Southern CA Saltwater

Dana Point: Good mixed bag bottom fishing

Thunderbird goes 1.5-day, catches bluefin

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 26, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT —Weather was a factor mid-week, and will be again as anglers celebrate Thanksgiving, so it’s a good thing people are getting out in the weather windows before and after the storm. Anglers who jumped on a boat were amply rewarded for their efforts.

The Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker Sportfishing in Newport Bay continues to chase tuna down south, and they should. It’s not every year we have legitimate chances to chase tuna right up to Thanks­giving week.

tripledigitaTRIPLE DIGIT — A 110-pound bluefin caught on a sinker rig aboard the Thunderbird for angler Luis Rod.

Regular WON source Marc Ingraham was on a trip, and said they fished the 43 area with 22 anglers. “We had smaller cured sardines and found a sonar school of bluefin tuna at first light that developed into a plunker bite with 8 fish out of 15 hookups to 70 pounds landed,” he said. “After that bite slowed, Capt. Brian Kelley searched the area and found numerous schools on the sonar but they were unresponsive to our chum. Finally in the late afternoon we found a biting school and captured another 11 bluefin to 110 pounds and 21 yellowfin averaging 15-20 pounds.”

Thirty-pound string was the hot ticket because of the larger bluefin, which Ingraham said were caught on fly-lined baits, rubber band sinker rigs and Coltsniper jigs. “The yellowfin were all bait fish,” he said. “The final count was 19 bluefin and 21 yellowfin in very nice sunny weather.” While the counts are down a bit from primetime levels, it is good to get after it while you still can. Notably, these counts were lower than the previous, pre-storm trip, which accounted for 160 yellowfin and 2 bluefin for 30 anglers.

Also at Davey’s Locker, the Freelance ran multiple three-quarter-day trips. Every one produced mixed bag fishing. As an example, Saturday’s count was 185 blacksmith perch, 100 rockfish, 62 sculpin, 35 whitefish, 26 sheephead, and a handful of bass for a boatload, 80 anglers.

regularscoresREGULAR SCORES — Thunderbird regular “Adrian” with a 40-pound class bluefin caught on a recent 1.5-day trip.

At Dana Wharf, Capt. Brian Woolley said when they got boats out, the fishing was much as it had been, which is good. “Down in the deeper water off San Onofre and down to Box Canyon on our three-quarter-day trips we’re still seeing some good mixed bag bottom fishing,” he said. “Anglers fishing the live sardines have been caching the better quality fish. Good bags of bocaccio, reds and other mixed rockfish, with plenty of quality sculpin and whitefish too. I know I say it every week but man that 100-gram ColtSniper jig has been hot down there.”

Half-day trips could be productive too. “Most of the action is now coming off the bottom,” Woolley said. “Guys bringing shrimp and clam are doing very well on the sheephead. A few sandbass and kelp bass as well but like I said, most of the action is now off the bottom. We may also work in some deeper drops close to home for some rockfish as well.”

The Fury wrapped its season this week and embarked on boat work. “Marcus did a phenomenal job for his first season owning the boat,” Woolley said. There’s been no movement in the Dana Wharf Halibut Derby, which is still topped by a 20 pounder. The Clemente was out Sunday trying to better the mark and had a 15 pounder to show for it.

There’s no better time to take a kid fishing out of Dana Wharf. Woolley said kids fish free with a paid adult all month long in December. Don’t miss this special, or the other great kids’ programs offered at Dana Wharf.

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