TROPHY BLUEFIN TUNA: The trophy bluefin tuna continue to show in generally good numbers within easy reach of San Diego’s fleet running overnight and longer trips. This sure isn’t a bite where big numbers of fish are landed, but a few really big fish continue to be the rule. Most of the bluefin being landed are 100 to 200 pounds or more, and the fish are finicky. Most skippers are reporting big pods of bluefin up on the surface rolling around in a full-spawn mode, and spawning fish generally have something other than eating on their mind. Some of the fish are showing on bait, some on lures in a reaction bite, but most simply aren’t biting. Spear-fishermen have been posting the best scores on the big bluefin. Meanwhile, most sportfishing boats are happy with two or three trophy fish. New Lo-An had five anglers on a Tuesday overnight trip and they landed three fish at 120, 180, and 210 pounds. On the same boats 1 1/2-day trip on July 3, 19 anglers landed four bluefin, 30 yellowtail, and a dorado. On its Friday 1 1/2-day, there were 19 anglers who had four quality bluefin.
There were a pile of 2 1/2-day trips over the Independence Day holiday weekend that ran a little further down the Mexican coast, but few posted bluefin scores above a fish or two. Constitution out of H&M Landing had 15 anglers on its 2 1/2-day trip and they landed four of the bigger bluefin, along with 63 yellowtail, four dorado, and one yellowfin. Ranger 85 was on a two-day with 15 anglers and they had three bluefin and nine yellowtail. Sea Adventure 80, on a three-day trip out of H&M, had 24 anglers and they landed three bluefin from 110 to 180 pounds, along with 48 yellowtail, and seven yellowfin.
YELLOWFIN TUNA ON COOL WATER BREAKS: In what seems to be a role reversal with the bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna are starting to show out of San Diego. Most of the water temperatures in the Southern California Bite are now in the 70 degree range, with a 66-degree temperature break offshore. Normally, the yellowfin tuna would be on the inside in the warmer water and the bluefin on the outside in the cooler water, but this year it has been exactly reversed. Skippers are baffled. Chief out of H&M Landing was on a 2 1/2-day trip over the weekend, mostly looking for bluefin, but when they slipped across the temperature break there were jumping yellowfin and the 30 anglers on board landed four (from 18 to 38 pounds). Overall, they caught one bluefin, 22 yellowtail, and a dorado in addition to the yellowfin.
YELLOWTAIL ALL ALONG COAST: The yellowtail are spread out all along the coast, in both nearshore waters and at all the local islands. The fish are running from 3 to 40 pounds or more, with the best bite on the bigger fish on the squid spawning beds at the local islands, especially San Clemente, and the best bite is always first thing in the morning before sun-up. Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker had 31 anglers on its Sunday overnight trip and they landed 55 yellowtail to 35 pounds along with 80 calico bass. On the July 4 overnight trip, 19 anglers had 25 of the bigger grade yellows. Ultra out of 22nd Street Landing had six anglers on a Sunday two-day trip and they landed 56 quality yellowtail, along with 60 calicos, 47 rockfish, and a halibut from Clemente. El Dorado out of Long Beach Sportfishing was on a two-day trip to Clemente with 27 anglers and they landed 86 yellowtail, 13 white seabass, along with full limits of 270 calico bass, 160 rockfish, 45 sheephead, 18 whitefish, 12 barracuda, six sculpin, and one halibut.
At Catalina, the good mixed bag fishing conditions, although the yellowtail can run the whole size range with a lot of small fish around the island right now. Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing had 44 anglers on its July 5 full-day trip and they had 24 yellowtail, along with 22 calico bass, 20 perch, six halibut, five barracuda, three bonito, and two sheephead.
For the nearshore boats on half- and three-quarter day trips, there is great mixed-bag action as yellowtail join the fray. Most boats are reporting rockfish, calicos, bonito, barracuda, and other species. New Del Mar out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing had 66 anglers on its July 5 half-day and they landed one yellowtail, 105 calico bass, 20 rockfish, and seven bonito. Southern Cal out of Pierpoint Landing has been reporting 6 to 8-pound barracuda and bonito to 4 pounds in addition to fair bass action. On Tuesday’s morning half day, there were 18 anglers on Southern Cal who landed 23 keeper sand bass, 19 bonito, and 17 barracuda. Spitfire was on a three-quarter day trip with 14 anglers on Tuesday and they landed seven smaller grade yellowtail along with 40 calico bass and 35 bonito.
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 available trip is a two-day trip leaving July 24, aboard Ocean Odyssey out of H&M Landing. Cost is $450 for early registration. Check 976-TUNA.com or call 562-352-0012 for details.
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.