Southern CA Saltwater

Dana Point: Big bass in the surf grass

Cow Town bite ignites

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Sep 10, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT — With 78-degree water along the coast, catchable bluefin and yellowfin in range down south and the big 100- to 400-pound cows in U.S. waters there were a lot of choices for anglers out of the O.C. this past week.

Capt. Brian Woolley, Dana Wharf Sportfishing, said, "On Friday we had the 1/2-day on the Sum Fun, got into some skinny water and had some solid bass action — big brown torpedoes out of the eel grass beds in 15 feet of water — solid 5 to 6 pounders. All the nice ones were released.

localbasstheLOCAL BASS — The warm water and nice live bait has been very productive, said Capt. Brian Woolley of Dana Wharf.

In addition the local counts showed some fast inshore action on tap with the Dana Wharf fleet releasing over 1,000 bass Saturday. On a few trips they backed up that bite with a bit of deep reef fishing for rockfish.

Woolley said there were some "bruiser yellowtail" seen in the local kelp beds and indeed counts showed a steady trickle of catches, one here, another there, through the week.

Just offshore the bite was a bit slow, however there were big breezers of skipjack and schools of yellowfin in local waters, all feeding on the tons of micro anchovies in the area. Despite having really nice 4- to 6-inch sardines to work with, those fish wouldn't touch anything else.

For the area's overnight boats the yellowfin and bluefin bite down to the south was the best bet in town and both the Dana Wharf based Fury and the Davey's Locker Sportfishing based Thunderbird scored steady catches of mixed bluefin and yellowfin for their anglers. The 6-pack boat Lex Sea took a trio of anglers offshore to score limits of yellowfin.

Angler Mark Ingram was aboard the Thunderbird and said they had long drift fishing with hooked fish continuously over a 3-hour period. There were both yellowfin tuna and bluefin, including larger models, in the mix. "The problem was larger blues were biting and destroying guys fishing 20- to 25-pound tackle for yellowfin tuna. Several bluefin tuna were lost after protracted battles," said Ingram.

100 POUNDER ON 30-pound. Mark Ingram hooked this one aboard the Thunderbird.

He himself was fortunate to hook one on 30-pound, still a bit light for the task at hand. He said, "After a hour long tussle, I turned the rod over to Scuba Steve, the deckhand, and he took another 30 minutes to land the fish." His bluefin was estimated at just over the 100-pound mark.

Out in Cow Town the bite got heated in favorable conditions this past Thursday and Friday. William “Breck” Breckenridge had won his bid for the charter of the yacht Quiteña out of Newport at the Orange County CCA-Cal chapter fundraiser and solicited this writer's suggestion as to a date for the outing.

Sky dangled flying fish proved deadly, with the assistance of an experienced crew. Izorline's Wendy Tochihara reported blowup after blowup on the baits. Their first fish was a monstrous 344-pound super cow, caught by Tedd Stiles who is an avid freshwater angler. The big fish was his first, and of course, largest tuna.

They fished that day, caught a few more flying fish that evening and fished the following morning – for a final total of 7 bluefin, all well over the 100-pound mark including a 190.

YELLOWFIN ON DECK — Boat Lex Sea, Dana Wharf Sportfishing.

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