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Southern CA Saltwater

Bluefin bite bounces back

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 14, 2019

SAN DIEGO — After a week of big bluefin winning most battles and anglers able to land less than a fish per rod on average, Sunday saw success rise to close to limits for many in the fleet. It appeared partly to do with a few more "catchable grade" fish in the mix, from 20 to 35 pounds, and partly that the fish stepped up to biting a bit better.

KAYA FROM BISHOP, with an 80-pound bluefin aboard the San Diego on a full-day trip. These big fish are close already.

The word from H&M Landing on Sunday was the Sea Adventure 80 and their 28 anglers had landed 24 bluefin from 50 to 85 pounds while fishing 40- and 50-pound line. In addition, they hooked an estimated 20 cows, however, the big fish were just too much to handle on that lighter line and gear.

Crews were recommending anglers fishing any offshore trips, including overnight to full day, have an 80- or 100-pound outfit in their quiver. Landings have such gear available to rent.

During the daytime crews run kite gear with a heavy rod that gets passed to anglers once it's bit. In this case, the heavy line is out of the water with the bait right at the surface, far from the boat.

In the dark the fish will bite the glow iron down deep on heavy line as well. It's during daylight hours when many test fate with lighter line while fly-lining because it gets bit so much more easily.

The New Lo-An managed 33 bluefin for 18 anglers on a 1.5-dayer Sunday. Aboard the Pegasus, 9 anglers managed 17 tuna from 60 to 80 pounds on an overnight trip, and the Pacific Queen had 32 tuna in the hold Sunday morning, plus the first yellowfin tuna of the season for their 33 anglers.

awesomephotoAWSOME PHOTO — Big blufin, by the crew of the Pacific Queen. Is it real?

What helped their numbers was that about half of those bluefin were 20- to 35-pound fish.

Amazingly, the Liberty, while fishing a full-day trip with 21 anglers, put almost limits on deck — 35 bluefin from 50 to 130 pounds for 20 anglers. The Pegasus finished the week with 17 big ones between 60 and 80 for their 9 anglers on Sunday's overnighter.

Yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands had also been hit and miss through most of the past week, but the bite rebounded over the weekend. On Saturday the Grande turned in 31 yellowtail and 10 bonito for 17 anglers.

It appeared they'd had the islands all to themselves, as the rest of the full-day fleet fished offshore with the bluefin available so close to home.

Looking at 1/2-day results, through most of the week rockfish had been the best bet. However, the New Seaforth found local yellowtail on tap over the weekend. Sunday afternoon they put 13 on deck.

The stretch of water from La Jolla to Oceanside was the only coastal section with blue water against the beach in the Bight. It was 64 degrees already, while the rest of the coast was green and 61 degrees or less right along the beach.

FIRST YELLOWFIN OF the season for the SoCal fleet, a 30 pounder aboard the Pacific Queen.

aboardthechiefABOARD THE CHIEF — It's Lori Heath, team SoCal Anglerettes, and Capt. Rick Russel. The team is the first California team to fish the Coastal Conservation Association's all-women's, 1,400 angler Babes on the Bay event in Rockport, Texas – the largest 1-day tournament in the nation. They are sponsored by Izorline, AFTCo, Xtratuf and Costa.

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