SAN DIEGO — The Southern California offshore fishing season keeps rolling along as good numbers of striped marlin have now arrived in local offshore waters to join the bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail. The first weekend of August saw what I would estimate to be 10 striped marlins caught and released with spots around the East End of Catalina such as the 277 Spot and 152 Spot being the best.
The striped marlins have been showing and biting over a large area ranging from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the area of the 238 Spot outside of Ensenada. Productive areas have been the 14 Mile Bank, the Avalon Bank, the Slide, the 152 Spot, 277 Spot, 209 Spot, 8 to 12 miles off the coast between San Onofre and Oceanside, the 182 Spot, the 224 Spot, the 371 Bank the 425 Bank, the Upper Hidden Bank, the Upper 500 Spot and the 238 Spot. A lot of the marlin action has come on the troll but there have been marlin hooked by baiting tailers and sleepers as well as by baiting kelp paddies with sardines intended for yellowtail or Dorado.
Big bluefin tuna continue to bite out at San Clemente Island and the bluefin have been running from 30 to 250+ pounds, with a lot of the fish falling within the 120- to 200-pound range. Kite trolled Yummy Flyers have been the best bet for the bluefin, which have also been caught while drifting over meter marks or around spots of breaking fish and using mackerel, live squid and Flat Fall jigs. Occasional bluefin are also hooked on surface iron or poppers that are cast to spots of breaking fish.
The best areas have been in the region of Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the 86 Fathom Spot and the 381 Spot with the areas to the west of the 86 Fathom Spot and about half way between the 86 Fathom Spot and the 381 Spot being the best.
Private boater Ben Babbitt reported about fishing aboard the private boat Two Timer and having an incredible day of fishing. They started out by stopping on a kelp paddie that they found at the 277 Spot off the east end of Catalina while on the way over to San Clemente Island to fish for bluefin tuna. The kelp paddie at the 277 Spot produced a surprise hookup on a striped marlin that bit a sardine that was being fished on an outfit intended for yellowtail or Dorado. While hooked up to the marlin they saw another marlin tailing near the boat and were able to cast bait to the fish with a marlin bait caster outfit.
The first hookup was lost when the bill of the fish eventually wore through the line but they were able to successfully catch and release the second marlin, which was hooked on an outfit that was rigged with a leader that could withstand the abrasion of a marlin hookup.
After releasing the marlin they continued to the backside of San Clemente Island, where it did not take long to get a hookup on a jumbo sized bluefin tuna while using a kite trolled Yummy Flyer. They caught that bluefin but did not have much additional bluefin action until 6:00 p.m. Babbitt reported the ocean came alive with spots of foaming bluefin tuna schools. The bluefin catches ranged from 120 to 215 pounds.
Kelp paddies in an area stretching from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada are providing a chance at finding yellowtail and dorado and there have been a few yellowfin tuna to be found throughout this stretch of ocean as well. The waters below and outside of the Coronado Islands have been providing the best action in recent days with limit catches of dorado and yellowtail being reported by boats fishing the region of the 224 Spot, 425 Bank, 230 Spot, 371 Bank, Upper Hidden Bank and Upper 500 Bank.
Capt. Ron Bowers of Salt Fever fished a two-day trip and reported catching and releasing an estimated 100 small yellowtail and 100 small Dorado.
The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be very good for calico bass and there has also been some action on bonito, barracuda and yellowtail. Kelp bed areas have been the best for the calicos with the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the La Jolla Kelp beds, the kelp beds between Del Mar and Carlsbad and the kelp at San Onofre all producing good numbers of calico bass. The best areas for the yellowtail have been while fishing around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma and at the kelp beds outside of the upper end of La Jolla.
Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports finding very good calico bass fishing while fishing kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Del Mar. Cacciola says there has been a lot of action on short sized calicos for every keeper sized fish they catch. In addition to the calico bass they have been hooking and sometimes catching an occasional large yellowtail and have also been catching a few bonito
The 2017 summer fishing season is in full swing and anglers can choose to target a variety of great species be it fishing offshore, at the local islands or along the coast. Take advantage of the summer season by choosing what you would like to fish for and going fishing! 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.
Red Rooster III photo