Southern CA Saltwater

Long Range Report: Lower zone heats up

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Sep 13, 2017

Wahoo, yellowtail, yellowfin and grouper hit the deck

SAN DIEGO — With the fall schedule of 7- and 8-day trips at hand, the long range fleet was down on the Ridge and Rocks plying the high spots for wahoo. Each boat found good fishing on quality ‘’hoos. As the bite lulled midday, the boats turned to some terrific fishing for chunky yellowtail, school yellowfin and fine-eating grouper. Catch of the week was a black marlin trolled up on a Marauder.

Indy catches

MAC/ YOUNG JP winners landed on the Independence.

The Independence was on the annual Mac/Young’s 7-Day Trip and the group found the variety on the Ridge much to their liking. Veteran Capt. Jeff DeBuys was at the wheel and sent this report: “Yet another stellar day down here in the zone. From dark of the morning ‘til sundown it was fun times with tuna stealing the show today, along with wahoo and yellowtail. The weather is as good as it gets and fishing is sensational. We are going to try for some more yellows tomorrow to put the icing on the cake.”

The jackpot winners were as follows: 1st place went to Richard Blaylock with a 45-pound wahoo; 2nd place was Scott Jones with a 38-pound wahoo; and 3rd place was Chuck Myhre with a 32-pound skinny.

RP and Accurate

The Royal Polaris was also down below sliding into the Rocks for a shot at wahoo. The boat, with Capt. Roy Rose in the wheelhouse, sent this message: “We arrived to Alijos Rocks at 08:30. We started looking around for wahoo, and it didn’t take long. Hookup, and we are on! It was not wide open, and we did have to work at it. But if you ever fished wahoo, you know you could hook a bunch and only land a few. That’s wahoo fishing.”

The report continued, “We would fish wahoo until lunch, then we would make the move to Alijos Bank and fish for yellowtail and grouper. We had decent yellowtail and grouper fishing. Most of the yellowtail were in the 20- to 25-pound range, with the largest going 35 pounds. The wahoo were in the 30-to 35-pound class, with a few over 40 pounds.”

Angler and alligators

The American Angler was also down below on the Skinny Pirates 8-Day. The boat was covering the high spots on the ridge and sent this report, “We made it down here to the Ridge in hopes of maybe catching some wahoo and were happy spending most of the day just doing that. It was nice to see the grade of some of these fish, we might call them alligators. The weather was nice so we hope to get a few more of these beautiful fish tomorrow and we are happy to report that everybody onboard was able to catch one or more; not a bad day.”

Intrepid and Doug

The Intrepid was on the Doug’s Wine and Fun Times 8-Day Trip and just arrived down below to begin fishing in earnest. Capt. Bill Cavanaugh was driving the rig and sent this report, “We are on day two of Doug’s 8-day trip. Yesterday we had some good fishing. We got a lot of yellowtail from 15 to 20 pounds with some bigger ones. Today we are further south and fishing for wahoo. We have a few on board so far. We also ran into a school of nice-grade yellowfin tuna from 18 to 35 pounds. We will check back again later.”

Star Bluefin

The Royal Star was on a shorter trip and the timing was good as the bluefin were showing signs of wanting to bite. Veteran skipper Randy Toussaint was at the wheel and sent this report: “We got a nice early jump and started our 4-day out west this afternoon. Incredible sign of 100-pound-plus bluefin that were uncooperative for the most part, but we did land three from 130 to 155 pounds.”

After a frustrating day, the group moved tight to San Clemente Island for school bluefin and yellows. “We spent the day on the anchor for a tough scratch on 25- to 50-pound bluefin and 12- to 30-pound yellows,” he said. “We didn’t post a big score but the quality somewhat made up for it.”

Rooster at the ’lupe

A NICE BRACE of ’lupe yellowfin caught aboard the Rooster.

The Red Rooster III, permitted and ready to go, embarked on their first trip to Guadalupe Island. Although fishing had been tough at the big island, the group saw some positive sign on the Baja Fish Gear trip hosted by Big Ed. The problem was the man in the gray suit. Capt. Andy Cates described it this way, saying, “Pretty good sign of tuna here this evening. We took a thrashing from the sharks, as they ate everything we hooked, but we did hook fish. We got in here late so hopefully tomorrow maybe we can pick off a few decent yellows.”

Big X scores

A BLACK MARLIN caught and released on the Big X.

A FAT GROUPER headed for the Excel galley.

The Excel was down on the Ridge on the annual Gallagher 8-Day Trip and the group experienced stellar fishing. Capt. Justin Fleck was at the helm and sent this brief message, “We've had excellent fishing the last two days on both yellowtail and ridge-sized tuna. We also successfully releasing a black marlin hooked on the troll yesterday. This to go with two days of excellent wahoo fishing at the Rocks and life is good for the Gallagher group.”

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