SAN CLEMENTE — And then, there were summer yellowtail prospects, as most of the islands from the Coronados to Anacapa have the best signal on the yellowtail so far this season.
The best place on the yellowtail has been the Rockpile and the Coronado Islands, where it’s been not just the yellows, but also some pretty doggone good calico bass fishing.
Greg Gawitt, owner/operator of the Pride out of Seaforth Sportfishing, reported that he fished the Coronados on Sunday after fishing San Clemente Island earlier in the week for a sample on the white seabass.
“We were at the islands today (Coronados) and had our best yellowtail fishing of the year and had great calico bass fishing,” reported Gawitt on a call with WON. The trip scored 32 yellowtail, most on the flyline sardine fished at the Rockpile. But a move up to the islands proper turned up excellent calico bass fishing. “Our bass fishing was really something on the better grade calicos,” added Gawitt. All told the trip had 75 calico bass to go with the 32 yellowtail, 18 barracuda, 17 rockfish, 1 lingcod and 37 sculpin. The island fishing has been good enough — and the offshore scene tough enough — that the Pacific Voyager stuck it out at the islands on its weekend 2-day trip. The run had Mexican limits of calico bass (130) to go with 24 barracuda, 4 sheephead and 30 rockfish.
The ¾-day trips out of San Diego landings have been scoring from 10 to 30 yellowtail per trip on average. Point Loma Sportfishing’s Mission Belle nailed 38 yellowtail on Friday. H&M Landing’s Malihini posted 10 yellowtail on Sunday to go with its mix of island biters, while the Daiwa Pacific stuck it out at the islands on Sunday (instead of going offshore) for 20 in the yellowtail department.
San Clemente Island had some good signs on slug 25- to 40-plus pound yellowtail in Pyramid Cove. But then the water got cold and rolled over. But the frontside of Clemente has had prospects, as the Pride picked their 3 seabass on the frontside and the six-pack Dreamer has put together 3-fish limits days on the croaker at Clemente.
Catalina Island has had some yellowtail samples to be had on the frontside, with the Gail Force out of L.A. Harbor Sportfishing posting some days on the yellows last week. On Saturday it had 11 yellowtail to go with 41 calico bass and company, and on Wednesday it had a big day for 7 yellowtail, 150 calico bass (limits), 12 sheephead and 20 perch.
The bass fishing has been a real highlight at Catalina, with some good picks on the bass on the bass when boats have anchovies and/or squid.
“We’ve been picking away at the bass at Catalina and there has been some yellowtail around…” reported John Woodrum on the Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro. On Sunday the 6 a.m. full-day trip fished Catalina Island with just 26 anglers for 80 calico bas, 1 barracuda, 20 sheephead, 77 rockfish, 3 lingcod and 85 perch.
Between Catalina and the Channel Islands the report from Santa Barbara Island is that of 64 degree water and good conditions, but no game fish for the few boats to try. But that could change any day.
The real highlight of the islands scene this season has been the Channel Islands, and the islands keep on ripping, with some huge seabass scores to go with monster yellowtail at Anacapa a few days in the middle of the week. There’s also white seabass, halibut and great calico bass fishing at Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa kicked out some great overnight fishing — and got the overnight boats away from what was a crowded Santa Cruz Island for a while there.
In the nutshell, all the islands are biting right now in the Channel Islands chain, except for the always cold San Miguel that only occasionally kicks out white seabass and has untapped halibut fishing.
The big scores were from Anacapa mid week. That’s when the Island Tak out of Channel Islands Sportfishing Center had full 3-fish limits on the seabass for 30 seabass for 10 anglers. The Sea Jay had 20 biscuits the same day, and the Aloha Spirit posted 17 of the croakers. The same day the Ranger 85 returned from a 3-day trip with 52 white seabass, 72 calico bass, 3 halibut and a yellowtail.
Yellows have started showing, and they are all huge fish from 30 plus to 47 pounds. The biggest reported was a 47 pounder on the Aloha Spirit by Art Essayan.
On Tuesday the Island Spirit out of Ventura Sportfishing scored 4 yellowtail—which was the best sample on the yellows for the fleet — to go with 6 white seabass, 29 barracuda, 127 rockfish, 3 black seabass (released) and 6 sculpin.
The outer islands (read: Santa Rosa) are biting as well. The Pacific Dawn posted 21 white seabass, 6 halibut, 18 barracuda, 200 rockfish and 13 lingcod on its overnight out of Ventura Sportfishing.
The Mirage has been hot on its overnight trips out of Channel Islands Sportfishing Center. It ended its week with an overnight for 29 white seabass for 22 anglers.
Like all the bites along the coast and at the islands, the fishing is good some days and backs off the next only to get good again. In other words, you just have to go and hope your day out is one of the good ones.
WHAT A YELLOW — The grade on the yellows at the Channel Islands is incredible. Here’s the most recent mind blower, a 47 pounder caught by Art Essayan and shown off on gaff by Corey Russell. The mossback ate a live squid fished on a dropper loop.
JIG ’EM UP — A Salas 6X Jr tipped with squid and fished on live squid did the trick on this quality halibut shown off by Corey Russell, who was on break from running the deck on the Aloha Spirit.
EPIC HAUL — It was one of the best trips ever on the Mirage, with the 2-day run out of Channel Islands Sportfishing Center scoring over 3 around on the halibut to go with great seabass fishing. The crew pictured is: Crewman Ryan Conlin, Dan Fellows and Captain Tucker McCombs, who was running the boat on the trip that was one for the memory (and scrap) book.