Offshore Action Stumbles Along

Be it due to the weather or a lack of angler participation, our offshore season is starting to feel like it’s winding down. Aside from the bluefin biting out west, it’s been at least a month since there’s been anything worth targeting in US waters. And while there are still a few tuna being caught by full day boats fishing out of San Diego, the big yellowfin scores this week were caught over 100-miles south of San Diego.

With the bad news out of the way, let’s take a look at what your fishing options are for the weekend. The bluefin are still biting a little bit for boats fishing Cortes and Tanner Banks but the volume of fish is way down. Most sport boat fish are coming at night, like these caught aboard the Pacific Queen earlier this week. The Thunderbird took a look around that zone on Wednesday, and while they caught one nice tuna, they had to rely on the rockfish to fill their passenger’s bags. While these bluefin can return from wherever they got off to at any time, if the wind keeps blowing and water temperatures continue to drop out there, in a week or two there probably won’t be anyone out there to notice if they do come back.

If you’re interested in catching some yellowfin tuna, you can either roll the dice by jumping on a full day trip and hoping to get lucky or booking a long enough trip to get down to the zone that’s biting. While the southern zone is within 1 1/2 day range, that’s a long way to go to catch five smallish tuna. So if you want to do it, I’d book a 2 day or 2 1/2 day trip to maximize both your fishing time and the amount of fish you’re allowed to keep.

In deep-water offshore news, the swordfish are starting to bite for the guys deep-dropping. Bight Sportfishing had fish on back to back trips this week out of San Diego and fish have been caught off Orange County as well.

If you’re a deep-dropper you should sign up for the IGFA Swordfish Open. This two day event will allow anglers to fish anywhere within 115 miles of Newport Harbor and fish can be weighed in Ventura, Newport or San Diego. Friday and Saturday’s fishing days will be followed by an awards dinner in Dana Point. If you’ve never fished a tournament, I highly recommend signing up for this fun and friendly event. You can get more details by clicking on this link.

In non-offshore news, the yellowtail are still biting for the few guys that are still making the run to San Clemente Island. Much like on the offshore scene, a lack of angler participation has kept most of the overnight boats at the dock, but the smaller 4-pack boats are still getting out frequently. If you’d like to do get in on the action at Clemente, I recommend hooking up with Sekas Sportfishing as they’ve been fishing the island regularly enough to stay on top of the bite.

In other yellowtail news, there are a few fish to be caught along the beach if you can find spots that are holding squid. My friend Tom Troop fished bass in the Santa Monica Bay on Saturday with his son Cash and got a big surprise when this 32-pound yellowtail ate his hook up bait. While the trophy yellow was a one off, the duo had good bass fishing as well. If you’re looking to go bass fishing this weekend, you’re going to have to continue to avoid the coast from Huntington Harbor to Oceanside as it is still closed to fishing for some incomprehensible reason. Good luck out there wherever 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...