By: Terrence Berg
YELLOWTAIL IN BAJA: The 1.5-day boats out of San Diego continue to have excellent yellowtail and rockfish action in this incredible fishing season. Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing was fishing with 33 anglers Feb. 14 and they had full limits of 165 yellowtail and full limits of 165 rockfish. Pacific Voyager, also out of Seaforth, was also out Valentine’s weekend with 21 anglers and they also had limits of yellowtail at 105 and near-limits of rockfish at 100. Those kinds of scores have not been all that unusual. If the boat has not been jugged with limits of both types of fish, it has been pretty close.
BLUEFIN TUNA STILL ON TANNER AND CORTEZ: The bluefin tuna bite has continued to be consistent on the Tanner and Cortez banks for 1.5-day boats running from Los Angeles to San Diego landings. While the bluefin bite best on the full moon and just past, there continue to be decent scores, with yellowtail and big pelagic bonito (up to 15 pounds) filling in when the tuna aren’t as hot as they have been. For example, Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing in San Diego was out Feb. 16 and the 33 anglers on board had just seven bluefin, but they also had 51 yellowtail and 50 bonito. On Feb. 15, Aztec, also out of Seaforth, was out with 28 anglers and they landed 10 bluefin and 37 bonito. The same boat was out Feb. 13 with 28 anglers and they landed 71 bluefin, one skipjack and one bonito. Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was also out Saturday with 25 anglers and they had 13 bluefin, one yellowtail and 31 bonito. Toronado, out of Pierpoint Sportfishing, had 30 anglers who landed 16 bluefin and 42 bonito.
LOCAL YELLOWTAIL: The yellowtail action remains good from the Coronado Islands and just off Point Loma in San Diego all the way up into the Santa Barbara region and at all the local islands. The fish are showing up in spots throughout the region, and private boaters are really getting into these fish. But the sport fleet is also cashing in with some excellent scores some days. In the San Diego region, Malihini out of H&M Landing was at the Coronados on Feb. 16 and 23 anglers on board had 68 yellowtail, 15 rockfish, four bonito and two lings. Point Loma, out of Point Loma Sportfishing, was out the same day with 26 anglers and they landed 77 yellowtail and 12 bonito. That was the Point Loma’s lowest yellowtail score in the past three trips. Freelance out of Davey’s Locker was at Catalina Feb. 15 and returned with five yellowtail, 45 calico bass, 130 perch and four sculpin. New Del Mar out of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing was out with 35 anglers on a half-day trip Feb. 17 and they landed four yellowtail, 45 perch, three sand bass, a bonito and a sculpin. Spitfire, also out of Marina del Rey, was on a three-quarter-day trip Feb. 17 with 22 anglers and they landed eight yellowtail.
SURF PERCH UPDATE: 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 has remained fair to good all along the coast and at the local islands. Nearshore, the average has been from a half- to full bug per angler on sportboat trips. At Catalina Island, the average has been from two to three bugs per angler. Private boaters are still getting from three to seven lobster, especially in deeper water areas. On Feb. 15, Jig Strike out of H&M Landing was out with 10 anglers and they had four lobster, five rock crab 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 over for this fall/winter and will start again in 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.