By: Bob Vanian
It is hard to imagine that the offshore fishing could get much better, but who knows what surprises might be in store as we forge ahead into the final summer and fall months of 2014? This just has the feeling of being the type of year where schools of 100 pound bigeye tuna could show up or where something crazy could happen like having wahoo migrate into local offshore waters. In a season where a tuna was caught inside of Newport Harbor, anything could happen.
Enough fantasizing, the reality is that there is excellent offshore fishing going on right now for a mix of yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, bluefin tuna and dorado. Medium sized bigeye tuna have also been a reality with a few 40 pound class bigeye tuna reported. Most of the yellowfin tuna have been in the 12 to 30 pound range and the bluefin have been running from 15 to 100 pounds with a good number of 30 to 40 pound bluefin reported in the mix. The dorado have been running from 10 to 30 pounds and the yellowtail have ranged from small throwback sized fish on up to 30 pounds.
The one bit of sour news is that fishing for bluefin tuna in Mexican waters has been closed for the remainder of 2014. The offsetting good news is that there are bluefin tuna biting on the U.S. side of the border.
It is amazing how far and wide the area of good fishing ranges with fish biting from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore banks outside of Ensenada. The best areas in recent days have been fishing around and about the 267 Spot, the 209 Spot, the 181 Spot, the 43 Fathom Spot, the area 6 to 12 miles outside of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island, the Corner, the 9 Mile Bank, the 178 Spot, the 182 Spot, the 224 Spot, the 302 Spot, the 371 Bank, the 425 Bank, the 238 Spot and the 295 Bank.
The stops have been coming from blind jig strikes, drifting around spots of working tern birds, drifting near spots of breaking fish, porpoise schools, meter marks and drifting around kelp paddies.
Capt. Scott Meisel of Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing reported about a recent 1.5 day trip where they caught 40 bluefin tuna, 14 yellowfin tuna, two dorado and 47 yellowtail. Meisel said the bluefin tuna were quality sized fish with most up in the 30 to 40 pound range.
Capt. Sean Davidson is going to start running 4 pack charters aboard Copout. Davidson took a group of friends out on a recent trip and had a good day of fishing while working a current break located above and outside of the 43 Fathom Spot. They caught 12 yellowfin tuna and one bluefin tuna and found their action on slow trolled live baits and by drifting live baits at spots where they were seeing working tern birds. The action came while fishing along a current break outside of the 43 Fathom Spot at 40 miles 264 degrees from Point Loma.
Private boater John Carroll of Huachinango reported fishing a recent trip to Los Coronado Islands and the 425 Bank and catching limits of yellowtail at Los Coronado Islands and 3 yellowfin tuna while fishing offshore at the 425 Bank. Carroll started the day at Los Coronado Islands and found excellent yellowtail action while drifting the edges of the kelp beds at the South Kelp located below South Island.
Capt. Billy of Efishnsea reported fishing a recent trip to the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank. He said they looked at spots of breaking bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna throughout much of the day and that most of the fish were not interested in biting. They did catch one bluefin tuna on the day and it was a nice sized 30 pound fish that bit a mackerel at a kelp paddie located at 11 miles 248 degrees from Point Loma.
The fishing at Los Coronado Islands is outstanding for yellowtail and also includes some good mixed bag fishing for bonito, calico bass, barracuda and rockfish. The yellowtail are stealing the show and near limit to limit numbers of yellowtail have been reported in recent days. Productive areas for the yellowtail have been the South Kelp, the South Kelp Ridge, the 5 Minute Kelp, the north end of South Island and the Middle Grounds.
The fishing along the San Diego County coast remains good for a mix of calico bass, bonito, barracuda, sand bass, yellowtail and rockfish. Kelp bed areas are producing most of the action with the kelp beds at Point Loma, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad, the Barn, San Onofre and San Mateo being top spots.
Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing in Oceanside reports very good fishing for calico bass and sand bass while working kelp bed areas below Oceanside Harbor and says that some barracuda, bonito, rockfish and yellowtail have also been in the mix.
Cacciola fished a recent offshore three-quarter day tuna trip where he had a family group of 9 anglers catch 42 yellowfin tuna, eight bluefin tuna and three yellowtail. The biggest bluefin was estimated to be up in 35 to 40 pound class and most were in the 15 to 25 pound range. Their yellowfin tuna were running from 15 to 25 pounds.
There is some great fishing going on. Make sure to get out there and get in on the action. 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 email@example.com.