SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — The epic 2015 fishing season has come to a close and Southern California anglers are now looking forward to reeling in more fish in 2016. A warm water blob off the Southern California coast (courtesy of El Niño) meant warm offshore waters deep into the year – and plenty of exotic fish to be had.
But how good was the 2015 Southern California saltwater fishing season? The numbers out of 976tuna.com were pretty phenomenal. There were 181,876 yellowtail catches in 2015, according to fishing reports submitted to the fishing website. In close second was yellowfin tuna, with 178,045 reported catches in 2015.
The 976tuna.com website also reported nearly 20,000 bluefin tuna and 255 wahoo caught in local offshore fishing in 2015.
“Overall, the last 12 months has been exceptional fishing. It’s exotic fish,” said Alayna Siddall of the Sportfishing Association of California..
Siddall added wahoo dominated headlines during the final few weeks of 2015 but marlin, dorado and skipjack were also prominent last year.
Wahoo are rarely found north of the U.S.-Mexico border. At least one of the 255 wahoos reported during the 2015 season was reeled in as far north as Ventura County.
Yellowtail fishing was excellent early in the summer, Siddall added, and were still being caught well into the fall season last year. Sportfishing vessels reported yellowtail catches deep into December.
The San Diego Marlin Club reported 23 marlins caught and released and nine weighed in at Shelter Island during last year’s fishing season. One angler reeled in a 662.2-pound marlin on Sept. 23, 2015. The marlin count in San Diego was up significantly compared to 2013, when five anglers caught and released the billfish and only three of the species were brought ashore for weighing.
There were eight marlins (five released) reported in 2012 and seven (four released) in 2011; the numbers were significantly higher in 2009 (86 marlin, 69 released), 2008 (53 marlin, 41 released) and 2007 (110 marlin, 86 released).
Whether this year’s fishing season will be on par with or better than 2015 remains to be seen.
2015 Fishing Totals*
Yellowfin tuna 178,045
Calico bass 108,981
Sand bass 30,303
*- partial list (statistics courtesy 976tuna.com)