SAN DIEGO—The past week or so of offshore fishing has seen some nice changes with the arrival of good numbers of yellowfin tuna and with the expansion of the number of areas where bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna are being caught. A very nice thing to report about the past couple of weeks of fishing is weather conditions have quieted down and water conditions had a chance to settle down and stabilize.
Bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna are being caught over a wide area of ocean. At the northern edge of the area of biting tuna, boats have been finding action while fishing at spots between the 224 Spot and the Corner out between 20 and 30 miles 235 to 255 degrees from Point Loma. On the southern edge of the area of biting tuna boats have been finding action while fishing the waters below the Lower 500 Bank down between 90 and 95 miles 163 degrees from Point Loma.
The bluefin tuna have ranged from 25- to 200-pound with the best zone for the jumbo-sized bluefin being out between the 224 Spot and the Corner as talked about in the paragraph above. The yellowfin tuna have ranged from 15 to 50 pounds with most in the 15- to 25-pound range.
Bluefin schools have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks, kelp paddies and spots of breaking, breezing or puddling fish. Once located, bluefin have been biting on flylined sardines, kite fished sardines, sardines fished with torpedo sinkers and on flat fall jigs. If you have the tackle and have room on the boat to bring all the tackle, it is works out nice to carry live bait outfits with fluorocarbon leaders ranging from 30-pound test to 100-pound test for the bluefin. A 25-pound test outfit should work out well for most of the yellowfin tuna and the kelp paddie yellowtail.
The appearance of good numbers of yellowfin tuna is an early surprise to the fishing season and they have been caught at spots such as the 371 Bank, Upper Hidden Bank, 385 Spot and the area below the Lower 500 Bank. The yellowfin have been caught from blind trolling strikes, spots of breaking fish, sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breezing fish and porpoise schools.
Some sportboat counts from the offshore fishing on June 8 and 9 starts with Fisherman’s Landing. Liberty had a full-day trip with 23 anglers catching four of the 25- to 30-pound bluefin tuna and six of the 160- to 190-pound bluefin tuna.
Fisherman’s Landing also had Condor return home from a 1.5-day trip where 16 anglers caught 19 bluefin tuna, eight yellowfin tuna, one yellowtail and one bonito. Pacific Queen returned to Fisherman’s Landing from a 1.5-day trip with 34 anglers having caught 56 of the 12- to 25-pound yellowfin tuna and 34 bluefin tuna. Six of those bluefin were the larger 60- to 80-pound fish and the rest were in the 30-pound class.
Seaforth Sportfishing had Pride out fishing an overnight trip with 16 anglers, who caught 26 bluefin tuna and one yellowtail. San Diego returned home from a full-day trip with 26 anglers having caught one bluefin tuna. Aztec reported in to Seaforth with an update about their 1.5-day trip. At the time of their report they had 38 of the 40- to 80-pound bluefin aboard for the 19 anglers aboard and were still fishing. Tribute returned home from a 1.5-day trip with 25 anglers having caught 14 bluefin tuna and one yellowtail.
Chief returned home (Point Loma Sportfishing) from an overnight trip with 24 anglers having caught eight bluefin tuna. New Lo-An returned to Point Loma Sportfishing from a 1.5-day trip with 32 anglers having caught six bluefin. El Capitan also returned to Point Loma Sportfishing from a 1.5-day trip with 18 anglers having caught four bluefin and two yellowtails.
H&M Landing had Producer return home from a 1.5-day trip with 26 anglers having caught nine bluefin tuna and four yellowtails. Old Glory fished an overnight trip with 35 anglers who caught one bluefin, one yellowfin and 16 yellowtails. Constitution returned to H&M Landing from a 1.75-day trip with 14 anglers having caught 24 bluefin, five yellowfin and one yellowtail.
The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of bass, reds, rockfish, sculpin and whitefish along with an occasional bonus halibut or lingcod. Recent days have also seen improved yellowtail activity at the upper end of La Jolla.
Another sign of improving surface fishing along the coast is that calico bass are becoming more active at the Point Loma Kelp Beds. The key to finding a good calico bass bite in the kelp has been to look for kelp bed areas where you find the cleanest and warmest water. In recent days the best water conditions at the Point Loma Kelp Beds have been found at the kelp beds between Point Loma College and the Round House at Sunset Cliffs.
Productive rockfish areas off the San Diego County coast include the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad and Box Canyon.
Hard bottom and structure areas have been producing bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside.
The fishing at San Clemente Island has been good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, barracuda, calico bass and an occasional white sea bass.
Catalina continues to see improved surface fishing for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and a few white sea bass. Productive areas are spread around much of the Island with the areas of Ben Weston, Salta Verde, Orange Rocks, the V’s and Church Rock providing some action along the back side eastern part of the Island and with legal waters at the point and reef areas between Hen Rock and Black Point providing action along the front side of the Island.
The spring surface fishing season is gaining momentum and getting ready to roll into summer with good fun fishing going on offshore, at the local islands and along the coast. I hope you get a chance to get out fishing and enjoy the fun 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 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.