The offshore fishing that the
fleet has been waiting for while on pins and needles finally got with it last
week, when an incredible volume of bluefin tuna started biting right on the
edge of 1½-day range.
“It’s been down at 140 miles,
but today (Sunday) some fish popped up below the 213 for the guys that were on
the second days of two days trips,” said Buzz Brizendine, owner/operator of the
Prowler out of Fisherman’s
Scores have ranged from 40
fish on up to full 5-fish limits on the bluefin to go with a sprinkling of
yellowtail, yellowfin, dorado and even a few token albacore. The 140-mile run
is a long one, but what’s really been the great equalizer is that the fish want
to bite best in the morning. The biggest hits have been coming before 10 a.m.;
so many 1½-day boats — including the Prowler — have pushed their departure time back to 6 p.m. so
they can be on the grounds when the fish are up at the best.
As far as grade goes, the
bluefin have been mixed sizes and there’s been yellowfin tuna and kelp paddy
yellowtail and dorado in the mix as well.
“There’s two grades around,”
added Brizendine. “There’s schools of 12 to 20 pounders, and there are spots of
30 to 40 pound fish around as well.”
Given the mixed up grade on
the bluefin — which have been line shy at times no matter what their size — and
the yellowtail on kelps, Brizendine said that having a 20- to 25-pound outfit
for the scratch tuna fishing and a heavier 40-pound set-up for when the tuna
want to bite and/or the better grade bluefin show has been the way to go. The
heavier outfit also doubles as a go-to kelp paddy set-up.
The best way to get a bluefin
bit when it’s tough, says Brizendine, is to drop down a hook size or two and
fish 20-pound fluoro; that’s what the anglers getting bit the best were doing
on last weekend’s 1½-day trip that ended up with 66 bluefin.
Still, there’s been some
stuff around that demands fishing the 40, or at the lightest, 30-pound.
“We got down into the zone
late on Saturday so we didn’t pick off a morning deal — if you don’t get on one
by 9 or 10 a.m. you just scratch — but we got on a spot of that bigger
bluefin,” reported Ranger 85
skipper Dustin Tench. “We were on one bluefin for over an hour, and we ended up
with some good ones out of it even though we lost a lot of the better ones that
The best bluefin were 50 and
58 pounders for Maggie Choice and Tom Baker, respectively.
Get on the right school and
the bluefin fishing has been as wide open as it gets. Given the run to the
fish, the multi-day trips from 2½-days on up have had the best shots thanks to
being in the zone for two mornings. The Sea Adventure 80 returned to H&M Landing with 127 bluefin and 4
yellowtail for 27 anglers on Sunday. Owner/operator Scott McDaniels said that
30-pound fluorocarbon was getting bit the best — although the chrome yo-yo jigs
were also working — and that they had three grades of fish: 12 to 15 pounders,
20 to 25 pounders and 34- to 44-pound bluefin.
The Sea Adventure 80 will be offering a string of 1 ½-day and 3-day trips.
Live squid has also been
getting bites for the boats that bring the candy bait to the tuna grounds.
There’s been some real
standout scores coming in, like the 2-day on the Apollo out of Fisherman’s Landing that had 146 bluefin, 14
yellowfin, 1 albacore, 12 dorado and 9 yellowtail on its trip that returned
Saturday. The day before the Pacific Dawn got in from a 2-day with 132 bluefin, 3 yellowfin, 2 yellowtail and 10
dorado. The boat has a “rare” open party 2-day trip out of Fisherman’s Landing
this Thursday night.
Seaforth had the Legend post
78 bluefin and 2 yellowfin on it weekend 1½-day. A 2-day on the Eclipse returned with 66 bluefin, 8 yellowfin and a
yellowtail for its light load of 13 anglers. On Saturday the Cortez returned from a 2½-day with 166 bluefin, 17 yellowfin
and 1 yellowtail.
Closer to home, the
overnight, offshore scene still hasn’t got with it. Boats fishing offshore have
been getting single digits on the bluefin; most overnight charter boats have
been fishing San Clemente Island or the Coronados.
The Coronados have had an
incredible amount of squid around them, and mid week there was good bluefin
tuna and yellowtail fishing at the islands. The San Diego out of Seaforth posted 15 bluefin tuna to go with 8
yellowtail, 4 calico bass and 101 barracuda on Wednesday. But then the water
took a dip and the bluefin/yellowtail bite backed off. Picking up the slack was
the coastal sand bass bite. All the ¾-day boats ended up with limits of sand
bass on Sunday. The San Diego had
150 sand bass for 30 anglers to go with 1 calico bass, 1 barracuda, 2
sheephead, 65 rockfish, 4 lingcod and 50 sculpin.
H&M Landing’s Malihini
found 11 bluefin for a light load of
18 anglers on Thursday to go with 7 yellows, 41 barracuda, 10 calico bass and
15 rockfish. On Sunday it was back to sand bass for 260 sand bass, which worked
out to full limits for 52 anglers.
Point Loma Sportfishing had
the Mission Belle get 7 of the
bluefin on Wednesday for its best score on the bluefin out of the mid-week
bite. Then on Sunday the 40 anglers posted limits of sand bass (200), to go
with a mix of rockfish and sculpin.