Surprisingly there were no big shake ups on the fishing front before, during, or after last weekend’s full moon. But considering the fishing we’ve been experiencing the last couple weeks, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Other than the Producer out H&M Landing catching the first albacore of the year on a 1 1/2-day trip, things were business as usual along the coast and business has been good.
An influx of squid at the Channel Islands and Catalina has made for some more great spring fishing this week. Both the Amigo and the Island Spirit out of Ventura Sportfishing got into the seabass at Anacapa Island on Wednesday and with good weather forecast for the weekend, that zone should continue to produce if it doesn’t get too crowded.
Speaking of crowds, boat pressure absolutely killed the seabass bite at Catalina last weekend and will likely do so again this week. So, my advice to private boaters is to try and find a non-trampled area to fish if you’re going to Catalina. Just because there are boats set up where the fish bit yesterday does not mean they will bite there again today. Also, the more boats that set up where yesterday’s fish bit, the less likely those fish are to bite again the next day.
The good news is that there are lots of yellowtail to catch at Catalina and San Clemente Island, so when the seabass don’t bite this weekend there will be something to catch.
A couple high liners this week were the Pursuit and Native Sun out of 22nd Street Landing, both 3/4-day boats have been scoring yellows at Catalina on a daily basis. The overnight boats have been getting in on the action as well and the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker had the big score of the week with 167 yellowtail on Wednesday’s trip. The Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing got in on the action as well with 122 fish. The fish being caught on the overnight trips have been averaging a much better grade than the yellows being caught at Catalina.
Not much is happening along the beach for the half day boats fishing out of LA or Orange Counties but the bass are biting for private boaters. I fished both Wednesday and Saturday last week and experienced good bass fishing both days, but an influx of red crabs made the fish a little tougher to figure out the second day. Bottom line is that if you can find an area with no crab the fish will bite the normal stuff, but if the crab are around you’re going to have to figure out what they want on that day.
The big calicos are starting to bite in the kelp and along the beaches as evidenced by three fish over 8-pounds making it to the scales in last weekend’s SWBA tournament out of Long Beach. Getting these fish to bite takes a combination of finding the right habitat and fishing it when conditions are right. Early mornings and afternoons have been the most productive times lately.
Things are still rolling steadily along in San Diego. The 3/4-day fleet has been fishing the islands and catching yellowtail but captains continue to report seeing a lot more fish than they are catching. The fish have been keyed in on micro-bait, so the fishing should improve once that bait moves out.
There are still plenty of bluefin tuna around and they’ve been even harder to entice into biting. Overnight boats, charter boats and private boaters have been targeting these fish with mediocre results. While just about everyone is seeing lots of fish, some well over 100-pounds, only a handful of boats are getting bit on any given day. Captain Ray Summer on the Vendetta got a few fish to bite for his charter on Wednesday and several large bluefin made it onto the deck.
If you’re planning on looking for tuna this weekend, I’d highly recommend trying to stay away from the fleet and try to find some fish of your own. I know it’s tough to drive the other way when you hear guys seeing fish, but it’s kind of like the Catalina seabass thing; the more boats that show up in one area, the less of a chance that any of them will catch fish. If you really want a good shot at catching a fish, take a day off work and get out there on a Wednesday.