YELLOWFIN TUNA AT 430 POUNDS CAUGHT: A 430-pound yellowfin tuna was caught off Loreto, Mexico this past week by Robert Ross aboard his own Boston Whaler. If the fish had been weighed on a certified scale, it would have beaten the current record by 3 pounds, according to outdoor writer Pete Thomas. The fish was weighed on a cattle scale and then cut up. More information and photos on Thomas’ website: petethomasoutdoors.com.
GENERAL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA UPDATE: Transition time. We are seeing a meeting of two very different environmental conditions with the remains of El Nino running into normal, cooler water conditions for this time of year. There are a lot of squid starting to show in the cooler water, especially at the local islands (north and further offshore than the Coronados). The squid are in cooler waters and they are attracting better fishing activity on white seabass at the local islands (40 to 60 pounders at Clemente and 20 to 30 pounders at Catalina), and even some salmon are in these cooler waters. At the same time, there are still lots of bluefin on offshore spots, and these are all mostly big fish from 40 to 80-pound with fish to 200 pounds seen and hooked. We are also seeing wide variety of yellowtail all along the coast with most of the inshore and island spots jugged with 5-8-pound fish, but still 30 percent of the fish in the bigger 15 to 25-pound class or even bigger. Calico bass are thick just about everywhere but few are bigger than the minimum keeper size. The size restriction doesn’t seem to be vaulting more fish into the bigger sizes, just keeping anglers from keeping the smaller fish that are cropped off by nature each year.
BLUEFIN TUNA STILL SHOWING: The bluefin tuna are still offshore in decent numbers, but it has been hit and miss. The quality of fish showing is what keeps anglers coming back, even if many are not being landed, especially for anglers fishing less than 60 or 80-pound test line. At least 75 percent of the fish are being lost. One of the best scores in the past week was aboard the Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing on its Tuesday overnight trip. The 19 anglers landed 12 bluefin tuna to 70 pounds. Eclipse’s 1 1/2-day trip on May 8 with 28 anglers produced no bluefin, but 16 yellowtail and 95 rockfish. Legend out of H&M Landing was on an overnight trip on May 10 with 15 anglers and they landed just one yellowtail. Legend’s Saturday trip with 15 anglers produced one bluefin and five yellowtail.
MEXICAN YELLOWTAIL UPDATE: The yellowtail at the Finger Bank and points south saw the action slow down a little over the past week, and few overnight to two-day trips ran down the coast this week. But the rockfish action remains exceptional. Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on a two-day trip over the weekend of May 7 with 14 anglers, and they landed 35 yellowtail, 140 red snapper, one lingcod, and one bonito.
SAN DIEGO YELLOWTAIL FAIR: The three-quarter day boats out of San Diego running to the Coronado Islands continue to see pretty decent yellowtail action while barracuda numbers are on the upswing. The bluefin bite this close to the coast has pretty much died out. Malihini out of H&M Landing was on a three-quarter day trip on May 10 with 27 anglers and they landed 20 yellowtail, 40 barracuda, and three bonito. On its May 8 trip there were 19 anglers who had five yellowtail, 42 barracuda, and 35 rockfish. These counts are more representative of what is happening now.
CATALINA UPDATE: Catalina Island has continued to produce a nice mixed bag of yellowtail, bottom fish, bonito, and bass for the boats running across the channel. The white seabass are starting to show for private boats with a few on the party boats. While most of the yellowtail showing are smaller grade fish less than eight pounds, some bigger fish are showing. Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing was on a full-day trip May 10 with 41 anglers and they landed 15 yellowtail and one white seabass along with 66 bonito, 52 calico bass, 30 perch, 18 whitefish, 14 sheephead, and two barracuda. On its May 8 trip, the 23 anglers landed 112 yellowtail, 44 calico bass, 18 perch, 10 bonito, one barracuda, one sculpin and one sheephead. Freelance out of Davey’s Locker had 46 anglers on its May 9 three-quarter day to Catalina and they landed 42 bonito, two whitefish, one sculpin, and one triggerfish. On May 8, the 60 anglers on this trip caught 18 yellowtail, 150 rockfish, 22 whitefish, 22 perch, 15 calico, and five barracuda. The overnight trip with 30 anglers did better with 40 yellowtail, 153 rockfish, 121 whitefish, 36 perch, 27 bocaccio, and 19 calico bass.
SAN CLEMENTE UPDATE: The fishing at San Clemente has been highly variable over the past week with changes in water temperatures, but overall the bite remains very good for the boats making the longer run out here. Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker had a two-day trip May 9-10 and the 24 anglers on board had 164 yellowtail, 240 rockfish, 225 whitefish, 53 bonito, 25 calico bass, two barracuda, and two sheephead. On Thunderbird’s overnight trip on May 7 the 30 anglers on board had 40 yellowtail, 153 rockfish, 121 white, 36 perch, 27 bocaccio, 19 calico bass.
LOCAL ROCKFISH ROCK ON: The rockfish boats are still seeing good action from the Orange County coastline and north. The bite is fair in San Diego county where two to five bottom fish per rod has been average. For the Orange and Los Angeles county boats half- to three-quarter limits has been the rule. Up in the Channel Islands, the fleet is posting limits of rockfish on most good-weather days. There has also been more sculpin than rockfish for the Orange and Los Angeles county boats on some days and the ratio reverses on other days. For example, Victory out of Pierpoint Landing was on a three-quarter day trip on May 10 with 16 anglers and they had 80 sculpin (limits), 50 rockfish, 10 whitefish, and two sheephead. On May 11, the 24 anglers had 72 sculpin, 48 bocaccio, 40 rockfish, and two whitefish. Spitfire out of Marina del Reay Sportfishing had 29 anglers on its morning half-day May 11this week, and they had 265 red snapper and a ling cod, better than eight fish per rod.
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 next available trip is a two-day jaunt leaving June 5, aboard Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker. Cost per angler is $300. 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. Waterfront 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.