If you’ve so much as glanced at our forums or your social media feed this week, you already know that the big bluefin dominate the bite and it’s about as good as its been since this whole crazy cycle started. For whatever reason this week’s new moon cycle had the fish in a particularly cooperative mood and boats went from getting a shot at a big fish every few trips to getting multiple shots every trip. Rather than repeat all of the success stories here, I recommend a visit to our Offshore Reports Forum to read a few of the reports yourself. I found this report to be a particularly good read.
Speaking of big bluefin tuna, I’m probably in the minority here but I have zero interest in catching one.
Guys keep telling me how exciting it is to watch a 200 plus pound fish jump out of the water to eat a rubber flying fish and I believe them. I’m sure it’s one of the coolest things our local fishery will ever have to offer. I just don’t like the hours of tedious trolling that preceded that 0.6 seconds of excitement and I’m very much against the hour long struggle that is likely to follow. Finally, I don’t have the space to or interest in processing a hundred pounds of tuna meat. I’m not meaning to knock the current fishery, I just wanted to share this so potential big game anglers can go in with their eyes open before spending a bunch of money to pursue a fish they might just realize they didn’t really want to catch.
Speaking of not wanting to catch big bluefin, I intend to try and do that as soon as I finish this column and take care of a few other things around the office. This chart, which is from the new version of fishdope, shows today’s game plan. If you haven’t checked out the fishdope charts lately, you can now plot a course to get total mileage. My course leaves from Long Beach, crosses the 277 and the 289 before heading to the Clemente Ridge. If I don’t find any sub-50 pound tuna willing to bite a lure that I can cast and retrieve, I’m bending it up to the east end of Catalina for some bass fishing before arriving back at the dock approximately 120 miles later.
I’m planning to clear the harbor by 11:00 a.m. and this afternoon’s forecast is for calm winds so I figure that by running 30 MPH I can be at the ridge by 1:00 p.m. and if I don’t like what I see, I can be at Catalina before 3:00 p.m. If I fish calicos there until 6:00 p.m. I can have the boat back in driveway and cocktail in hand by 8:00 p.m. I may end up scrapping the whole plan once I get on the water, but its nice to be able to use the new course feature to plan out my fishing time.
For those of you not fishing today, let’s take a look at your weekend fishing options on the Navionics Chart. Things have slowed down a bit on the game fish front in the Channel Islands this week and boats are targeting bass and rockfish. I really doubt that the yellows that were biting left the islands, so my guess is that they’ll pop back up again soon. As for seabass, I’m sure that we’ll start seeing a few more scores as we approach next Friday’s full moon.
There are still some seabass and yellows biting at San Nick but the island isn’t getting much pressure because it’s just too damn far away from any of the landings. I heard that there’s a petition currently going around online demanding that the Navy blow up Santa Barbara Island and move San Nicholas into it’s current location but even if they get enough signatures, I’m sure the enviros will attempt to block the move out of spite.
There are some big halibut, yellows and seabass biting for the overnight boats fishing the islands. The Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing caught these fish on Wednesday’s trip. Live squid has been the key to getting bit. The Navy has San Clemente Island all screwed up this week and into the weekend, so I’d take a close look at the schedule before making the run. The fishing at the island hasn’t been great even when the navy will let you get near it but there have been some bluefin tuna biting biting in some of the same areas that guys were catching them last year there.
There is quite a bit of yellowtail at Catalina Island right now but the fish haven’t really been biting well because of the amount of bait at the island. An exception to this was Sunday’s trip aboard the Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing where a full load of passengers landed 63 fish. Private boaters who are willing to put in some time looking around for conditions have a pretty good shot at finding some yellows if they avoid the crowds. Speaking of private boat yellows, if you missed my webinar last week you can watch the whole thing here.
The bass are biting along the coast and while there are still a few barracuda biting on the Horseshoe Kelp but most of the action is on rockfish with the occasional bass in the mix. There are a few scattered yellows biting along the beach in San Diego but it’s very hit and miss. The yellows are still sort of biting at the Coronado Islands but its a far cry from the wide open fishing that was happening a couple weeks ago.
If you read last week’s column, you know that I recommended the Pacific Queen as one of the go-to boats for big fish. Well, the captain and crew certainly proved me right with this load of local fish that looks more like a trip to Hurricane Bank. If you want a shot at a giant its time to get out there.