Sportfishing Re-Opening Expands For West Coast

yellowtail fishing
Capt. Marcus Bailey

As I noted in my article last week, Sportfishing Is Re-Opening, SEA Landing in Santa Barbara and Dana Wharf Sportfishing in San Clemente opened last week.  Most of the focus this week has been on day boats.  However, when I talked to Jaime Diamond, owner of the Coral Sea and Stardust boats up there, she mentioned that SAC (Sportfishing Association of California) had developed guidelines for overnight boats as well.

Going into this season, I really wanted to focus on fishing San Clemente.  I didn’t get out once last year for a “normal” SCI trip (ie. not targeting bluefin tuna).  Fury Sportfishing is the overnight boat out of Dana, so I was very curious to track their exploits last week as they returned to the island.  Other than a handful of private boaters (and the Navy of course), no one has been out there all year.  On the other hand, no one has been out there all year, so I tempered my expectations of what they might be able to do.  As it turned out…Capt. Marcus Bailey killed it!

yellowtail fishing

They got out Friday night, fishing Saturday for their inaugural trip back.  Marcus called in a morning report saying they managed 4 out of 10 yo-yo iron fish.  Pretty dang good.  I guess the anglers on board shook off their rust as the day progressed.  The final count was an amazing 83 yellows to go along with limits of bass (100 for 20 anglers), plus some barracuda, bonito, sheephead, and some other bottom grabbers!  They followed up their big Saturday, with another 52 yellows on Sunday.  Marcus said about half the fish were smaller grade, with the other half pushing up from 18-pounds plus!

With other overnight boats starting their season this week (notably, the Thunderbird starts this Thursday, June 4th), it will be very exciting to see what they are able to do out there on the water as this young 2020 season gets going.  Also worth noting, the Oxnard and Ventura boats got the green light, so Channel Islands Sportfishing,  Ventura Sportfishing, and Hooks Landing get going this week.  Enterprise Sportfishing out of Pierpoint Landing announced they will start running on Wednesday as a Full Day ride.  I checked around with some other LA County boats, who hadn’t gotten word yet, but that situation is something to keep an eye on this week.  Rumor has it that San Diego may be getting the green light this week too.

Lots of new boats out on the water.  Stay tuned.

Pacific Northwest Update

joe sarmientoMeanwhile, I’m still up here in Seattle.  I got out last week on a kayak revisiting the spot where I caught the cliff lingcod.  I was hoping for a bigger result being able to get down there in the middle of that kelp.  Unfortunately, a safe kayaking window didn’t happen to coincide with a good fishing window.  I was out there during an outgoing tide, so the bite proved to be slow.

I only got one bite that I managed to convert into a nicer sized kelp greenling than the first one I caught a few weeks back.

What I did do productively was get some great water level shots of that cliff spot.  I also learned how to use the video editor a lot better on the GoPro app, so I was able to splice in those on-the-water shots to the original cliff footage to put together a pretty nice (and safe to post here!) video of that adventure.

To get back to the re-opening theme…

After a couple of weeks of allowing guides to resume their business, Governor Inslee has re-opened Marine Areas 1-3 which is essentially Washington State’s Pacific coastline, including Westport!

joe sarmientoWestport is the hub of the sportfishing fleet here in Washington State.  Picture the complex where Fisherman’s/Point Loma/H&M reside transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, and you have Westport, Washington.  Westport is where I went out of on my very first sportboat fishing trip at the young age of 10 years old.  On that trip, I caught my first legit fish and it sparked my imagination of the possible sportfishing adventures awaiting me.

Right now, they’re only doing bottom fishing trips (salmon opens June 20th), but the draw is enough for me that I plan to go Thursday.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

With everything going on around us these days, some quiet time on the water catching fish can be a safe haven from the madness.  Get out and enjoy it.  Good luck if you get out there.

washington fishing
Westport, Washington
Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing boats of Southern California. In addition to writing his blog, Joe's writing has appeared in Western Outdoor News, The Log and Griffin Media. Joe is ...