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2019 Starts With A Bang For SoCal Anglers

SoCal Anglers 2019

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all enjoyed a happy and safe holiday season.  Welcome to 2019. Rockfishing is officially closed until March 1st, so I figured I’d be writing about sculpin and bass trips…maybe reprise the Knocker Rig, aka the MDR Twilight Rig (don’t want to reprise that controversy again).  I was hoping that something might be happening with the halibut drift trips, or that some boats had gone down to Colonet and scored.

What I didn’t anticipate was talking about local yellowtail and bluefin!

Local Yellows

socal anglers 2019I caught a nasty flu just before Christmas.  I went into seclusion, curled up under blankets on the couch and watched a lot of Netflix. I recovered in time to enjoy our Christmas celebration, but took it slow and stayed in through the rest of the week.

By the weekend, I was going stir crazy and jonesing to feel a fish pull on my line.  I wasn’t quite up to spending a day on a boat.  With a late afternoon high tide, I figured I’d do a little dock hopping and see if I could get some spotted bay bass to play.  I found a good one that I posted to my Instagram.  I was thumbing through my feed and came across this pic (right) posted by Enterprise Sportfishing out of Pierpoint Landing.

I was in the area, so I stopped by the landing to chat with the boys and see what was up. I talked to Capt. Andy Siratt who told me he’d been seeing these fish under bird schools for a few weeks and they finally decided to bite.  They got one on surface iron and 6 more on yo-yo jigs.  They were big fish too…20+ lb. bruisers!  Crewmember Connor Cassotta had one on the cutting board still and told me it was a mixed bag in their stomachs – squid, red crab and mixed fin bait.  I still wasn’t feel up to it to go join them on Sunday, but they found them again as did some of the other local boats.

Meanwhile, down in San Diego, the San Diego is back on the island tip. Since they are fishing Mexican waters, they can still rockfish, but didn’t really have to as they also got into some yellows (above) as well as some bonito.

Local Bluefin?!?!

Then the big shocker of the week happened yesterday.

2019 starts socal anglersOne of my buddies texted me that the Sport King caught a bluefin (above).  How awesome is it that a local 3/4 -day boat would catch a bluefin tuna in January?  Very cool, but I figured it was a random deal.  Then to my surprise the Victory posted a bluefin catch as well (right).  Some digging revealed that some of the whale watch boats had seen the fish in the previous days.  Not enough to go out and target them, but the sport boats were aware they were around.

Capt. Bruce Root of the Sport King stated they chased around the yellows in the morning without getting them to go.  They settled into some sculpin fishing to fill the sacks when the bluefin popped up out of nowhere.  They managed to hook 2 and land one.  The lucky angler was ready and fired a colt sniper into the boiling fish.  He was rewarded with the top catch of this young season.

There’s a lesson there.  I wouldn’t go out expecting yellowtail and bluefin, but you will want to have some essential items just in case.  You never know unless you go.

Good luck if you get out there!