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Southern CA Saltwater

San Diego: Tuna bite best of the year so far

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 10, 2019

SAN DIEGO — Anglers fishing aboard the San Diego area's large feet saw the best bite of the year so far as the yellowfin tuna catch continued to grow, joined by larger numbers of bluefin tuna. And for the dedicated, the Cow Town bite continued for the yacht and 6-pack angler.

Once again the week's catch reports revealed numerous outings resulting in full limits for all anglers, and even a few posting limit action on bluefin tuna too.

johnnylangloisJOHNNY LANGLOIS ABOARD the Sea Adventure 80 with a solid bluefin, one of 40 taken that day.

Those big number catches had largely been made fishing relatively light line and small hooks during multi-hour long stops. In fact, a good number of bluefin hooked in these bites simply swam off due to this disparity.

Those bluefin landed ranged from 30 to 55 pounds but there were a few larger landed as most never saw a gaff. As for the yellowfin, those were 12 to 35 pounders and fair game on the 20-pound fluoro leaders required to draw a strike.

Again this fishery was tapped Bight-wide as overnight and longer trips from ports as far away as San Pedro dipped below the border to access multiple areas of fish.

Capt. Mike McDaniels aboard the Sea Adventure 80 reported, "Fishing Mexican waters in Northern Baja, and U.S. waters south to the border this past week has been very steady with a very good yield of yellowfin tuna every trip. The biomass is very healthy and large with boats stopped, drifting and catching mixed yellowfin and bluefin tuna."

As for the tackle, he and others recommended a 20-pound class rig first and foremost, backed up by gear on out to 60-pound class. Anglers should have a variety of hook sizes, especially in the smaller classes. Short fluorocarbon leaders on a 60-plus-yard mono top shot were also key components.

And if one wanted to be ready should the larger model bluefin show, an 80-pound or greater class stick with a Flat-Fall or other deep water jig might be a good idea — just in case.

As to the length and breath of the zone producing the bite, McDaniels reported, "The spread of boats has been greater than 20 miles, with many boats not (within sight) of one another." He concluded, "The next two to three weeks look very good."

patriotsportfishingavilaPATRIOT SPORTFISHING (Avila, Port San Luis) deckhands Erik Rodrigues and John Gavin made a whirlwind trip south to get on the hot San Diego tuna bite, and they were hooked up more often than not during a trip that produced yellowfin boat limits and three-quarter bluefin boat limits on the Endeavor out of Seaforth.

Highlights included the Legend with limits Sunday and 2 days limits for 26 anglers returning Saturday, 260 yellowfin, with 25 bluefin and 2 dorado. The Sea Adventure 80 carried 27 anglers returning Thursday with 270 yellowfin and 25 bluefin to their credit.

The Ranger 85 posted yellowfin limits plus 13 bluefin for 23 anglers and followed up with a 2.5-day where 26 fishers foiled 45 bluefin to go with 145 yellowfin.

The New Lo-An called in Sunday with 2-day limits of yellowfin plus 33 bluefin between 20 and 70 pounds. The Game Changer, a 70-foot luxury 6-pack reported limits of yellowfin and 3 bluefin.

The 30 anglers on the Eldorado's 2.5-day returning Thursday, posted 300 yellowfin to go with 31 bluefin. The Condor's 33 anglers Sunday limited out on yellowfin, boating 165, and added 7 bluefin.

Aboard the Pacific Dawn 18 anglers had their limits, 90, too.

Friday the Outer limits returned from a 2 dayer with 2-day limits of bluefin for 15 anglers, or 60 bluefin, to go with 57 yellowfin, a dorado and 6 yellowtail too. The Aztec's 21 got into them too Sunday, icing 42 bluefin for limits, plus 51 yellowfin.

The Apollo had 1-day limits of 34 bluefin for their 17 anglers. The Cortez came very close to 2-day bluefin limits on a 2.5 dayer with 18 anglers, getting 68 of those and 86 yellowfin for 18.

As for the local bite for 1/2-day anglers, there were some more solid sandbass scores. Friday the Dolphin's 19-angler afternoon run saw 64 keepers come over the rail. The Daily Double had over 100 Saturday afternoon.

WON STAFFER Paul Lebowitz shows off a just-caught Endeavor yellowfin. On his mid-week trip, a hot bait on 20-pound fluoro and a no. 2 hook was a sure bite, but they sometimes ate 30 as well.

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