WINTER DOOLDRUMS BEGIN, OR NOT: With the two-month closure of rockfish season in Southern California ocean waters, this is traditionally a slow fishing season for ocean anglers. But probably not so much this year. While rockfish have been providing the bulk of the fishing activity for the past month or so, there is still an incredible amount of warm water in the region. In fact, the Southern California Bite has cooler water than the bulk of the ocean from Pt. Conception north to the Oregon border. Local fishing experts and skippers are pointing out that as the warm water to the north finally starts to cool, big schools of yellowtail and bluefin tuna will probably setting in local waters and provide good winter fishing, continuing the incredible ocean fishing into 2016. Yellowtail remain off the Southern California coast in very good numbers, and these are all quality fish from 15 to 30 pounds, and more of these fish are likely to pour into this region from the north. While windy conditions have kept anglers close to shore much of the past three weeks, bluefin tuna are likely in decent numbers at the offshore banks with water and feed conditions ideal for them. A recent rockfish trip at San Miguel Island illustrated how warm the ocean continues to be: All of the rockfish caught during this trip were gorged with red crab. Things may have lulled in recent days, but stay tuned. This incredible fishing season is not over yet.
YELLOWTAIL AT THE CORONADOS AND OTHER SPOTS: The San Diego three-quarter day fleet has been finding good action on yellowtail at the Coronado Islands, and boats from the Channel Islands, through Los Angeles and Orange counties, and north San Diego County are all still seeing schools of yellowtail on banks just outside of most of the bays and harbors. The best numbers, however, has been at the Coronados. On Tuesday, the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing was out with 21 anglers on the three-quarter day trip and they landed 24 yellowtail, 16 rockfish, and three bonito. On its Sunday, trip there were 29 anglers who caught 21 yellowtail, 43 rockfish, three bonito, and one sand bass. The San Diego, out of Seaforth Sportfishing, had 27 anglers on its Tuesday three-quarter day trip and they landed 32 yellowtail and 55 rockfish. On its Monday trip, there were 25 anglers who landed 37 yellowtail and 30 rockfish. The Sunday boats reported a total of 129 yellowtail And remember, these are all those quality 15 to 30 pound yellows. The Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on a 1 1/2-day trip that returned Tuesday with 13 anglers who landed 65 yellowtail, 50 red snapper, and 15 lingcod. Does this sound like late December fishing to you?
LAST HARRAH FOR ROCKFISH AND YELLOWTAIL: Most of the fleet north of San Diego has been focusing on the excellent rockfish action this past week before the season closure Jan. 1. But notice the smattering of yellowtail in the counts below.
In Orange County, the Freelance out of Davey’s Locker was on a three-quarter day trip Tuesday this week. There were 83 anglers who landed 171 whitefish, 102 rockfish, 21 sheephead, 21 red snapper, 12 bocaccio, and three bonito.
In Los Angeles county on Tuesday, the Southern Cal was on a half-day trip out of Pierpoint Landing and the 61 anglers on board landed 10 yellowtail, 73 rockfish, 49 bonito, 31 whitefish, nine sheephead, and four sand bass. On its Monday trip, there were just 15 anglers who landed 10 yellowtail, 48 rockfish, 18 bonito, and 10 bocaccio. The Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing was on a full-day trip on Tuesday with 34 anglers who landed 123 rockfish, 109 whitefish, 51 perch, 32 bocaccio, 23 red snapper, 19 sheephead, five calico bass, two bonito, and one sargo. On its Monday three-quarter day trip, there were 23 anglers who landed two yellowtail, 128 rockfish, 111 whitefish, 23 red snapper, 22 bocaccio, 10 calico bass, 10 perch, and seven sheephead. The Redondo Special out of Redondo Sportfishing was on a half-day trip with 17 anglers on Tuesday and they landed four yellowtail and 88 rockfish. The New Del Mar out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing was on a half-day trip on Tuesday with 51 anglers who landed 11 yellowtai, 85 rockfish, three sheephead, and two bonito.
LOBSTER UPDATE: Winds have kept most of the sportboats close to the dock over the past couple of weeks, but the private boaters who have been battling the wind and ripping currents this past week during the full moon, still managed to get from one to four bugs per angler. Not many limits reported, and there have been quite a few skunks with the current, but there are better weather and current conditions forecast for this weekend before the next weather event rolls in.
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. These trips are over for the season. 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. Waterfront 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.