San Diego in April/salt options

Crzyfisher

Newbie
Feb 13, 2014
22
2
3
33
North Bend
Name
JJ
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20’ Wooldridge Super Sport Drifter tiller
Wife wants to take a trip to San Diego in like April. Been doing some research on here but a lot of OLD posts.

What’s going on during that time in the salt? I fish WA waters for lings, halibut, salmon and tuna. I’m not really looking for a 20 person boat but more of a 4-6 pack style.

TIA for any guideance
 

yellowfish26

Totally Nude 24/7
Aug 21, 2008
767
1,060
93
Chula Vista/Ca/USA
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Jeff
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26ft Seaswirl. The Big Chorizo
The best guidance you could get is there are no guarantees of anything. Conditions are different every year. It MIGHT be just bottom fish, COULD be Yellows either local or at the Islands, or even Bluefin that more than likely will frustrate the shit out of you.

You can avoid the open paety "cattle boat" trip, but to do that by going on one of the many 6 pack boats out of SD. Problem with that at that time of year is most likely you will have to charter the whole boat (pretty expensive) as most do not run open party trips at that level unless something extraordinary is going on. It does happen sometimes but you'll have to look around. Next best option would be to post your idea on one of the private boater trip planning forums "So Cal inshore/offshore trip planning" and maybe find a private boat owner who might take you for a share of expenses. Good luck.

Otherwise you are stuck with an open party trip of which your best option would probably be a 3/4 trip. All SD landings offer one and all of them are top notch and fish hard. Difference is some are more popular and regularly more crowded. You'll have people say this one or that one is hands down the best (all are really good) but if crowds are an issue I would look around close to the day you want to fish and see who has the lowest number of reservations and book on that one. You will most likely need a passport as well as they will be fishing inshore Mexican waters.
 

doncatfish

Well-Known "Member"
Dec 21, 2006
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San Clemente
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Don
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30' Albemarle
Going out on a limb here. I’m thinking bluefin on an overnight or 1.5 day trip will be happening in April and your best bet for quality fish - book the Pac Queen for your best shot of getting one. Last year they bit really well at the start of the season, as they have for a few years.
 

kzaam1

Member
Nov 7, 2018
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San Diego
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Kzaam
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Jasmine
Gotta echo the above post. You want to be on a big boat with tons of bait in April just in case the Bluefin show up. Your chances will be as good as anyone else if you know how to fish in general or are good at following direction. A 4 or 6 pack might be better later on in the summer when they’re hitting the kite. Just my .02. Keep your eyes on the counts for the boat you’re thinking about riding and book well in advance. This is the reality of the red hot fishing we have had the last few years.
 

yellowfish26

Totally Nude 24/7
Aug 21, 2008
767
1,060
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Chula Vista/Ca/USA
Name
Jeff
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26ft Seaswirl. The Big Chorizo
Gotta echo the above post. You want to be on a big boat with tons of bait in April just in case the Bluefin show up. Your chances will be as good as anyone else if you know how to fish in general or are good at following direction. A 4 or 6 pack might be better later on in the summer when they’re hitting the kite. Just my .02. Keep your eyes on the counts for the boat you’re thinking about riding and book well in advance. This is the reality of the red hot fishing we have had the last few years.
Dude its not Bluefin all day everyday for everyone. Typically it doesnt happen that early anyway. 2 years dont make the occurrence a standard event. My .02
 
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kzaam1

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Nov 7, 2018
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Kzaam
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Jasmine
Dude its not Bluefin all day everyday for everyone. Typically it doesnt happen that early anyway. 2 years dont make the occurrence a standard event. My .02
He’s coming all the way to San Diego. Why not swing for the fences and hope for the best. The Pacific Queen will go after the best fishing possible at the time. And if the Bluefin are around they will have the bait capacity to keep the fish with the boat for hours if that’s what happens.

Doncatfish gave great advice and I was just agreeing with him on getting a spot on that boat instead of a 4 pack and maybe getting lucky with some incredible fishing.

We’ve had a very mild winter. Odds are good for a Bluefin bite in April I’d say. I’d get totally amped and excited about the possibility of that happening if I was coming into town. I don’t think the dude really wants to dream about getting on an once in a lifetime rockfishing trip on a 4 pack. :)
 

yellowfish26

Totally Nude 24/7
Aug 21, 2008
767
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Chula Vista/Ca/USA
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Jeff
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26ft Seaswirl. The Big Chorizo
He’s coming all the way to San Diego. Why not swing for the fences and hope for the best. The Pacific Queen will go after the best fishing possible at the time. And if the Bluefin are around they will have the bait capacity to keep the fish with the boat for hours if that’s what happens.

Doncatfish gave great advice and I was just agreeing with him on getting a spot on that boat instead of a 4 pack and maybe getting lucky with some incredible fishing.

We’ve had a very mild winter. Odds are good for a Bluefin bite in April I’d say. I’d get totally amped and excited about the possibility of that happening if I was coming into town. I don’t think the dude really wants to dream about getting on an once in a lifetime rockfishing trip on a 4 pack. :)
I understand your enthusiasm. I even mentioned in my first post that it was a "Possibility" I don't think its all that likely though. If they arent around the Pacific Queen or any other overnight or even 1.5 day boats won't be leaving the dock anyway, unless its to fish rockfish. They (Boats) aren't going to be booking trips until they know either. I.e. it's too early to tell. Which was the point of my post. Besides, the OP mentioned he wasn't very interested in fishing with a big crowd in the first place, but maybe you didn't read that part.
 

kzaam1

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Nov 7, 2018
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Kzaam
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Jasmine
I understand your enthusiasm. I even mentioned in my first post that it was a "Possibility" I don't think its all that likely though. If they arent around the Pacific Queen or any other overnight or even 1.5 day boats won't be leaving the dock anyway, unless its to fish rockfish. They (Boats) aren't going to be booking trips until they know either. I.e. it's too early to tell. Which was the point of my post. Besides, the OP mentioned he wasn't very interested in fishing with a big crowd in the first place, but maybe you didn't read that part.
Why are you arguing with me? You should be arguing with doncatfish. The dude was the one who threw out the idea of going on the PQ in the first place. :)

However, to be fair, the dude ended his post with “tia for any guidance.” I think he’s gonna appreciate my guidance. I’m not much of a big boat person either. I would much prefer to ride a 4 pack but bait capacity is bait capacity. 200 scoops of bait is why some boats come back with 60 BFT as opposed to only 4 or 8. Maybe that’s just something he didn’t really think of since he probably rides much different boats up north. I’m just guessing here. :)
 

yellowfish26

Totally Nude 24/7
Aug 21, 2008
767
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Chula Vista/Ca/USA
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Jeff
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26ft Seaswirl. The Big Chorizo
Why are you arguing with me? You should be arguing with doncatfish. The dude was the one who threw out the idea of going on the PQ in the first place. :)

However, to be fair, the dude ended his post with “tia for any guidance.” I think he’s gonna appreciate my guidance. I’m not much of a big boat person either. I would much prefer to ride a 4 pack but bait capacity is bait capacity. 200 scoops of bait is why some boats come back with 60 BFT as opposed to only 4 or 8. Maybe that’s just something he didn’t really think of since he probably rides much different boats up north. I’m just guessing here. :)
Im not intending to argue with any one, just trying to manage expectations. I understand ir might be an option when April rolls around but until there is some evidence that the BFT are around its a moot point. If they actually do show up by then trips can be booked and expectations can be adjusted.
 

Paddyman1

A mossback is better than a hairy back
Nov 7, 2010
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Try a full day at the Coronado’s during the week rather than a weekend. Could be a lighter load fishing spring yellowtail.
 
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Apr 22, 2004
452
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Point Loma
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Doug
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2530 Parker
Agree with PaddyMan. April sometimes gets a nice spring yellow tail bite, plan b could be rock cod. Keep an eye on reports for Coronado Islands and Rock pile. Another option for same would be Colonet. BFT, can happen.. but could be lower odds as the guys above said riskier to just plan on that.

Btw, since its winter now and not much going on, we here have lots of time to debate.. on how best to help you.... :deadhorse Good luck! Can't Parker
 
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af dreamer

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 16, 2007
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How can they"show up" when they cant get people to go this time of year.They will "show up" when a real long range boat runs across them on the way home from a trip like what usually happens in spring.JMO,Tom
 
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"all-in"

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Oct 5, 2005
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Chris
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24, Angler, All-In
What length of trip do you want to go on? That will help with what you may come across. Generally speaking. 1.5 will probably run south. Either a rockcod/yellowtail trip or target Blue Fin Tuna if you are lucky. Plan on needing a passport.

1 day trip. Again probably south to Coronados for Yellowtail and rockcod as a backup. You will need a passport.

1/2 to 3/4 trip. Local trip. Who knows what may be around. Could be rockcod, yellowtail or white sea bass.

As for boats for 1.5 day trips, my favorites are the PQ or NL.
For shorter trips and boats, I don't like the Mission Belle.

It's just my opinion and like butt holes, everyone has one.
 

Jurel Hunter

It's JUST Fishing
Mar 11, 2007
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Carlsbad
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Jim
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FV Soldandgone
if you've got 1500 bucks, book a 6 pack. but i think (especially with your wife) much better bet to go on 3/4 day, aka full day, boat. enjoy nice ride out to nados or rockpile, eat some egg burritos and drink coffee on very stable boat w/ galley. fish for yellowtail and rockfish. eat cheeseburgers and have some beers. enjoy trip back home. typically leave 5:30 AM and return 5-6 PM. Sand Diego or Liberty top boats. go weekday and could be under 20 passengers. bring or rent gear. 600 bucks combined total. other options will be very hit/miss. definitely would not bring my wife on ride sharing deal.
 

Huntersmoon

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Jan 8, 2006
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here
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nombre
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no
There are several great 6pak/4pak charter boats in San Diego. Highly recommend over jumping on a cattleboat with 40+ anglers if the bite is good. You have flexibility on what your target fish is, time of departure if it’s an early morning or late afternoon bite, and they travel at 3 times the speed. Good chance with only 2, you could negotiate a reasonable rate for a 3/4 or full day trip, especially in Spring when bookings are light. Bring your passports.
April can be a great time for local or Coronados yellowtail, bait capacity is not an issue in this circumstance, and these charters provide all your gear. If you want to target swordfish, several charters have this option.
 
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Lake

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 31, 2003
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Visalia, CA
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Blaine Lake
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none
Spring yellowtail fishing last year was great. I’m hoping for a repeat. I’ve even booked myself off a couple of extra days hoping for another good year. The 3/4 day boats from the Big 3 and Seaforth run about $150.
Last year the bluefin were showing then also. The 1 1/2 day trips had some good scores, and some not so good scores. It seems they hit them early, then hit a drought, then got them again as the year progressed.
 

TanstaaflSD

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Dec 3, 2013
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Tanstaafl
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n/a
It seems to me that if you have a choice re day boats, I recommend at LEAST a 3/4 ~ Full day ..... 1/2 day will be too short & superficial...if you really want to fish.

Best day of the week is Tuesday (lowest loads) next-best Wednesday.

My 2 cents. I recommend a 3/4 day from 5:30 am ~to~ 6 pm / 6:30pm, the fishing boat San Diego at Seaforth Landing, offers free parking, chilled water fish storage (not hot burlap all day), a good galley, and, if lucky Ryan B will be your skipper.
All landings have good rental gear.
If you can bring your own gear, I suggest you bring at least 2 outfits. ONE 20# (recommend 20#)~30# for live sardines as bait with none or only slight weight (flyline), and TWO a 30#~(recommend 40#) 40# for bottom weighted bait [live sardine or cut squid] fishing or YoYo (heavy metal lures dropped to bottom and reeled back quickly - for impulse strikes by Yellowtail). If room for ONLY ONE > then a 25# or 30# rig.
Have Fun.
Tight Lines,
 

Blackfish

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 20, 2005
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Monroeville
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.
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toy
Wife wants to take a trip to San Diego in like April. Been doing some research on here but a lot of OLD posts.

What’s going on during that time in the salt? I fish WA waters for lings, halibut, salmon and tuna. I’m not really looking for a 20 person boat but more of a 4-6 pack style.

TIA for any guideance

Well the a BFT showed back up. So who knows what April might bring.