Southern CA Saltwater

363-pound bluefin!

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 06, 2018

SAN DIEGO — As this writer sat at the round table early Sunday morning as others gathered for the meeting of the PFMC California State Delegation, in strode Wayne Kotow, CCA-Cal Executive Director, phone in hand. What he had was a night photo on the back deck of the American Angler with crew and his good friend Joe Hajduk, and an immense bluefin tuna. While it taped out to nearly 400 pounds, once it hit the scale it weighed 363. Impressive.

JOE HAJDUK’S BIG bluefin on the American Angler. While it taped out at close to 400 pounds, once it hit the scale it weighed 363.

The story was they had fished Mexican waters for most of the Ken’s Custom Reels 10-day, and run for the outer banks for the final day. Along the way they spotted a bunch and stopped, hooking the big one.

In the past week, the fringes of the shelf break surrounding the Cortes Bank hosted most of the bluefin action, with most fish averaging 60 pounds or so, but with some strikes of the big boys mixed in.

The Tribute had reported in with 5 of 11 fish landed on a 1.5-day, over 200 pounds. The Shogun called in limits, 48 bluefin for 24 fishing their 1.5 dayer. Their fish ranged from 25 to 80 pounds. The Pacific Queen rolled in Sunday morning with 69 bluefin including 4 in excess of 200 pounds, 3 more in the 100s, and the rest in the 40- to 60-pound range.

The New Lo-An had 13 bluefin from 50 to 265 pounds. The largest tuna aboard the Sea Adventure 80 was a 246 pounder.

Meanwhile, the yellowfin tuna snap down the Mexican coast continued full speed. Most of the action was again at 1-day to 1.5-day range, offshore and slightly south of Ensenada. The Old Glory ran back-to-back-to-back full limits trips, 4 of them and a couple more well over the hump but not quite full limits of yellowfin. Plenty of skipjack tuna and a few yellowtail with an occasional dorado added to the fun. The Mustang hit full quotas on the YFT over the weekend as well.

CAPT. MIKE McDANIELS on the Sea Adventure 80 with big bluefin coming out of the hold, on deck.

Both the Liberty and Condor maxed out on yellowfin as the autumn heavy harvest continued and scuppers ran red.

PFMC Council Member Louie Zimm said a warm water pool on the upper 9-mile Bank held lots of schools of skipjack, within 1⁄2-day and skiff range. He trolled up fish on feathers and slow-trolled sardines to get them biting and then put out the fly-lined baits. The fish were up on top — breaking fish, breezers and big shiner spots.

A few of the 1⁄2- and 3⁄4-day trips targeted the bite and Friday the morning half on the Daily Double hammered 191 of the poke tuna with 26 anglers fishing.

The San Diego made a run to the Coronado Islands and found yellowtail eating the yo-yo iron and lots of bonito there.

Along the coastline there continued to be lots of 4- to 7-pound fish, with fish along the kelp line and out over deeper water from the tip of the Point Loma kelp bed, northward all along the coast.

It’s been a troll-and-stop fishery in waters out to 50 fathoms for most party boaters and private boaters. Standard feathers and Rapalas have been getting the boats stopped and small chrome like the ColtSniper or live bait gets them once the boat is stopped.

Anglers fishing 1⁄2-day should be prepared to fish double dropper rockfish gear as well, as some trips ended up with big numbers of rockfish.

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