6/28 Tuna Report and Analysis of Pelagic Catches vs. Moon Phase

ryanhead

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2009
131
838
San Diego, CA
Name
Ryan
Boat
24' Skipjack Flybridge
I posted a brief report Friday evening for those going out Saturday, but think it worthwhile to post a full report. It seemed like some people really appreciated the brevity of my previous post, but I find it helpful to read people's full reports because it helps me develop plans for my trips. Also, I've heard a lot of varied opinions regarding the effects of moon phase on bluefin fishing so I did an analysis on that and will append the results to the end of this post, so skip there if you're interested but don't want to read a lengthy report.

It looked like everyone was planning to fish the zone outside the 371 and 302 on Friday and I hate fishing with fleets and I had heard that there were fish caught below the 425 with no one around so we opted to head south instead of west. We passed a massive school of dolphins with working terns about 3 miles west of north island but couldn't get anything to go. We got to the 425 around 0730 and found working birds, sonar marks and breaking yellowfin. We trolled around for nothing, but a boat a mile west of us got a few bluefin and yellowfin on the troll. We headed down toward the upper hidden on a SSE heading but it was lifeless on the way down and we stopped a few miles shy when someone reported that there was nothing going on there. We decided to head west between the 425/371 and upper hidden and it was looking really lifeless, but some terns working some schoolie yellowfin appeared out of nowhere. We got a triple going on the troll but only landed one of them, but then got two more on bait while the fish were blowing up around the boat. We wandered around that zone for a while for two more yellowfin on a blind jig strike and then decided to head to the 371 where people mentioned seeing fish all day and a few were caught on the troll. There was a pile of boats and no fish at the 371 and guys started reporting bluefin puddlers around the 302, but we didn't want to fish with the crowd so we went back to the 425 where we knew there were fish. Picked up a 35# bluefin on a cedar plug daisy chain 150 yards back and waited for the evening bite to happen but we gave up around 7 pm and headed for home. A few guys on the radio were reporting that the 302 was dead, but one guy said he got a few more bluefin on the popper under birds at the 302 at the same time. Ran through the south 9 on the way home and found another huge school of dolphin with working terns but couldn't get anything to go. Water temp and color was pretty consistent all day and everywhere that we went. Quite a few boats reported fish, especially before noon and after 5 pm, the vast majority being blind jig strikes on cedar plugs or poppers thrown around bird schools. If I went out tomorrow, I'd fish the 425 and the area several miles south and west of 425 looking for bird schools and trolling over sonar marks. The volume of fish out there is unbelievable. While trolling all over the 425, we were marking fish every few minutes with a 200 kHz beam. I've never seen anything like it. The fishing is gonna be insane when the finally start biting good.

20190628_164811.jpg

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I've heard a lot of talk about bluefin fishing correlating to moon phase, but it seems like some people said that bluefin bite best after a full moon and some said that bluefin bite best after a new moon. I pulled the 2018 season fish counts from April through November for the San Diego landings and compared the number of bluefin, yellowfin, yellowtail and dorado caught to the number of days after a new moon. I also looked at the number of "skunks", where less than 10 bluefin, 100 yellowfin, 50 yellowtail or 10 dorado for all landings combined are considered a "skunk".

plots.jpg


The plots show polynomial trend lines to fit the data. Solid lines are the number of fish caught relative to the maximum number of fish caught over that period, and the dashed lines are the probability of a "skunk". The independent axis is days after the new moon, so 0 is a new moon, 7 is a first quarter, 15 is a full moon, 22 is a third quarter, and 30 is a new moon again.

The bluefin plot is the easiest to interpret. The most bluefin are caught and the lowest probability of a bluefin skunk occurs around 1 week after a new moon. At least for 2018, bluefin definitely bite better around a new moon. The time between a full moon and the third quarter is the worst time to fish for bluefin because the odds of getting skunked are twice as high and the fish counts are less than 1/2 compared to the week after a new moon.

Yellowfin behave slightly differently, with counts peaking around the first quarter and skunks peaking between the full moon and third quarter but remaining relatively consistent.

Yellowtail skunks are pretty consistent across the entire moon phase, but the yellowtail counts are twice as high at the third quarter compared to the first quarter.

Dorado counts are also relatively consistent, but catches are twice as high right before a new moon compared to right before a full moon.

Regarding practical applications:

If you didn't care whether you caught yellowtail or tuna, if you were fishing between the new moon and the first quarter, you should go tuna fishing, but if you were fishing between the full moon and third quarter, you should go to the islands for yellowtail or focus on paddy hopping.

If you want to maximize your odds of catching bluefin, fish the week after a new moon.
If you want to maximize your odds of catching yellowfin, fish around the first quarter.
If you want to maximize your odds of catching yellowtail, fish around the third quarter.
If you want to maximize your odds of catching dorado, fish the week before the new moon.

Be aware that this is all derived from 2018 data and we all know that fish behave differently year-to-year. Also, there were significant outlying data points for every plot, i.e., there were outstanding fishing days when the moon phase would predict a poor fishing day, and there were terrible fishing days when moon phase would predict a great fishing day. Basically, this is interesting data and might help a little, but fish whenever you can and target whatever species interests you. The plots predicted that Friday would be a terrible day for bluefin, but we went after them and managed to get one.
 

jsl

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 8, 2005
862
206
Ontario
Name
Scott
Boat
none
Thank you for taking the time to plot the data and offer some analysis. Like you stated, this data was derived from 2018 and may be entirely different from year to year. In scientific terms, it basically means nothing due to the fact that no correlation can be derived.

IMO, most of the observations made by many fishermen relating to this and other fishing matters also exhibit the same types of falsehoods as actual data does not coincide with claims/experiences.

IMO, just go fishing whenever you want. Have a good attitude and leave the catching to the fish gods

Scott
 

pastdue

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 18, 2006
193
59
71
Mira Mesa
Name
Don Cale
Boat
18.5 Larsen cc Pastdue
My wife killed me when I processed fish inside our kitchen. That was the first and last time I’ll do that again.

Good going on the ceder plug and report.
Oh my when that bone pokes that black bag your wife is going to kill you when you dragged all that across the house
 

negitoro

Well-Known "Member"
Jun 19, 2012
86
326
villa park, ca
Name
bruce
Boat
ISLANDER, NEW LO-AN
Great report and analysis. But, my theory is that you will always get skunked if you're not out there soaking baits! While I think your analysis is correct, it's still fishing. With the right boat and captain, it's all good. It might be even better with lighter loads. Who knows...it's BFT fishing.
 
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SD2600

Opinions aren’t constitutional- they are earned
Apr 13, 2017
452
288
39
San diego
Name
Dustin
Boat
26' sea swirl
Very interesting. Thankyou. Pretty much 100% accurate since those fish have already been caught. Now to find the magic 8 ball that can predict the fish that are still out there......
 

MightyMach

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 17, 2007
739
181
Corona
Name
Jeff
Boat
Phoenix 29 SFX "Given Inn," 17' Duckhungint boat, "Camo-Toe"
My wife killed me when I processed fish inside our kitchen. That was the first and last time I’ll do that again.

Good going on the ceder plug and report.
Was going to say he is clearly single or now going through divorce.

Good show, my man!
 

998R

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 22, 2008
649
686
san diego
Name
M
Boat
Blue Monkey, BM2
289C1F9A-19EC-40C5-8486-24A528749391.jpeg
My recent analysis on “funk” inside the house can last up to 2-4days. Depending on how big the fish, how many fish was cleaned, how big your kitchen/Home is, and of course depending on the moon phase ;)

After oxycleaning, pinesol and the kitchen sink of cleaners. Although my place was super clean afterwards.

My 70lb bft funked up my house for 3 days!! Worst 3days with my wifey. I nearly died.
 

clevel

Skipper
Jun 4, 2011
949
637
Laguna Niguel
Name
Cabo Jack
Boat
Cobia 261
View attachment 1042178 My recent analysis on “funk” inside the house can last up to 2-4days. Depending on how big the fish, how many fish was cleaned, how big your kitchen/Home is, and of course depending on the moon phase ;)

After oxycleaning, pinesol and the kitchen sink of cleaners. Although my place was super clean afterwards.

My 70lb bft funked up my house for 3 days!! Worst 3days with my wifey. I nearly died.
Where did you put away your tuna? LOL. Honey it does fit!
 
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b-reel

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 20, 2011
774
236
Downey
Name
HP
Boat
none yet
Awesome analysis! Thanks for taking the time to set this up. Always good to find new info.
 

ryanhead

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2009
131
838
San Diego, CA
Name
Ryan
Boat
24' Skipjack Flybridge
Thank you for taking the time to plot the data and offer some analysis. Like you stated, this data was derived from 2018 and may be entirely different from year to year. In scientific terms, it basically means nothing due to the fact that no correlation can be derived.

IMO, most of the observations made by many fishermen relating to this and other fishing matters also exhibit the same types of falsehoods as actual data does not coincide with claims/experiences.

IMO, just go fishing whenever you want. Have a good attitude and leave the catching to the fish gods

Scott
I completely agree, fish when you can/want. Growing up, I used to fish in the swimming pool because I've always liked fishing as much as catching. I fish whenever I can and this data is actually almost worthless to me, but I was very curious about whether or not moon phase mattered because there's so much talk about it with the jumbo bluefin around and such opposed opinions. As I mentioned, the data is riddled with outliers so it certainly won't keep me from targeting whatever species interests me.
 
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ryanhead

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2009
131
838
San Diego, CA
Name
Ryan
Boat
24' Skipjack Flybridge
Oh my when that bone pokes that black bag your wife is going to kill you when you dragged all that across the house
My worst incident was when I cleaned a dozen yellowtail on the kitchen table, got it nice and bloody, and then a 4' Dorado slipped out of my hand while I was placing it on the table and it slapped the surface, splattering blood all over the walls. My wife is a saint.
 

ryanhead

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2009
131
838
San Diego, CA
Name
Ryan
Boat
24' Skipjack Flybridge
View attachment 1042178 My recent analysis on “funk” inside the house can last up to 2-4days. Depending on how big the fish, how many fish was cleaned, how big your kitchen/Home is, and of course depending on the moon phase ;)

After oxycleaning, pinesol and the kitchen sink of cleaners. Although my place was super clean afterwards.

My 70lb bft funked up my house for 3 days!! Worst 3days with my wifey. I nearly died.
I used to have issues with the smell, but we got a Quietcool whole house fan which can evacuate the entire volume of air in our kitchen with a few minutes. After cleaning, cooking or serving fish, we open the windows, set to fan to high and the smell is gone in around 3 minutes. Also works great if you burn toast or fry something on the house. Also cut our power bill in half during the summer months. Highly recommend getting one for a variety or reasons.
 

the SLIDER

https://multimediabylj.com
Jun 11, 2015
1,724
3,606
Dana Point
Name
L J
Boat
arima - the SLIDER
Process your catch outside where your lawn can benefit and your neighbor along with the ants will know you went fishing again.

For the dimwitted; smoking and canning is done outdoors as well. Learned that the hard way.
 
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thrasher949

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 18, 2010
257
331
San Clemente, CA
Name
Jeff
Boat
Parker 23
Great write up man! I know it takes some time to put all that data together. I know everyone wants to go fishing whenever they can, but if you are planning a destination trip moon phase is important. I can speak first hand of this on a trip to Panama. If you can eat all night under a full moon how hungry are you gonna be at breakfast?

I would buy a folding table and cut the fish on the back porch. You can bleach that thing and hose it down and keep it in the garage. Women like to control the kitchen like men like to control the garage :High_Five
 

Phat Boat

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 18, 2004
1,950
768
San Diego
Name
Jon
Boat
Grady White Marlin 300
Great analysis-the data for past years should be available and the correlation would be interesting to see. The new moon is July 2nd so we should see a bounce up in BFT counts.

My buddy cleaned his limit of YT and Dorado in his kitchen putting all the carcass and guts into an old ice chest. He lifted up the ice chest and it slipped out of his hands and spilled all over the kitchen floor. This was around midnight after cleaning fish for a couple hours.