TUNA NEWS: The tuna action off the Southern California coast continues to be excellent, but most of the fish have moved away from the coast and continue to show in excellent numbers on the offshore banks for the overnight and 1 1/2-day boats out of San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. The yellowfin remain a mixed grade of fish running from 14 to 40 pounds. The fishing pressure has dropped way off with most landings making mostly weekend trips now.
This past weekend, Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing was on a 1 1/2-day trip returning Sunday with 27 anglers who caught 167 yellowfin and eight yellowtail. The New Lo-An out of Point Loma Sportfishing was also on a 1 1/2-day trip that returned Sunday and its 19 anglers had 154 yellowfin and eight yellowtail. The Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing returned Sunday from its weekend 1 1/2-day trip with 32 anglers who landed 225 yellowfin, 100 skipjack, and one dorado. The Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing was on a 2 1/2-day trip in the same area returning Sunday, and the 24 anglers on board had 251 yellowfin, 116 yellowtail, 100 skipjack, six dorado, and one bluefin tuna.
The weather has been a factor at mid-week with winds on the offshore grounds and throughout the Channel Islands problematic this week, especially for the Orange and Los Angeles county boats (the Thunderbird, Tornado, Freedom, and El Dorado to name the boats still making tuna runs) and they have had to pull back into Clemente or Catalina to dodge the weather.
HALF- AND THREE-QUARTER DAY UPDATE: The tuna and dorado have seemed to move out of nearshore waters, forcing the half- and three-quarter day fleet all along the coast to fish more traditional fare. With the exception of some spotty fishing for the a few yellowtail and dorado for the San Diego to Dana Point boats, most of the Los Angeles and Orange county boats are focusing on the very good bass, bonito, and barracuda action, along with getting into the rockfish. There are also still schools of yellowtail, but in far smaller numbers. The Channel Islands is also still an incredible mish-mash of warm water and cool water species.
Before the winds became unbearable, the Gentleman out of Channel Islands Sportfishing in Oxnard was on a three-quarter day trip Monday with 20 anglers and they had full, five-fish limits on the calico bass, along with 40 bonito, 10 rockfish, four whitefish, two yellowtail, a sheephead, and a bullet tuna. On Tuesday, there were 34 anglers on this trip and they landed 136 bontio, 120 calicos, 12 rockfish, five yellowtail, three sheephead, and one barracuda. The Redondo Special on a half-day trip out of Redondo Sportfishing Wednesday had 17 anglers who landed 49 yellowtail and 20 keeper calico bass.
IS THE EXOTIC SEASON FINALLY OVER?: The downturn in local fishing for the half- and three-quarter day boats and the action at Catalina has anglers asking if the exotic season is mostly over. The reality is that is may be far from over. The volume of marlin, but especially wahoo, in local waters remains high, and most skippers are suggesting these two top tier predators have simply run a lot of the yellowtail, yellowfin, and dorado off the local spots. Divers off Catalina have reports huge schools of up to 100 wahoo marauding the yellowtail areas around the island.
The wahoo bite continues to marvel anglers with from five to 20 reported most days and more on weekend days. The marlin fishing is still excellent for giant fish normally not seen here.
Just because the local bite has gone through a downturn in the past week, doesn’t point to an end to this season. In fact there are indicators that many of the exotics are still north of us. There was a wide open yellowfin tuna bite off Avila Beach in recent days, bluefin tuna are showing from Morro Bay and all the way up into Oregon waters, and albacore are showing in Alaskan waters. The most incredible report of the week was a wide open yellowtail bite off Westport, Oregon. The anglers getting this fish weren’t sure what they were, some thinking they were yellowfin, because they had never seen either species in those waters before.
LOBSTER UPDATE: The full moon — and now winds — have made the lobster fishing tougher this past week, but most near-shore sportboats have been averaging about one legal bug per angler. Private boaters have been doing much better, especially those focusing on deeper water spots. All hoop-netters are reporting 10 to one or higher rations of sub-legal lobster to legal bugs, which is a good sign.
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. These trips are tentatively over for the season, but with the incredible action other trips may be scheduled. 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.