By: Terrence Berg
LONG RANGE TUNA: The 14 to 21-day trips out of San Diego have been focusing on the huge yellowfin tuna, mostly on the banks off Cabo San Lucas. Qualifier Excel reported in on Monday and its anglers had landed 20 yellowfin that day from 100 to 200 pounds. The top yellowfin so far has “only” been in the 250-pound class. Going and coming, the skippers are stopping at Alijos Rocks and other spots for a few wahoo and dorado. Royal Star was at Alijos Rocks early this week and had wahoo to 50 pounds, and the Royal Star reported a one-day total of more than 80 wahoo.
BLUEFIN ON BANKS: The Cortez and Tanner banks continue to produce good numbers of bluefin tuna (exceptional, almost unheard of numbers for this time of year). A few 1.5-day trips continue to make this run each week, and they continue to hammer on the bluefin, along with picking up a mixed bag of other fish. Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on a 1.5-day trip over the weekend and the 33 anglers on board had 66 bluefin, along with 18 yellowtail and eight bonito. The Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing was also on a 1.5-day trip this past weekend, and the 13 anglers on board had 22 bluefin, 27 bonito, and three yellowtail.
MEXICAN YELLOWTAIL: The San Diego overnight and 1.5-day boats not running out to the Cortez and Tanner banks are running south down along the Mexican coast for excellent yellowtail and rockfish action or the three-quarter and full-day boats are hitting the Coronado Islands and finding some good action. In the Colonet region, Pacific Queen was fishing over the weekend on a 1.5-day trip with 31 anglers, and they landed 83 yellowtail, 126 rockfish (most big reds), and 76 ling cod. Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing, also on a 1.5-day trip this past weekend, had 25 anglers and they landed 125 yellowtail (full Mexican limits), 80 rockfish, and 40 lings. Chief out of H&M Landing had 32 anglers on its weekend 1.5-day trip and they caught 106 yellowtail, 210 rockfish, three barracuda, and one bonito. At the Coronado Islands, San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was there on Saturday with 16 anglers who landed 35 yellowtail and 11 bonito. On Friday, the same boat had 22 anglers who landed 70 yellowtail, 33 bonito, 26 rockfish, two sand bass and one halibut.
CALIFORNIA YELLOWTAIL: There also continues to be unseasonably good yellowtail fishing all along the Southern California coastline from the Point Loma kelp up through the San Onofre and Dana Point region, a few spots on the Los Angeles and Orange county region, up into the Channel Islands. Only a couple of boats from local landings are getting into the yellowtail consistently, the private boaters are scoring from one to three fish per angler fairly consistently all along the coast and out at Catalina, Clemente, and some of the other Channel Islands. Brian Woolley, the captain of Sum Fun out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing has been posting some of the most consistent yellowtail scores. On Saturday, he had 27 anglers on his boat and they boated 97 yellows. While Sunday was a blank, he turned it around on Monday and 42 anglers landed 65 yellowtail. Tuesday, there were 59 anglers and they landed 11 yellowtail. Further to the north, very few boats are running out of Channel Islands Sportfishing because of the rockfish closure. But on Sunday, Cobra ran with eight anglers and they had one yellowtail. The day before on Saturday, there were eight anglers who had 12 yellowtail. All of the yellowtail along the coast are quality fish from 15 to 25 pounds. Skippers report the loss rate is 50 to 60 percent or more, so the scores might not reflect the fury of the bite.
BASS, SCULPIN, AND PERCH BITE: With the rockfish season closed, the half-day skippers along the Los Angeles and Orange County coastline are finding some good action on mixed bass, sculpin, and perch (along with all the sand dabs an angler wants). With the unseasonably warm conditions still hanging around, these trips are also seeing some exotics like triggerfish and red snapper. Spitfire out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing, had three trigger fish on Wednesday. New Del Mar, also from Marina del Rey, was out on a half-day Tuesday with 22 anglers and they landed 85 sand bass, 42 perch, 31 sculpin, and one triggerfish. On Monday, Spitfire was on a three-quarter day trip with 13 anglers and they landed 35 sand bass, 16 calicos, 20 sculpin, and 200 sand dabs. Monte Carlo out of 22nd Street Landing was on a half-day Monday with 17 anglers and they had 85 sand bass, full limits, along with seven sculpin.
LOBSTER UPDATE: The hoop-netter continue to get from one to two lobsters per trip in what has been a very consistent bug season. Jig Strike out of H&M Landing was out Sunday evening with 10 anglers and they had 26 keepers and turned back over 100 shorts. Private boaters continue to report better action, with from two to five bugs each.
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 first of the year will be May 6, a limited load overnight trip on Ultra out of 22nd Street Landing. The trip is limited to 10 anglers and the price is $300 per person. The charters are done 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.