There are a few theories that I have that have no scientific theory behind them, but I believe to my core that they are maybe correct.
One is that there are these resident schools of huge yellowtail that live in the deep water from San Mateo to La Jolla, and we get on them from time to time when the squid shows up, or in the fall when they get in the kelp. Or in the middle of winter. Oh, how I yearn to get on those big yellows this fall on my skiff or the 18.5-foot panga that I haven't been on in way too long.
One other theory is that the summer season can handle one major rollover—as in a huge drop in water temperatures—and have the bass, barracuda, seabass and yellowtail bites rebound with the conditions. If it rolls over twice, well, all you have to do is look at the past few local summers to see how upwellings can royally screw local fishing.
The water may come back in the fall, and the fishing will be decent to good even on the structure spots. But it will be nothing like what the potential held before the second—or third, or fourth—major upwelling.
The water has already upwelled hard this year along many zones. In fact, just yesterday the water was down to 60 degrees from Dana Point to Oceanside. Some O-side buds told me the bait boat had 59-degree water yesterday. I got out with my buddy John Keeler and we found really bad conditions from Dana Point on down. So bad that I rescheduled my Wednesday night and Friday day charters. After all, trips are based around conditions, so why go when things need to turn around.
The conditions were good enough before the water rolled in my 1,000 Steps to North County zone, with some fun seabass fishing in 66 to 68 degree water with good downhill flow. Imported frozen squid from Channel Islands Sportfishing Center did the trick. Here’s Rod Streed with his first 50 (on his first seabass trip that gave him limits, or any seabass, for that matter):
Streed's was one of many 50s this year. There's been three 60s on my skiff--one for a buddy of my boat partner, a 62 for me and a 60.3 for Wes Flesch. It was fun. But now the rolled water and the signal of fish above Point Conception has me concerned that our wave of seabass has pushed through. Just being a realist.
Why did it have to roll?
That’s the bad news, the water rolling off Long Beach and from Dana down. The good news is that plenty of zones have been quick to improve. (Please let us be next.)
I talked to Malihini owner/operator Mikey Schmidt briefly today. He said that yesterday when there got to the Coronados in the morning it (as in the water) was 61 degrees. Today it is 68 and purple and the yellows are biting.
The Long Beach zone got pummeled the hardest by the upwellings; in fact, there have been at least two major upwellings in this zone that looked so damn good in June.
Here's the terrafin that shows the two rollovers off Long Beach (note: dates, and that finger of locked in cold water):
Still, the ‘cuda bite was good yesterday, with the half-day on the Southern Cal scoring 82 of the slimes and the Victory nabbing (yes, nabbing) 120 slime sticks. Offshore and exotics get all the words, but 'cuda are crowd pleasing tackle sellers.
The islands are holding stable… with the Channel Islands still being the best ones. It’s been more barracuda than anything, although the full day on the Cobra yesterday picked 14 seabass to go with 60 barracuda.
Still, the best is down the road. Get down into 2½-day range and there’s this bluefin, while down the road there’s incredible sign of things to come—the Red Rooster III had limits of 25- to 40-pound yellowfin yesterday.
WON Reader Mark Mayeda just got off the Royal Star—damn has that boat been hot, eh?—and sent the following report after his scorcher:
“Brandon, that bluefin fishing on the Star was off the hook. Randy doesn't give much details in his reports but it was pretty wide open. I think we had 125 the first day and 150 by lunch the second day before he took off for another area looking for big ones. We found them and landed over 30 of them from 60-110lbs. I got the 108 lber and a few others on 60lb line and never used less than 40lb. Best bft bite I've seen.”
Warm water, fish, and optimal conditions. Hopefully it all keeps pushing up and in.
And a final note on this year's highlight, the seabass. Recent reports have them off Santa Cruz (or somewhere around there). The city, not the island.