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Southern CA Saltwater

San Diego: Bendo! Offshore fleet racks up impressive tuna scores

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 04, 2019

SAN DIEGO — Bendo was the operative word for most of the San Diego offshore fleet. As the week progressed the bite migrated fully into U.S. waters, then Sunday the sport fleet skipped out on the private boater melee and found biting fish off Baja.

At press time the offshore fleet had split between two primary zones and there were fish between too. The bite for most of the week was limit-style for most trips and big scores for all.


bendoonthebowBENDO ON THE BOW of the Condor. The hot action ripped most of the week, dipped Saturday locally and new biters to the south were found eager Sunday.

About Thursday the primary nugget being tapped traversed to just 17 miles west of Point Loma and La Jolla, making it an easy target for private boaters. Friday's catches were off the hook, limits across the board nearly.


Saturday most of the sport fleet charged the zone despite the holiday weekend status and got punished for their folly. Counts fell through the floor. By noon the fleet was dispersed in search of a bite and a little privacy.


But a savvy few had headed south and found success. Sunday saw the bite fully back on, as the fleet to the south crushed the tuna once again. And the spread of fish proved immense, with boats catching where the bite had been in previous weeks too.


It seemed clear there were several pulses of fish coming up the pipe and into range, mostly yellowfin with some schools in the 12- to 20-pound class and others in the 15- to 30-pound class. Plus there were bluefin in the mix – 30 to 45 pounders – catchable on the lighter lines and small hooks often required to draw a strike.


Anglers were encouraged to bring a 15- or 20- pound stick, yet be ready with the 40, for when the right bunch was found and the bite went ballistic.


Still, those that were quick with the Coltsniper and Mega hooked a few, as did those fishing smaller Flat-Fall style iron.


Stops came in the usual way, meter marks, kelps, some breaking fish, and of course, the sonar.


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THE RED ROOSTER III got into the local offshore action before leaving on a longer trip over the weekend. Their mid-week Bob Michener 3-day kicked off right away, arriving on scene at 3 p.m. with 1 to 6 tuggers going all the way into the dark. They wrapped the trip with 10 bluefin going at the same time, all on light line.

Sunday the Sea Adventure 80 turned in 58 yellowfin and 5 yellowtail for 28 anglers. Friday the Ranger 85 posted limits for 19 anglers – 95 yellowfin, 5 skippies and a bluefin. They were just back from a 2.5 dayer with 23 folks icing 149 yellowfin, 17 bluefin and 7 yellowtail. The Constitution was on the board with 15 anglers landing limits of both yellowfin and bluefin tuna.


Tuesday the Chief had 82 yellowfin and 7 bluefin for 31 on a 2 dayer. The New Lo-An was fresh off a 2-day with 24 anglers boating 63 bluefin and 44 yellowfin.


Sunday the Tomahawk turned in 90 yellowfin and 4 bluefin for the day. The blues were 40-pound class. Capt. Jeff Spafford called into Fisherman's Landing saying they'd stopped the boat on fish around 6:30 a.m. and had been in the drift ever since. By quarter to 9, they already had 60 of the 12- to 18-pound class yellowfin in the hold and 3 bluefin to 45 pounds. This was in the new zone, no "skiff traffic" to contend with.


Friday the Condor posted limits of yellowfin for 23 – 115 fish.


Sunday the Legend was on the first day of a 3-day, and called into H&M Landing with a score of 110 yellowfin, 4 bluefin and a dorado, great fishing with 2 days to go! Thursday they'd limited out on yellowfin decking 155 for 31 anglers on an overnight, plus had 22 bluefin in the hold too.


As for the local bite for the 1/2-day anglers, fishing was good but the catch depended on which bay you went out of. For the New Seaforth, Seaforth Sportfishing in Mission Bay it was all about great rockfishing, and they put 23 anglers on limits of rockfish Wednesday morning, sacking 230 of the tasty critters. The Sea Watch was on 1/2-day duty Thursday morning with 14 folks catching 140 reds!


But for the San Diego Bay departures the catch was sand bass, limit style too. The Point Loma's Saturday afternoon run carried 35 anglers to catch 175 keepers, LIMITS! This followed a similar score Friday afternoon with 23 sand bass limits bagged (115 grumps) along with 10 whitefish and 2 scorpions.


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