While the big bluefin bite around the Cortes and Tanner Banks has slowed a bit as we came off the new moon, there are still plenty of big fish to be caught. This 361-pound fish caught aboard the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker was one of several fish over 350-pounds brought to the scales this week.
While the bulk of these big fish are being caught using flying fish, there are still some big ones and lots of 40 to 50-pound fish being caught on live bait and flat fall jigs.
The bite zone is pretty far from home so it isn’t private boat or overnight trip friendly. You’re going to have to get on a longer trip to take advantage of it. While you can get out there on a 1 1/2-day trip, you’re going to miss out on the opportunity for a night bite, so I’d recommend jumping on a 2 1/2-day trip or longer. Bloodydecks member _o.c.g._ posted a report to our forum that shows just how good the fishing can be out there right now and includes some tackle recommendations. If you are planning to head out on one of these trips, you’d better bring some heavy gear. If you don’t have it, I’d make sure and book a spot on a boat that offers the right rental tackle. If you head out with anything else, you’re likely just wasting your time.
With less than ten knots of wind forecast this weekend across the entire Southern California bight, your fishing options are pretty diverse. And as you can see by this week’s Navionics Chart, there are lots of things happening. Starting up north, the boats from Ventura to Santa Barbara have been taking advantage of the good rockfish bite around the Channel Islands and the calm fall conditions will make for an easy crossing for the private boaters heading out this weekend. The rockfish are also biting at San Nic but other than my crazy friend Brandon Vulgamott who made the run there in his 20-foot center console earlier this week, I don’t know of anyone fishing it.
There were some yellows biting at San Clemente Island before the wind blew and I’m sure they’re still there and biting but the island is getting very little fishing coverage right now due to the bluefin bite at Cortes. There are also yellowtail at Catalina but that bite has slowed to the point that boats are mostly catching bonito. Speaking of bonito, there are lots of them biting along the coast from San Diego to Santa Monica Bay. I fished Palos Verdes on Saturday and had several big spots of bonito pop up in the kelp while we were fishing bass. While the fish are mostly in the three-pound range they make for fun fishing on hardbaits and light tackle.
Finally, it’s been another good week of mixed kelp paddy fishing for the boats out of San Diego. While the fish aren’t all that big, there are enough dorado, yellowtail, yellowfin, and skipjack around to make for some fun fishing. And according to a report by bloodydecks member longboard85, the fishing can be pretty amazing if you’re lucky enough to find the right kelp paddy. The full-day boats out of San Diego continue to fish this zone and while some trips are better than others, most boats have been getting decent scores on at least one species very trip. That’s about it for this week, good luck if you’re heading out!