Southern CA Saltwater

Settled into winter mode

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 02, 2019

SAN DIEGO — The big 4 San Diego landings settled into winter mode. The trips on the books for the new year included Friday evening departures for freelancing the Baja Coast on 1.5-day trips. H&M Landing put the Premier on line to fish the Lower 9 deeps for eager rockfish in Mexican waters, providing an off-season local rockfish option. The long range fleet was out-bound on their most far reaching journeys of their season, chasing the big yellowfin on 10- to 21-day trips.

A NICE GRADE bluefin, posted by the Red Rooster III, before heading on in to fish the Mexican Coast for good action on yellowtail and rockfish.

The Malihini was on the schedule to fish the Coronado Islands. Several boats will continue to offer evening hooping trips. Local whale watch trips were gearing up to follow the winter grey whale migration. For those looking for slightly longer weekend fishing trip the Sea Adventure 80 was on line for 2.5-day freelance trips, providing a better shot for winter Baja bluefin.

The final days of '18 had 1/2-day trips fishing the best bite they could find, more recently lots of ocean whitefish with fair rockfish and a few bonito. The Daily Double docked Sunday with some 242 whitefish to their credit, plus a pair each of sand bass, sheephead and bonito — 25 rockfish too. Come January, it will be sand bass, sculpin and incidental sanddabs on tap for the California waters 1/2-day.

For now the Baja Coast was all quality rockfish. The PacificVoyager was just back with 13 anglers aboard, having fished a 1.5-day. They limited out with 4 lings in the quota.

The Malihini had hit the Coronado Islands up with 25 anglers aboard. The bottom bite was on and 235 whitefish, reds and other cods added up nicely, along with 5 calico, a sand bass, 3 lings, a pair of sheephead, 18 bonito and a yellowtail.

Capt. Bill Wilkerson said the boat is on line to fish Saturday and Sunday each weekend through the winter. Saturday his day began with excellent action in 40 to 50 fathoms of water for whitefish and rockfish. They put 35 nice reds on deck along with the rest of the bottom biters in the count, before hitting up the shallows for bass, bonito and such.

The trip is freelance style targeting the best bite available each day, and cold water or hot, the bountiful bottom biters stay on tap all year down there. So bring a variety of tackle, surface stuff for when the water's blue — bottom stuff for when it's green.

Similarly, the Red Rooster III reported in having connected with bluefin tuna in offshore waters, before rotating toward the coast for rockfish and trying for yellow this past couple of days.

Also out of H&M, the Old Glory was the one on line to run the weekend 1.5-day freelance trips.

At Fisherman's landing the Pacific Queen was scheduled for the run, backed up by the Condor as warranted.

Over at Point Loma Sportfishing the New Lo-An was the 1.5-day weekend run. At Seaforth Sportfishing either the Tribute or Tomahawk was on the schedule for Friday evening departure.

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