Should it be red crab, white seabass and bluefin?
One of the things I try to do with the column is give you things to consider as you plan ahead for your trips. Whether that’s where the bite is now, what setups are catching, or a guess as to where things might be headed…it’s all with the intent of helping people be better anglers and have better trips.
I mentioned here last week that a lot of the chatter as it related to bluefin was that they had moved into US water. I noted that now that they had arrived and were within range of not just the San Diego-based boats, but also the northern fleet, good things were likely to happen soon.
It didn’t take long
The Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing (Long Beach) had a charter group out last weekend. I talked to an angler that was on the boat and he told me they voted as a group to go look for US bluefin or bust. Capt. Ray Lagmay obliged his charter group. They found them on Sunday and managed to boat 6 fish just shy of 100-pounds (top). The boat had a day and half trip Monday night and scored again. The Ultra, out of 22nd Street (San Pedro) also scored on Monday, July 3rd (right).
It’s been widely speculated that once the bluefin ate through all the red crab that’s still out there, that the schools would really start biting. These things need a lot of food because they burn a lot of energy. Hopefully, this latest development is a sign that those days are approaching.
Speaking of White Seabass
I have to admit that I was a little bummed to see the Ultra score on bluefin this week. The reason being is that it may signal a trend of the northern overnight boats switching from an islands program to an offshore one. My buddy John Delisio (left) was on the boat Sunday and scored big on seabass.
But then the next day the program had completely changed. Word is that the bluefin are being found well outside from the backside of Clemente, so it would appear to be an either/or kind of choice.
Up north, it has slowed down on the seabass. I’m hopeful that with the new moon approaching next week (Thursday), that they cycle back into the hot bite conditions of last week. I had a chance to get out last weekend and was aboard the Aloha Spirit with Capt. Shawn Steward. We didn’t even get a shot. The Yellow Banks area at the east end of Santa Cruz Island that had been Ground Zero of the bite had died off due to commercial gillnetters taking over in the spot. Shawn told me the fish had fled into the closure area (how do they know?). The action that did happen was mostly on overnight boats, so that’s what you want to look for if you’re planning a trip next week around the new moon phase.
It feels like this window is closing. Better hurry.
Despite not even getting a shot at my hoped for target fish this weekend, I had a really enjoyable trip with Shawn. Time on the water will reveal new insights if you keep your mind open and Saturday’s trip proved this wisdom once again.
The live bait on the boat was anchovies and mini-sardines the size of anchovy. Capt. Shawn told me on the way out that there was no shortage of yellows around. Getting them to bite though was an entirely different story. When we got into the spot, they immediately reacted to our chum. It was thrilling watching them push water on top all around the boat. My first presentation was to try and fish the live bait, but it was clear they were really keyed in on chasing the lively chum vs. the short-lived wiggle of our micro fin bait.
I noticed that Shawn’s reaction to this predicament was a small (3 inch) swimbait burned speedily across the top of the water. After seeing him hook and hand 2 fish, I gave in and copied him. Shawn suggested, “Raise your rod tip so that the line isn’t in the water.”
After about 5 casts incorporating his advice, I got bumped. Deckhand Angel was on the tank and saw me. “What happened there Joe?” It kind of surprised me and my fingers actually slipped off the reel at the critical juncture. I kept at it though and was shortly rewarded with my line getting stopped and a drag screaming run immediately after. Nice little trick to keep in mind if that situation presents itself again. Thanks Capt. Shawn!
All for now. Good luck if you get out there.