LONG RANGE UPDATE: This is getting to be a broken record, but the long-range fleet out of San Diego continues to hammer the yellowfin tuna on the trips off the tip of Baja. The average fish in the holds when these boats return is from 100 to 200 pounds, and they always have bonus fish from 230 to 250 pounds or bigger. While there haven’t been any 300-plus pound yellowfin in recent weeks, fish that size are always a possibility in this region. Add in excellent wahoo fishing.
CORONADO ISLANDS YELLOWTAIL: The yellowtail bite was very spotty much of the past week at the Coronado Islands with five or six fish per boat a good day. That action has improved in recent days with the counts going back up around a fish per rod with 20 to 40 yellowtail per boat the last couple of days. On Monday, San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfish had only six fish, but there were 20 fish on the boat by 1 p.m. Wednesday and the afternoon bite has been as good as the morning action. On Tuesday, the Malihini out of H&M Landing returned with 14 yellowtail.
LOCAL CONDITION IMPROVING: The warm weather has really started to walk up the spring bites, and — typical of April — the April winds cool those warming temperatures back down. Surface temperatures have been as high as 64 to 66 degrees after a couple of calm days and then pushed back down around 58 to 60 degrees after winds. This is starting to improve the local bass fishing around the kelp and at the offshore islands. There have even been schools of small barracuda reported inside the harbors along the coast (most small, undersize fish) and divers have reported seeing bigger fish on the backside of Catalina. No flurries of action yet, but a good sign of bites to come.
CATALINA AND CLEMENTE UPDATE: The full-day trips to Catalina Island and the overnight boats running to San Clemente Island are seeing exceptional fishing for rockfish and other bottom species and there are hints the spring action on yellowtail, white seabass, and calico bass are not far off. The Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing was at Catalina on Tuesday with 25 anglers. While it was the slowed day of the most recent five or six trips to Catalina, the anglers still had 46 red snapper, 35 sand dabs, nine sheephead, seven whitefish, four sculpin, and three rockfish. The Freelance out of Davey’s Locker was at Catalina Tuesday with 47 anglers (GroupOn trip) and they caught 151 rockfish, 58 bocaccio, 52 whitefish, 12 sculpin, 10 perch, six red snapper, and five sheephead. Most Catalina trips have seen limits of rockfish. Skippers are also reporting seeing yellowtail and white seabass, which aren’t biting yet. At San Clemente over the weekend, the first yellowtail of the spring was landed by Earl McVicker, Torrance. It was a 30-pound class fish caught aboard the Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing. The anglers on this trip also had limits of rockfish and ling cod. On Monday, the Thunderbird was on an overnight at Clemente with 15 anglers and they landed 122 red snapper, 86 whitefish, 29 sheephead, 28 rockfish, 23 perch, and 12 sculpin. The El Dorado out of Long Beach Sportfishing is also making this run and seeing similar fishing. All skippers are reporting more and more yellowtail. I