By: Terrence Berg
LONG-RANGE UPDATE-ANOMOLY NO. 1: The anglers on five to seven-day boats running out of San Diego are seeing exceptional mixed bass fishing on the central Baja coast and at Cedros and Benitos islands. The Apollo was on a five-day, ultra limited load charter with 10 anglers and they landed 150 yellowtail with a lot in the 40-plus pound class, 150 yellowtail averaging 25 to 40 pounds, three bluefin, and one dorado. The Royal Polaris reported in on Tuesday with limits of yellowtail in the morning along with five white seabass fishing inshore. The anglers fished offshore in the afternoon and managed five wahoo to 79.2 pounds. Anomoly No. 1: Catching white seabass and wahoo on the same day is unprecedented.
SAN DIEGO TUNA WIDE OPEN-ANOMOLY NO. 2: The one-day to 2 1/2-day fleet out of San Diego has really started to cash in on the tuna action and the yellowfin and bluefin tuna push up into Southern California waters, following a warm streak of 70 to 71 degree water all the way up into the Southern California Bite. Even the one-day boats are seeing good action now. On Saturday, the Endeavor out of Seaforth Sportfishing was out with 15 anglers and they had limits (75) yellowfin. Most of the 1 ½-day boats have also been seeing similar counts or a little better. The Tribute out of Seaforth was out with 11 anglers on Monday and they landed 55 yellowfin for limits, 45 yellowtail, and one bluefin. The New Lo-An out of Point Loma was out with 16 anglers on a 1 1/2-day trip, landing limits of 80 yellowfin and 71 yellowtail. The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing was out the 33 anglers on a 1 ½-day trip and they caught 116 yellowfin and two bluefin. A number of the longer trips overshot the bulk of the fish, which have been inside 120 miles. The Ocean Odyssey out of H&M Landing on a 2 ½-day trip with 24 anglers returned with 61 bluefin, 35 yellowfin, and 11 yellowtail. Anomoly 2: Anglers hammering this many yellowfin tuna the first of July (never mind the previous three weeks) almost never happens. This is albacore season, normally. The yellowfin come in late August for September, if they come at all.
NEARSHORE TUNA-ANOMOLY NO. 3: If you thing tuna south of San Diego is a big deal, wait for it. The El Gato II out of Seaforth was on a three-quarter day trip Monday with six anglers and they landed six yellowfin and three yellowtail just 10 miles from Point Loma. It gets better. Researchers at Hubbs-Sea World had a drift net in the Newport Bay and had a yellowfin tuna in the net Wednesday. There have been yellowfin comfired off Dana Point on jigs by a seine boat, and inside the Catalina Channel this week by sport anglers. The Bongos out of Davey’s Locker in Newport had six anglers Wednesday and they landed 11 bluefin to 20 pounds, 10 yellowfin to 30 pounds, and four yellowtail to 25 pounds. This was a three-quarter day trip. So Anomoly No. 3: Yellowfin in this much of the Southern California Bite this early in the season is unheard of.
BASS SURGING, BONITO MOVING IN: There has been a major surge of sand bass off San Diego and Dana Point this week and more sandies starting to show on the Huntington Flats. Overall, there has been more keeper bass (14 inches or better) in the catch for both sand bass and calicos, too. The Daily Double out of Point Loma Sportfish was out Wednesday with 49 anglers and they landed 196 legal sand bass, 18 calicos, and three rockfish. One private boater fishing the Palo Verde Kelp reported limits of calico bass for all three anglers on his boat and fish to six pounds. Instead of one in 10 fish being a keeper, he reported only one or two fish out of 10 weren’t keepers. The Los Angeles and Orange County boats are seeing mostly smaller bass, but the action is good. On Tuesday, the Native Son out of 22nd Street Landing was out with 26 anglers and they had 21 keeper calicos, five keeper sand bass, one sheephead, one rockfish, one bonito, 10 sargo, five red snapper, and they released 152 underside bass. The warm pocket of water that has been attracting the tuna also has led to a large influx of bonito. The Nautilus out of Newport Landing was on a half-day Tuesday with 37 anglers and they landed 110 bonito, 18 calicos, 10 rockfish, three sheephead, two sand bass and one barracuda. The barracuda sunk out this week on the backside of the new moon.
INSTRUCTIONAL CHARTERS: The staff of 976-TUNA is hosting instructional charters throughout the year, offering advice to beginning or veteran anglers and on-the-water teaching of techniques for different saltwater species. The next trip is two-day trip aboard the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker for offshore tuna and yellowtail leaving July 13. Cost is $275 per person. Check the website for details or call (562) 352-0012. The website is 976-TUNA.com.