SAN DIEGO — We are in the middle of November and it is amazing to be able to say the past weekend saw what I would consider to be the best fishing for quality sized yellowfin tuna of the 2017 Southern California offshore fishing season. The news gets even better as there are still bluefin tuna, yellowtail, striped marlin and large bonito to target as well.
The yellowfin tuna have grabbed the spotlight for the moment and the weekend of November 11 and 12 of 2017 saw some very good fishing for 20 to 60 pound yellowfin tuna with most of the yellowfin falling within the 30 to 55 pound range.
Old Glory out of H&M Landing had a 1.5-day trip with 15 anglers who caught 80 yellowfin tuna. Fisherman’s Landing had Liberty out on a 1.5-day trip where 19 anglers caught 74 yellowfin tuna. Point Loma Sportfishing had a 1.5-day trip on New Lo Ann with 14 anglers catching 108 yellowfin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing had a 1.5-day trip aboard Aztec fishing with 20 anglers and returned home with 34 yellowfin tuna.
Boats fishing out of Los Angeles and Orange County area harbors were also getting in on the action. Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing had an overnight trip with 35 anglers who caught 73 yellowfin tuna. Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing had an overnight trip with 16 anglers catching 100 yellowfin tuna.
The best yellowfin action has been found while fishing above the northern and western wings of the Butterfly Bank for boats working from 45 to 60 miles 245 degrees from Point Loma. Look for porpoise schools, blind trolling strikes, sonar marks, meter marks, bait balls and working birds to locate the yellowfin. Sardines have been working well for bait after locating a school of yellowfin to drift on.
The bluefin tuna fishing has been best at spots near San Clemente Island but most boats are currently fishing the yellowfin bite at the Butterfly Bank. I talked with Capt. Kley Williams of Old Glory out of H&M Landing after a recent overnight trip to fish the San Clemente Island area he ran a few days prior to the development of the good yellowfin bite at the Butterfly Bank. Williams reported his 17 anglers had a nice trip in catching 16 quality sized bluefin tuna. He said their fish came from a long plunker bite type of drift where they were steadily picking away at the bluefin. Their bluefin were nice sized fish with the smallest bluefin at 48 pounds and with the rest of the bluefin being larger fish well up into the 60-pound class.
A few days after Old Glory’s trip as talked about in the paragraph above, private boater Tom Golding of Last Buck fished the area around San Clemente Island targeting bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna and reported finding the tuna fishing to be slow. He said the water was running 65 to 66 degrees and they looked around the areas where there had been recent bluefin and yellowfin activity in the region of the 57 Fathom Spot, 190 Spot, 86 Fathom Spot, 81 Fathom Spot and Desperation Reef. Golding said he metered what he thought were bluefin tuna 150 feet below the surface at Desperation Reef but could not get them to respond and bite. They ended up the day fishing the island proper for bass and rockfish. He said they caught some short sized calico bass they released along with some salmon grouper.
Striped marlins are still around and active and anglers are continuing to find some action while fishing areas around the eastern part of Catalina Island. The best zone has been ranging from the 152 Spot on over to the front side of the Island to where you are fishing between Avalon and the Avalon Bank. There have been blind trolling strikes and there have also been some tailers and feeders seen.
We are on the doorstep to Thanksgiving and Southern California anglers have a lot to be thankful for on the fishing scene. With yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowtail, bonito and striped marlin still biting this is proving to be a great fall fishing season! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.