By: Bob Vanian
The 2014 fishing season has been building and improving since early January when yellowtail started biting out at Los Coronado Islands. The build up has now blossomed into one of the best offshore fishing seasons we have seen in some time with yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, dorado and yellowtail biting in areas ranging from the 14 Mile Bank in the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore waters outside Ensenada and below.
We are currently in a mode where tuna, yellowtail and dorado are close enough to the local coast to where anglers can reach good fishing at spots that are as close as 10 to 15 miles offshore ranging from Point Loma to Newport Beach.
The yellowfin tuna and yellowtail have been most plentiful but recent days have seen even better bluefin tuna fishing for boats fishing tuna pens located about 45 miles below Point Loma. Catches of dorado have been more widely scattered with no big numbers of dorado biting as of yet. The yellowfin have been in the 12 to 25 pound range and the bluefin have been running from 15 to 100 pounds with a lot of 35 to 40 pound bluefin being reported in the mix.
Capt. Scott Meisel of Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing reported on a recent 1.5 day trip where they caught 70 yellowfin tuna and 44 yellowtail. Meisel was encouraged by the fact that anglers were starting to catch better numbers of baitfish in the yellowfin tuna stops and he thought this developing pattern was encouraging.
Private boater Capt. Ron Bowers of Salt Fever fished a recent two-day trip and reported catching 45 bluefin tuna, 5 yellowfin tuna and 22 yellowtail. Bowers said it was some of the best bluefin fishing he has seen and that most of their bluefin were nice sized fish that were in the 35 to 40 pound range. Bowers found the hot bluefin fishing while fishing around a couple of tuna pens located below and inside of the Upper Hidden Bank at 45 miles 168 degrees from Point Loma. Most of their bluefin were caught on sardines with a few on Megabait / Laser Minnow style iron.
Capt. Mike Hadfield of the 6 pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reported about fishing an offshore three-quarter day trip. Hadfield reported good action while fishing the region of the 425 Bank and had a fish count of 5 yellowfin tuna, 2 bluefin tuna, 1 dorado and 8 yellowtail. The 425 Bank is located at 25 miles 186 degrees from Point Loma.
The fishing at Los Coronado Islands remains good for a mix of calico bass, barracuda, bonito, yellowtail and rockfish. The best areas have been the South Kelp Ridge, the South Kelp, the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and the Middle Grounds. Most of the fishing continues to be done while sitting on the anchor with private boaters also reporting success while slow trolling nose hooked mackerel.
The fishing along the San Diego County coast remains very good for a mix of calico bass, bonito, barracuda, sand bass, yellowtail and rockfish. Kelp bed areas are producing most of the action with the kelp beds at Point Loma, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad, the Barn, San Onofre and San Mateo being the top spots.
Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing in Oceanside reports very good fishing while working kelp bed areas below Oceanside Harbor. He reports that they have been catching a mix of sand bass, calico bass, barracuda, bonito, rockfish and yellowtail while working the kelp beds off South Carlsbad, Leucadia and Solana Beach.
Cacciola reports a lot of short sized bass and barracuda in the mix that need to be released but he is also reporting getting into more bites on the bigger log sized barracuda and the legal sized calico bass and sand bass. Cacciola said there are some smaller sized 5 pound yellowtail around that are biting on the surface and says that the bigger 20 pound class yellowtail they have been hooking have been holding deep and biting down near the bottom. They have had large anchovies for bait in Oceanside lately.
The summer fishing season is in full swing with hot fishing being reported offshore, at the Islands and along the coast. I hope you have a chance to get out there and get in on the action. 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.