Southern CA Saltwater

Long Range Report: Yellowfin tuna burst onto scene

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jul 10, 2018

Big spots of feeding schools moving northbound; wahoo bite gains legs

SAN DIEGO — The long range fleet saw another terrific week of yellowtail fishing. The moss backed jacks were feeding with reckless abandon up and down the peninsula. This week also saw the first solid catches of school yellowfin tuna. Although the fish are on the move, they have begun to settle in and bite. Skippers report lots of schools in warmer northbound water. The wahoo bite at the Rocks also gained steam with several good catches posted this week.

Indy slams yellowfin

A NICE WHACK on the yellowfin aboard the Indy.

The yellowfin tuna have been on the move northbound and the 5-Day Izorline/Turners Open Trip aboard the Independence was a perfect opportunity to go out and find them. Capt. Matt Kaullen was at the wheel of the big sportfisher and filed this report after a good day, “Well, today we had epic fishing for yellowfin tuna and these fish are beauties. It seems like things are definitely on the upswing and we are stoked to get in on some biting fish. These fish were very eager to bite the hook and several times, the whole boat was bent over. We are hoping for another banner day.”

The following day, another shot at the yellowfin, “We saw good sign of the same yellowfin today. Breezers and bird schools were bountiful but hooking them was a little harder than yesterday. Nevertheless we managed to scratch away at these beautiful specimen. Lots of life, as well as bait down here and I think they were just a little more keyed in on their grub today. The yellowtail made a little showing today on the kelps.”

Excel sticks wahoo

A SLUG WAHOO landed on the Big X.

JOHN HOENIGMAN WITH a 195-pound Bluefin tuna taken aboard the Excel.

The Excel was finishing up the annual Tuna Rodeo 8-day Trip when the boat came upon a spot of big bluefin. Capt. Mike Ramirez described it this way, “Today we fished for bluefin tuna. Same story, lots of fish to look at, not many biters. We were fortunate enough to have a sample of bigger fish, 150-pound plus. They came through about 0330 and we hooked two. John Hoenigman was able to land a 194-pound Bluefin tuna. Then again mid-morning, we hooked four more unfortunately most on light line. Malcolm Lambe boated a 150 pound BFT. That was most of the action for the day. We will be arriving at Fisherman's Landing tomorrow morning 0530.”

The boat was right back out, this time with Capt. Justin Fleck driving. The big sportfisher made a bee-line for the Rocks and was rewarded with good wahoo fishing, “We started our trip off at the Rocks where we had good fishing for wahoo. It was a nice surprise for us. At the end of the day there were 37 skinnies on the board and a couple more in the galley getting prepared for a dinner. We'll take it. We are going to spend the night and try it again tomorrow.”

Angler on yellow

The American Angler spent two frustrating days pursuing lockjaw bluefin tuna. The group had it and turned to the beach for some hot yellowtail action. The boat sent this report, “After spending the last few days chasing non-cooperative bluefin tuna, today, we decided to mix it up and shift gears. Lucky for us it was a total day of action and lots of ‘over the rail’ fishing time with most of our fun being in the yellowtail department. These fish were getting everyone’s blood pumping stop after stop. On top of the hot yellow action and in addition, we all had several opportunities at some beautiful 18- to 25-pound yellowfin. These tuna were making their guest appearance from time to time and unfortunately they too acted like bluefin, but we are going to spend the night and pray for their better attitudes tomorrow.”

Better attitudes did prevail, “Today was just one of those days when the ocean was our best friend. The weather has been absolutely perfect all trip and today, so was the fishing. We arrived in the zone around lunch and these beautiful 15-to 25-pound yellowfin tuna kept us very busy until it was time to head for the barn. Stop after stop the action was pandemonium which is just how we like it.”

Rooster chasing yellowtail

KELP DORADO WERE on the bite aboard the Rooster.

The Red Rooster III was on the annual Jorge Nicofore Memorial 8-Day Trip. The group was down on the Ridge in pursuit of trophy yellowtail. Capt. Andy Cates was at the helm and sent this report after a fine day of mixed bag fishing, “Really nice grade of yellow. Every fish was over 20-pounds, up to 32-pounds. We found great surface action snaking across the stern. Spent the rest of the day offshore picking off dorado on kelp paddies. Flat calm weather today made for easy spotting of some big kelps.”

Jackpot winners were, 1st place jackpot, a 32.5-pound yellowtail caught by Dave ​ Snyder, 2nd place jackpot was a 32.0-pound yellowtail caught by Cliff Clark and​ 3rd place jackpot was a 30.5-pound yellowtail caught by Mark ​Escalle​.

eunicechisolmrsEUNICE CHISOLM WITH a Royal Star yellowtail.

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