The great offshore fishing season continues with bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin biting well. What continues to make this season very special is anglers have targeted good numbers of fish within easy one-day range of San Diego County, Orange County and Los Angeles County area harbors. Some half-day and three-quarter-day trips have also been able to fish offshore and target offshore species at times as well.
The area of good offshore fishing has ranged from the Catalina Channel on down to the offshore banks outside of Ensenada. Some of the top areas for the offshore tuna, dorado and yellowtail fishing have been the 267 Spot, 277 Spot, Mackerel Bank, the 178 Spot, 9 Mile Bank, 182 Spot, 43 Fathom Spot, 224 Spot, 302 Spot, 371 Bank, Upper Hidden Bank, Upper 500 Bank, 295 Bank, 238 Spot and the area out from10 to 15 miles off the coast between Point San Mateo and La Jolla.
The bluefin tuna have ranged in size from 15- to 200-plus-pound with the best area for jumbo sized bluefin out around the 43 Fathom Spot. The yellowfin ranged in size from 5 to 80 pounds with most falling within the 5- to 35-pound range. Yellowtail have been running from 5 to 20 pounds and the dorado have been mixed size fish and have gone to 35 pounds.
The tuna are caught in a variety of ways with kelp paddies, spots of breaking fish, sonar marks, meter marks, trolling strikes, porpoise schools and strikes on slow trolled nose hooked mackerel or sardines all producing action. Productive live baits have been anchovies, sardines and mackerel.
Iron has also been working pretty well for the tuna with Megabaits, Shimano Colt Snipers and Shimano Flat-Fall jigs producing action. Trolling jigs and feathers have also been productive with cedar plugs, Halcos, X-Rap Rapalas and assorted feathers getting bit on the troll.
Recent catch reports include one from Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing, who reported fishing a recent three-quarter-day offshore tuna trip where 7 anglers caught 10 yellowfin tuna. He reported one of the anglers was an 8-year-old who reeled in three of the 10 yellowfin on the trip. Their yellowfin ranged in size from 20 to 35 pounds and found action while fishing 10 to 17 miles off the Camp Pendleton coast.
Marlin fishing continues to be very good for boats fishing spots between the 125 Spot off West End of Catalina Island and the lower end of the Footprint SMR and FMR closure area outside of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. Some of the better fishing up this way has been for boats working the regions of 63 Fathom Spot, 175 Spot and 17 Fathom Spot. There have been tailers and sleepers showing but the best action comes from fish that are raised on the jigs while on the troll. There are times when several fish show up behind the boat chasing the jigs. When marlin show up behind the boat chasing the jigs mackerel have been working very well when dropped back into the wake during the trolling strike. A lot of boats fishing these northern marlin areas have been posting multiple marlin releases during a day of fishing.
The summer fishing season continues to provide some outstanding fishing, be it offshore, at the islands or along the coast. 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 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.