Island and Offshore Bites Improve

After spending several weeks tightly grouped along the beach, the big schools of tuna dissipated last week and have spread out into smaller groups of fish in multiple areas.

Pacific bluefin tuna

While that’s bad news for all the guys using AIS to chase gang bangs, it’s great news for those of us who like to go out and look for our own fish to catch. With reports of fish coming in from random areas stretching from below the border to Santa Cruz Island, there’s plenty of places to go looking if you’re so inclined. For example, I just spoke to Jimmy Decker who had a trip to Clemente yesterday and he decided to run offshore for a bit after bass fishing. Without too much looking around he was able to find an area that had multiples spots of foaming fish and went 3 for 5 on bluefin for his clients without ever seeing another boat.

Speaking of bluefin, the big ones are biting again for the guys fishing flying fish and multiple fish over 200-pounds were landed this week.

While I’m not going to tell you where they’re biting, if you’ve been paying any attention to the seasonal movement of these fish over the last few years you should be able to drive straight there. That being said, there is something new on the bluefin front this year and that is small bluefin have moved into all of the islands south of Santa Cruz and are biting for boats on the anchor. While the majority of these fish are under 15-pounds, targeting them makes for a fun change of pace.

The yellowtail bite at San Clemente Island has been great for a couple weeks now and boats fishing there are still getting good scores. On Tuesday, the Thunderbird out of Newport Landing returned from a 2 day trip to Clemente with 130 yellowtail and 53 bluefin tuna. Luckily for the guys fishing Clemente, the amount of fishing opportunities in other areas has spread out the boats that hammered the island over the weekend.

Another great yellowtail fishing option right now is the Coronado Islands. A huge volume of fish recently arrived at the islands and the action was wide open on Wednesday with the San Diego out of Seaforth Landing catching limits of yellowtail (170 fish) for their 34 anglers. According to Captain Ryan Bostian, the fish were biting anything and everything you threw at them.

Boats not fishing the islands have been successful fishing kelp paddies both along the beach and on the outer banks. The kelps have been holding a mix of quality yellowtail and dorado and while not every kelp is holding, the ones that are are biting well enough to make up for having to drive around looking for the right one. We’ve got great weather in the weekend forecast so all options should be on the table for private boaters. Good luck if you’re heading out fishing!

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...