By: Terrence Berg
YELLOWTAIL SPECTACULAR: The yellowtail fishing all along the Southern California coast in U.S. waters has been nothing short of phenomenal over the past month, but it has gotten even better in the last two weeks. From San Diego up into the Channel Islands, the bite is as good as it gets, and the bite was been hammered early this week by the storm swell from the tropical surge coming up from Baja. The San Diego boats, effectively banned from the Coronado Islands by Mexico’s new Passport requirement, have been fishing in U.S. waters and the three-quarter day boats are still finding yellowtail and bluefin tuna for customers in spite of the swell. The Malihini was out with just seven anglers Wednesday and they had four yellowtail, two bluefin and a bonito. On Tuesday, with 17 anglers, they landed 10 yellowtail, 25 rockfish, and four bonito. It was the Orange and Los Angeles county landings that really were on the yellows this week. The Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina Sportfishing was out Wednesday with 35 anglers on a three-quarter day trip, and they had 119 yellowtail. On Tuesday, 37 anglers on the same boat had 164 yellows. The Victory, out of Pierpoint Landing, had 75 anglers on its crowded three-quarter day Wednesday, but they still had 73 yellowtail. Out of 22nd Street Landing, the Tradition was out on a three-quarter day trip with 20 anglers and they had 87 yellows Wednesday. The Native Son, from the same landing, had 24 anglers on Tuesday and they landed 72 yellowtail. On Wednesday, there were 65 anglers and they caught 54 ‘tails. The Spitfire out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing had 25 anglers on a three-quarter day trip Wednesday and they landed 32 yellowtail. Even the half-day boats are focusing on yellowtail. The City of Long Beach, out of Long Beach Marina, had nine anglers on Tuesday and they had 42 yellowtail on a half-day trip. On Wednesday, the same half-day boat had 50 anglers who caught 62 yellowtail. The fact that half-day boats are getting into the ‘tails has the boats crowded with anglers, cutting down the catch rates. The Monte Carlo, on a pair of half-day trips out of 22nd Street Landing, had a total of 111 anglers on Wednesday and they had 52 yellowtail. And these trips have all been in rough conditions that beat up anglers. The Thunderbird, on a two-day charter that was going offshore to target bluefin Monday and Tuesday, retreated to San Clemente and the 25 anglers on board managed to landed 18 yellowtail, 91 calicos, 89 whitefish, 208 rockfish, 20 bonito, four ling cod and 33 perch. Up in the Channel Islands, the Mirage was on a two-day trip with 15 anglers. The final tally was 70 yellowtail, along with 223 whitefish, 150 rockfish, 34 sheephead, 14 bonito, 11 lingcod, and six halibut. The Sea Jay was on a full-day charter Monday with 13 anglers and they had 13 white seabass along with three yellowtail, 10 calico bass, 10 rockfish, and two barracuda. Remember that most of these yellowtail are quality fish from 18 to 25 pounds or more. Smaller fish are rare.
RED CRAB AND EL NINO: The volume of red crab off the coast is phenomenal. Old-time skippers say it looks just like the El Nino years of 1983-84, which was the last time we had fishing approaching this quality. In fact, this year is already better for yellowtail than back then and the tuna are just starting to show up in our local waters. Yellowfin, dorado, and even wahoo — like last year — are not that far down the coast and moving north. The Shogun, in the middle of a six-day trip on Wednesday, reported the yellowfin bite was wide open. All anglers on board had limits for Tuesday and there were several times on Wednesday when everyone on board was hooked up on tuna running 20 to 25 pounds. Those fish are just a short swim from local waters.
PLUS ROCKFISH: A number of boats, especially at the landings from Ventura to the north, are focusing on rockfishg because that bite has continued to be so good. The Island Spirit out of Ventura Sportfishing was on a half-day trip Wednesday with 35 anglers and they had 300 rockfish, a sculpin, and one sole. On Sunday, the 19 anglers on the full day trip on the same boat had a yellowtail, 149 rockfish, five whitefish, a calico, a ling cod, and a sole.
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 Oceanside 95 which departs Monday, June 22. Cost $350 per angler. This trip will be targeting bluefin and yellowfin tuna along with yellowtail in local offshore fishing. Check 976-TUNA.com or call 562-352-0012 for details.
LANDING CONTACTS: 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. 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.
Mexico Landings: Sergio’s Sportfishing, Ensenada, 011-526-178-2185; San Quintin Sportfishing, San Quintin, 011-526-162-1455.