexican waters. For example, the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing was on two-day a 976-Tuna instructional charter with 27 anglers and they landed 207 yellowtail, six yellowfin tuna, four bluefin tuna, and four bonito. The Producer out of H&M Landing was on an overnight trip Monday, mostly fishing in U.S. waters, and the 26 anglers on board had 82 yellowtail, seven bluefin tuna, and one yellowfin. The Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing returned from a two-day trip Monday and the 23 anglers on board had 179 yellowtail, seven yellowfin, and three bigeye tuna. The New Lo-An out of Point Loma Sportfishing, was on a 1 1/2-day trip over the weekend with 28 anglers and they had limits of yellowtail and six yellowfin in Mexican waters.
YELLOWTAIL (AND BONUS FISH) EVERYWHERE: The Southern California Bite is jugged with yellowtail, and the spread of fish runs from San Diego up into the northern Channel Islands. Half-, three-quarter, and overnight boats are targeting the yellows with the bulk of the activity off the Orange and Los Angeles county coastlines, at San Clemente Island, and at Catalina Island. The mass of red crabs, along with anchovies, mackerel, and squid in good numbers in different areas, is what is keeping the yellows here in unprecedented numbers. The fish are also universally 20 pounds or more with most in that 25 to 30 pounds range. Many boats are reporting running into schools with ?tails on the heavier end of that range and losing half the fish hooked. But with this volume of bait, there are also big roaming schools of bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna showing throughout this same region. The bluefin are mostly 40 pounds or more, with a lot of schools of 100-pound class fish.
PRIVATE BOATERS ON YELLOWTAIL: The private boat fleet has really been taking advantage of the huge volume of yellowtail in local waters. It has been common for 300 boats to be arrayed on the bigger spots of yellowtail off Orange and Los Angeles counties on weekend days, but even during the week, it’s not uncommon to have 200 boats on the spots. How good is the fishing on these boats? Awesome. The Bongo III, a six-pack Charter boat, was out on Saturday and the six anglers on board had 25 yellowtail (limits) and one 130-pound bluefin tuna. It has been like that. Amazingly, the volume of boats has not slowed this incredible bite at all.
LOCAL SPORTBOAT SCORES: The sportboat fleet out of Los Angeles and Orange county landings have been cashing in on the yellowtail fishing and augmenting those catches with the good bass and rockfish action that continues. The Southern Cal out of Pierpoint Landing was on a half-day trip Tuesday with 46 anglers and they had 14 yellowtail. On Wednesday,, 51 anglers had 25 yellowtail. The Native Sun out of 22nd Street Landing, was on a three-quarter day trip with 55 anglers on Tuesday and they caught 31 yellowtail. The Victory out of Pierpoint Landing was on a three-quarter day Tuesday with 48 anglers and they had 46 yellowtail along with 45 rockfish, and one sand bass. The Patriot on Tuesday, out of Newport Landing with 37 anglers, had 49 yellowtail. On Wednesday, the Tradition out of 22nd Street was out with 20 anglers and they had 26 yellowtail and 72 sculpin.
SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND UPDATE: Most boats making the longer, overnight run to San Clemente Island, often to get away from the crowds, are finding exceptional mixed bag fishing. The yellowtail are the primary goal, but the bass and bottomfish bite is excellent. The Thunderbird out of Davey?s Lockere was at Clemente on Monday with 26 anglers who landed 72 yellowtail, along with 114 calico bass (over the 15-inch minimum size), 68 rockfish, 47 blue perch, 44 whitefish, and 13 sheephead. The Freedom, out of 22nd Street Landing, was at Clemente Tuesday and the 16 anglers on board had 28 yellowtail, full limits of calicos (80), 30 rockfish, 16 perch, 12 whitefish, six bonito, and one sheephead. The Fortune, also from 22nd Street, spent a two-day trip at Clemente with 14 anglers and they had 49 yellowtail and one white seabass to go along with the 36 calicos, 22 whitefish, and 12 sheephead.
CATALINA ISLAND UPDATE: The yellowtail at Catalina are attracting a lot of three-quarter and full-day boats. The Gail Force out of L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing was out Friday with 21 anglers and they put 66 yellowtail on the deck, along with 52 bonito, 40 calico bass, and 10 barracuda. The Pursuit out of 22nd Street was at Catalina Tuesday with 43 anglers and they landed eight yellowtail, 98 bonito, 40 whitefish, 31 ling cod, 28 calico bass, six sheephead, and one barracuda.
CHANNEL ISLANDS SEABASS AND YELLOWTAIL: With squid popping up around many of the local islands and the candy bait showing up at bait receivers, the white seabass were bound to make a showing. On Wednesday, the Ranger 85 out of Channel Islands Sportfishing returned from an island two-day trip with 33 anglers who landed 52 white seabass, along with 260 rockfish, nine lingcod, four barracuda, four halibut, three sole, and one each on the whitefish and sheephead. The Aloha Spirt, also out of CISCO, has been targeting the yellowtail, and one Tuesday’s full day trip there were 14 anglers who had 29 yellowtail and nine calico bass. On Wednesday, there were 15 anglers who landed 52 yellowtail and 21 calicos. The Island Tak, also CISCO, was on a full-day trip with 11 anglers on Wednesday and they had full limits of quality calicos (55) along with 15 yellowtail.
HOW MUCH BETTER CAN IT GET?: Can anyone believe the fishing is this good and we’re barely into June? There will be yellowfin in Dana Harbor and bluefin to 150 pounds caught just five miles from the coast this year. Wait! Both of those things have already happened. There have been marlin and swordfish already caught. Triggerfish are here already. The only tropical fish not here yet are dorado. It’s going to be a season for the history books.
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 the Oceanside 95 which departs Monday, June 22. Cost $350 per angler. This trip will be targeting bluefin and yellowfin tuna along with yellowtail in local offshore fishing. 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.
Mexico Landings: Sergio’s Sportfishing, Ensenada, 011-526-178-2185; San Quintin Sportfishing, San Quintin, 011-526-162-1455.