El Niño still affecting Southern California offshore fishing bites

Scientists indicate El Niño is over, yet we are still seeing the residual effects of our recent El Niño weather pattern in Southern California offshore waters. Now in November, there are still yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowtail and striped marlin to target.

Yellowfin tuna are biting the best. Boaters fishing in the San Clemente Island area have been doing their best on the yellowfin while working the region of the 81 Fathom Spot outside of China Point. There are also a few yellowfin biting in the Catalina region for boats working the waters around and about the 277 Spot, 267 Spot and 209 Spot. The yellowfin are being caught from porpoise schools, spots of breaking fish, meter marks, sonar marks and an occasional kelp paddie or blind trolling strike.

Most overnight and 1.5-day fishing trips have been catching the yellowfin out by San Clemente Island. Some recent counts included a 1.5-day trip out of Fisherman’s Landing on Liberty that returned home with a total catch of 92 yellowfin tuna.

Seaforth Sportfishing had an overnight trip on Voyager with 18 anglers aboard catching 66 yellowfin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing also had an overnight trip on Aztec with 26 anglers catching 46 yellowfin tuna. The same day of fishing aboard Seaforth Sportfishing’s San Diego vessel, 26 anglers caught 146 yellowfin tuna on an overnight trip.

A 1.5-day trip aboard Ocean Odyssey out of H&M Landing had 15 anglers catch 40 yellowfin tuna. A 2.5-day trip aboard Topgun 80 out of H&M Landing had 25 anglers return with 1 yellowtail and 140 yellowfin tuna.

Point Loma Sportfishing’s most recent yellowfin count was 13 (a 1.5-day trip aboard New Lo Ann with 20 anglers).

Luc Ofield of the private boat Angler’s Choice reported about a recent two-day trip to San Clemente Island aboard a friend’s vessel. Ofield reported very good yellowfin tuna fishing. “They had limits of yellowfin tuna,” Ofield said. Most of the action was found outside of China Point, in the region of the 81 Fathom Spot and nearby Desperation Reef. Fishing porpoise schools with slow trolled mackerel worked well to locate some fish and get a bait stop going. Ofield reported their limits of yellowfin tuna were in the 20- to 50- pound class.

Occasional flurries of bluefin tuna action have been incidental to the fishing for yellowfin off the back side of San Clemente Island. There was also a recent catch of 13 bluefin tuna reported from the 60 Mile Bank. Live squid has been the best bait for the bluefin. The bluefin have been good-sized fish with most falling within the 40- to 100- pound range.

Striped marlins are still in the offshore picture. Scattered marlin sightings have been reported incidental to the yellowfin tuna fishing at San Clemente Island. The best chance of finding some striped marlin has been at the Osborn Bank up near Santa Barbara Island. Recently, marlin have been caught and released by boats fishing around the Osborn Bank.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been mostly rockfish, but a few bass, bonito and large halibut have also been biting. Hard bottom and structure spots have been good for the rockfish. Bass and bonito have been biting along the edges of the kelp beds or over hard bottom areas located a short way outside of the kelp beds.

Private boater Jim Cooke of Ambusher and his private boater friend JD of Break Away were out on a recent fishing trip and reported catching an estimated 40- to 45-pound halibut while fishing outside of Ponto Beach at South Carlsbad. Cooke said the fish measured 48 inches long and was caught on a live mackerel that was fished on a dropper loop rig in 14 fathoms of water. Cooke said they also hooked and lost another similarly sized halibut while fishing that same area.

November is here, and we still have some great fish to target in Southern California waters. I hope you have not made the mistake of putting your tackle away for the season, and you take advantage of some of the late season fishing action. Keep on fishing! 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 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 bob976bite@aol.com.

(Photo courtesy Intrepid Sportfishing)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *