By: Terrence Berg
TUNA SEASON BEGINNING EARLY: A number of 1 1/2-day to 2 1/2-day trips ran south into Mexican waters and to the west to offshore banks in U.S. waters to see if the tuna were here over Memorial Day weekend. To no one’s surprise, both yellowfin and bluefin tuna are already pushing up the Baja Coast into these waters. While the yellowfin are not in U.S. waters in any numbers yet, they are in Mexican waters but tough conditions kept the counts down on these trips. The Top Gun 80 was on a 2 1/2-day trip with 25 anglers over the weekend and they landed four yellowfin, five yellowtail, one dorado, and one opah. No one had barn-burned trips, but most skippers reported a lot of bluefin tuna, which are currently off-limits in Mexican waters. The bluefin are already in good numbers in U.S. waters and fish are running from 25 pounds up. There was one fish reported at 125 pounds with rumors of even bigger fish within 40 miles of Point Loma. On Wednesday, the Bongos III out of Davey’s Locker had three bluefin to 33 pounds. While Mexico has closed the season on bluefin, in U.S. waters sport anglers can land and keep two fish (down from the 10 fish limit). With warming weather forecast, this bite is going to get nothing but better in the coming days.
YELLOWTAIL IN THE BITE: The yellowtail action has been wide open throughout the California Bite. The big tails are stacked up at all the local islands, from the Coronados to Clemente to Catalina and the big fish are showing inshore within range of most half-day boats and private boaters fishing from San Diego to Long Beach. The best part is that these are all quality fish running from 15 to 40 pounds with the vast majority in that 25 to 30-pound range. Skippers are reporting about double the number of hook-ups to fish landed. In addition, the calico bass bite has broken open, especially at Clemente and Catalina, and barracuda and bonita are moving in to the region is bigger numbers. At the Coronado Islands, the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was at the islands on Tuesday with 20 anglers and they landed 45 yellowtail. On Wednesday with 35 anglers, they caught 13 yellowtail and 30 rockfish. The Malihini, out of H&M Landing was at the Coronados on Wednesday with 20 anglers and they had 11 yellowtail. At Clemente, the Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing was on an overnight trip on Friday and the 17 anglers landed 30 yellowtail, 40 calico bass, and three barracuda. At Catalina, the Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing was out with 42 anglers on Tuesday and they ahd 50 yellowtail, 56 whitefish, 27 perch, five barracuda, and one calico. But many three-quarter day boats are staying close to the coast instead of running to the islands, and the half-day skippers are reporting good numbers of yellowtail, along with good rockfish and/or sculpin fishing. The Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina was out Wednesday with 18 anglers and they had 24 local yellows, 100 rockfish, 70 sculpin, and one sheephead. On Saturday, the same boat had 34 anglers and they caught 23 yellowtail and 110 sculpin. The Indian out of Redondo Sportfishing was out Monday with 11 anglers on a half-day and they had one yellowtail, 47 rockfish, 11 perch, six whitefish, two sheephead, and one ling.
BOTTOMFISH STEADY: For anglers that are content with filling the sack with great-eating fish, the bottomfish action remains exceptional. The sculpin are thick off the Orange County coast and the half-day boats in this region are loading up, with limits of sculpin common. The Western Pride out of Davey’s Locker has been posting good scores. On Wednesday, there were 33 anglers on the half-day and they landed 136 sculpin. On Tuesday, 25 anglers had 120 sculpin, and on Monday, the 16 anglers on board had limits, 80 fish. In the Channel Islands, the flatter seas early this week led to limit-style fishing for everyone on half, three-quarter and full day trips. The Sea Jay out of CISCO Landing has been targeting whitefish and on Tuesday, the eight anglers on board had 80 whitefish, along with 35 rockfish, seven sheephead, and two calicos. On Wednesday, the Island Tack was on a full day trip with seven anglers targeting calicos and they had full limits (35) along with one white seabass.
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 trip aboard the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker that departs Sunday, June 7. Cost is $250 per angler. This trip could be targeting yellowtail, bluefin tuna, or even yellowfin tuna. 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.