Umarex Gauntlet


Southern CA Saltwater

Bluefin will be bluefin

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: May 08, 2019

SAN DIEGO — While the bluefin biomass continued to build, the bite backed off a bit. Some boats got lucky, while the rest of the fleet had to work hard. Meanwhile the big fish moved into 1-day range and the Coronado Island boats crushed the yellowtail. With 23 aboard the Mission Belle bagged limits, 115 yellows plus a few bonito, rockfish and even a couple bass and lings.

On the lucky side of the line was the Pacific Queen, icing 60 big bluefin — limits for 30 — to a whopping 245 pounds in an epic night bite. They followed that with a fair score of 27 tuna for 31, and finally, Saturday's outing was their day in the barrel, with just 8 yellows between 34 anglers.

THE PACIFIC QUEEN'S 245 was the big fish of the week.

A chat with Capt. Scott McDaniels of the Sea Adventure 80 out of H&M Landing revealed the spotter plane continued to find plenty of fish.

McDaniels noted, "It's May, and it's early and the water's still not warmed up yet, and we were very fortunate that they gathered up and bit like crazy, you know, like I say, don't miss out because they're going to be biting again real soon."

When this writer asked about gear, his response was "heavy." For the night time Flat-fall bites, he spoke of 80-pound main line as a bare bones minimum, with a leader of 150-pound fluoro. They had a cow, mid 200s plus up to color only to have it chew through.

But McDaniels admitted anglers have to step down in line size to 60-pound during daylight, sometimes even less to get a bite, basically forgoing the ability to land those bigger fish.

Of course, fishing the kite the line is out of the water and unseen, so it's heavy. Anglers have a good chance against bigger fish on the kite gear.

In the end, the grade that was landed had more to do with what line they'd bite than what was present below the boat. The boat rods are spooled with 200-pound braid and 150-pound leaders for night and kite fishing.

His son Capt. Mike McDaniels skippers the SeaAdventure 80 most of the time, while his other son Capt. James owns and operates the Grande.

Not too surprisingly several full-day boats were able to pull bluefin this past week while fishing offshore. The Liberty turned in two scores in the mid teens. The Grande had similar results with 11 anglers decking 13 bluefin, likely losing a lot more along the way.

These schools have moved close already, and in fact, some were spotted and caught in Monterey Bay this past week, just 10 miles from Monterey and Moss Landing. Satellite data showed 58-degree water there.

The Old Glory found the right kelp and instead of tuna, landed 100 yellows for their day. The Legend picked off 56.

On a full-day the San Diego managed 16 blues. The Pacific Voyager caught the back edge of the better bite on a 2.5 dayer returning Thursday morning with 8 anglers and 2-day limits, 32 bluefin.

Rockfish remained the go-to for the 1/2-day boats, yet by the end of the week, with warming waters bass were on tap too.

JOLENE THOMPSON PHOTO documented this "bass reel" bluefin aboard the Liberty.

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