TROPHY BLUEFIN UNPRECEDENTED: The trophy bluefin tuna fishing remains exceptional. This bite is unprecedented in modern fishing history for the Southern California sportfishing fleet. The quality of the fish is like anglers hope — hope — to see on seven- and eight-day long range trips down the Baja coast. Many regulars on these trips have posted their personal best tuna on overnight or 1 1/2-day boats fishing just 40 to 50 miles off Point Loma. Interestingly, some of these fish being caught are wearing tags that were put in juvenile fish off Japan.
The majority of the bluefin being caught are in the 70 to 90-pound class with fish up into the 120-pound range caught daily. Sometimes a school of smaller bluefin from 20 to 40 pounds will pop up, but that has been unusual. It is far more common to see bigger fish. Private boaters dialed into the bigger fish are even getting into bluefin from 150 to 250 pounds, mostly on kite rigs.
The quality of these fish has kept catch rates down. Even on boats with experienced anglers geared up for the trophy bluefin, the hook to fish-on-the-deck ratio is 50-50. On many sportboats, from one-in-four to one-in-six hooked bluefin are landed.
Scores from recent days, tell the story. On Tuesday, Constitution out of H&M Landing had 16 anglers who landed limits of 32 bluefin to 100-plus pounds on a 1 1/2-day trip. Sea Adventure 80, also out of H&M, had 32 anglers on its Wednesday 1 1/2-day trip and they landed 42 of the bigger bluefin. Pride out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on an overnight trip Tuesday and the 12 anglers on board landed 24 bluefin and five yellowtail. Tribute, also on an overnight trip out of Seaforth, had 22 anglers and they had 14 bluefin and four yellowtail on Tuesday.
THREE-QUARTER DAY YELLOWFIN: Spots of yellowfin tuna continue to show for the three-quarter boats fishing south of the Coronado Islands. These spots of fish pop up and then drop back out when the boat pressure picks up. On Tuesday, San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfish had 23 anglers who landed 61 yellowfin tuna from 12 to 18 pounds. On Wednesday, the same boat with 41 anglers landed 133 yellowfin.
CATALINA WIDE OPEN: The action at Catalina Island has remained pretty much wide open for sportboats and private boat anglers. The action is a nice mix of firecracker yellowtail (most three to 6 pounds), bonito (2 to 5 pounds), and lots of calico bass, including a few keeper fish. There are also schools of bigger yellowtail from 8 to 20 pounds or a little better, but the loss rate on those fish is much higher than the smaller fish.
The scores tell the story. Last Friday, Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina Sportfishing had 45 anglers at Catalina and they landed 90 yellowtail, 42 bonito, and two keeper calicos. Sportking out of L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing had 29 anglers on Saturday and they landed 73 yellowtail, including a few bigger grade fish, along with 64 bonito, and 13 keeper calico bass.
SANTA MONICA BAY YELLOWTAIL: While the bite in most of the nearshore waters has become a game filled with rockfish, sculpin, and a few bass, there continue to be schools of yellowtail and bonito in the Santa Monica Bay. Spitfire out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing had 42 anglers on Monday and they landed three yellowtail, 125 bonito, 75 rockfish, and one ling cod on a three-quarter day trip.
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 available trip is a 1 1/2-day jaunt aboard the Triton out of L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing leaving Sept. 27. Cost is $225 for early registration. 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.