SOCAL SALTWATER REPORT: Cortez Bank enters the game with bluefin in addition to yellows

BY BRANDON HAYWARD/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 07, 2009

San Clemente Island bounces back with good yellowtail fishing on the squid

LONG BEACH — There’s been some yellowtail out on the Cortez Bank the past few weeks, but now bluefin tuna have entered the fold, giving yet another solid option for 11⁄2-day trips. San Clemente Island is not to be counted out either: it’s still holding squid and good yellowtail fishing.

“There hadn’t been any bluefin on the Cortez, but they (as in the Toronado) threw a chum circle and a few bluefin boiled up. They got a jig strike on bluefin, then yellows started biting…,” said Don Ashley at Pierpoint of the Toronado’s 11⁄2-day trip that returned early on Monday and ended up with 23 bluefin and 38 yellowtail.

“The bluefin are not giants, but they are not rats, they are 15- to 25-pound fish,” added Ashley, who said that the yellows are good-grade 18 to 30 pounders. The boat had both sardines and squid, but the ‘dine was working best on both the bluefin and yellowtail. There were a few fish caught on the jigs, too.

“The water is 66, 67 (on the Cortez) and there’s lots of bonito and all the junk like whitefish and rockfish — that’s the best part about the Cortez: you have all the other ‘stuff’ to go with the yellows and bluefin,” added Ashley.

Photo: CLEMENTE IS STILL AN OPTION — San Clemente Island is back on the bite, with big slug yellowtail like these caught on the six-pack Options out of Pierpoint Landing making the island a solid plan. It might be summer, but there is still plenty of squid around.

The Freedom was also on the Cortez, and it ended up with 42 yellows and 11 bluefin to go with a bunch of bonito and junk. Pierpoint’s Liquid Coast Highway fished the Cortez the same day and had a shot at some seabass to go with a sample of yellowtail and a bluefin. The trip’s 4 anglers scored 1 bluefin, 2 yellows and 5 white seabass to go with its bottom stuff.

San Clemente Island has come roaring back with some good yellowtail fishing on the live squid. Boats fishing the island have been putting together days for anywhere from 7 to 20 plus on the yellows. On Sunday the six-pack Options ended up with 25 of the big yellows at Clemente to go with a white seabass, limits of calico bass and 3 black seabass.

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