Blue Marlin & Wahoo in U.S. Waters

On Monday night I got a call from my friend Captain Jimmy Decker asking if I’d like to fish with him for a few hours the following morning. This wasn’t all that unusual, as was it not unusual that I had to decline due to other obligations. What was unusual about it was when he told me that he planned to leave Newport Harbor at 5:30 AM, head out and try to catch a wahoo in the morning and then look for a marlin on the way home. “I have something to do in the afternoon, so I’ll be home by noon” he explained.

I don’t think Jimmy ended up going on Tuesday morning, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it’s the third week in October and anybody could run offshore for a few hours in Orange County and have a shot at catching a wahoo or marlin. This year is one for the books.

It seems like there are a lot of wahoo both close to and within U.S. waters. I’m not exactly sure how many “a lot” is since there really isn’t any precedent, but there are enough that multiple boats are seeing, hooking or catching them in different areas just about every day. This picture posted by the Royal Polaris is probably the coolest wahoo shot this year.

Fishing Wahoo in U.S Waters

Anyone that follows the long-range reports has seen countless pictures of Captain Roy Rose swinging a wahoo over the rail. But this one is different. Instead of a backdrop of Alijos Rocks or the open water along The Ridge, this background shows the stretch of beachfront property between Tijuana and Rosarito.

Fished 462-pounds Blue Marlin

While the Royal Polaris is trolling marauders nine miles south of the border, marlin tournament powerhouse Capt. Steve Lassley and his team on the Bad Company fished the lee of San Clemente Island on Monday morning, where they baited a swordfish, hooked and released a striped marlin and landed the first blue marlin in U.S. waters this year. The fish was brought to the scales at Avalon and weighed a whopping 462-pounds.


While wahoo and marlin catches remain the exception, the rule for boats fishing offshore in U.S. and Mexican waters has been good fishing for quality dorado. The bite south of the border is so good that boats have been complaining about not being able to get away from the dorado to catch a tuna.

Orange County Fishermen caught big dorado

Orange County fishermen aren’t having that problem just yet, but there are still plenty of big dorado to be caught. John Curry fished over the weekend and managed three dorado to 25-pounds and the Sum Fun out of Dana Point scored a few as well. If conditions remain the same for another couple weeks, you can expect the dorado horde to continue to make it’s way north.

Big scores of quality Yellowtail fish

San Clemente Island was the place to be this week and the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker has been consistently putting up big scores of quality yellowtail. Other boats, including the Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing, have been running to the island as well but many of them are struggling to find enough people to get off the dock.

One Man Charter trip with Capt. Hayward

BD Outdoors columnist Capt. Brandon Hayward of One Man Charters ran a charter trip to Clemente over the weekend and managed limits of yellowtail before heading offshore and capturing a couple big dorado and several yellowfin tuna up to 40-pounds. If you’re interested getting in on this bite while avoiding the crowds, I recommend setting up a charter with Captain Hayward.

Fished and caught Yellowtail and a few Bass

I fished Catalina over the weekend and saw lots and lots of small yellowtail on the backside west end of the island with a few bigger ones at Farnsworth Bank. The yellows weren’t really biting on the day I fished, but my friends and I managed 13 fish on surface and yo-yo iron. We also caught quite a few bass, but they were much smaller than the ones that Tracy Decker and Benny Florentino caught at San Clemente Island on Thursday while buddy boating.

Best 10-pound Calico Bass Fishing

Tracy managed several fish in the six-pound range fishing Sebile hard baits, but Benny stole the show with his personal best 10-pound calico bass he caught on a Tady 45. The bass fishing at both islands should continue to be good as long as the water temps remain stable.

Caught a Bluefin Tuna while fishing on the anchor - Blue Marlin Wahoo

The yellowtail are still biting at the Coronados as well as along the beach in San Diego. The 3/4-day boat Malihini reported in with limits at 10:00 am on Tuesday and the captain was trying to figure out what to fish for next. Sounds like pretty good fishing. The half-day boats have been getting a good mix of yellowtail and big bonito at La Jolla and Point Loma, but on Wednesday morning the Dolphin out of Fisherman’s Landing caught a bluefin tuna while fishing on the anchor in 85-feet of water.

Like I said, this year is one for the books.

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...