By: Jim Matthews
OFFSHORE TUNA – STILL?: While the yellowfin tuna may have finally disappeared from the Southern California fishing scene, the bluefin tuna, skipjack and yellowtail are still on the Tanner and Cortez Bank in pretty good numbers. Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on a 1.5-day trip that returned on Dec. 28 and the 28 anglers on board had one bluefin, five skipjack, 22 yellowtail, 16 bonito, 220 rockfish, seven sheephead and two lingcod. That was the worst score. Oceanside 95 out of Helgren’s Sportfishing, also on a 1.5-day trip, returned on Dec. 28 with 27 anglers who landed 13 bluefin tuna, 38 skipjack, nine yellowtail, 92 whitefish and 20 sheephead.
Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing had 35 anglers on a 1.5-day trip that returned Dec. 29 and they landed 23 bluefin, nine yellowtail, eight skipjack, 26 bonito, 350 whitefish, 61 sheephead and 54 rockfish. Yes, the tuna numbers are light, but the opportunity to bring home a nice mess of quality bottom fish in addition to having a shot at pelagics in the winter is pretty exciting.
NEARSHORE YELLOWTAIL AND WHITE SEABASS: The local, nearshore waters continue to hold a lot of bait and yellowtail and white seabass are showing almost every day for the half- and three-quarter day boats running from San Diego up into the Channel Islands. The reality is that the nearshore spots have been as good as Catalina Island for both species. New Del Mar out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing was on a half-day trip with 45 anglers on Dec. 30 and they landed three white seabass along with 135 rockfish and a lingcod. On Dec. 29, also on a half-day trip, the 64 anglers on board landed two yellowtail, 377 rockfish, 19 sheephead, one lingcod and one bonito. Yes, rockfish and other bottom dwellers has been the stable, but during the rockfish closure and a more targeted effort at the yellows and bass, the winter bite might end up being pretty surprising.
CORONADO ISLANDS YELLOWTAIL: While the numbers have been off a little this past week, there continues to be a good volume of yellowtail at the Coronado Islands. Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing was on a three-quarter day trip on Dec. 30 and the 17 anglers on board had seven yellowtail, four bonito, two sand bass, 85 whitefish, 34 rockfish and two sheephead.
LOBSTER UPDATE: The lobster hoop net action lulled a little this past week with averaging dropping down to a bug per angler or a little less. Private boaters continue to report from four to full limits of seven lobsters per evening, if they work hard in deeper water, but the crawl slowed. Jig Strike out of H&M Landing was on a twilight trip with nine anglers and they had nine lobsters, two rock crabs and one spider crab. On Dec. 29, there were 10 anglers who had six lobsters, six rock crabs, and two spider crabs.
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 charters are done for this fall/winter and won’t start again until early spring. 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. Harbor 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.