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Published: Oct 05, 2010

SoCOAST SALT UPDATE: Central Coast albacore fishing backs off - More reports on Ventura, Catalina


Western Outdoor News

MORRO BAY — Albacore have been caught as close as 14 miles from Morro Rock, but the action has been very up and down.

Some blame it on the weather, others on the fact that the fish are chock full of squid and there was the backside of the moon. Either way, there has been more missing than hitting on the Central Coast longfin.

The big hit of the week came on Thursday, when the Pacific Queen had 23 albacore for a light load of 5 anglers fishing out of Patriot Sportfishing. Then on Saturday the boat had 10 albacore on the first of a 2-day trip that had Drew Card running the boat.

“There’s a good water set-up,” reported Pacific Queen co-owner operator Bill Cavanaugh. “I think that as this moon wanes we are going to see some more fish. There’s just some little pockets of fish around right now, and it seems like it bites everyday at sometime between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.”

With the fish biting so close to home, Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay has switched over to 5 a.m. trips for albacore. On Saturday the Princess had 5 albacore and on Friday the Admiral had 8 albacore.

Coastal bass make up lack of summer for Ventura boats

Western Outdoor News

OXNARD — Here it is October, and the best conditions of the year are translating into the some of the best bass fishing of 2010 for Ventura County boats that make the run down the coast.

“We have water as warm as 66 degrees, and we had over 160 bass for our day,” reported Island Spirit skipper Jesse Martinez on a call with WON on Sunday. “It’s was all on the anchovies and the plastics like the Blams. Once we got some current, we weren’t measuring any… there were some nice 3 to 4 pounders to go with it and we had two nice halibut.”

One of the halibut was an 18 pounder caught by Ian Lemarbre of Oxnard. The total count for the trip was 156 calico bass, 6 sand bass, 20 rockfish, 1 whitefish and 2 halibut. The Island Spirit is set to run 6 a.m. ¾-day trips everyday out of Papa Hooks Landing in Oxnard.

The Aloha Spirit started getting into the bass last Wednesday when it ran down the beach on its 5 a.m. full-day out of Papa Hook’s Landing. That’s when a light load of 8 anglers has 53 calico bass, 41 rockfish and a whitefish.

“I have been running with as little as 6 people to get out,” said Aloha Spirit owner/operator Shawn Steward. “We are online to run full-day trips everyday, and the bass fishing has been as good as I’ve seen it this year. The fish have been eating the Gulp! Jerk Shad and the flyline anchovies and anchovies fished on 1/8 and 1/4-ounce sliders.”

There have not been any huge bass biting down the beach, but there have been some fish to 4 pounds. Top bass on the Aloha was a 4 pounder caught by Jeff Katz of Malibu.

The rockfishing has been good for months, which had been a godsend this season that has not had much surface activity. Even with the bass down the beach biting, the bulk of the trips from half-day trips to overnights have had rockfish as the sack fillers. A Sunday half-day on the Channel Isle had limits of rockfish for its 19 anglers that fished out of Papa Hook’s Landing for 190 rockfish and a lingcod.

Over at Channel Islands Sportfishing Center, Jeff Morgan said the trip of the week in the exotics department was a Friday overnight on the Seabiscuit that ended up with 2 white seabass to go with a halibut, 81 rockfish, 16 sheephead and 33 whitefish. On Sunday the boat ran an overnight for a yellowtail to go with 1 white seabass, 7 sheephead, 87 rockfish and 9 lingcod. The Island Tak focused on the bass and seabass on Sunday, and its full-day ended up with 13 calico bass and 1 white seabass.

Catalina ‘falls’ into place


LONG BEACHWill Catalina be the island to be at this fall?

That’s been the question being asked, especially by those that are wondering if all the squid that’s been at the island this season will end up being the magic bait to produce the fall yellowtail bites that the island is known for.

There’s a new area of squid along the backside of the island, and it was the new bait grounds between Ben Weston and China Point that gave the six-pack Spectra the first real shot at the island’s big yellowtail that are known for getting on the squid this time of year.

“There was definitely no problem making bait. We loaded up the tanks and made about 100 extra bags for the freezer,” reported Spectra owner Billy Keleman on a call with WON. In years past getting squid to start October is big news, but seeing how the squid never went away this year, it’s not the squid, but first fall score on yellows that make the trip. “We ended up with 8 yellows to 39 pounds right there in the bait grounds,” added Keleman. “The average was about 32 to 34 pounds, and the smallest was 24 pounds.”

When the fish came through they really wanted to bite; at one point they had four going at once.

Fall and squid and yellowtail go hand and hand with the Farnsworth Bank—at least it did many moons ago—but the Bank did not have any yellows on it despite good conditions when the Spectra gave it a check. Keleman said the water was 69 on the Farnsworth and 64 to 65 in the bait grounds.

The ¾-day boat Freelance had a pair of yellowtail earlier in the week at Catalina to go with the bonito and bass fishing that has been good for the boats fishing the front on ¾-day trips. Last weekend did not give up any yellows for the Newport Beach based ¾-day that runs out of Davey’s Locker, but the bonito fishing was great. On Sunday 250 bonito, 25 calico bass and a sheephead went in the sacks for 63 anglers. The day before was a practical mirror image when 57 anglers scored 250 bonito and 26 calico bass. Dana Wharf Sportfishing’s Fury had a great trip on Sunday when 20 anglers scored limits of bonito (100), 78 calico bass and 1 sheephead to go with 1 yellowtail.

The Pursuit was over at Catalina on Sunday on its 6 a.m. full-day out of 22nd Street Landing. It ended up with 47 bonito to go with a mixed bag that included 29 calico bass, 20 sheephead, 16 whitefish, 39 salmon grouper, 151 rockfish and 14 reds.

BACKSIDE YELLOW—A new area of squid pushed into the backside of Catalina Island, and the Spectra was there to take advantage of it last Saturday. The overnight trip out of Pierpoint Landing gave up 8 yellows in the bait grounds from 22 to 39 pounds. The 39 pounder was this beautiful forkie being shown off by Charina A Pastrana and Spectra owner Billy Keleman.

Offshore bluefin and yellowfin set the stage for fall

Western Outdoor News

SAN DIEGO — Mixed-up scores coming from the offshore grounds have made this the fall of winners and losers.

Some anglers get off the boats as winners, thanks to the captain connecting the dots and putting together a hell of a day on mixed bluefin and yellowfin tuna; while other trips have counts in the single digits, and anglers get off the boat realizing that it’s easy to miss given the style of fishing that’s going on offshore.

“There’s been some grey bites, but a lot of what’s going on is sonar fishing and finding fish that are up,” reported First String owner/operator Bradley Phillips on a call to WON after returning with limits of bluefin tuna and 6 yellowfin for 13 anglers on a 1 1/2-day trip out of H&M Landing. “We had one really good drift where the fish were biting good for about 45 minutes and it was real easy to get a bite on 30 or 40-pound.”

The first drift produced 47 bluefin and 6 yellowfin, then a breezer found later in the day gave up the rest of the bluefin needed for limits.

Limits were had by quite a few boats for the week, including a Friday 3/4-day trip on the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing. Nine anglers on the Friday run had 45 bluefin. Then Saturday 24 anglers scored 32 bluefin on the ¾-day. But it’s far from slam-dunk fishing. Quite a few boats have been missing, including a Sunday trip on the San Diego that came back with one yellowfin.

But even on the days that have boats missing, there are always some standouts. Like on Sunday when the Endeavor out of Seaforth returned from a 1 ½-day with limits of bluefin tuna for 18 anglers. And there’s some middle of the road counts, like the 2 ½-day on the Pacific Sat that turned in 30 bluefin and 7 yellowfin.

The boats that are connecting seem to be doing so on a regular basis, as seen by the Pacific Dawn out of Fisherman’s Landing scoring limits of bluefin (90) and 15 yellowfin for 18 anglers on Saturday’s overnight trip, and then backing it up with 47 bluefin and 32 yellowfin tuna on Sunday’s overnight with 16 anglers. The Pegasus returned from a 2 ½-day on Sunday with 58 bluefin, 18 yellowfin and 2 yellowtail. A 1 ½-day on the Condor was the other boat to return on Sunday to Fisherman’s. It had 10 bluefin, 11 yellowfin and 3 yellowtail.

Sunday had some mixed-up scores out of H&M, with the low end of things being 4 bluefin on the Relentless, and the upper end of counts being on the Producer’s overnight trip that had 28 bluefin, 5 yellowfin tuna and the first 2 albacore that have been in the counts in October.

Another option has been San Martin Island. The boats to fish San Martin on 2 ½-day trips have had some good yellowtail fishing. The Ranger 85 fished San Martin one day last week and got the island’s yellowtail just about as good as it get.

“Shortly after we had dropped the pick, we had some boils and had two going. The next nine hours and a couple of anchor jobs and a quick drift, we had a decent pick going on and had 1 to 3 fish going at a time,” reported Ranger 85 skipper Dusting Tench. “We suffered some severe casualties on the 25 and 30 pound. Everybody started upping their tackle to 40 to 50 and one guy even had fish on 60.

“As the afternoon fell apon us the bite was getting hotter and hotter, and that’s when the Big Game 90 and the Voyager came in to join us. They had pulled in at the right time and got in on some of the great action. It was an awesome site to see, to have breezers of hungry yellowtail crashing down the sides of the boat. If you had a Tady 45 tied on to 40 pound it was easy pickin’.”

LIMITS AT SAN MARTIN ON THE RANGER 85 — It was a day of wild yellowtail fishing when the Ranger 85 fished San Martin Island last week for limits of yellowtail. The yellows were eating the sardines on 60-pound and the surface jigs like the Tady 45 full speed.

Coronados look like the islands to be at for fall yellowtail

Western Outdoor News

SAN DIEGO — The past few falls the Coronados have given up some great yellowtail fishing, and it looks like the islands are going to be the ones to style anglers out with fall yellowtail.

“Well, we had to wait until October, but there’s some yellowtail around again finally,” reported Malihini owner/operator Mikey Schmidt on a call with WON. “its like spring fishing. It’s mostly on breezers and it’s all spread out from the Rockpile all the way up to North Island.”

The water below the islands has been as warm as 68 to 70 degrees and the yellowtail are mostly good-grade fish from 15 to 25 pounds.

“It’s mostly on the flyline sardine. They haven’t been eating the surface iron all that well,” added Schmidt.

On Sunday Schmidt’s partner, Bill Wilkerson was running the boat when 15 yellowtail went in the fish hold along with 2 calico bass and 13 rockfish. On Saturday 28 anglers scored 17 yellowtail.

The Mission Belle has been the other ¾-day boat at the islands everyday. On Sunday it had one around on the yellows when 16 anglers scored 16 yellowtail and 3 calico bass.