By: Terrence Berg
LONG RANGE UPDATE: The 10-day and longer trips out of San Diego in Mexican waters continue to provide anglers with excellent yellowfin tuna an wahoo fishing. Most are focusing on The Ridge off the tip of Baja. Royal Polaris reported in late Tuesday and the anglers on board put 19 yellowfin from 100 to 231 pounds in the hold. There were also 56 wahoo landed that day. Those kind of scores have been typical on these trips, but no yellowfin over 300 pounds have been reported yet.
YELLOWTAIL AND ROCKFISH IN MEXICAN WATERS: The 1.5-day boats running out of San Diego into Mexican waters continue to provide anglers with excellent action on both yellowtail (18-plus pounds) and bottom fish. Just a couple of weekend scores to illustrate how good this bite has been: Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing was on a 1.5-day weekend trip with 27 anglers and they landed 32 yellowtail, 190 rockfish, 37 ling cod and one barracuda. Eclipse out of Seaforth Landing, also on a weekend 1.5-day trip, was out with 28 anglers and they had 85 yellowtail (limits), 108 rockfish, 47 ling cod and 40 red snapper. Tribute, also out of Seaforth, was out on a 1.5-day trip with 33 anglers who landed 55 yellowtail, 190 rockfish, 85 red snapper and 20 ling cod.
LOCAL YELLOWTAIL: If you didn’t know any better, you might think it was late spring or even the beginning of summer. The conditions all along the coast are what you would expect in late spring. Water temperatures are still in the mid-60s most places with spots of water up to 68 degrees. This has made for continued decent yellowtail fishing all along the Southern California coastline and at the local islands. While mostly private boaters are targeting the yellows and seeing some pretty good action, there are also still a number of fish showing for the sportboats from San Diego up into the Channel Islands. In San Diego, the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on a pair of half-day trips Tuesday fishing in the La Jolla kelp region. The morning trip was with 78 anglers who caught 45 yellowtail, while the afternoon trip had 58 anglers who landed 37 yellowtail. Again, these are all better grade yellows, mostly over the 18 pound mark. There was one flurry of action on the morning trip where all 78 anglers on the boat were bent, which tells you the loss rate is pretty high. Sum Fun out of Dana Wharf has consistently been targeting yellowtail and the 35 anglers on the Tuesday trip had seven yellowtail. Cobra out of Channel Islands Sportfishing was out Saturday with 12 anglers and they had one yellowtail and limits of bonito.
BLUEFIN ON CORTEZ AND TANNER BANKS: While there was a big swell on the Cortez and Tanner banks this past weekend, a couple of boats still made the run looking for bluefin tuna. Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing was on a 1.5-day trip with 28 anglers and they landed 24 bluefin and 12 bonito.
BASS, SCULPIN, PERCH AND SAND DAB BITE: Most of the half-day boats along the Los Angeles and Orange County coast are still seeing pretty darn good winter fishing with full sacks featuring a mixed bag of bass, sculpin, perch, along with all the sand dabs an angler could want. There is also a good jag of bonito to the north. Southern Cal out of Pierpoint Landing was out Wednesday this week and the 33 anglers on board had 210 perch, 26 sculpin and 13 sand bass. Gentleman out of Channel Island Sportfishing was out on a three-quarter day trip on Sunday and the 32 anglers on board had 95 bonito and around 1,200 sand dabs.
LOBSTER UPDATE: The lobster action dropped off a little more this week during the in-between moon phase with most boats report a half- to a full-bug per angler along the coast and even slower inside the bays. The bright spot continues to be the local islands where three to four lobster per angler is still the norm.
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 the 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.