By: Terrence Berg
YELLOWFIN IN MAY?: In a couple of two and three-day trips out of San Diego, yellowfin and bluefin tuna are showing up within 150 miles of San Diego. The Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on an exploratory two-day trip fishing 140 to 150 miles south of Point Loma and had 11 yellowfin and 15 bluefin. The Voyager, also out of Seaforth, was on a three-day trip with 20 anglers ant they had 12 yellowfin tuna and 200 yellowtail. The yellowfin normally don’t show in these waters until August with the peak bite normally in September and October. Bluefin, which have been caught the past two weeks, usually don’t show until July at the earliest — although there is a resident population off Southern California that can show all year. If this continues, it’s going to be an early and long tuna season for Southern California anglers.
ISLANDS UPDATE: The action at all of the offshore islands has improved this week, with the exception of the Coronados, which have just continued to plug along producing five to 15 yellowtail per day for the sport fleet boats. That generally mean from 1/4- to one-fish per rod on these trips. Seals also continue to be problematic at the Coronados. San Clemente broke pretty much wide open this weekend with some good scores on yellowtail, along with good mixed rockfish, other bottom fish, halibut, and bass in the mix. The Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was at Clemente both days this past weekend with 37 yellowtail boated Saturday and 29 on Sunday. The Fortune and Freedom, both out of 22nd Street Landing, had 28 and 25 yellowtail respectively on Saturday. Catalina Island has been producing one-fish limits of white seabass to 35 pounds for many sportboats and private boaters this past week. Up in the Channel Islands, the seabass have been limit-style at Santa Barbara Island when wind hasn’t blown anglers off the water. There has also been some spurts of good yellowtail action in this region, which is unseasonably early for the yellows.
IS THIS EL NINO?: The yellowfin tuna out of San Diego, yellowtail already in the Channel Islands, and unseasonably warm water conditions have angles asking if this is a sure sign of El Nino. Water temperatures this past week have been from 55 to 60 degrees tight along the coast with the offshore temperatures running from 65 to nearly 72 degrees throughout the California bite.
LONG RANGE UPDATE: While the giant tuna off the tip of Baja are still biting with the most recent trips all reports yellowfin to nearly 300 pounds, the boats are starting to make their transition to the late-spring and summer season with five to seven-day trips the norm for this time of year.
CALICO AND SAND BASS COMING TO LIFE: While very good rockfish action is still the mainstay for the half-day boats all along the coast, the bass bites are starting to come to life. The San Diego half-day boats are finding good calico bass action off the Point Loma kelp this week with over 100 plus bass reported in recent days. The problem is that 95 percent of the fish are below the 14-inch minimum keeper size, making most of these trips catch-and-release fishing excursions. For the Orange County and Los Angeles landing-based boats, there has been pretty good twilight sand bass action. The Patriot out of Newport Landing had 30-plus keeper bass early this week on a twilight trip with 100-plus under-sized fish released.