I need to preface this week’s report with the disclaimer that, at the time of this writing, I have no idea what impact Wednesday’s storm had on the offshore water conditions. That being said, given the lack of sustained northwest winds coupled with the fact that the fish weren’t biting in particularly warm water anyway, I’m going to guess that the fish will still be biting somewhere once the boats get off the dock already. We’ve got more weather on the way next week, so if you’ve been holding off on getting in a last tuna trip of the year, I’d do it soon as we’re fishing on borrowed time.
This week’s Navionics Chart shows that there are still a lot of tuna in our local waters but it also shows an obvious seasonal trend. If you looked back on my columns over the last few months, you’d see that there were fish living on the Clemente Ridge and down on the 43 for a very long time. Well, last week those fish slid out the 60 Mile Bank and this week they’ve slid farther west. There are also now both bluefin and yellowfin being caught near the Cortes Bank. These fish that are sliding to the west are more than likely on their way out of here for the year. How long it takes for them to actually do that is going to depend on how long water conditions along the outer edge of the Southern California Bight hold out. The section of water where those fish are currently living is right along the northwest wind line that comes off Point Conception so it’s probably going to get wiped out the first time we get three or four straight days of wind out there.
The bluefin and yellowfin that are closer to the beach are likely to stick around longer because those waters aren’t as subject to weather. My guess is that the yellowfin will stick around through a couple more degrees of dropping water temps but sooner or later they’re going to split. The bluefin might stick around all winter like they did last year as we’re already seeing fish in the same coastal zones that we caught them back in January. The fish down south that are biting along the border will likely slide back down the line as water temperatures drop. They likely won’t be going all that far but once they get past 100-miles from Point Loma, they probably aren’t going to be attractive enough to anglers to get 1 1/2-day boats off the dock in the middle of winter.
The good news, for now, is that there are lots of tuna around and they are biting. I fished Friday and Sunday and found fish along the beach and at Catalina Island. In fact, I saw more tuna in our local waters than I’ve seen in a few years. You can read my full report here. The full-day boats out of San Diego have been slaying the yellowfin over the last week and the 1 1/2-day + boats have been scoring lots of bluefin in the 50 to 100-pound range, with a handful in the 200 to 300 range. The boats fishing out west have also been catching some bigger yellowfin with fish to 100-pounds landed this week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the storm didn’t mess things up out there and like I said before if you want to go tuna fishing again this year, I’d do it this weekend, because by next weekend they may be gone.