Though it only officially began on Tuesday, this has been a great week of fall fishing and weather in Southern California. Fish are biting both inshore and offshore and the weather for the weekend is looking amazing. There’s a lot to cover this week so let’s jump right into the Navionics Chart to see what’s happening.
Working north to south, the deep drop swordfish guys fishing around the Channel Islands are regularly catching fish. While the action has been hit and miss, the bite should continue to improve as we get deeper into the fall season. Rob Webster fished up there over the weekend aboard “Ruckus” and landed a 200-pound fish on 50# dacron line. While light dacron line may seem like an odd choice for deep dropping, Webster is a Tuna Club member and fishes by their rules. While catching a swordfish on that gear is an accomplishment, it’s not quite as impressive as the 215-pound bluefin tuna he landed earlier this season on 30# dacron line.
Speaking of bluefin, there are fish scattered from San Nic down to the 43 and as far out as Cortes Bank. The best scores of big fish continue to come from the backside of San Clemente Island but there are enough fish around that you can drive away from that zone and have a good chance of finding them somewhere else. My buddy Randy Freeman fished with Capatin Cameron aboard Pinnacle Sportfishing over the weekend and had good fishing on 100-pound plus fish. Everybody is still using flying fish for bait right now but if you’re out there and see some fish up foaming, there’s no reason not to throw a topwater lure at them. Just make sure you’re using heavy gear.
There are some big yellowfin tuna below San Clemente Island as well. The photo at the top of this article is of a nice fish caught aboard Sekas Sportfishing this week. The boats that are finding these fish have been catching fish from 50 to 70-pounds but there are some bigger fish around. There are reports of fish up to 150-pounds being seen and I just got a call from a friend telling me about a 100-pound plus fish that was lost at gaff aboard a sportboat yesterday. The seiners are wrapping fish along the front side of Clemente so I’d rule out that zone if you’re planning to look around this weekend.
I fished Catalina Island on Sunday and then again on Wednesday afternoon. The bass fishing was pretty good shallow and there are lots of bonito and yellowtail scattered around the backside of the island from the MPA closure down to the east end. We had easy bonito fishing on a good grade of fish both days and did catch a couple of yellows on Sunday but they were little guys. There are plenty of bigger yellows around the island right now but you need to luck into finding the right school. There’s also good bonito fishing on the frontside east end but the sea lions make it almost impossible to fish. We were the only boat at the island late in the day on Wednesday and within five minutes of stopping the boat, we’d have three sea lions on us. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if we were chumming or using bait.
The full-day boats fishing out of San Diego are still getting some good scores of yellowfin, dorado, and yellowtail but the action is very hit and miss. Captain Ryan Bostian of the San Diego summed up the action in a Facebook post. “Yesterday we looked at 612 kelps and they were all empty. Today, the very first kelp we looked at was loaded. Aquarium style fishing for yellowtail, yellowfin and skipjack tuna.” If you’re headed down there, my advice is to go out with high hopes and low expectations. There are more tuna, dorado and yellowtail down south but the fish seem to get smaller the further south you go.
Enjoy the good weather this weekend and good luck with whatever you’re fishing for!