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Dana Point: Tonnage of local bluefin, mostly not biting

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 18, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT – Bluefin were seen as close as 2 miles off the beach(!), but they are fixated on micro anchovy and it’s very difficult to get them to go, said Capt. Brian Woolley of Dana Wharf Sportfishing.

“Offshore this week there was some bluefin that got really close,” he said. “On Tuesday that fish was like 2 miles off the beach, good grade 20- to 80-pound stuff all over the place. The Clemente had one down inside of 60 fathoms on Tuesday.


anotherbeautifulANOTHER BEAUTIFUL Thunderbird bluefin. The boat was on them hard and heavy mid-week.

“A few days this week we had boats out looking and we saw tonnage of that bluefin but there was little caught,” Wooley added. “It’s been super locked in on that small anchovy. One of our 4-pack boats LexSea had a couple shots at it this week and managed a few fish on Thursday.”


The Fury has been out regularly too, in the tuna game down in southern waters. Wooley said he’s taking a few days off – the bite faded, but not the fish – the Fury will be back on it when the moon phase changes and the fish settle in again.


Locally, results were solid, Woolley said. “On the close stuff, half-day range, we had some of that smaller 2-pound bonito make an appearance. Perfect for the fly-line sardine. The bass fishing on these trips remained good too with hundreds of fish caught and released. Some nice standout fish this week included a 12.5-pound sheephead.”


Three-quarter day fishing is still mixing it up a bit. Depending on the conditions, Woolley said the fleet has been starting the day in deep water catching bottom fish. “Some quality reds and grouper have been the norm. Some nice sculpin have been part of the mix too. After the guys have had their fill on the rockfish it’s time to move into the beach for bass and more great action on the fly-lined baits. Plenty to catch. The keep to release ratio has been 20 to 1, but it’s fun fishing. And that bonito has shown up down below in those zones too. We’ve seen a bit more yellowtail as well but fish that have been hooked have been hooked on the light gear and lost.”


captshane
CAPT. SHANE MANSUR showing off his grandmother’s and Dana Wharf Lady Angler Jenny Blue’s calico bass caught on a fly-lined sardine.

At Davey’s Locker, the new Thunderbird gave the southern zone tuna waters a shot mid-week, and it paid off with 66 bluefin (limits!) plus 21 yellowfin. But by Thursday the bite had changed, and they only hauled in 19 yellowfin and 7 bluefin. On an ensuing 2-day, the boat spent day 1 in Mex. Waters for 34 bluefin and 2 yellowfin, but changed up and headed for the back side of San Clemente Island to fish up limits of rockcod on day 2. The Aggressor out of Newport Landing had similar results, a mix of tuna and SCI bottom grabbers.


The Patriot took a swing at a local waters offshore trip on Thursday, enticing one bluefin to bite. By the weekend the boat was back at Catalina targeting yellowtail and filling sacks with rockcod.


Local Newport boats focused on rockfish, pulling up vermillions, salmon grouper and mixed rockfish. Saturday whitefish made a strong showing.


ralphpisanoofRALPH PISANO OF Lake Forest was aboard the Sum Fun on Saturday and used a love sardine on a dropper loop rig to best this solid 12.5-pound sheephead.

thunderbirdregularTHUNDERBIRD REGULAR “Jose” with the Mexican waters 100-pound bluefin early in the week.

the4packboat
THE 4-PACK BOAT LexSea has been plugged into the local tuna scene. These anglers had their limit of quality bluefin and a kicker yellowfin for their efforts on Thursday.

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