Despite the fact that it might be overcast or even raining as you read this, this week’s storm shouldn’t have much of an effect on the fishing, which has been great for a change. After getting a few days break from the wind over the weekend, the bite has improved dramatically on both the inshore and offshore scenes. There’s a lot of stuff the cover this week, so without further adieu let’s get to the reports.
Starting in San Diego, the yellowtail fishing has been good for the 3/4-day and overnight boats and almost everyone is getting a shot at some bluefin tuna. Captain Ryan Bostian, who runs the San Diego out of Seaforth Landing, pretty much summed up the fishing vibe when describing Tuesday’s trip.
“It’s pretty cool when you can fish a surface iron all day and catch a yellowtail or a 40-60-pound bluefin.”
Private boaters are also getting in on the action. My friend Billy Keleman reported fishing out of San Diego on Monday and Tuesday aboard his 23-foot Parker Pilot House. “On Monday my plan was to run down to the Finger Banks for yellows in the morning then check out the Hidden in the afternoon. The weather was worse than forecast, 17 to 19 knots of wind and 3 to 5 swells that were close together with wind waves.
I didn’t see much at the Finger or Hidden, so I headed back up the line and started seeing more life between 425/101. Saw some birds get together and cast jigs on them for an immediate double hook up on a couple of the biggest bonito I’ve ever seen. Over the next hour it was bird school after bird school and each one holding different fish; bonito, yellows and finally bluefin.
When we found the tuna it was like that National Geographic footage guys have been talking about. I immediately hooked up on surface iron and 30 minutes later put a nice one on deck. After that my buddy and I lost a couple of similar sized fish before hooking up into something big. I had the fish to color four or five times during the hour and a half fight and it looked to be over 100.
The fish shook the jig the last time we got it to color and I’m still heartbroken.
After that loss I decided to give it another shot on Tuesday. Got a late start because it had been an afternoon deal on Monday, but things had changed overnight. We found fish just 5 miles past the Coronados but everything was scattered and acting skittish. Had a couple chances at bluefin but lost them all, but we did score some yellows and big bonito for our efforts.”
I don’t usually include too many long individual reports in this column but decided to share Billy’s because it’s a good example of what private boaters should be doing. Billy had a plan that didn’t work out, but instead of beating a dead horse he kept looking and found some fish. The next day he used the knowledge he’d gained about the fish coming up later in the day, but he didn’t run right to where they’d bit the day before, instead he let the conditions dictate where he’d fish.
Further north, the yellowtail are biting well for boats fishing Catalina and San Clemente Island. While the fishing is better at Clemente, the bigger fish seem to be coming from Catalina. The advantage of fishing Clemente is that the rockfish and calicos are also biting well so you’ll have something to do if the yellows don’t bite. Either way, a trip to one of those islands is probably your best bet if you’re fishing out of Long Beach or Orange County.
The calicos are biting along the beach and if we can get another week or two of stable weather those fish should go into full early summer bite mode. The sand bass and shallow water rockfish bite along the coast has been off due to a large influx of red crabs over the weekend. Hopefully those crab will get busy and attract some yellowtail instead of just hampering our deep water fishing.
Speaking of deep water fishing, the rockfish bite is about as good as it gets at the Channel Islands right now. The Aloha Spirit loaded up on big lings along with limits of quality reds on Monday’s trip and has spots available on Sunday’s trip. If you’re planning a trip to the Channel Islands I’d opt for at least a full day trip to ensure you’ll have plenty of fishing time if they have to make a long run to find fish.