A TALE ABOUT WAHOO: For those of you who have been in caves the past two months, Southern California has become wahoo fishing central. Never mind that these fish have never been caught in the Southern California Bite before, this year they are a targeted species. It is difficult to find a half-day, three-quarter day, or any other boat fishing longer trips locally that hasn’t had at least one or two wahoo caught this season. Private boaters are getting the lion share of these fish, but the commercial sportfishing fleet has landed about 250 wahoo since the first fish was caught off Santa Barbara two months ago. The Legend out of H&M Landing in San Diego has been high boat with 31 so far.
Speaking of the Legend: This past Thursday (Oct. 15), the Legend’s skipper Chuck Taft put together a crew trip for deckhands and other skippers at H&M Landing. It was just a one day trip to the Coronado Islands for fun, but the veteran anglers on board landed 29 wahoo from 40 to 70 pounds. Did we say it was at the Coronado Islands? The same day, the Royal Polaris’ skipper Roy Rose reported in from Alijos Rocks while on a 10-day trip. His anglers were targeting wahoo that day and only 14 were landed. After hearing about the Legend’s catch, Rose joked that he must have overshot the fish. Alijos Rocks are over 500 miles south of the Coronados.
Wahoo are so numerous in local waters, they are being targeted by private boaters from San Diego to Santa Barbara. The entire commercial sportfishing fleet is spending at least a little time trolling for these exotics (while heading back and forth from where they were planning to fish for the day, if nothing else). But this season has made for some unusual scores with a mix of warm water species like the wahoo and our usual early fall fare. The New Hustler out of Hook’s Sportfishing in Oxnard was on an overnight trip on Saturday with 20 anglers. In addition to the limits (200) rockfish, 60 ling cod, 10 whitefish, and three sheephead, they had a wahoo. The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing in San Diego was on a three-quarter day trip Tuesday this week and the 18 anglers on board had a wahoo along with 16 yellowfin tuna and three skipjack. The wahoo are showing from Oxnard to San Diego and all stops in between. A lot of the private boater effort has been concentrated on the oil rigs off Huntington Beach, and some anglers have reported as many as 20 wahoo in the past two months and up to three or four fish per day on their boats.
OSBORE YELLOWFIN TUNA NETTED: The excellent tuna action for the Orange and Los Angeles counties’ sportfishing fleet was dealt a blow last week when some 50,000 or more yellowfin tuna where caught in seiner nets from the Osbore Bank. This had been the all-day and overnight boat hotspot for yellowfin, but it has been dead since the seiner activity. This doesn’t mean the tuna action has completely disappeared. Far from it. There are still schools of fish all along the coast closer to shore and around the local islands, but the yellowfin action has been less consistent over the past week, mostly due to windy conditions and moon phase. Could the bank fill back up with fish on the next moon phase? No one knows, but scores have fallen. The Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was on an overnight trip with 28 anglers and they had just 11 yellowtail and a dorado, The Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing was on an overnight on Monday and fished a different area further offshore and the 33 anglers on board had 91 yellowfin, 65 skipjack, and six dorado.
LOS ANGELES-ORANGE COUNTIES LOCAL: The half- and three-quarter day boats in the Los Angeles and Orange county areas are continuing to see spotty tuna and yellowtail action, but very good rockfish and bass action when the exotics don’t show. The Victory out of Pierpoint Landing was on a three-quarter day trip Tuesday with 26 anglers and they landed 48 rockfish, 25 whitefish, 21 sheephead, five sand bass, one calico bass, and one bonito. The New Del Mar had 35 anglers on its Monday half day and they landed 185 rockfish, 18 bonito, two skipjack, two lingcod, and one bullet tuna. The Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing was on a full day trip with just nine anglers on Tuesday and they landed a yellowtail, 27 bocaccio, 25 rockfish, 22 red snapper, six sheephead, three bonito, and a wahoo. See, the wahoo are just everywhere.
SAN DIEGO TUNA: The San Diego yellowfin bite has continued with most overnight and longer boats running further offshore where the tuna have not been targeted by the purse sein fleet. The scores have continued to be excellent with a good mix of other exotics in this bite. The Grande out of Point Loma Sportfishing was on a 1 1/2-day trip on Sunday with 35 anglers and they had 170 (limits) of yellowfin and 40 skipjack. The Tribute on an overnight trip Saturday out of Seaforth Sportfishing with 32 anglers, and they landed 87 yellowfin and 15 skipjack. The Fortune out of Fisherman’s Landing was on a 1 1/2-day trip with 27 anglers on Sunday and they landed 28 yellowfin and 78 dorado.
The half- and three-quarter day boats in the San Diego region continue to get a pick on the exotics with the bite more hit and miss this past week, but overall the fishing remains very good. The New Seaforth on an afternoon half-day trip Sunday with 32 anglers returned to dock with one yellowtail, 15 skipjack, 160 bonito (limits), 14 calico bass, and 16 rockfish. The Malihini out of H&M Lading had 17 anglers on Tuesday’s three-quarter day trip and they landed 27 yellowtail, 17 rockfish, 15 bonito, and one lingcod.
LONG RANGE NEWS: A couple of the boats in the long range San Diego fleet have returned to Guadalupe Island (260 miles south) for some of their eight-day trips. The Shogun out of Fisherman’s Landing was one of the first at Guadalupe and reported in on Monday this week, the first day of its trips. The anglers on board landed 120 yellowfin tuna, most 60 to 90 pounds with four over 100.
LOBSTER UPDATE: The lobster action has been very good, but with a lot of shorts in the nearshore waters which get heavily fished. The Sea Adventure II out of H&M Landing was on a twilight trip Monday with nine anglers and they had 11 legal lobsters and a rock crab, releasing 117 short lobster. The Alicia, also out of H&M, had seven anglers and they had seven lobsters on Sunday with 65 shorts released. Many private boaters working deeper water have consistently been reporting limits both along the coast and at the local islands.
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 tentatively over for the season, but with the incredible action other trips may be scheduled. Check www.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.