SAN CLEMENTE — The offshore season is on in SoCal with yellowfin and bluefin tuna, yellowtail, dorado and marlin taken by boats fishing waters within one day range of Point Loma. Yellowfin tuna are also in the mix for boats fishing further down on trips of 1.5 day length and longer.
There has been some fantastic fishing for 30- to 70-pound yellowfin tuna for boats fishing between 125 and 135 miles from Point Loma. For albacore fans, forget it in SoCal, but the longfins are biting solid from Morro Bay to the border.
Few will care in SoCal now. Fishing is now worth the fuel. The bluefin tuna have been quality-sized fish with most in the 20- to 35-pound range. The yellowtail have been mixed size fish that have been running between 5 and 30 pounds. The dorado have been going from 8 to 20 pounds with most in the 10- to 15-pound class.
“There are yellowtail and dorado to be caught from kelp paddies in an area ranging from the 267 Spot outside of Dana Point on down to the area being fished on multi-day trips at 135 miles from Point Loma,” said Bob Vanian of 976-BITE.com. “Some of the better areas have been the 267 Spot, 209 Spot, 182 Spot, the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank, the area 4 to 7 miles west of North Island, the 425 Bank, 101 Spot, 475 Knuckle, 371 Bank, Hidden Bank, 385 Spot and the area between 118 and 135 miles 163 degrees from Point Loma.”
Vanian added the area of the 385 Spot located above the Inner Bank outside of Ensenada has been producing some bluefin tuna within one day range of Point Loma but the best tuna fishing has been for yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna for boats on multi-day trips that are fishing down between 118 and 135 miles 163 degrees from Point Loma.
“If you get the right stop in that 118- to 135-mile area, it can go absolutely wide open on bluefin and yellowfin,” he told WON.
There were a ton of great reports. One of the best was from Ron Bowers of the Salt Fever who fished at around 130 miles from Point Loma on a recent 3-day trip, and had one of his best yellowfin days ever, he said. On Friday, they got one stop in the early morning hours and never had to move the boat again with 30- to 50-plus-pound yellowfin tuna staying under the boat and biting all day.
By Saturday afternoon they had 60 yellowfin from 30 to 53 pounds, 2 yellowtail, 11 dorado and 5 bluefin tuna. They also caught and released about 40 more of the big yellowfin tuna. Sportboats have reported catching yellowfin that have gone to around 70 pounds while fishing this same zone and Bowers thinks that they had hooked and lost some of these 70-pound-class yellowfin as well.
La Jolla’s northwest corner continued to have quality forkies. WON Editor Pat McDonell and buddy Bill Jubb on the Robalo hooked two big forkies on slow-trolled ’dines and got one, a 29.10.
Private boater Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna fished offshore on Sunday and reported finding dorado and yellowtail action while fishing kelp paddies that he found below and inside of the 425 Bank below the Coronado Islands.
Sparks had his young son Dillon aboard along with his private boater friend Gabe of the Outta Lobster. They caught 4 dorado out of 5 hookups and also picked up a few of the 5- to 10-pound yellowtail. Sparks said that using 20-pound test and light wire Mustad XXX strong ringed hooks helped in drawing strikes out of the oftentimes touchy dorado. Their best fishing was at 27 miles 174 degrees from Point Loma.
Sparks said that they finished up the day doing some slow trolling for yellowtail at the Middle Grounds (few boats are in the area due to the visa hassles) at the Coronado Islands and that they caught two of the 25-pound-class yellowtail to top off their day. Sparks said that the highlight of the day was when his son Dillon caught a 25-pound yellowtail at the Coronados. Dillon had also caught a nice-sized dorado while fishing offshore.
In other action, Terry Hastings of Del Mar fished the 425 spot on Sunday and scored one marlin and two big yellowtail while aboard Hastings’ boat the Minorka. The biggest of the yellows was a 35 pounder.
TERRY HASTINGS OF DEL MAR HOISTS up a 35-pound yellowtail taken Sunday morning aboard his boat Minorka. Hastings was fishing in and around the 425 spot and ended up with a final count of one marlin and two yellowtail.
Marlin fishing was pretty solid. A great report from the weekend came in from Bob Hoose of Penn and Berkley. He fished on his boat the Prospector over the weekend.
“On Saturday, we found a kelp inside the 209 and Dave Clock caught a pair of dorado on a small pink chugger. There were 25 to 30 fish on the kelp, but after we caught two and lost one, the bite shut off. We found the life on the inside of the bank — sauries and steady meter marks of bait. The marlin started showing on the tide, quick feeders on sauries. After the tide, we picked up and ran to San Clemente Island. We got there at 3:30 p.m., and George Garrett on the Joker called us into a marlin area. He had Greg Stotesbury wired to a jig fish which he tagged and released after an hour on 20-pound Dacron.”
Hoose said the sign looked good, with sauries showing tight to the island. They made a couple of tacks and got bit right on the 5:25 p.m. tide on a dorado Zuker 3.5.
“We got set up on fish, and after a couple long runs and jumps, the hook pulled. On Sunday we started on numbers from the previous day, and the water had changed and scattered bait and fish. There was a strong uphill current to the west. Of our group of three boats working from White Rock to Wilsons, we only saw a handful of quick feeders.”
Hoose said the better fishing Sunday was on the slide from the 152 to the 277.
“There are marlin all along the ridge. They are not showing very good, but on the tides the fish are up on sauries and biting the jigs. The Mirage had a double on the 277 today, and several other boats had single jig bites. Just about every boat is getting a shot or two a day. It looks good for billfish tournament season. Finally!
In Santa Barbara, Capt. Dave Bacon of WON reported the long-running white seabass bite continued unabated off Santa Barbara, while barracuda showed in good numbers, chasing large baitballs. Miscellaneous groundfish chewed baits recklessly. Up the coast from Goleta, white seabass continued their long-term assault on spawning squid in 60 feet of water. Jigging squid proved easy and then soaking it on a flyline rig, dink hook or dropper loop rig produced results for those with patience. “The size of the fish is great, with 30 to 50 pounders the common catches and an occasional monster to 70 pounds. Boaters and kayakers are sharing space and working together well,” said Capt. Tiffany Vague on the WaveWalker out of Santa Barbara after a successful trip.
In Monterey, albacore anglers are pretty much running straight out to the Monterey Weather Buoy, dropping back jigs and then looking around while on the troll. “They are dragging zucchini feathers and cedar plugs,” said Will Graham at The Tackle Store in Salinas. “One of my customers reported 40 hookups and boated 20 of them,” said Dingler. “All were between 10 and 20 pounds.”
— Compiled by Pat McDonell
BOB HOOSE OF PENN & BERKLEY fished with Dave Clock on Hoose’s boat the Prospector over the weekend. On Saturday, they found a kelp inside the 209 and Dave Clock caught a pair of dorado on a small pink chugger.