Before I get into the meat of this week’s column, I’d like to make mention of a couple of extremely remarkable catches made last week. The picture above shows the smaller of two 50+ pound yellowtail caught aboard the Native Sun 3/4-day trip out of 22nd Street Landing. Captain Aaron Graham reported his passengers going two for two on these bruisers, one coming on a spinning rod and the other on 20# test, both in the middle of a kelp bed at Palos Verdes. Of note, these fish were caught in the same general area that I saw huge yellows on multiple occasions while fishing bass last year, so maybe some of those 150 fish from a couple years ago decided to take up residence. How many of these jumbos are there along Palos Verdes? You’re guess is as good as mine, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get a shot at one this year.
Home-guard yellows aside, the hot bite this week is definitely happening at Catalina Island. The island has been kicking out big scores on small yellows, small scores on big yellows and the occasional limit of seabass for sport boats and private boaters alike. With biting fish scattered along most of the backside of the island, it seems like all you need is a tank of squid and some current in the right spot to get the fish to bite.
Squid isn’t always necessary, as my friend Chris Chun proved while fishing the island over the weekend. After spending the morning fishing seabass, Chris ran out to the Farnsworth Bank and found the big yellows up feeding on anchovies. Using the surface iron, he and his buddies landed ten fish to 35-pounds. You can read his full report on our message board here. The 3/4-day boats have been getting good scores on yellows too, the biggest being a 200+ fish day the Pursuit had on their 3/4-day run out of 22nd Street Landing earlier this week. As you can probably guess, these fish were not the same grade as Chris scored. The fish the sport boats are getting are mixed in size, with 3 to 5-pound fish making up the bulk of the catch and a few 10 to 12-pound fish here and there. There have also been some bigger seabass mixed in with these schools, but you’re going to have to pick through a lot of rat yellows to get a chance at one.
There are some bigger seabass and yellows being caught at the island by the overnight boats. The Fortune and the Ultra have both been scoring seabass this week, with several trips catching limits. The bite that was happening at Santa Barbara Island got absolutely hammered by the seals and with San Clemente Island mostly closed due to Naval operations this week, expect the overnight boats to be fishing Catalina on most days. The good news for them is that this weekend’s wind and rain should keep the private boat pressure down.
Finally, the fish are still biting for boats fishing offshore out of San Diego. This picture shows a couple of bluefin the San Diego caught on their 3/4-day trip out of Seaforth Landing last week. While there is still some sign of this grade of fish around, they’ve been tough to catch and most trips end up with anglers only catching small yellowtail. As I’ve been saying the last couple years, don’t wait for the fish to bite before going or you’re probably going to miss the best day. Who knows, half the boat might be bent on 100-pound tuna as you’re reading about how they’re only catching small yellows.
Another developing bite is happening out of 3/4-day range.
Overnight boats have been catching some bluefin tuna the way we used to do it before our fishing went haywire. Boats are stopping and drifting on schools in the early morning and are catching school sized fish, with a few bigger ones in the mix. These fish are at the long end of private boat range, so jump on an overnight boat if you want a shot.