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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Long Range

Long Range Report: Big mossbacks in the mix

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jun 11, 2019

Yellowfin tuna begin to show on the grounds

SAN DIEGO — The beginning of the longer schedule put big spring yellowtail front and center, as the fleet enjoyed excellent fishing for big mossbacks ranging from 20 to 48 pounds. The boats reported a good bite on quality fish. After a few days on the yellowtail grounds, the boats have been finishing up on the northern Baja bluefin grounds. A pleasant surprise was the arrival of chunky school yellowfin tuna averaging a solid 25 pounds. The good yellowtail fishing and the volume of fish offshore bodes well for late spring and early summer prospects.


Indy goes south


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DON FERRELL WITH a dandy mossback caught aboard the Indy. PHOTO COURTESY OF INDEPENDENCE SPORTFISHING


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SAL WITH A big yellowtail on the Indy. PHOTO COURTESY OF INDEPENDENCE SPORTFISHING


The Independence launched into the spring long schedule with the annual Dick Schaffer 8-Day Trip. The boat was eager to get down below to an area that has not been fished in several weeks. Captain Matt Kaullen was at the wheel and sent this report after a slow start, “We have been catching a few good grade yellowtail the last couple days but we have been looking at a lot more... lack of conditions has resulted in some non-biting fish. Plenty of sign of 18- to 25-pound fish boiling around at times but very tough to get a bite and little to show for our efforts. We are packing up and moving to hopefully greener pastures.”


The boat stuck with it and found a batch that wanted to bite, reporting, “Beautiful, big yellowtail graced themselves with their presence today and they were biting. A very tough fish to pull out of the rocks but we had a great catch of 25- to 48-pound fish. We are gonna try again tomorrow and hope for some more trophies. The weather is plenty nice and all are in great spirits.”


The boat finished up on the bluefin grounds where the jackpot was settled. First place went to John Kemmler with an 80.2-pound bluefin tuna, second place went Don Klamath with a 78.4-pound bluefin and third place was Randy Benner with a 78.2-pound bluefin.


Big X goes yellow


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A GIANT YELLOW on the Big X. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING

The Excel was back in action fishing the annual Phenix Rods 8-Day Trip. Capt. Mike Ramirez was driving the boat as the group targeted big, school yellowtail. The skipper sent this report, “For the last couple of days we've been fishing for yellowtail. We've been able to put together a pretty good count of better grade fish — most being in the 20- to 40-pound class. Several anglers have landed a personal best. We will be working our way up the line concentrating on offshore fishing for the next few days. The weather has been outstanding.”


AA scores yellowfin


The American Angler was fishing the offshore waters off northern Baja in search off bluefin tuna. The boat was pleasantly surprised to find some yellowfin tuna in the mix. Capt. Brian Kiyohara was guiding the vessel in excellent weather. The captain sent this report, “We are still enjoying nice weather which we used to our advantage today catching bluefin and yellowfin tuna. The yellowfin averaged an impressive 25 pounds. The bluefin were of good grade averaging from 70 to 95 pounds along with a few handfuls of yellowtail.”


The final day of the open 3-day trip saw more yellowfin. “Today, on our last day on the fishing grounds, it was nice to see more yellowfin tuna showing up. Everyone had the opportunity on a bait set up to catch one and enjoy the beautiful weather. We are blessed with wonderful regulars and good times.”


Star fishes short


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KEVIN AGUIRRE, co-owner of Island Tackle, with a chunky Royal Star bluefin. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

The Royal Star was finishing up a run of short trips before a series of 8-day trips. The boat, with Capt. Brian Sims at the controls, was targeting the local bluefin. The skip sent this report after a day and a half trip, “We departed last night on s 1.5-day open trip with 24 eager anglers and a great load of bait. We started seeing sign as soon as we had full daylight today. We had great fishing for 70- to 85-pound bluefin during an all day drift. Chris Garmo landed a 134 after an epic battle and he gets top honors today.”


On the next trip, Tim Ekstrom was in the bridge and he filled this optimistic report, “We made a nice day of it on the 25- to 45-pound bluefin, capturing about one thousandth of one percent of what we and our colleagues saw. I’m not kidding. Suffice it to say that what we saw today suggests offshore fishing for bluefin and their cousins is poised for legend status.”


The report continued, “While the vast majority of fish that we encountered were maddeningly finicky, rest assured they won’t be all the time. As conditions improve they’ll certainly drop their guard.”


Intrepid on the blues


shaneperryintSHANE PERRY WITH a jackpot winning 151.2-pound bluefin tuna captured on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING

The Intrepid was also on the bluefin grounds with Capt. Bill Cavanaugh driving. The veteran skipper sent this report, “We returned back to Point Loma Sportfishing this morning from a successful 3-day trip. The highlight of our trip was a school of 65-pound to 75-pound bluefin that we drifted with for 9 straight hours on our first day. The guys that had the most bites were the guys that fished 40-pound fluorocarbon and 1/0 hooks — finese fly-lined sardine fishing. Our jackpot winners are as follows: third place went to Marvin Yotsuya with a 75.9-pound bluefin, second place went to George Leeper with a 76.3 pound bluefin tuna, and first place goes to Shane Perry with a 151.2 pound bluefin. Life is good.”


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