As expected, last week’s full moon shook things up for a few days on the offshore scene. Saturday saw excellent tuna fishing for almost everyone but that was followed up by very tough fishing for most on Sunday. The fishing has remained somewhat hit and miss since then, but it seems like on the days when the offshore weather is decent the fishing has been good. The weather forecast is looking better for this weekend, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that the fish cooperate as well.
Assuming that the weather will be fishable everywhere, anglers have a lot of choice of where they can go to have a shot at catching some fish.
Starting in San Diego, there’s the near shore bite around the 9 Mile Bank. This area has been kicking out plenty of tuna and better-grade dorado over the last week but it usually gets pretty hammered on the weekends, so you might be better off running offshore a bit. As you transition to the outer banks, there are more dorado being caught but the yellowfin have been smaller. If you want to go long, you can run out to the 43 and fish for giant bluefin with the fleet.
Those fishing between Dana Point and Oceanside are having to look a little farther offshore for the fish than they have in previous weeks. The water outside has finally gotten up to the same temperature as that band of warm water that had been holding the fish up against the beach, so they’ve dispersed a bit. If I were headed out that way this weekend, I’d look outside and to the south of the 267.
For those of you who live north of Dana Point, there are plenty of fish from the 277 up past Catalina. On Saturday, Captain Jimmy Decker reported finding some breaking fish that turned into a 3-1/2 hour plunker bite on better grade yellowfin. The fish bit the chunk as well as live sardines and Steve Chu got the biggest of the day on a flatfall jig. They didn’t put the big yellowfin on the scale but Decker estimated it to be at least 80-pounds.
After hearing Decker’s report, I headed out and checked that same zone on Sunday morning. There were several overnight boats in the area and a few of them had grey light bites on yellowfin but it was slow overall. I saw the bigger yellowfin come up and splash around a bit but they wouldn’t bite for us. After running in towards the beach a bit, I found some shearwater birds working a bait school right at high slack tide and within moments the 40-50-pound bluefin came up crashing. Couldn’t get them to bite the Colt Sniper, like they had a couple weeks ago, but did manage to get a couple bites on the slow trolled mackerel (neither of which resulted in hooked fish). Later in the day, we found several paddies holding dorado and baited a marlin off the slide at Catalina.
There are also fish along the front and backside of Catalina and up past Santa Barbara Island. Most of you probably already read Johnathon’s report about the big dorado and pesky yellowfin tuna he encountered outside San Pedro. Well, those fish are scattered from there all the way up to Anacapa Island, so if you’re looking for a change of pace it probably wouldn’t hurt to take a look up that way.
Regardless of where you’re fishing, the pattern seems to be that the fish are biting best first thing in the morning and then again around the slack tides. Also, a lot of the kelp paddies are not producing right when you pull up to them. My friend Eric Johnson was out on Sunday and stopped on a good-looking paddy. He caught a dorado right when he got there and made three more drifts on it before the tuna showed up and he scored a couple of nice yellowfin on a slow day. If you find an area that looks fishy, try drifting for a while chum some chunked sardines while flylining bait. If you don’t see any action after a half hour, go and look for something else. But if you do see action, stick it out a bit because you might luck out and get into a steady plunker bite.