Full Moon Fuels Seabass and Bluefin Bites

I got up this morning and the first thing that I saw on Facebook was that the New Hustler out of Hook’s Landing had posted about catching limits of seabass (69 fish) by 5:30 a.m. at Santa Rosa. Shortly thereafter, I logged onto Fishdope and saw that a bunch of bluefin had popped up in a new area yesterday afternoon. After a couple of cups of coffee, I gave my friend Jimmy Decker a call to see how his bass trip to Point Loma was shaping up. “We’ve been fishing for over an hour and conditions look great but we haven’t even seen a calico” was his response. And despite not having been paying any attention to the current lunar cycle, based on those three observations, I could guess his next comment before he even opened his mouth, “I knew it was going to suck when I got up at 2:30 this morning and thought I’d left the porch light on because the full moon was so bright.”

The June full moon, which peaked on Thursday night, had a profound impact on much of Southern California. First off, it kicked off the squid-related seabass bite up north and to a lesser extent the squid-related yellowtail bite at San Clemente Island. Starting up north, there are two areas of fish, the smaller seabass at Rosa, like the ones the New Hustler caught on Thursday morning, and the larger fish at Anacapa. These are two distinct fisheries, with the Rosa fish coming on the anchor and the Anacapa fish being sonar schools. While the second is definitely a lot more hit and miss than the former, the results can be dramatic. One of the more dramatic trips this weekend came aboard the Aloha Spirit where my friends Bobby Martinez and Garrett Ching along with their charter group had limits of quality seabass and a few yellows on Wednesday. This bite will probably struggle again over the weekend due to boat traffic but will hopefully improve again midweek.

The bluefin bite continued this week on the local banks below San Diego, allowing for private boaters, full-day, overnight and multi-day trips all fish the same zone for the same incredible results. While some boats inevitably miss on any given day, there are enough catching limits and some getting shots at giants to justify buying a ticket. The photo at the top of this article shows the four biggest fish caught by the full day boat San Diego out of Seaforth Landing. As someone who did a lot of long range fishing in my younger days, I’ve been on a few 10-day trips that didn’t have a single fish that big aboard when we returned to the dock.

While the majority of the bluefin are still being caught on live bait, Colt Snipers and Flat Fall jigs, some bigger ones are beginning to be caught on flying fish. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, fish have been caught in areas away from the fleet and with the full moon I expect even more fish to spread out, hopefully to the north so I can catch a few without having to trailer to San Diego. Anyway, if you’re a private boater looking to head out and try to find some fish on your own you should check out my video explaining my thought process for finding fish away from the fleet.

This being the full moon, the rest of the fishing along the coast is likely to suck through the weekend but there are a few opportunities available to catch some yellowtail. The yellows have been biting at San Nicholas Island but it’s probably going to be too windy to fish out there this weekend. The yellows are also biting at San Clemente Island but by the looks of it you’re going to want to be there very early and have live squid. While the bite is a little slower than it’s been, there are still some big yellows caught on the front side of Catalina, like this one aboard the Native Sun out of 22nd Street Landing. And if you feel like losing almost all of the yellows you’re lucky enough to hook, I’d suggest checking out the bite that’s been happening at the Mussel Farm.

Good luck if you’re fishing this weekend!

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...