By: Terrence Berg
YELLOWTAIL IN BAJA: The 1.5-day boats out of San Diego fishing down the Baja coastline in the Colonet region saw a slight downturn in the yellowtail and rockfish action this past week and through the weekend. The downturn was mostly in conditions, with winds and rough swells making the fishing difficult. The fish are still there and under normal circumstances the scores posted this week would be considered excellent for this time of year, but this has been an exceptional year. Aztec out of Seaforth Sportfishing had one of the better trips, returning on Sunday from a 1.5-day jaunt with 29 anglers who landed 105 yellowtail and 35 rockfish. Most boats only had scores in the 20 yellowtail range, less than a fish per angler, and only a handful of rockfish. Conditions have just been really bumpy, but with better weather forecast for this coming weekend, these trips should get right back on track because the water and bait conditions are pretty much unchanged.
CORTEZ-TANNER BLUEFIN TUNA: The sour weather conditions offshore also played even more havoc with the boats running out to the Cortez and Tanner banks for bluefin tuna, yellowtail, and bonito. On Tuesday, Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing returned from a 1.5-day trip where the 33 anglers on board landed eight bluefin, 29 yellowtail, and 35 bonito. Again, not a bad score when you consider the season, but not what it has been for the past couple of weeks. On Wednesday, the conditions apparently had turned around when Aztec out of Newport Landing reported in at 2 p.m. with 55 bluefin already on deck and the fish still biting. Again, with better offshore weather forecast the rest of the weekend and through the weekend, this action should also heat back up.
LOCAL YELLOWTAIL: The yellowtail action all along the Southern California coastline remains good. While only sportboats out of San Diego and Dana Wharf are going out targeting yellows, private boaters from San Diego up into the Channel Islands are finding good spots of yellowtail throughout this region. In San Diego, New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on an afternoon half day early this week and the 36 anglers landed 94 yellowtail. While this was one of the best scores of the past month, it just gives you an idea on the volume of fish off Point Loma. Most half-day boats have been getting from a quarter fish per angler up to two or three yellowtail each. More typical this week was the Tuesday score posted by Sum Fun out of Dana Wharf where 53 anglers had 13 yellowtail. Further to the north, Erna B out of Channel Islands Sportfishing in Oxnard made a rare trip out, a three-quarter day trip this past weekend, and the 22 anglers on board had three yellowtail.
BASS, SCULPIN, SAND DABS: Outside of a few San Diego-area boats running for yellowtail, the rest of the fleet from the Orange County landings north to the Ventura-San Barbara region is either staying at the dock doing maintenance or running trips for bass, sculpin, and/or sand dabs. The sand dab trips have been returned back with from 50 to 100 fish per angler, but the sand bass and sculpin bites are mostly picks. Native Sun out of 22nd Street Landing was out on a twilight trip Sunday and the 37 anglers on board had 40 sculpin and 20 sand bass.
SURF PERCH NEWS: There continues to be a good barred surf perch bite all along the central coast from San Simeon to Ventura with a lot of two to three-pound fish reported. The bite is good on blood or lug worms or the Berkley Gulp! sand worms.
LOBSTER UPDATE: The lobstering at Catalina Island has remained pretty good for private boaters, but the swell has made fishing a little tougher. Some boats are still posting limits. Along the coast the action has been tougher with from one to two bugs per person considered good this past week.
LONG RANGE UPDATE: The long-range tuna trips running out of San Diego to the giant yellowfin grounds off the tip of Baja continue to find good fishing, albeit also a little tougher this past week because of weather. Conditions were improving this week and so was the action. Excel reported in on Monday with a consistent bite on 120- to 150-pound yellowfin and there were already five fish of more than 200 pounds on board.
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.