Southern CA Saltwater

Long Range Report: Action shifts to Hurricane Bank and Buffer Zone

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Nov 21, 2017

Guadalupe bite slows; Rocks wahoo and dorado fill the gaps

SAN DIEGO — The cow season, after a spectacular start, got going in earnest this week as two more boats fished the Hurricane Bank and the Buffer Zone. The results were good with a steady bite on fish in the 150- to 190-pound range. The cows were a little more elusive but each boat landed a good sample. The lower banks bite slowed but the big yellowfin were still there. The fish the boats managed to land were all well into the 200s. At Guadalupe, the bite was very good early in the week but began to whither with changing conditions.

Intrepid at the Hurricane

A 50-POUND CLASS wahoo landed on the Intrepid at the Rocks.

With a hot hand, the Intrepid was back down on the Hurricane Bank in search of more trophy yellowfin tuna. The big boat was on the Hoo's Run & Gun 13-Day trip captained by veteran skipper Bill Cavanaugh. The quality of tuna was good, with a few cows in the mix for good measure. The boat sent this report after a typical day, “We awoke this morning to a light breeze and small, prevailing northeast sea. Our first fish was hooked just as it was cracking first light, about a 140-pound-class yellowfin tuna. We landed a few more similar grade tuna on the fly-lined sardine and on the sinker rigs. Just as the sun was rising above the horizon, our good friend Gary Alexander boated one that taped out at 202 pounds.The rest of our day was a steady scratch at mostly 120- to 180-pound tuna, usually with 1 to 3 hooked most of the day. We had a little shot late in the afternoon and were busy until dark. The guys working hard at finesse fishing the fly-lined sardines had the most success.”

The following day, more of the same: “We awoke this morning to the calmest ocean we have seen all week, less than 5 knots of wind and absolutely beautiful. We had a little less action today than we've had the last few days but the overall grade of fish was better. Most of the fish we landed today were between 130 and 190 pounds. We had 6 fish between 180 and 199 pounds, and a respectable number of fish between 130 and 160 pounds, and we even picked up 7 wahoo throughout the day. The guys working at finesse fishing the fly-lined sardine had the most success and fishing the fluorocarbon made a difference.”

To finish the trip, the big sportfisher stopped at the Rocks for a shot at wahoo. “We arrived on scene at 0400 this morning and anchored where this wahoo has been for the better part of a month. We picked up one dorado and two yellowtail on the dropper loop rigs before first light. Once we had a little light on the water, we started the chum and within minutes we hooked our first wahoo. Then we hooked another, and then another. Our first go around produced 5 wahoo up to 50 pounds. We experienced good scratch fishing for wahoo on the anchor the rest of the morning.”

The report continued, “We pulled the anchor around 1100 at looked around to find a kelp paddy floating near-by. Our first kelp produced a dozen nice dorado. We found another kelp that produced another 15 dorado. We made one last pass for wahoo on our way out and had 3 stops for 14 more quality wahoo and some dorado mixed in.”

Rooster goes long

BOB PETERSON WITH a 228-pound yellowfin caught aboard the Rooster.

The Red Rooster III was also on the cow grounds scoring mostly fish in the mid-100s with a good sample of cows. Capt. Andy Cates was at the wheel on the Accurate sponsored trip and sent this report, “We had a slower day today but still picked off some decent-grade fish. All in all, the grade is good out here and we are happy to be picking.”

When all was said and done, the jackpot winners were 1st place, Larry Kelly with a 238-pound yellowfin; 2nd place was Bob Peterson with a 228-pound yellowfin; and 3rd place was Gary Tereoka with a 215-pound yellowfin tuna.

RP finishes at the ’lupe

The Royal Polaris was on the Young’s Tackle/Mac Open trip and spent the days at Guadalupe Island. After good fishing that slowed considerably, the boat sent this wrap: “Well we are done, and all things a side, it was a good trip. We had at least 50 yellowfin over the 100-pound mark, with most of the fish in the 120- to 150-pound range. Most anglers got their personal best, while others just had a great time.

Angler returns

kenscustomreelsaaKEN’S CUSTOM REELS group with a Guadalupe Island catch on the AA.

The JP winners from the Ken’s Custom Reels 7-Day that fished exclusively at the big island were as follows: 1st place, Fred Fukunaga with a 160.5-pound yellowfin; 2nd place, Tim Landis with a 150.5-pound yellowfin; and 3rd place, Matt Prewitt with a 148.5-pound tuna.

Big X 10-day

AL FRICKE WITH a 288-pound lower bank yellowfin tuna on the Big X.

The Excel was back out on a Team Hoo 10-Day after an epic 10-day that saw 16 cows and 2 supercows. The boat began fishing at the Rocks as they worked down. Capt. Justin Fleck was at the wheel and sent this report, “We picked up 26 skinnies at the Rocks today, with lots of other chances to be had. The sharks got a little frisky late, so we decided to keep working south.”

The boat returned to the lower banks again but was rewarded this time with just a sample. The catch did include three cows, however. The boat sent this message, “We are seeing good signs of these jumbo-sized tuna again. We only managed to hook a few, but every single one is a trophy.”