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A Bluefin Weekend in March!

Bluefin Weekend –  Southern California Sportboat

About a month ago, the Pacific Queen brought home the first Southern California sportboat caught bluefin of 2016. Since then, I’ve had a number of captains tell me they’ve seen a volume of fish, they just haven’t wanted to go. You knew that sooner or later they had to bite.

weekend bluefinSaturday, they bit.

On Friday, the Top Gun 80, out of H&M Landing, announced they were going to go looking. Mind you, the Colonet trips are going down the beach, so to commit to look for tuna in March, no matter what dope you have…it takes some cojones.

Well they went out looking and sure enough, limits of fish for 17 anglers (2 fish per) on their 1.5-day trip.

The fish I saw looked to be say 15-25-pounds on average. Young angler Cody, (pictured) reportedly had an 80-pound fish hooked for about an hour and a half before it came unbuttoned. Sorry kid…but very exciting news for the rest of us.

I posted this news on the Facebook page Saturday and there was a remark, “I heard it was 800.” I reminded the commenter that there were 100-200-pound fish mixed in last year with 30-60-pound fish.

bluefin bite
Micro bait

On Easter Sunday, Saturday’s big news was reinforced as Capt. Evan Wagley, owner/operator of Guardian Charters posted the picture below of a bluefin tuna that he speared while covering over 200 miles to get the opportunity. Evan told me they happened upon the fish and couldn’t get them to go on rod and reel. He found out later the fish were eating “micro micro micro sized sauries.”

He said his charter was a tuna or bust affair, but after a lot of driving they happened on a paddy and decided to give it a go on some small yellowtail. They got into the water and that’s when the fun started.

march bluefin - bluefin weekend
Capt. Evan Wagley of Guardian Charters

Captain Evan said,The school of BFT’s came up 200 yards off the paddy.   I started swimming toward the melee and within 30-feet. I started seeing them underneath me. I made the dive, and planed out at about 25-feet. Like a rock in a river, they were passing me on both sides, splitting up as they got close. I aimed on the closest fish and BANG!”

Evan estimated the bulk of the school at around 70-80-pound fish, but said there were fish easily 100+ in the mix!

So there you have it salties, we have bluefin in our midst and it’s only March. It’s definitely an early season scenario. You’re probably going to look long and hard. You may not encounter fish and if/when you do, the typical skittish, boat-shy behavior we’ve become accustomed to from bluefin is to be expected.

The potential payoff is the opportunity to catch an early season prize of one of the very top gamefish we catch.

tuna report - bluefin weekend

If you are ok with that scenario, then there are trips available. The Top Gun 80 is sold out for this Friday’s trip, but other boats have trips this week to meet the demand. A quick glance at the landing websites revealed that Legend Sportfishing, Eclipse Sportfishing, Aztec Sportfishing and Pacific Queen Sportfishing all have tuna targeted trips going out this week. Other boats may change or add trips as the week progresses.

Stay tuned. Opportunities like this one don’t come along every year. Good luck if you go!

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Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing boats of Southern California. In addition to writing his blog, Joe's writing has appeared in Western Outdoor News, The Log and Griffin Media. Joe is the father of Jacob and Juliana, and enjoys cooking and eating his catch.