Southern CA Saltwater

Catalina bonito bite on fire

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Sep 11, 2018

San Pedro and Long Beach boats
fish big bluefin bite

SAN PEDRO/LONG BEACH — As local waters yellowtail continued to taunt anglers and evade capture, the bonito bite, accompanied by yellowtail, ripped out at Catalina Island as counts of the 5-pound striped tuna popped past 100 per trip.

As the dawn and dusk bite out between the islands and just past San Clemente Island continued to draw overnight and longer charter trips from San Pedro to San Diego, reports of exceptional catches continued to roll in.

bluefinondeckBLUEFIN ON DECK aboard the Freedom.

Friday the Pursuit – 22nd Street Landing's 6 a.m. island boat, carried 31 anglers and scored 310 bonito, full limits at the large size. The bite was steady too, both weekend days averaged over 200 each trip.

Bluefin grounds results rolled in and the landing's overnight boat Freedom saw bluefin catches in combination with both bigger yellowtail and bonito as some trips found action on both the Tanner and Cortes banks, as well as the areas behind San Clemente and Catalina Islands.

Thursday Capt. Jeff Jessop said they had 10 of the big blues, with 2 cow class fish, at 205 and 215 pounds.

At Pierpoint Landing their fleet was in on the action as well. Don Ashley reported the Toronado's biggest of the week was a 234 pounder on a Flat-Fall by Ray Shim of Gardena.

Options owner Bill Waddle said their biggest of the week was a 235-pound beast.

He reported, "I fished yesterday and we went 2 for 5 in an hour and a half offshore brawl in the middle of the night. I lost a 200 pounder as we saw the hook pull, 10 feet under the surface. We lost another estimated 250 at the boat when it was on its last circle and surged straight under the boat before we could gaff it and snapped the line. The fish we did land were 170ish. All fish came in the wee hours on Flat-Falls and Nomads."

That gives you an idea of the backstory behind every one actually landed.

Steve Phelps at Long Beach Sportfishing provided the local and Catalina Island details.

"The local yellowtail that have been around, and not cooperating for the most part, seemed to have moved on this week. On Monday, Captain George on the ¾-day boat Victory gave it a shot in the morning, looking for the yellowtail, but there were no signs of them, so he moved out into deeper waters, and did great. His passengers landed 289 rockfish, 12 vermilion rockfish, and 56 salmon grouper. He decided to head inside for a bit for some calico bass fishing before it was time to call it a day, and the bass did not cooperate as he had hoped, but the anglers had some light tackle fun landing 3 calico bass, 2 sand bass, and 35 whitefish. They released well over 60 calico bass, once again, just shy of the legal size limit.

"The Ahra-Ahn headed across to Catalina Island on Saturday on their full day trip, and 35 anglers aboard had a great time pulling on some quality bonito. There were yellows around the boat most of the day, but the ever-growing seal population problem, once again, ruined any chance at hooking them, keeping them out of casting range. They ended the day with 150 bonito, 1 barracuda, 16 perch, 3 vermilion rockfish, 8 rockfish, and 37 whitefish."

"The Eldorado is back from San Diego, and have overnight freelance trips online every night starting Sunday, September 16th, departing at 8:30 p.m."

Over at L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing Capt. Bruce Root was in on the big island bonito bite, adding a few yellows and bass, releasing many and sacking lots of bottom biters too, including good numbers of whitefish.

For the Gail Force and Triton, the two boats did well fishing areas up west at Catalina Island, with lots of bigger bonito and shots at yellowtail plus some decent bass at times too. Friday's report was, "Gail Force had a small full-day island charter today that went 8 for 13 on the yellowtail. Along with the yellowtail the guys also had 39 nice bonito and 27 legal calico bass!

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Advertise with Western Outdoor News