I’ve been talking about it for several weeks now, “Hurry up and get out there! The bluefin aren’t going to be around forever!” We’ve hit a point now where we may have reached that turning point in the season.
Kelp Paddy Fishing
During the course of this week, several boats had success finding kelps holding yellowtail(fishing kelp beds tips), with yellowfin in the mix nearby. I was having this discussion with one of my fishing buddies this week. It’s not that I think there are and may continue to be bluefin around. It’s just that with a more consistent fishery to target than bluefin, I fully expect that our sportboat captains will opt to target the higher percentage bite.
So what are the implications for us anglers?
Well for one, if you want to still get on a bluefin, you’re going to want to find a ride specifically targeting them. If the trip description says “Offshore Freelance” chances are it will take the bluefin exhibiting a complete change in character to get more than a quick look. They’re going to have to charge the boat and lick the paint off to warrant an extended stop.
For another, it also changes what you’ll need in terms of gear and technique. Expect the yellowfin and yellowtail to be a lot more bait friendly. If your only concern is feeling a good pull and bringing home fish, you could take a 20 anchovy setup and 30 sardine setup and call it a day. The fish that I’m seeing, both yellowfin and yellowtail are in the say 15-40 lb. range, with the lowend being better grade paddy yellows than we’re used to seeing and the 40’s being the better grade yellowfin. As long as you make sure you put on some fresh line and don’t use a thin gauge rockfish kind of hook and you will be good to go.
This kind of fishing is very kid and rent rod friendly. If you’ve been waiting for “better counts” now is the time to make your plans. Weekend dates are often chartered up already, so you’re going to want to plan ahead.
The key skill required in this kind of fishing is flylining a bait. Before you get out there, I’d highly recommend getting on a local boat (the afternoon halfies fishing the Point Loma kelp are perfect) and (re)familiarize yourself with picking a good bait, and casting it out and away from the boat. I was able to teach Juliana to successfully catch calico bass on a flylined bait (I casted for her) in one afternoon. Having the confidence and know how to do this before you go will up the fun factor when you get offshore later.
Myself, I’ll still bring a 40 or 50 bait setup and my big popper setup in case we happen to run into the bluefin. This is fun fishing though and I won’t feel bad if I don’t catch bluefin. Get out and enjoy it. Who knows what we’ll get next year in a post El Nino offshore season. Good luck if you get out there.