By: Joe Sarmiento
July is usually the month that our offshore season ramps up. Typically, we board boats out of San Diego and head south in search of warmer waters and pelagic species such as tuna, yellowtail and dorado.
This year, though, we’ve been experiencing much warmer water off our local shores, and those species have come to us! Scientists have yet to officially declare it an El Nino event, but local anglers are experiencing fishing unseen since the 1988 season.
The Angler Chronicles team had to get out and experience it for ourselves. We hosted a 3/4 day Owner Hooks Fishing School trip out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing on the Clemente July 17. We boarded the boat in the early morning hours, loaded up on live sardines at the bait receiver and headed offshore in search of summertime exotics.
Show host Sergio Fainsztein briefed us on what to expect. Capt. Larry Moore of the Angler Chronicles staff did a seminar on fishing bait. Junior staffer Jimmy Bass held a seminar on fishing a jig.
It wasn’t long before we found a nice kelp and did a drift on it. However, nobody was home. There was a volume of boats further offshore from us that had probably already hit the spot, so onward we went.
We reached the flotilla, and it was kind of a joke. There was a paddy with a bunch of private boaters soaking bait on it. Nobody was bent, so we pressed on.
We then found a paddy we could fish by ourselves. I was fishing a jig on my 30 pound rig. Nothing was biting for me, but the “students” were scoring on the live sardines.
The next paddy, I switched up to my 25 pound setup to fish bait. It was the right call. I was quickly bit and scored a nice yellowtail. I promptly re-baited and was bit again. I was on camera for my second yellowtail describing my setup of 25 pound fluoro to an owner 1/0 ringed flyliner hook. I was able to get a third on the light setup when I noticed some tuna being caught.
The lucky anglers used a small sliding sinker in front of their hook. I figured that getting deeper might give me a better shot at the tuna or at least some better grade yellows, so I re-rigged my 30-pound setup the same way.
Next drift, I did get picked up by something bigger. The way it fought and headed down, it might’ve been a tuna. I’d never find out though as my line got tangled in multiple lines. By the time it was all sorted out, the fish was gone. Oh well. I added one more paddy yellow before we had to call it a day.
The final count was 70-plus yellowtail, one yellowfin tuna, one bluefin tuna, four dorado and one large bonito. None of the fish were caught on the troll—all on paddies and one stop on jumping fish.
Overall, it was a pretty incredible day of fishing offshore and it was all local! It was also nice to be back at the landing by 4 p.m.
The fishing right now is really good—the best in years. Get out and enjoy it while you can!
Angler Chronicles can be contacted at anglerchronicles.com or at facebook.com/pages/Angler-Chronicles/129290723790094