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Big SoCal Yellowfin And Bluefin Bite

Southern California Saltwater Fishing Report

There’s not a whole lot new to report this week other than that the big bluefin came back from wherever it was that they went and are again in a biting mood. There haven’t been any big scores yet but private boaters and charter boats have been getting some shots in recent days. The bad news is that where they’re biting falls within the San Clemente Island safety zone and the Navy has parts of the backside closed through the weekend. If you’re heading out there check the schedule and keep your radio on 16. If the Navy makes a general announcement about closing an area, please leave immediately and don’t pretend you didn’t hear them so that you can fish a little longer. The Navy doesn’t like having to go boat to boat to clear an area and if they get tired of doing it they could just close the island to all fishing forever. So, don’t be a jerk because you could ruin it for everyone.

The big bluefin are still biting the flying fish on the kite better than anything else. Captain Gerry Mahieu gave the big yellowfin he’d been beating up the last couple weeks a break on Wednesday to fish Clemente with his friends Matt Newman and Brent Ehrler. Matt Newman summed up the action in his report, “Raddest bite of my life! After a long day of searching we finally found a herd. Some quick rigging and we were setting back a custom flyer watching cow after cow launching out of the water for it. After one clean slap of the flyer on the water an 8-foot boil crushed it. Biggest fish in the boat with two best friends. 262-pounds. So Stoked!” If that doesn’t sum up just how special this fishery is, I don’t know what would.

With the big bluefin out of the way, let’s take at the Navionics chart and see what else is biting. There were some yellowtail caught over the weekend at the Channel Islands but boats have mostly been targeting rockfish. The weather looks okay up that way on Saturday but Sunday is looking a little dicey. Keep an eye on the weather if you’re headed out. There are some calicos biting along the coast below Ventura if the wind makes the crossing impossible. Captain Larry Heron of Calico Hunter Charters fished County Line over the weekend and reported 70 calicos to 5-pounds for his charter group.

Big SoCal Yellowfin Bluefin BiteSpeaking of calicos, they are definitely not biting at San Clemente Island. I fished the island end to end with Jimmy Decker and Matt Kotch on Saturday for less than ten bass. I was lucky enough to make up for my lack of numbers with this big bite on an MC Weedless swimbait. Didn’t have a scale on the boat but it was one of, if not the, biggest bass I’ve ever caught. If you’d like to read more about us not catching bass and hooking and losing a big yellowfin between the islands, you can read my full report here.

Big SoCal Yellowfin Bluefin BiteTo wrap things up, nothing exciting is happening along the coast. There are some yellowtail biting at Catalina Island, which is where I may go this weekend. No one that I know of has been to Tanner or Cortes but I’d guess the big yellows and small bluefin are still biting there. Yesterday’s SST showed a little snippet of mid 60-degree water out at San Nic and I can’t help but wonder if there are some big bluefin out that way. Maybe one of the boats that the Navy kicks out of Clemente will wander out there and take a look.

Finally, the yellowfin tuna are still biting well for boats fishing out of San Diego. There’s definitely a variety of sizes biting down there. Some schools are mixed yellowfin and skipjack, where the skipjack are the larger of the two, while others are straight quality fish. Private boaters should keep an eye out for dolphin because the fish holding with them have mostly been the bigger grade.

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Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal Scene, Erik keeps all of the BD readers up to date on what's biting in Southern California. Erik divides his fishing time on local boats, long-range trips and Mexico excursions. For the past eight years, Erik has been competing in the SWBA (Saltwater Bass Anglers) tournament series and has multiple tournament victories to his credit. His sponsors include Batson Enterprises / Rainshadow Rods, Robalo Boats, Tilly's Marine, Abu/Garcia, Penn Reels, Navionics, Raymarine, MC Swimbaits, Uni-Butter Fishing Scent and Bladerunner Tackle.