Bluefin Surge into U.S. Waters

If you caught last week’s column, you read about the bluefin tuna that had moved in along the coast last week. I kept the details vague as it wasn’t my information to share.

bluefin tuna reports

Now that the cat is out of the bag, we had some small schools of fish move up the beach last week and bite for a few guys and just show for others (myself included) as close as 10 miles off the beach between the 14 Mile Bank and the rigs. While those fish disappeared after a couple of days, another wave of fish followed them up this week.

bluefin tuna reports

As much as I’d like to share some pictures of fish I caught, my tuna timing seems to be completely out of whack this year. For example, after fishing bass at the pipe on Monday, Decker and I ran the coastal shelf from above the 14 to below Dana Point and saw lots of bait and good-looking water but no fish. The next day that zone had wide-open bluefin fishing and foamers for as far as the eye could see. Those fish continued to slide up the line and by Wednesday they were being caught aboard the 1/2 and 3/4-day trips. While I haven’t heard any reports at the time of this writing at noon on Thursday, I’d be willing to bet that the fish disappear today or tomorrow. While I’m not sure where they go when they leave, there were fish seen as far north as the Channel Islands this week, so it’s worth keeping your eyes open wherever you’re running this weekend.

bluefin tuna reports

In other tuna news, the bite off San Diego has become a little less of a sure thing and is something I’d call hit and miss for the shorter trips. On a brighter note, boats are catching more yellowfin tuna that are ranging in size from 20 to 50-pounds and make for much more consistent fishing than these bluefin, so let’s hope they continue to move into the zone and don’t get hammered by the seiners once they make it into U.S. Waters. Other than the fish moving around a bit, not much has changed in what you’re going to want to bring on any sport boat trip, a 30#-40# set up for fly-line or sinker rig, a 50#-60# set up for bigger fish and an 80#-100# set up in case you get into the jumbos.

yellowtail reports

In non-tuna news, the fishing at the islands has been pretty good this week with Catalina kicking out some big yellows along with small bonito and a variety of sizes of calico bass. The yellows are also biting on the front side of Clemente this week, but aren’t getting much attention because most boats are fishing tuna. While not as exciting as tuna and yellows, the barracuda are still biting for boats fishing around the Horseshoe Kelp. The good thing about this bite is that for the first time in quite a few years, the barracuda have hung around for more than a week and will hopefully bite for a while longer and bring some migratory sand bass in their wake.

If you’re a private boater who’s looking for a fun tournament to fish this weekend, the Saltwater Bass Series is hosting a Hardbait Only Tournament out of Davey’s Launch Ramp in Long Beach on Saturday. The tournament has no boundaries and is open to three-person teams. You can find out more by clicking here. Also, if you’re a bass fisherman or someone who’s looking to get into saltwater bass fishing, you can check out a free webinar we’re doing at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday the 14th. Based on the panel, it should be an informative event and I can guarantee you there will be a few laughs. You can register for the event by clicking here. Good luck to everyone fishing this weekend and I hope to see you all on Wednesday night!

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...