Southern CA Saltwater

San Clemente Island tuna challenge

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 08, 2017

LOS ANGELES — San Clemente Island's tuna proved challenging to hook and land all week, with some epic scores, awesome heart-pounding foamers, tuna large to unbelievable in size and both yellowfin and bluefin tuna on tap.

For the most part the yellowfin tuna being seen along the front side of the island were the purview of numerous purse seiners working the schools for catches of hundreds of tons in total.

twentysecondstreet420TWENTYSECOND STREET LANDING'S Mike Morrison wrestles a monster cow bluefin tuna at the scale.

There the waters were warm and off-color, yet spotter planes were flying and seiners were circling. Sunday the Toronado stuck around and tried for them, landing 3. But for the most part the yachts/private boaters and sport boats passed them by to take a chance at the much larger bluefin that had set up camp west of Desperation Reef, on the back-side.

There the waters were a few degrees cooler and a whole lot bluer. The 100-pound-plus fish were again joined by 40- to 80-pound fish and it was quite a show, all week as the fish hit the surface and stayed up splashing.

Yet biters were hard to come by. It was mostly early in the a.m. when the big boys bit the glow pattern flat-fall and yo-yo type iron. As dawn turned to daylight the bite backed off while the show ramped up.

Anglers fly-lining live sardines on lighter were able to draw an occasional strike from smaller of the splashing fish. Although the bluefin would respond to chummed sardines, the limiting factor was getting bit on 20-pound fluoro was the same as simply chumming, with regard to anything larger than 40 pounds.

Top scores included the Freedom's 18 bluefin for 35 anglers Friday.

On Catalina island bite, calico bass and bonito were top catches, with a steady stream of 15 to 30 yellowtail and 20 to 40 barracuda per boat being common island scores last week. Native Sun showed 118 keeper calico landed by the 50 anglers aboard for Friday's 3/4-day trip. Pursuit whacked 165 bonito as part of Saturday's catch.

L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing based Sport King came the closest to limiting out on Catalina Island calico, with 17 anglers bagging 72 keepers Thursday. The following day the barracuda found the boat and the 20 aboard picked up 45 skinnies, on top of 43 calico.

With regard to the local bite for the 1/2-day boats, Steve Phelps at Long Beach Sportfishing, Birth 55 reported, "The Southern Cal on Wednesday found a school of barracuda that wanted to bite, and 16 anglers landed 39 quality barracuda, before the sea lions shut the bite off." Monte Carlo had a 15 passenger twilight for 62 keeper sand bass, as a top local score.

Those outer island boats trying for bass, like the Outrider, pulled limits. Saturday the Outrider posted 60 calico for 12 anglers. And they had an exotic mixed bag Friday, with 10 anglers scoring 4 bluefin tuna and 50 calico.

At Pierpoint landing the Toronado had a 145 bluefin and Options, a 125 as WON Whopper of the Week.

Phelps noted the Eldorado is scheduled to be fishing San Diego, weekends, and back up to Long Beach during the week. He said the Black Pearl had a 2-day charter, and their 20 anglers landed 147 calico bass, 132 sheephead, 25 rockfish, and 65 whitefish.

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