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Southern CA Saltwater

San Pedro: 3/4-day Native Sun nabs 80 pounder

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Aug 13, 2019

SAN PEDRO/LONG BEACH — 22nd Street Landing twilight skipper and office manager Mike Morrison said Capt. Jeffrey Walker, skipper of the Native Sun told him mater-of-factly "'I'm going to catch a tuna today' and about 1 o'clock he had one."

The story was he pulled the boat into a field of breaking fish whereupon anglers hooked 3 of the mostly 100-pound class fish. Joey Machwano managed to hang on to his 86 pounder he hooked on a Kicker Jig.


JOEY MACHWANDO WITH the Native Sun crew show off his 86-pound 3/4-day bluefin, on the surface iron.

All 3 biters were on the surface iron. Anglers were basically prepared for fishing yellowtail and had they come with big tuna in mind, it could have been more of course.

Morrison saw this tuna action as the season’s "first wave" of fish to waft into local island waters.

Also kicking up a big show at Catalina Island were those 20-pound plus mossbacks and equally, it was a challenge to draw a strike, then to land one. Each day boats fishing the island were seeing shots but the fish were big, mean and picky biters more recently.

On the coast, the sand bass bite had its moments on twilights. The Native Sun had a Long Beach Rod and Reel charter Friday evening and pulled 137 keepers. Not too many days earlier the Monte Carlo's twilight had finished up limits of sand bass – 105 for 21 anglers.

While local 1/2-day runs whacked sculpin hard, even limits, twilight runs were basically sand bass or bust on leadhead and squid. This was unless there were like 70 people on deck all looking for fish taco fare for their efforts, pulling scullies to the forefront.

The outer island overnight boats, both from 22nd Street Landing Sportfishing, the Toronado from Pierpoint Landing and the Eldorado out of Long Beach Sportfishing cycled between fishing San Clemente Island, Santa Barbara and San Nicolas islands, depending on the latest results and current weather conditions. So it was hard to know where one might end up fishing on an overnight trip. 


JEFF DALTON AND crew show off the great grade of yellow now on tap and busting tackle out at Catalina Island, here aboard the Gail Force.

As for San Nic, despite some persistent westerly winds the yellows bit better this past week and those reds and lings were a given. As for SBI, sheephead and whitefish plus rockfish also offered a solid plan B.

South at San Clemente, the seabass and yellowtail ops seemed a bit more consistent, and there were some rockfish for a backup plan. It was other surface fishing targets providing much of the action, including lots of calicos, some bonito and barracuda.

Just offshore the tuna fleet tried for those huge bluefin, but it took dedication and a go-for-broke attitude to fish those — not the best option for a whole boatload of overnight anglers each expecting to catch something that day.

Steve Phelps reported for Long Beach Sportfishing, "Catalina Island has been excellent for our freelance 3/4-day, Victory, as Captain Phil headed across on Wednesday with 23 anglers. He found a spot of willing yellowtail, and it was game on. After about 50 hookups, 34 nice quality yellowtail hit the deck. The rest of the day was spent looking for more yellows, and the final count was 34 yellowtail, 20 whitefish, 2 sheephead, 10 rockfish, 8 calico bass, and 40 calico bass released.

"This week, 20-pound fluorocarbon and smaller hooks (1-1/0) were the ticket to getting bit at the Island. Captain Jeff aboard the overnight boat, Eldorado, has been having excellent mixed bag, quality fishing, at the Outer Islands. On Friday, he checked in with 21 big yellowtail, up to 35 pounds, 250 quality rockfish (mainly vermilion up to 6 pounds), 12 whitefish, 4 sheephead, 9 lingcod, 2 calico bass, and 6 barracuda."

THE OPTIONS VARIETY pack included big bluefin, a hefty mako and a boatload of reds and whitefish. Jason Nash and Sean Reddy have the bluefin, a pair of 100-pound class fish.

The Eldorado is running a Captain's Special low fare on its overnight trips fishing Monday through Thursday.

Over at L.A. Waterfront the Gail Force had a nice go-round on the big Catalina Island yellows, with 3 to 5 fish going at a time. The fish were mean and the bite resulted in only modest numbers landed.

Aboard the Sport King anglers also had their chances and landed 5 to 10 of the big bruisers each trip, plus bass, barracuda and the usual small stuff.

As far as the local sculpin bite went the local boats out of Pierpoint Landing once again really had that scene lined up — posting big numbers of the red devils like clock work.

The Enterprise 3/4-day made a coastal stop for them on their way to the island as conditions warranted.

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