SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — The Southern California offshore fishing season continues to witness increased bluefin, yellowfin, Dorado and yellowtail bites. Striped marlins are also coming into play.
Big bluefin are attracting a lot of angler’s attention. The current area where skippers are targeting bluefin are 8 to 15 miles south to west southwest of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island. It has not been easy to get the bluefin to bite but some have been biting nonetheless.
Kite trolled Yummy Flyers have been the best bet for bluefin and the payoff can be the fish of a lifetime. Bluefin catches have been mixed size fish in the 30- to 200-pound range. A good percentage of the bluefin caught have been up over the 125-pound mark.
Private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section fished a recent trip targeting bluefin with private boater Chad Reed aboard Reed’s boat Madrugador. Seymour reported a successful trip and said they caught a bluefin tuna taped out at 167 pounds via the fish weight measurement formula. The fish was caught on a kite trolled Yummy Flyer while fishing to the west-southwest of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island at 66 miles 265 degrees from Point Loma. On the way back to San Diego they also took a look at the 43 Fathom Spot. While in the region of the 43 Fathom Spot they found some spots of breaking yellowfin tuna, saw a jumper marlin and saw a finning swordfish.
Striped marlin are arriving in local offshore waters and the six-pack charter boat Sauerfish out of Point Loma Sportfishing recently caught and released a marlin while on a three-quarter day trip. I believe this to be the first marlin caught and released in 2017.
Yellowfin tuna have been found in quite a few areas but in similar fashion to dealing with the bluefin, it has often been difficult to get the yellowfin to bite. A few yellowfin have been biting on trolled cedar plugs and also on Colt Snipers, surface iron and Flat Fall jigs that are cast to breaking fish before they sound. The yellowfin have been quality-sized fish in the 20- to 50-pound range. The best yellowfin zone has been 3 to 10 miles southeast over to northwest of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island. Yellowfin have also been found in areas such as the 14 Mile Bank, 209 Spot, 289 Spot, Mackerel Bank, 43 Fathom Spot and 182 Spot.
If an angler does not want to chase the bluefin and yellowfin there is some very good fishing for yellowtail and Dorado along with a chance at scratching out a few yellowfin tuna for boats fishing kelp paddies found below Point Loma in the region of the Upper Hidden Bank, the Upper 500 Bank and the Inner Bank located outside of Ensenada. The yellowtail have been mixed size fish from 5 to 20 pounds and the Dorado have ranged from small throwback sized fish up to 20 pounds. The few yellowfin tuna that have been caught in the area have been in the 20- to 25-pound range.
Private boater Lee Fleming of Jawbreaker reported fishing a recent trip to the waters outside of Ensenada and said they had good fun fishing while working kelp paddies found on the inside edges of the Inner Bank (the large bank that contains the well known 238 Spot). Fleming said they had great weather on the trip and the five anglers aboard caught 24 yellowtail, 3 bonito and 1 Dorado.
Capt. Tony Souza of the private boat Green Bee reported about fishing kelp paddies at the Upper Hidden Bank. He said they found three productive kelp paddies in this zone and that they produced action on quality sized yellowtail and Dorado. They caught 7 yellowtail and 2 Dorado from the three paddies and lost several yellowtail hookups when the big yellows were able to get wrapped in the kelp. The yellowtail they caught were all quality-sized fish in the 18- to 20-pound class; the Dorado were also good sized fish of 14 pounds and 16 pounds. This action was had while fishing at 40 miles 181 to 183 degrees from Point Loma.
Los Coronado Islands continue to provide very good mixed bag fishing for barracuda, bonito, yellowtail and calico bass.
The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been very good for calico bass and there have also been occasional flurries of action on bonito, barracuda and yellowtail. Kelp beds have been the best for the calicos with productive areas being the kelp beds at Point Loma, La Jolla Kelp, within the stretch between Del Mar and Carlsbad, at San Onofre and the Barn.
Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports good calico bass fishing while working kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Del Mar. He reported about a recent trip where the anglers enjoyed some fine calico bass fishing and caught 40 legal sized calicos and caught and released an estimated 260 short-sized calicos.
The calico bass were biting well on the 5- to 6-inch sardines and were also biting well on the Hookup Bait plastics in the anchovy color and the glow green color. Another productive plastic bait on recent trips is reported to be the Berkley Jerk Shad in the sardine color when rigged with a 3/8-ounce dart head.
Cacciola said he see occasional flurries of yellowtail action while fishing the kelp beds for the calicos and he recalled a recent trip where they hooked and lost six large yellowtail. The water has been very warm and was reported to be 77 degrees. The water has been green and tends to turn a cleaner green during the afternoon hours when they usually get an increased downhill current flow.
The summer fishing season is offering plenty of great options for anglers to choose from in targeting different species in different areas! There should be something that perks the interest of most any angler. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stardust Sportfishing photo