By: Terrence Berg
GENERAL OVERVIEW: The weather was more typical for April this past weekend, with high winds (up to 63 miles per hour in the Catalina Channel Saturday evening) Friday through Sunday. This kept most everyone off the water, but the water conditions have not changed with 62 to 66 degree water still the norm throughout the California Bite. This means the vast schools of yellowtail have not gone anywhere, and that there are actually increasing numbers of bluefin tuna in U.S. waters, and yellowfin are already showing in scattered numbers just 50 miles south of Point Loma and some decent-sized schools just 100 miles south. With Mexico not allowing any bluefin on U.S.-based boats (but allowing them for Ensenada boats), there will be exploratory boats looking for bluefin in U.S. waters (where the limit is now two) this weekend. And the overnight and one-and-a-half trips looking for yellowfin will probably start by mid-May. Conditions here still look more like mid-June or even July instead of the first of May.
LONG-RANGE NEWS: The Royal Polaris arrived back on the big-fish grounds off the tip of Baja Tuesday afternoon this week, and the anglers on board landed 14 yellowfin to 185 pounds Tuesday evening and then another 15 to 200 pounds before 9 a.m. on Wednesday. They also had a couple of wahoo. This bite simply remains spectacular, but we haven’t seen as many of the super cows so far this season.
CORONADO ISLANDS YELLOWTAIL: The yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands remains good to excellent for the three-quarter day boats fishing out of San Diego landings. On Tuesday, the Sea Adventure II out of H&M Landing was out with just nine anglers and they had full limits (45) of yellowtail along with 18 calico bass. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was out with 42 anglers on Tuesday and they had 69 yellowtail and 28 bonito. Some of the boats even went out during winds over the weekend and had decent scores. The Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing was out with 21 anglers Saturday and they had 41 yellowtail, five calico bass, and one halibut.
SAN CLEMENTE YELLOWTAIL: The bite on yellowtail, with a lot of better grade fish schooling anglers, came right back on early this week after winds kept nearly everyone away from San Clemente over the weekend. On Monday, the Freedom out of Davey?s Locker was out with 19 anglers who landed 40 yellowtail, nine calicos, two rockfish, and one barracuda. The Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was also at Clemente Monday with 21 anglers who landed 44 yellowtail, 15 whitefish, 12 sheephead, 10 calicos and three rockfish. The six-pack boat Ultra was out with five anglers and they landed limits of quality calico bass (25) along with eight yellowtail.
CATALINA UPDATE: On any given days, Catalina Island can produce from five to 25 yellowtail per boat, and then a mix of bonito, barracuda, calico bass, sheephead, and rockfish. A bunch of the three-quarter and full-day fleet along the Los Angeles and Orange county coastline are making this trip, including the Freelance out of Davey’s Locker, the Pursuit and Native Son out of 22nd Street Landing, the Victory out of Pierpoint Landing, the Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina Sportfishing, the Spitfire out of Marina del Reay, and the Indian (on its first trip of the season Wednesday) out of Redondo Sportfishing. The wind kept everyone off this bite over the weekend, but it has picked right back up where it left off. The Pursuit out of 22nd Street was at Catalina Tuesday with 40 anglers and they had five yellowtail along with 106 whitefish, 101 rockfish, 56 perch, 22 red snapper, and three bocaccio.
WHITE SEABASS NEWS: More and more white seabass are showing up for private boaters targeting these fish at Santa Barbara Island, Catalina, and San Clemente. Most anglers are keeping this bite pretty quite, but it is starting. The fish are already starting to school up in like-sized fish, indicating the spawn is coming.
NEARSHORE UPDATE: While most of the half-day fleet continues to focus on rockfish and other bottom species, there are schools of yellowtail all along the coast in the usual spots. Many of these schools are of fish 25 to 40 pounds and they are mostly breaking off. There are also improvements in the calico bass and halibut bites.
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 next trip is a two-day jaunt aboard the Apollo out of Fisherman’s Landing that departs Monday, June 1. Cost is $350 per angler. This trip could be targeting yellowfin tuna by the end of May. 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 Sportfishing, 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.