After fishing Mexican waters on Saturday and US waters on Wednesday, I can tell you that there is an incredible amount of tuna offshore right now. After getting zero bites despite making hundreds of casts at boiling fish during those two trips, I can also tell you that it’s an incredibly frustrating time to be a tuna fisherman. An Instagram follower of mine summed it up best when he referred to the display the fish are putting on as “strip club foamers” where you can look but you can’t touch.
But some fishermen have been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and they’ve been rewarded with quality fish. My friends Seth Dubois and Zach Zorn fished US waters on Tuesday and found some fish that were willing to bite, landing three fish over 100-pounds. I fished the same area on Wednesday and while I saw plenty of 80-pound plus bluefin as well as quite a bit of 40 to 60-pound yellowfin, I couldn’t buy a bite even when the fish were boiling on either side of my lure. I had several other friends fishing the area as well and all had similar results.
There’s so much fish around, that if these tuna ever do decide to bite, it’s going to be absolutely mayhem.
While the tuna have most people’s attention, Captain Brandon Hayward of One Man Charters is sticking with the white seabass and island species until the bluefin are a bit more willing. He’s had a great seabass season so far, catching more seabass than all other small charter boats in his class combined. “Last season I did seabass until mid July, and then we whipped right into the bluefin thing and got five cows real fast on the slow troll and kite baits,” said Hayward. Trips are running out of Davey’s Locker in Newport Beach. Come fall he will be doing instructional trips every other Thursday out of the landing. “The trips won’t be about fishing so much as anchoring, reading conditions, and how to adjust with what the day has to offer. Consider it a Master’s Class in anchor fishing for private boaters. This is a good way to learn at a price much cheaper than a charter.” The first trip will be October 26 and cost is $195 per person.
Speaking of things that are biting, one of the most exciting is the big barracuda that are biting in Long Beach. Barracuda may not sound all that exciting when there are 100-pound tuna to be caught, but this is the first time they’ve shown in numbers in several years and are hopefully a harbinger for the return of the migratory sand bass spawn. The absence of both these species in recent times has put a serious hurt on the LA and Orange County 1/2 and 3/4-day fleet. The weather is going to be up offshore this weekend, so if you’re looking for something fun to do I recommend grabbing your jig stick, a handful of Tady 45’s and jump on a 1/2-day trip, it’s fun and the boats can definitely use your business. As an added bonus there are some big 20 to 30-pound yellows in the mix.
The yellows are also biting at all of our islands. The bad news is that this weekend’s wind is probably going to affect your ability to fish there. The forecast has been fluctuating the last couple days but the wind is going to blow. May not make it unfishable everywhere or anywhere, but I’d take a close look at the latest forecast before booking a trip or launching your boat. The opah are apparently also biting at the islands. The Aloha Spirit caught one a couple weeks ago that most chalked up to being a fluke, but the Fortune caught two more on Wednesday. I wouldn’t go out and buy a dedicated opah rod and reel yet, but it is kind of cool to see these fish showing up in the counts. As far as the yellows go, there are big yellows and seabass biting in some areas at Catalina and there are a mix of big and small yellows biting at San Clemente Island. Live squid seems to be the key to getting them to go but there are some fish being caught on fin bait and jigs as well.
At 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday June 14th, I’ll be hosting a free Navionics webinar about offshore fishing strategies for private boaters. The webinar will cover everything you’ll need to know to go out and successfully target offshore waters. Topics will include trip planning, understanding SST and Chlorophyll charts, creating a plan of attack and successfully implementing that plan when on the water. As always I will be giving away some prizes including subscriptions to Pacific Coast Sportfishing Magazine and some BD Outdoors hats and shirts. You will need to register attend and can do so by clicking on this link: webinar registration