June is usually a month of mixed fishing results but this one summer’s kick-off has been one of the most inconsistent in recent memory. Before I get into the not so consistent action, I’d like to talk about the very consistent tuna bite that’s been happening below the border.
For weeks now, everyone from the San Diego full-day boats to the long-range fleet has been parked over massive schools of bluefin tuna.
Nighttime continues to be the right time and boats are regularly scoring limits of fish from 50-pounds to over 200-pounds. While not all of the schools boats find are biting, the ones that do bite are doing so well enough that boats are handing off their fish to other boats after limiting out. Flat Fall jigs and heavy tackle continue to be the hot ticket for the night bite and I can’t stress enough that you need the right gear.
If you’re unsure if you have what you need you should contact the landing and ask. If it’s not up to par you should definitely rent the right gear.
The bluefin are biting during the day as well, with most fish coming on jigs or sinker rigged sardines. The daytime bite has been less consistent than the night bite but on Wednesday the San Diego out of Seaforth Landing reported 37 fish from 20-pounds to 204-pounds with a 194-pounder just missing cow status. The day before the boat caught 11 tuna from 40 to 60-pounds, so it obviously doesn’t pay to wait until you see a big score to head out. These fish are acting differently each day so yesterday’s report is meaningless.
With the good news out of the way, let’s talk about the not so exciting reality of what’s happening across the rest of Southern California. Having fished four out of the last six days, I got a pretty good opportunity to sample the fishing in a number of zones. Starting on Friday, I fished the east end of Catalina and found extremely clear water and extremely slow fishing for bass and bonito. While sport boats like the Gail Force out of 22nd Street Landing have been scoring some yellows, like those pictured above, you’re going to need to anchor up somewhere and get a chum line going if you want to catch fish. Not my style, so I’ll take a pass on that island.
I spent Saturday and Sunday fishing the Saltwater Bass Series season finale and looked at everything from Newport Beach to Torrance. While there were some big sacks caught, like these fish caught by Bobby Martinez and Garrett Ching on day two, they had to battle strong southeast winds to catch them. While I didn’t fare nearly as well, I can confirm that the bass bite is pretty tough from Newport Beach to Long Beach and non-existent along the Palos Verdes coastline. Everything up the line looked good but there weren’t any bass to be found.
After struggling at both Catalina and along the coast, Matt Kotch and I decided to make the run to San Clemente Island on Wednesday to try to catch some bass on the west end before taking a look at the yellowtail zone on the front side. We arrived after a bumpy ride in the southeast wind to find good current and excellent conditions along the deep-water kelp and immediately doubled up on our first cast. Though small, those fish made up half of our bass action for the trip as nothing and I mean absolutely nothing was biting. After several hours spent catching four bass and two small bonito, we decided to run out and fish rockfish. Found way too much bait out in deep-water and gave up after hitting ten spots for a grand total of one boccacio. Ran down the front side to where the yellowtail had been biting but never found a cooperative school. Some boats, like the Dreamer out Long Beach Sportfishing, fared better with a big seabass caught on live squid.
While not as steady as it was a couple of weeks ago, there’s still good seabass fishing to be had at the Channel Islands. Graylight Sportfishing reported limits of seabass and one yellowtail for five anglers. With the weather starting to stabilize around the Channel Islands, I’d expect the bass bite at Santa Cruz to improve over the next few weeks. If you’re a bass guy and have never fished up there, I highly recommend towing your boat up there and going fishing. And with the week of lousy fishing I’ve had down here, I may see you up there soon.
If you aren’t going to be on the water next Sunday, pick up your tickets for the Tuna Wars Captain’s Reception June 27th 4-7 Dana Landing. You’ll get a chance to meet Wicked Tuna Captains Dave Marciano and Paul Hebert while enjoying good food, a great raffle, an auction and a ton of fun! Tickets are just $30 per person, which includes food and beverage. Tickets are limited and on sale now at the following link.
Good luck if you’re heading out this weekend!