GENERAL UPDATE: The bulk of the sportfishing fleet along the Southern California coastline is doing overdue boat maintenance after a long, busy fishing season that spanned the past two years. Fishing pressure has been light.
MEXICAN YELLOWTAIL FOR SAN DIEGO FLEET: The bite on quality yellowtail averaging in the low-20-pound class continues for both San Diego’s three-quarter fleet fishing the Coronado Islands and the weekend 1 1/2-day boats running further south to the Colonet and San Martin Island region.
Malihini out of H&M Landing has been running daily three-quarter day trips to the Coronado Islands throughout the past week averaging from one to three yellowtail per angler. The counts have dropped to the lower end of that range since the weekend. On Feb. 13, there were 35 anglers who landed 73 yellowtail along with 15 rockfish, a bonito, and a barracuda. On Feb. 14, 36 anglers had 101 yellowtail, 23 rockfish, and a barracuda. But those counts are contrasted by the Feb. 16 count when 26 anglers had just 19 yellowtail, 25 rockfish, and a bonito. On Feb. 16, Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing was on a three-quarter day trip with 14 anglers and they landed 20 yellowtail. The Feb. 15 trip with 39 anglers returned with 77 yellowtail and one bonito, while the Sunday trip had 28 anglers who landed 52 yellows. On Saturday, there were 37 anglers on this boat and they had 56 yellowtail, 21 rockfish, three whitefish, and one barracuda. Fortune out of Fisherman’s landed was on a three-quarter day trip Feb. 15 with 22 anglers and they landed 21 yellowtail and 42 rockfish.
For the weekend 1 1/2-day boats, the yellowtail bite wasn’t a whole lot better than for the three-quarter day anglers. The weekend trips from Fisherman’s Landing included the Fortune with 21 anglers who landed 21 yellowtail, 86 rockfish, 10 red snapper, and two lingcod. There were 33 anglers on Pacific Queen and they landed 111 yellowtail and 90 rockfish. Chief out of H&M Landing had 34 anglers on its weekend trip and they landed just 16 yellowtail, 162 rockfish, and two barracuda. At Seaforth Sportfishing, Eclipse had 18 anglers on its 1 1/2-day weekend trip and the 18 anglers on board had 35 yellowtail and a Mexican limit of 80 rockfish. Pacific Voyager had 23 anglers and they landed 81 yellowtail and 65 rockfish (limits).
CATALINA ISLAND NEGLECTED: One of the few boats that has been consistently making the run to Catalina Islands has been Sport King out of L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing, and nearly each trip has produced two or three yellowtail along with a mixed bag of perch, sargo, and bass. On Feb. 13, there were 18 anglers on the three-quarter day trip and they landed two yellowtail, 85 perch, eight calico bass, and five sargo. But on Feb. 14, the 36 anglers didn’t get a yellowtail, but they had 115 perch, six calicos, one sand bass, and one sargo.
HALF-DAY NEARSHORE UPDATE: The half-day boats along the coast have been struggling to get handfuls of keeper calico and sand bass, a few perch, all the sand dabs anglers want, and very mixed action on sculpin.
New Del Mar, out of Marina del Rey, has consistently been returning with good counts on sculpin this week. On Feb. 16, there were 36 anglers on board and they had 110 sculpin and 25 sand dabs, but they also had one yellowtail. On Feb. 15 with 67 anglers, there were 300 sculpin on board along with 100 sand dabs. Scores in recent days have been worse at landings from San Diego to Los Angeles.
LOBSTERS AND SHORTS: The sportboats are still running the odd lobster trip with only a handful each week, but the action has been fair nearshore (about a bug per angler). Jig Strike out of H&M Landing was on a Feb. 15 twilight trip with 10 anglers and they had eight keeper lobster and released 109 shorts. On Feb. 14 there were 10 anglers and they caught seven keeper lobster, one rock crab, and had 111 short lobster. Private boaters fishing off Catalina have found much better success with a lot of limits reported and many boats getting at least two or three lobster per angler.
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 trip of 2016 will be a three-quarter jaunt aboard Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing on April 29. Cost is $75 per angler. 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.