This fantastic Southern California offshore fishing season continues with a mix of exotic species biting, leading one to think they were fishing off the coast of Southern Baja rather than Southern California. We rarely see blue marlin or wahoo along the Southern California coast but this year those species are not only here but are spread out over a wide area and providing action most every day. That said at the time of writing this report we are experiencing our first rain system of the season with some northern influence and it probably would not take too much of a drop in the water temperature to send some of these exotic fish packing in the search of warmer waters. Time will tell what the rest of the season has in store.
The offshore fish are spread over a wide area with striped marlin biting as far north as Santa Rosa Island. Blue marlin, striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, skipjack, dorado, yellowtail and wahoo are biting in an area ranging from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore banks outside of Ensenada. Some of the best specific areas within the large expanse of water are the Steamer Lane outside of the 14 Mile Bank, the 14 Mile Bank, the 267 Spot, the 209 Spot, 3 to 12 miles off the stretch of coast between Dana Point and Oceanside, the 9 Mile Bank, the Coronado Canyon, the 224 Spot, the 302 Spot, the 371 Bank, the 425 Spot, the 390 Bank, the Upper Hidden Bank, the 475 Knuckle and the Cortes Bank.
Kelp paddies have been producing most of the tuna, dorado and yellowtail action with the fish biting on anchovies, sardines and small mackerel. Anchovies and the small to medium sized sardines are preferred baits for the yellowfin tuna. A lot of the wahoo action has been coming on the troll and a lot of the trolling strikes come in the vicinity of a kelp paddie.
The yellowfin tuna have been mostly in the 6- to 12-pound range with some bigger yellowfin to 30 pounds biting out at the Cortes Bank. The kelp paddie yellowtail ranged from 1 to 10 pounds with some bigger yellowtail also biting at the Cortes Bank. The dorado were mixed size fish and in the 5- to 30-pound range. Wahoo have been going from 25 to 80 pounds with most checking in within the 40- to 60-pound mark. The blue marlin ranged from 250 to 600-plus pounds and the striped marlin weighed in between 110 and 180 pounds.
Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reported about a recent three-quarter-day offshore trip out of Oceanside. He reported having to go up to the 267 Spot outside of Dana Point to get into some action but once he got into the area he found a kelp paddie where 12 anglers aboard his vessel caught 50 yellowfin tuna, 7 skipjack and 35 yellowtail. The water temperature in the area was 75.5 degrees and the anglers had 3 to 5 inch sardines in the bait tank working very well for bait.
Capt. Andy Papworth of the six-pack charter yacht Prime Time with Prime Time Sportfishing reported about a recent 1.5-day crew trip where they caught 5 wahoo, 13 yellowfin tuna and 8 dorado. Four of the wahoo were caught on the troll and were running about 55 pounds apiece. Their fifth wahoo was caught at a kelp paddie.
Capt. Jason Reese of the six-pack charter yacht Hi-Count with Point Loma Sportfishing reported about a recent three-quarter-day trip where anglers aboard caught 4 wahoo and 12 dorado. The wahoo weighed 35, 40, 50 and 60 pounds, respectively. They had this outstanding fishing while working below and outside of Los Coronado Islands in the area of the 425 Bank and below.
Capt. Mike Hadfield of the six-pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reported catching and releasing an estimated 300-pound blue marlin. He found the action while trolling at the 425 Bank.
What a fishing season we are having and it is not over yet. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.