GENERAL OVERVIEW: Winds kicked up this past week before, during, and after the storm front that moved through on Tuesday. Water temperatures were dropped as much as 4 degrees in some areas, but even with that they are still well above average for this time of year. Typical of April, the winds and volatile weather make this a difficult fishing month most of the time. This week?s winds are forecast to continue into the weekend, so it will be another tough week of fishing. The Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was San Clemente on an overnight trip and the wind was blowing 20 knots all day Wednesday. In spite near unfishable conditions, they still had 13 yellowtail and a lot of ill anglers. That trip illustrates the good and bad and this action right now: Lots of fish locally, especially yellowtail, but tough conditions to battle to catch those fish.
LONG RANGE UPDATE: Most of the boats fishing the long-range yellowfin tuna grounds off Cabo San Lucas were between trips this past week. The Royal Polaris was just getting out to the fishing grounds on Wednesday after making the run back down and picking up passengers in Cabo. On the run down, the anglers not opting for the fly-down option caught a few bluefin in U.S. waters less than 50 miles from San Diego and some wahoo at Alijos Rocks.
LOCAL BLUEFIN AND YELLOWFIN TUNA NEWS: In addition to the Royal Polaris, there have been bluefin tuna showing as close as 15 miles to Point Loma in the past week. The Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on an overnight trip to the west in U.S. waters on Saturday and the 27 anglers on board had five bluefin tuna and 12 bonito. Even the Mission Belle, also out of Point Loma Sportfishing caught and released four bluefin tuna last Thursday while at the Coronado Islands. There were 29 anglers on that boat and they also had 19 yellowtail, five bonito, and three barracuda. And the yellowfin are already moving up the line toward local waters. Two yachts heading up and down the Baja coast over the past week ran across good schools of yellowfin in the same area 90 miles to the south and put fish on their boats.
CORONADO ISLANDS YELLOWTAIL: The unseasonably early and uncharacteristically hot yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands has continued this past week. Since April 1, the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing has been posting the best yellowtail scores of the three-quarter day boats running off San Diego to the Coronado Islands or other areas. On April 1 and 6, the counts averaged three fish per rod, and there was only one day during the eight-day period at the beginning of this month where the average was under a fish per rod. Most days, it has been from 1 1/2 to three fish per angler. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been seeing nearly as good action. This boat had two days late last week with better than two yellowtail per rod, and only one day in the past week where there wasn?t a fish per rod. The Malihini out of H&M Landing, which had been the hot boat, only had two days this past week with a yellowtail or better per rod, most days less than a fish per rod.
CLEMENTE AND CATALINA YELLOWTAIL: While the scores have not been as good for the Los Angeles and Orange County boats making runs to San Clemente and Catalina islands for yellowtail as the Coronado boats, the bite has still be unseasonable good. When you add in the rockfish, the bites have been exceptional. The Freedom, Thunderbird, Utlra, and Toronado have all been making overnight trips to San Clemente on weekend trips, and all have been getting a few yellowtail — up to a half-fish per rod — each trip. The Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing returned on Sunday and the 36 anglers on board had eight yellowtail, along with 97 bocaccio, 64 rockfish, 17 bonito, 12 red snapper, 12 whitefish, and one lingcod. The Pursuit, Freelance, Native Sun, and Enterprise have been fishing Catalina on three-quarter or full-day trips. On Monday, the Freelance had 63 anglers and they landed three yellowtail, 22 calico bass, 15 rockfish, nine sheephead, eight whitefish, six bonito, and six sculpin.
ROCKFISH STILL EXCELLENT: In spite of being buffeted by winds in recent days, the rockfish scores have continued to be excellent. Figure half-limits in the San Diego region most days, three-quarter to full limits in the Los Angeles and Orange county areas, and mostly limits from Ventura and Santa Barbara county landings. The Spitfire out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing had limits of rockfish for all anglers on board Wednesday, include 120 reds in that bite. The Redondo Special out of Redondo Sportfishing had 12 anglers on a Wednesday half-day and they had 120 rockfish, eight whitefish, and two sculpin. The Amigo out of Ventura Sportfishing was on a full day trip Wednesday and the 15 anglers had 150 rockfish and seven lingcod.
LANDING NEWS: H&M Landing in San Diego celebrated its 80th anniversary on Friday this past week — a milestone in Southern California sportfishing.
INSTRUCTIONAL CHARTERS: The staff of 976-TUNA is hosting instructional charters throughout the season, offering advice to beginning or veteran anglers and on-the-water teaching of techniques for different saltwater species. The first of the year will be May 1. This is a three-quarter day trip aboard the Pursuit out of 22nd Street that will probably be chasing yellowtail the way this season is shaping up, but might also focus on bass. Cost is $65 per person and limited to 35. The next trip will be May 6. This is an overnight trip on the Ultra out of 22nd Street Landing. The trip is limited to 10 anglers and the price is $224 per person. The charters are done until early spring. Check 976-TUNA.com or call (562) 352-0012 for details.
Southern California: Virg’s Sportfishing, Morro Bay, (805) 772-1222; Patriot Sportfishing, Avila Beach, (805) 595-7200; Sea Landing, Santa Barbara, (805) 963-3564; Harbor Village Sportfishing, Ventura, (805) 658-1060; Channel Islands Sportfishing Center, Oxnard, (805) 985-8511; Hook’s Landing, Oxnard, (805) 382-6233 (Port Hueneme Sportfishing has merged with Channel Islands Sportfishing); Malibu Pier Sportfishing, (310) 328-8426; Marina Del Rey Sportfishin, Marina del Rey, (310) 822-3625; Redondo Sportfishing, Redondo Beach, (310) 372-2111; Rocky Point Fuel Dock (skiff rentals for King Harbor), Redondo Beach, (310) 374-9858; 22nd Street Landing, San Pedro, (310) 832-8304; L.A. Harbor Sportfishing, San Pedro, (310) 547-9916; Long Beach Sportfishing, Long Beach, (562) 432-8993; Pierpoint Landing, Long Beach, (562) 983-9300; Marina Sportfishing, Long Beach, (562) 598-6649; Newport Landing, Newport Beach, (949) 675-0550; Davey’s Locker, Newport Beach, (949) 673-1434; Dana Wharf Sportfishing, Dana Point, (949) 496-5794; Helgren’s Sportfishing, Oceanside, (760) 722-2133; Fisherman’s Landing, San Diego, (619) 221-8500; H&M Landing, San Diego, (619) 222-1144; Seaforth Landing, San Diego, (619) 224-3383; Point Loma Sportfishing, San Diego, (619) 223-1627; Islandia Sportfishing, San Diego, (619) 222-1164.
Mexico Landings: Sergio’s Sportfishing, Ensenada, 011-526-178-2185; San Quintin Sportfishing, San Quintin, 011-526-162-1455.