The big news this week is the yellowtail that were caught off kelp paddies in US waters. The Eclipse was the first boat to find these 6-10 pound fish on a paddy just four miles from the point. Fish were also caught by the Helena out of Dana Wharf, so it looks like there are already fishing making their way up the coast. With good weather forecast for the weekend, I’d imagine that there is going to be quite a bit of boat pressure in our local offshore waters, so if you’re planning a trip, head out early and try to find an area where you’re not competing with a bunch of other boats for kelps.
Other promising news is that the Top Gun 80 returned to the dock from a 1 1/2 day trip yesterday with another bluefin tuna and a couple dozen yellowtail.
Hopefully a few more boats will get off the docks this weekend so we can get some more coverage. It looks like the weather is going to be up a bit offshore this weekend, but it should be plenty fishable.
Closer to home, the yellowtail continue to bite for boats fishing the Coronados. But unlike earlier this year, when the fish were being caught off sonar schools, the run and gun bird school fishing that’s happening right now favors private boaters over sport boats. The 3/4 day fleet is still catching fish, like the 28 fish for 28 anglers the San Diego caught on Wednesday, but the private boaters that know what they’re doing have been getting multiple fish per person. Captain Duane Mellor on the Seasons continues to put up big scores on these yellows, so if you haven’t already done it, I’d recommend checking out the tips he shared in last week’s column.
The fishing along the coast in San Diego is still on the slow side, but there are fish to catch. I fished the SWBA tournament on Saturday and targeted the deeper kelp bed edges in La Jolla. The fishing was good but the bass were on the small side for the most part. We ended up with 25 or 30 fish on 5″ MC Swimbait’s Viejos Series fished on 1 oz heads. All of our bites came midway down in the column. We had a few bigger bass respond to the weedless bait, but they were just window shopping and wouldn’t commit to the bait. Just after low tide, a spot of bigger yellows popped up on the outside northwest edge of the kelp, but we were in tournament mode and didn’t run out to try and catch one. From what I’ve heard, these fish are super skittish and sink out when approached by boats.
Catalina and San Clemente Island continue to produce good bass fishing along with shots at yellows and seabass. The good news is that the yellows aren’t only keyed in on the squid, but are also hitting fin bait. Captain Benny Florentino caught and released a 32-pound yellowtail on a Shimano Wax Wing yesterday while bass fishing on the backside of the island. The bad news is that the WON seabass tournament is going to have the island pretty crowded this weekend, so venture out at your own risk.
The big seabass continue to bite in different areas along the coast and there have been several 50 pound plus fish caught by friends of mine in recent days. Justin Hugron fished on Monday and Tuesday and caught two fish, the bigger one a fifty-pound plus fish, came on the bass gear. Yesterday Julio Sandoval caught another huge fish. All of these fish came on squid. No one is talking about where exactly these fish have been coming from, but any of the standard coastal spots offer a chance at a fish, so it’s just a matter of going out and looking around.
The coast from Long Beach through the Santa Monica Bay continues to suck. I fished Palos Verdes on Sunday and the conditions were horrible, the water was cold and the whole area just looked washed out. Conditions should straighten out fairly quickly with this nicer weather we’ve been having but I wouldn’t expect it to miraculously start biting overnight.
A few more seabass are being caught at the Channel Islands and it sounds like the squid have started to show up there, so fishing should continue to improve. In the meantime, the rockfishing continues to be excellent. This area might get hit with wind this weekend, so definitely check the forecast before heading out and when fishing the Channel Islands always err on the side of caution if the weather looks worse than forecast.