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Bluefin Bite As Santa Ana Winds Blow

Well, it looks like the prediction I made last week was at least partially correct. The tuna did bite over the weekend and the fishing was pretty good with most boats finding easy limits. Regarding the big fish showing back up in the counts, I was wrong. The Aztec out of Seaforth Landing did find some on Sunday’s trip but they were unable to get them to bite.

Speaking of big tuna that were unwilling to bite, I found some of my own on the way home from San Clemente Island on Saturday while fishing with Jimmy Decker. The fish we found were located approximately 18 miles from Newport Harbor. Oddly enough, the schools we spent over an hour chasing were made up of fish that were under 20-pounds or over 100. A friend of mine ran into this same grade of fish a few miles from there three weeks ago so I think those fish have been hiding in plain sight for almost a month.

The picture at the top of this column is from Saturday’s trip aboard the Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing. They were fishing near San Clemente Island and had limits for the trip. You can read BD’er lynndeva’s full report here. Speaking of photos, as you can tell by looking at this one, submitted by Captain Brandon Hayward, the lobster are crawling and the big seabass are biting. He reported, “Interest in offshore fishing has waned to the point where we are fishing the coast and Catalina pretty much exclusively, although one of the Parkers is still at Fisherman’s Landing. Lobster has been much improved – chalk it up to cooler water – and we have had seabass on the majority of our seabass/lobster combo trips. We will be running these trips through the next new moon. We have two spots open for Sunday, noon to midnight, out of Davey’s Locker. $325 per person and the trip will be on one of the 2017 Parkers. We’ve had live squid on every trip this late fall.” If you’re interested in getting in on the action you can reach him at 949.212.0719 or through his website at bightsportfishing.com

santa anaReports have been pretty thin this week due to the Santa Ana winds that have been hammering us but the few boats that made it out on Tuesday reported easy limits of bluefin tuna. The winds are supposed to die off this weekend so the outer waters should be much more fishable than they were earlier in the week. There are also some good options available to those not interested in fishing tuna. The calico bass bite at San Clemente is still going strong, despite a full moon induced dip in the action over the weekend. My buddy Frank Wong fished the island on Saturday and into some quality bass like the one in this picture. I’m not sure how the fires are going to affect your ability to get to Ventura or Santa Barbara landings, but the boats were getting good scores on quality rockfish along with the occasional yellowtail before this wind started blowing. There’s no reason those fish shouldn’t still be biting this weekend. As for me, I’ll be heading back to Clemente on Sunday and I’ll be keeping an eye peeled for those big bluefin tuna on the way there and back.

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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.