Southern CA Saltwater

Dana Point: Catalina – Clemente in the spotlight

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 07, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT — With solid bass bites and bonito and barracuda backing it up, the big game bite at San Clemente Island and Catalina Island was definitely on the upswing. Plus, not too far off San Clemente Island, bluefin tuna Cow Town was definitely back in play.

beverlymaybestedBEVERLY MAY BESTED this San Clemente Island yellow we estimate at 28 pounds aboard the Fury.

While much of the fleet from San Diego to Oceanside put in the time and effort on massive schools of 80- to 300-pound class bluefin just off San Clemente Island, there was a clear uptick in the number of big yellows and seabass hooked at the island proper. The O.C. overnight boats were in on it.

While it took an all-day effort to hook a handful of the big blues, those targeting the island's inshore species kept considerably more rods bent for their folks.

For Davey's Locker, angler Mark Ingram was back aboard the Thunderbird, while Dana Wharf Sportfishing skipper Capt. Brian Woolley had the report for the Fury, Hotspot and LexSea.

The two 6-pack boats and the Fury — on its 5-2-5 trips — saw the action at Catalina Island. Woolley called the grade of yellow there, "mixed" with fish from 15 to 30 pounds on tap. He said, "Those fish are all on the fly-lined sardine. The Fury too on his all day 5-to-5 trips has had great fishing over there with plenty of bass, bonito and barracuda to keep his passengers busy."

A C&R GRUMP aboard the Sum Fun. The local waters bass bite continued to rip on.

The Fury also had good times over at the Navy's island on its overnight runs. "He also had a couple really good days at Clemente this week too. I know Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the yellows bit well for him, with Friday being the high day with 34 fish. But the bass action there has been great too," (34 yellow, 77 calico, 15 whitefish, 7 sheephead, 3 barracuda, 1 bonito – 24 anglers).

It was Thursday that Marc Ingram was aboard the Thunderbird fishing that same island. He reports, "We started the day in the cove with dropper loops and live squid for a large white seabass and two yellows, while donating several to the sea lions. Captain Jeff then found some willing yellows and calicos on the frontside fishing lively sardines. Raging current was problematic for the full boat with lots of Spectra tangles, but those casting and retrieving baits regularly were rewarded with yellowtail to the low 20s. A move up the island later encountered more yellows and produced more quality calicos up to 5 pounds."

Their final totals after feeding the wildlife was 44 calico, 19 yellow, 15 each whitefish and sheephead, the croaker, 7 barracuda and a pair of bonito.

Those on the local trips out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing encountered continued fast paced C&R bass action inshore with lots of sub-14 inchers and a good number of grumps in excess of 5 pounds put back too. The fleet was averaging close to 1,000 bass released daily through the week.

However, Friday evening brought enough evening breeze to flip the water some, but by Sunday the SST was back above 70 degrees once again and the bite – back on full speed.

For the local boats out of Newport Bay, there was good bass action as well, and these boats also had access to the phenomenal coastal sculpin bite, bagging limits and near limits of the red devils with regularity.

Wednesday morning the Western Pride carried 36 anglers who bagged 180 scorpions for limits. The Freelance carried 62 twilight fishers Friday evening, for 310 more – also full limits.

6-PACK HOTSPOT clipping back toward Dana Point from Catalina Island with a father-daughter fishing charter group.

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