Southern CA Saltwater

San Diego: Offshore action moves to U.S. waters

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Jul 02, 2019

SAN DIEGO — Through the week the offshore action worked its way up and out, ending the week just southeast of Pyramid Head, San Clemente Island. The area was a hotbed of surface activity featuring run and gun action on foamers of bluefin and also schools of yellowfin tuna. While there remained a lot more show than go, the pace definitely picked up as the 15- to 25-pound yellowfin boosted the bite on the 50- to 250-pound class bluefin in the zone.

With it, anglers enjoyed better success with the surface plug and popper. Other iron strategies working included the small heavy irons for the yellowfin, like the Coltsniper, and deep dropping Flat-Falls for bluefin.

SEA ADVENTURE 80 BIG BOYS — Landing these bigger model bluefin has been all about the larger tackle and it’s taken kite gear or Flat-Fall fishing to put it in their mouths.

Still, those fishing the real thing — live sardines fly-lined and sinker rigs scored best.

Schools were spotted even farther north and east, including some spots of triple digit class critters, and the better, bluer water was welled up between that island and the Oceanside/ Camp Pendleton coast.

One of the first rigs to really rock the yellowfin was the full-day boat San Diego on Friday. It was about noon when their sonar lit up with yellowfin and the bite was on.

They wrapped up the afternoon with 123 yellowfin and a similar sized bluefin in the hold for 30 fishers, in the course of 3.5 hours and 10 short stops. Their best success came on fly-lined sardines on 25- to 40-pound, while those tossing Coltsnipers, poppers and plugs pulled fish too.

In the following days the Aztec would post a 76-fish sore plus 34 yellowtail, and the San Diego was back out for 56, then 25 yellowfin plus landing 4 bluefin Sunday.

The fleet followed suit and the Mission Belle made the zone on a 3⁄4-day run, decking 11. Other overnight and longer runs on the bite included the Pacific Queen with 55 yellowfin and a forktail, the Pegasus with 51 yellowfin, 8 yellowtail and 3 bluefin on a 2-day and the Chief with 26 bluefin and 3 yellowfin tuna.

WON advertising staffer Dylan Depres was aboard the Chief and reported, “Despite numbers of yellowfin tuna being caught further south, Capt. Rick made a run to a different area to chase bluefin tuna. The call paid off and from 9 to 11 a.m. we were fishing some serious foam. At some points there were spots of fish coming up in every direction. This worked out well for the anglers who fished lures on the bow.

accuratereelsACCURATE REELS pro-staffer Gary Gillingham aboard the Searcher with his 144-pound bluefin, at gaff in 40 minutes on an Accurate Dauntless 500N matched with a Smith vertical jigging rod with a 150-gram Zest knife jig.

“At the first big foamer, one other angler and myself came tight and we drew first blood. My fun 30-pound model bit a Coltsniper placed deep in the foam with a long rod. Almost all of the fish were 30 to 35 pounds, with one standout 55-pound model.

“Our hot stick of the trip was Rony Somo from San Diego. He caught his limit on surface lures and even hooked and handed off several more for other anglers. We made a day out of it — 35 anglers landed 22 bluefin and 3 yellowfin. There were also at least 15 lost. There was plenty of opportunity and an impressive volume of fish.”

The near waters action was the best around and as a testament to that fact, the Accurate 3-day aboard the Searcher fished just 45 miles from the dock.

There, Accurate pro-staffer Gary Gillingham decked a 144-pound bluefin after a 40-minute fight on an Accurate Dauntless 500N matched with a 5-foot, 6-inch Smith vertical jigging rod with a 150-gram Zest knife jig. He mentioned their next sponsored Searcher trip, Aug. 4th, still had openings.

There were plenty of those bigger models around to bust lines and break hearts. The Sea Adventure 80 managed to put a 110 pounder on deck among 13 other larger model blues.

Our 5th Annual WON offshore jackpot wrapped up with a 42.4-pound bluefin caught on a Flat-Fall by angler Joseph Rhodes aboard the Old Glory with Capt. Junior Garcia taking top honors and $2,050 in jackpot cash.

WON ADVERTISING STAFFER Dylan Depres was aboard the Chief chasing foaming bluefin tuna this past weekend. He got this one to whack a Coltsniper tossed into the froth.

Other top finishers were Bruce Fraser with a 41.2-pound bluefin aboard the New Lo-An with Capt. Adam Williams, and Wade Wells of Camarillo with a 40 pounder, also aboard the New Lo-An.

As for the local and Coronado Island bite, the Grande appeared to be the one rig running full-day to stay the course fishing the Coronados rather than running offshore. Saturday, 22 anglers were rewarded with a catch of 70 barracuda and 7 yellowtail plus a few calico and bottom biters.

However, Sunday, 32 anglers were aboard the Grande and whacked 65 yellowtail, 9 yellowfin tuna and 6 bluefin, fishing offshore instead.

As for 1⁄2-day, although there was a building bass bite in the local kelp beds, it was rock fishing that put the most fish in the bags once again.

There was quite a surprise on the beach for Mission Beach beach goers early Friday morning. The Pacifica had run aground about 5 a.m. By about 6:30 a.m. the bait boat Cougar, Everingham Brothers Bait, had the lightly grounded vessel back in deeper water once again and on her way to the dry-dock.

Some 17 passengers were helped off the boat first while 4 crew stayed behind to work the boat back off the sand.

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