Opah at the 150 spot!
The word now, a full-blown El Nino is likely coming. Look for fall rains, warmer water, more exotics and all the usual -- good and bad -- aspects of a full on warm water condition. Last year was a mere tune-up.
In a report on Monday morning on KPBS.org, while similar indications were reported last year at this time, this year is shaping up to be different, said David Pierce, climate researcher with Scripps Institution of Oceanography. That said, it’s still too early to know for sure, he stated in the KPBS story.
“You have to have both the ocean and the atmosphere cooperating together,” Pierce said. “Last year the ocean surface temperatures and the subsurface temperatures below the surface looked like it was going to be an El Niño, but the atmosphere didn’t really start responding. But this year is a little bit different. The atmosphere does seem to be responding.”
Pierce said El Niño is set in motion when massive convective storms form over the warmer-than-usual tropical Pacific.
“It’s kind of like if you roll a ball down a hill and there’s a lot of people around, “ Pierce said. “Someone might run up and kick it and deflect it from its path. So we’re rolling down hill, we’re aiming towards an El Niño, but random weather events can still make a difference.”
See KPBS.org for more on this story.Of course, we are already seeing the effects of warmer water.
I think the weather has me snakebit. The last three Fridays -- the Davey’s/Freelance charter I hosted, the May 16-17 Catalina WSB tourney I directed, and this past Friday on my 18-foot boat with WON BASS director Billy Egan out of San Diego -- it has rained and blown all three days, The rest of the days of those weeks? Perfect. Anyway, chasing catching yellows under birds was brutal in 15 knot winds and chop, but we did it. We hit the Coronados to Nine Mile Bank to the inside about 5 miles off Point Loma, and got one fish, a 20 pounder. Billy got it on two cranks on a wrapped surface jig. That’s the second time he’s been on my boat and gotten just one fish, both yellows. I told him that’s the boat’s official limit for him now, and just deal with it. Ha. Better to get one than blanked.
BILLY EGAN of WON with our lone yellow. It ate the surface iron. The bite continues to be excellent this week, at the islands and on the coast, under the birds.
Good tip: True, the yellows are eating the iron, but if they don’t and they are on the surface but lockjawed, try a 1-ounce leadhead with a 4-inch swimbait. Some red in that bait will help as they are on small bait or the red crabs. The fish are moving fast.
his past week, the 43 Fathom Spot and 150 Spot off Huntington Beach gave up opahs. On Monday, Jim Cook of Hesperia caught a135.7-pound opah on a live while using an Avet reel, Izorline 40-pound line on a dropper loop setup. He was headed back out after he weighed it in n Memorial Day.
JIM COOK AND HIS opah from the 150 Spot yesterday off Huntington Beach, on Memorial Day.
Good news from Billy Egan. The upcoming WON BASS Clear Lake Open, one of the two big pro bass events we have, is way up in signups. Each year the tourney – and the U.S. Open at Mead, have grown in size. They are easily the biggest pro events in the West. Bill also directs the SARL, Big Bear and Havasu events for WON.
This reporter will be on Let’s Talk Hookup this Saturday, May 30, on 1090-AM from 7 to 9 a.m. with hosts Pete Gray and Rockcod Rick Maxa. We'll be talking tournaments, El Nino, fishing and the newspaper’s latest stories. Call in if you can. The free Mighty 1090 App is how I listen to the show on my phone. Go to Hookup1090.com and you can listen by clicking the icon, and also get the app there. But any app store can do that instantly. I like the station in general and tune into Pads games, so the app works for me outside the station’s power range. It’s just far more convenient as I’m not tied to the radio. Call in at (877) 792-1090 or (858) 457-1090.
Angler Chronicles TV show producer and good friend Danny Jackson let me know that on Fox Sports West, a June 14 segment on catfishing is good one to watch or DVR. “It is called "Catfish 101" and is a tutorial as well as lots of bent rod action on blue and channel catfish,:” said Danny. “ We have fish in the 20- and 30-pound range on video. There are also very good tutorials on how to rig, techniques, baits and even how to fillet and cook them.
ROFESSIONAL GUIDE AND LOCAL expert, Capt. Don Spencer. Huge blue and channel catfish will be featured in a new Angler Chronicles episode to air on June 14.
Added Jackson, “I did film all of this at Irvine Lake and it will be a good episode to kick off the summer since lots of anglers look to target catfish in the summer. Everything in this program of course applies to anywhere fishermen are targeting catfish in the southland.”
One of top calico hunters around,Karl Erbacher, recently caught the biggest calico bass ever caught in a tournament. Amazingly, it only got he and his teammate John Dunlap, a second place finish at a recent SWBA event. This has been the year of big calicos, for sure. Lot of theories why. One is that the islands’ squid nests bulked them up and spoiled them, now the nests are gone and they are more aggressive.
The 10.6 pounder was caught at Catalina Island on May 9 with Erbacher using a Big Hammer 9-inch sledge in color #125 Hot Karl. The total bag weight for the 5-fish limit was over 28 pounds and good for a second place team finish.
KARL, RIGHT, AND JOSH Dunlap at the weigh-in earlier this month.
The “Team Salty” duo, regulars on the bass tours, are big fish honchos. They have now set the big fish record for the SWBA series with this fish, and also holds the big fish for the SBS with a 9.48 calico.
The tale of the check: In the Catalina WSB tourney, the winning check total was written out without factoring in the $1,400 first place money. So we did it digitally back here at WON. Looked pretty good. In the tourney at Two Harbors, we assemble the stats on the computer in 15 minutes so we can get to the awards, have lunch, give away the monster pile of prizes and get the folks back fishing or on the road across the channel. In all, it went pretty smooth this year, $19,000 in bucks and $25,000 in prizes, including a trip to Alaska for two and two Furuno units, 12 Avets, six Cousins rods, Grundens clothing sets (4)……..but the white seabass were nonexistent. Good thing we had yellows and halibut to weigh.
One question teams had was, if no WSB was weighed, when what happens to the optional money? There was $4,590 in the three optionals. It will all be returned, minus 10 percent. Strangely, it made for a lot of happy teams. If you can’t win, then getting most of the dough back is second best and not so bad. It’s an accounting nightmare for us. We really like to give that money out at the tourney.
Next up for me as a tourney director is the Sept. 4-5 San Diego Jackpot at Dana Landing, in its third year. The first year we had 9 teams in a hastily created event when Ensenada was cancelled. Last year, in its second go-around, we had 45 teams. This year the tuna and yellowtail event should draw even more teams. It’s just $50 to enter as person, no limit on team members (two is minimum) and if you have a Yamaha powering your boat, you get a free individual entry. Payouts to third, $100 optionals for yellows and tuna. Check in is Friday night and Saturday morning at Dana Landing (only, this year). See Wonews.com (click on WON events).
Pat McDonell is editor of Western Outdoor News and director of the WON saltwater events at Cabo, San Diego and Catalina. Contact him at Patm@wonews.com