By: Bob Vanian
The Southern California offshore fishing season just keeps getting better — and you can now add yellowfin tuna to the list of species that have migrated to waters within one-day range of Point Loma. When you add yellowfin to the list of currently available albacore, bluefin tuna, dorado and yellowtail, you now have a chance at catching a wide variety of fish on any given trip.
The dorado and yellowtail fishing under kelp paddies in more local offshore waters is also providing consistent action for boats fishing as far north as the Avalon Bank in the Catalina Channel, with occasional dorado catches also reported from the offshore waters outside Palos Verdes.
The past week of fishing saw yellowfin tuna move closer to Point Loma, to the point where boats were able to consistently catch them around the 213 Bank, the 1010 Trench and below — fishing between 60 and 100 miles from Point Loma.
Some slightly improved numbers of albacore are also biting with the yellowfin tuna. The way these fish have moved up the line, anglers have good reason to hope that they will continue their uphill migration so they can be caught at some of the local offshore banks within 35 miles of Point Loma.
The yellowfin tuna have been mixed-size fish from 5 to 40 pounds, with most in the 10- to 15-pound class. The few albacore being caught continue to be good-sized fish from 20 to 35 pounds.
Bluefin tuna are also being caught around the 1010 Trench area and below, with a few bluefin also being scratched out by boats fishing around the Hidden Bank and Kidney Bank. Most of the bluefin are in the 15- to 35-pound class, with occasional stops reported where fish to 100-plus pounds come up and bite.
The dorado have been running from 8 to 25 pounds, with most in the 8- to 15-pound range.
The yellowtail have ranged in size from 3 to 30 pounds, with most in the 5- to 10-pound range. A lot of anglers are to be commended for choosing to release the smaller sized yellowtail.
Recent catch reports start with private boater Capt. Ron Bowers of Salt Fever, who fished a two-day trip and caught 23 yellowfin tuna, one bluefin tuna, two albacore and nine dorado. Bowers said that they also caught a lot of small yellowtail that were released.
Their best fishing was found on the first day of the trip, below the 1010 Trench and below the 295 Bank — 80 to 100 miles, 170 to 190 degrees from Point Loma.
On Day 2 of the trip, they worked the 1010 Trench until 10 a.m. before heading for home. They picked up six yellowfin tuna and five dorado while fishing 66 miles, 192 degrees from Point Loma.
Private boater Randy Phillips of Lethal Weapon fished the area of the 213 Bank and 1010 Trench and reported catching limits of dorado, five albacore, five yellowfin tuna and two yellowtail. They additionally caught and released a lot more dorado and some 3- to 6-pound yellowtail.
Their five albacore ranged in size from 20 to 28 pounds and came from two stops that originated on the troll and that both produced bait fish. Their dorado bite sounded as if it was truly epic, and the dorado ranged in size from 8 to 16 pounds.
Private boater Lou Brito of El Lobo fished at the 1010 Trench and reported finding a hot bite from a kelp paddy that started out with yellowtail and dorado and then transitioned to bluefin tuna. They caught 12 bluefin tuna and lots of yellowtail and dorado from the kelp paddy — 61 miles, 190 degrees from Point Loma.
On the way back to Point Loma, Brito stopped on another productive kelp paddy at the Hidden Bank — 42 miles, 187 degrees from Point Loma. This kelp paddy produced more dorado and yellowtail and also produced a 40-pound bluefin tuna.
Private boater Scott Zachary of Hole fished a recent trip to the 182 Spot, 224 Spot and 230 Spot and reported catching limits of dorado and eight yellowtail. Zachary said that a lot of their bait died, and that they got the dorado and yellowtail to bite on live sardines, chunks of sardines and iron. Their best area was a 2-mile square where there were lots of kelp paddies, east of the 182 Spot — 23 miles, 251 degrees from Point Loma.
Capt. Tony Souza of the private boat Green Bee found lots of yellowtail biting on a recent trip to the Hidden Bank and reported catching limits of yellowtail and one dorado, along with a lot of additional yellowtail that were caught and released. Souza said they found their action while fishing kelp paddies by the Hidden Bank — between 35 and 40 miles, 185 to 195 degrees from Point Loma. Their dorado was the highlight fish of the day, and it was estimated to have weighed between 16 and 18 pounds.
Private boater “Russ” reported about fishing a recent trip to the area of the 302 Spot, located 22 miles, 222 degrees from Point Loma. He reported very good fishing for yellowtail and also caught a dorado.
His report included information about getting boarded by the Mexican navy while out at the 302 Spot. He said that they asked for identification, Mexican fishing permits and boat registration. They also wanted to see the boat’s life jackets and took a look inside of a couple of cupboards. The Mexican navy personnel were reported to have been friendly, courteous and professional.
Private boater Gary Semolich of Amorosea spent the night at San Clemente Island and fished his way from San Clemente Island to San Diego by way of the 43 Fathom Spot and 182 Spot. He reported finding excellent fishing for yellowtail while fishing two kelp paddies below and outside of the 43 Fathom Spot, in 69-degree water. One of their best kelp paddies was found at 40 miles, 253 degrees from Point Loma.
They had fun catching and releasing lots of yellowtail, and they left them biting at both their hot kelp paddies. Semolich added that they found quite a few unproductive kelp paddies late in the day while fishing the region of the 182 Spot. He felt those paddies had likely been fished hard early in the day and that they needed some more time to reload with fish.
Capt. Mike Hadfield of the six-pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reported on a recent 1.5-day trip where they found a kelp paddy that produced limit fishing on a variety of species that included bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail. They kept their limits and released the rest.
The highlight fish was a 51-pound bluefin tuna, and the paddy was found at the Double 220 Bank — 70 miles, 186 degrees from Point Loma.
Capt. Rich Hogan of the six-pack charter yacht Tomcat with Cortez Yacht Charters reported about a recent trip to fish the waters below the 1010 Trench and 295 Bank. Hogan reported very rough weather on the trip, but said they still managed to catch 18 yellowfin tuna, seven dorado and lots of small 3- to 6-pound yellowtail that were released.
They also caught two 10-pound yellowtail that they kept. Some of their best fishing was found while fishing 90 miles, 175 degrees from Point Loma.
Capt. Todd Shifflett of the six-pack charter yacht Predator reported fishing a recent 1.5-day trip to the 1010 Trench and catching 20 yellowfin tuna, one bluefin tuna and limits of mixed dorado and yellowtail. It was rough weather the day of their trip, but they managed to get a hot bite going from a kelp paddy 60 miles, 189 degrees from Point Loma.
Capt. Mike Anderson of the six-pack charter yacht Prime Time with Prime Time Sportfishing reported on a recent 1.5-day trip to fish the waters below the 1010 Trench. They had a wide-open stop from a jig strike that came while trolling past a scrap of kelp — 87 miles, 183 degrees from Point Loma.
Their count for the trip was limits of yellowfin tuna, limits of dorado and three yellowtail — and they had a lot of additional dorado that were caught and released. Anderson said they kept catching and releasing fish until they ran out of bait.
A lot of skippers have been choosing to not fish at Los Coronados islands due to the uncertainly regarding new permit requirements for U.S. boats fishing in nearby Mexican waters. The yellowtail fishing at the Coronados has been good lately, and some of the best areas have been the lee side of North Island, Pukey Point at North Island, the Middle Grounds, area inside of the north end of South Island and the Ribbon Kelp.
Private boater John Carroll of Huachinango reported fishing a recent trip to the Coronados. Carroll reported limit fishing for yellowtail while working the area inside the north end of South Island and the Ribbon Kelp, along the lee side of South Island. They were slow-trolling sardines for their fish, and would also drift sardines and use surface iron after getting a hookup on the slow troll.
Marlin fishing has been spotty in the San Diego area, with the better numbers of marlin being found up in the Catalina region, for boats fishing spots such as the Slide, the 152 Spot, the 277 Spot and the ridge outside of Church Rock. Marlin action has also been reported by boats fishing off Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island.
Private boater Jerry Lively of Lively One fished in Mission Bay Marlin Club’s Charity Heart Tournament Sept. 8 and reported catching and releasing a marlin. The angler was John Noble and the marlin was caught and released from a jig strike on a Mean Joe Green color jig, while fishing above and inside of the 224 Spot. Their marlin was the only marlin caught in the tournament — and it won first place.
Private boater Anton Gerschler reported fishing Los Coronados islands with Dan White aboard White’s boat, Thetis. He said there were yellowtail biting at the Middle Grounds for boats that were slow-trolling sardines.
They went off North Island to check out some working birds that were about 1 mile off the island. What they found were a couple of feeding marlin about 2 miles off North Island. They got one of the marlin to come in and bite a Mean Joe Green color jig, but it did not stick.
This has been a great fishing season, and it seems to be getting better all the time. 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 976-Bite at 976bite.com. Vanian also provides anglers with a personal fish report service over the phone at (619) 226-8218. He always welcomes your fish reports at that same phone number, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.