Bluefin Bite Improves
Looks like this month’s new moon on Wednesday night was enough to get the bluefin back into a biting mood. Boats started seeing fish on Friday of last week but they were mostly uncooperative over the weekend. By Wednesday all boats fishing in the area were having shots at bluefin with some private boaters and 4-pack charters reporting limits. The Grande out of H&M Landing got in on the action during Wednesday’s full day trip and landed 16 bluefin tuna for their anglers. While most of the fish are in the 25-40-pound class, there have been some 60 to 80-pound fish in the mix and the occasional 200-pound class fish being seen and caught.
The bluefin are being caught on a variety of presentations with private boaters getting most of theirs on surface iron or poppers cast into foaming fish. If you’re on a sportboat you won’t necessarily get a shot at casting to foaming fish so you’re going to need to be ready to drop a flat fall type jig on sonar marks or flyline a sardine, so pack accordingly. While you can easily land the smaller grade fish on 25-30# test, I’d recommend fishing at least 40# and having a 60 or 80# set up along just in case you run into the big ones.
Since I started down south, I’m going to work bottom to top on this week’s Navionics Chart. The yellows are still biting for sportboats and private boaters fishing the Coronado Islands. The bite has been hit and miss but there are still fish to be caught on the “miss” days. Fish are being caught on flylined baits, surface iron and yo-yo jigs. The sealions are a big problem at the islands right now so your best chance of catching fish is by avoiding the sportboat gang bangs. It’s that time of year and every sportboat that stops to fish is going to get ramrodded by skiffs and that in turn is going to aggregate the sealions. If you see a bunch of boats sitting in a tight grouping avoid it at all costs. There may be fish biting there but between the dingdongs chopping each other up and the sealions eating everything that’s hooked, including your sardines, it’s not worth the misery.
I’ve been neglecting the coastal bite the last few months because it has basically sucked. That has changed of late and the calico bass are biting well along most of the coast. There are also some sand bass biting on the local wrecks and reefs. The biggest coastal news is that the barracuda are biting around the Horseshoe Kelp. These fish are chasing schools of anchovies and if you can find them the bite can go wide open. I fished Palos Verdes on Monday afternoon and had good calico bass fishing along the kelp. You can read my full report here.
I was also lucky enough to get in on the yellowtail bite on the frontside of San Clemente over the weekend and you can read that report here. The Navy has the island all fouled up this weekend and it looks like much of the frontside is going to be off-limits unless something changes. I saw a report from the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker this morning and it looks like they’re fishing an open part of the island so we’ll have to wait and see how they fare for the day. There is a lot of mixed grade yellowtail at the island so I am certain that it’s going to still be biting once boats can get back into the areas holding fish. I might roll the dice and make the run over this weekend to see if I can find any biting fish in the areas that are open.
The yellows are still biting well at Catalina and boats are scoring the occasional seabass as well. The Pacific Carnage will be at the island selling live squid this weekend and as of Thursday morning, Nacho’s receiver has squid. If you’re heading to either Catalina or San Clemente Island, I would pick up a scoop as it’s been the hot ticket on the yellows lately.
Finally, the seabass and yellows are still biting at Santa Cruz Island. This photo is from Tuesday’s trip aboard the Aloha Spirit. The boat landed 100 yellowtail and 16 white seabass for 24 anglers. Wednesday’s count dropped significantly due to excessive boat traffic. With good weather in the forecast this weekend I doubt there will be any shortage of boat traffic around so it’s pretty easy to guess how the bite is likely to be. The bass, barracuda and rockfish are biting well all over the island so if you’re heading out I’d suggest avoiding the area that bit yesterday. Who knows? You might get lucky and have the area that bites today all to yourself.