As I was putting this article together, a steady stream of reports was coming across my desk. For weeks, captains were telling me they were seeing the fish. I saw it myself on my 2.5 day trip a couple weeks ago. Problem was the fish just didn’t want to go.
Well it finally happened…fishing offshore blew up this week!
On Wednesday, the Top Gun 80 limited on yellowfin tuna, while also picking up 20 dodos and 40 yellowtail on just the first day of a 3.5 day trip. Thursday, there was a morning report from the Eclipse. Capt. Mark Gillette was anchored up at that 43 spot I mentioned on Tuesday, and called in with 46 bluefin (mostly in the 20-30-pound range) in their RSW. Capt. Drew Card reported 37 bluefin before 10am on the Pacific Queen. The Condor called in with a stop for 50 bluefin. The Pacific Voyager called in a morning report for over 50 bluefin. The ¾ day boat at H&M, the Malihini called in 40+ yellowfin Thursday morning. Heck, even Seaforth’s half day boat the New Seaforth, had a good snap of bluefin on their Thursday morning ride that included a big fish of 53-pounds.!!! (pictured above)
Yup, it’s game on out there. From the looks of things, you could get away with anything from half day boats going offshore (NSF and probably also the Dolphin at Fisherman’s Landing), to anything longer to get in on the action. All the San Diego landings are in play. I’d also check out Helgren‘s in Oceanside as another viable option. And as of Thursday, there was still 12 spots left on a WILL GO, 1.5 day trip leaving Friday night on the Commander out of Long Beach Sportfishing.
This is fantastic news for all of us that fish on a regular basis. As long as you know how to flyline a sardine, you are good to go. I’m going to take a step back though and say some of you may need a refresher course. If you haven’t fished in awhile, I’m going to say you SHOULD NOT GO…not ever, just not quite yet. Let me explain. The offshore trips are typically where you will spend the most money of the year. It’s the lowest odds of success for all the fishing we do too. Yet year after year, I see people go out, completely unprepared and basically waste that hard earned money watching other people catch fish. I watch them drop their bait next to the boat, wondering why it won’t swim away, and pull line off their reel like it will push their bait away from the boat. Don’t be that guy/girl, PLEASE! Invest a little time (and a small amount of money) and go on a half day or ¾ day trip that will fish calico bass and yellowtail. Get that practice flylining a sardine and it will pay off for you in spades when you do go offshore.
For the rest of us, I’d say bring 30 and 40-pound bait setups. I like to use circle hooks. Using them correctly should save you time re-tying your line and mitigate the risk of your line getting cut on their teeth. It could mean an extra fish or two with your tag on it. Make sure they are the stronger “tuna grade” hooks (another mistake I see – rockfish circle hooks). You will also do yourself a favor if you have a 3rd setup to drop a Shimano Flat Fall jig.
Myself, I’m headed back up north for another whack at the seabass. By the time you read this article, I’ll be aboard the Seabiscuit with Capt. Matt Allport hunting ghosts. Have a safe and fishy holiday weekend!