AMAZING SEASON CONTINUES: There is no reason for ocean anglers to go to Cabo San Lucas this year. There were two black marlin (to 350 pounds) caught locally this week, and they are not lonely vagrants. There are showing up with the striped marlin and blue marlin that have been here since mid-summer. When you add in all the tuna and dorado and other “exotics,” Southern California is the No. 1 fishing destination in the world this year. Never has there been such a collision of warm-water pelagic species mixed in and around with the cold water species that are normally here.
In the Channel Islands, you can catch a bluefin tuna and a ling cod on the same trip. You can land dorado and calico bass and rockfish from the same boat in the same hour. In spite of El Nino trying to wash out the commercial squid season for the commercial seiners, the squid were floating Tuesday night on the back side of Santa Cruz and the squid boats were reaping a massive catch. These are squid that prefer water in the 60s and the region is a awash in 70 degree-plus water. This is the same place dorado and yellowfin have been caught by sport boat anglers and now commercial anglers are getting squid.
SAN DIEGO UPDATE: From Ensenada north up into the Huntington Beach region, the yellowfin tuna, dorado, and yellowtail continue to provide exceptional fishing. The overnight and 1 1/2-day boats from San Diego have been coming back with limits of yellowfin all of the past week, along with good numbers of dorado (sometimes full limits), yellowtail, skipjack, bonito, and who-knows what oddities. This bite is just stupid. The kelp yellowfin and yellowtail in this region are smaller than they have been, most of the yellowfin running 8 to 15 pounds and the yellowtail dinks, but the dorado are mostly 12 to 25 pounds with a lot of the bigger end.
Scores help tell the story, but it would be easier to say who didn’t have limits this past week than to list all the boats from all the landings that limited. But just a couple will give you the picture. The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing had 26 anglers on a 1 1/2-day trip Monday and they had full limits of 130 yellowfin and 27 dorado. The Fortune, also out of Fisherman’s Landing, was on a 1 1/2-day over the weekend with 18 anglers and they landed 90 yellowfin (limits) and 36 dorado (also Mexican limits).
But this action has also been accessible to the three-quarter day fleet from San Diego and Oceanside. The San Diego on a three-quarter day trip out of Seaforth Sportfishing with 50 anglers returned Tuesday with 180 yellowfin, 31 skipjack, and 12 dorado. The Oceanside 95 out of Helgren’s has returned with limits of yellowfin on three consecutive trips this week. The New Lo-An and Grande out of Point Loma also had limits.
If you want fewer but bigger yellowfin, you have to travel only a little further to the west. The Chief out of H&M Landing was on a 2 1/2-day trip with 32 anglers and they had 74 yellowfin to 35 pounds, 11 skipjack, 19 dorado, seven yellowtail, and a wahoo. This was fishing the Cortez Bank region.
BLUEFIN TUNA: Yes, there are still a lot of bluefin tuna just a little further offshore. The Freedom, Thunderbird, and Ultra all continue to target the bluefin fishing below Santa Barbara Island and they have all been averaging from one to 1 1/2-fish per rod (the limit is now two), and these are all good grade fish averaging 25 to 35 pounds with fish to 50 each trip.
LOS ANGELES-ORANGE COUNTY LOCAL: The mass of yellowtail and dorado has pushed throughout the California Bite up into the Channel Islands and the local Los Angeles and Orange County boats are seein incredible mixed bag action daily. Just a couple of pretty typical scores: The Patriot out of Newport, was on a three-quarter day trip with 32 anglers Wednesday and they landed 231 skipjack, 103 yellowfin, and 20 yellowtail. The Western Pride out of Davey’s Locker, was out Tuesday with 24 anglers and they landed 165 yellowfin, 55 skipjack, 16 yellowtail, and one dorado. Most of these trips are fishing floating kelp paddies where the yellowtail are small, but the skippers focusing on yellowtail on the beach or at the islands are seeing bigger fish from 12 to 25 pounds with some spots of yellowtail mostly 25 to 40-pound class fish. The Pursuit, Sportkind, and Gail Force have been focusing on Catalina and getting 30 to 65 of these better yellowtail per trip. The city of Long Beach, Monte Carlo, and Southern Cal have seen fish near-shore yellowtail of the bigger grade.
INCREDIBLE TOTALS: So far in 2015, there have been over 155,000 yellowtail taken by the sport fleet. The tally on yellowfin tuna is already at 115,000, 30,000 on dorado, and while the limit dropped to two fish early in the bluefin bite, there have been 20,000 bluefin landed so far this year. And this season is far from over.
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, and the final instructional trip of the season, is a two-day jaunt aboard the Commander out of Fisherman’s Landing leaving Sept. 27. Cost is $350 per person. 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.