This has definitely been a strange week weather-wise. Santa Ana winds in April, temperatures in the 90’s along the beach and wind gusts recorded over 100 MPH in San Diego County have made for a few interesting days.
More interesting is the fact that this unseasonably hot weather has brought with it some unseasonably hot fishing.
With the weather predicted to get back to normal by Thursday night, this weekend could well be the best fishing weekend so far this year. So, let’s take a look at what’s biting.
Sport boats, like the Island Spirit out of Ventura Sportfishing, have been taking advantage of the good weather to load up on rockfish during the week. The overall size of the fish has been good and the Island Spirit has been getting some big lingcod as well. Saturday looks like the best weather day for fishing Channel Islands, but Sunday will be plenty fishable despite a little more wind. Ventura Sportfishing only has trips available on Sunday, but Channel Islands Sportfishing in Oxnard has trips available on Saturday and Sunday. As has been the case all season, the 3/4-day and full day trips offer the best opportunity to load up on bigger fish.
Aside from rockfish, the bite along the coast from Marina Del Rey to Newport Beach has been pretty abysmal. This part of the coast rolled really badly during last weekend’s windstorm and water temps remain cold. I spoke with Captain Benny Florentino who fished Catalina Island yesterday and he reported that the water in the channel is clean and warm but there’s a band of cold green water hugging the coast. There’s no way to guess how long this ugly water will stick around. But if the weather stays good and we get a couple days of current, it should disperse in the near future.
The seabass bite at Catalina Island went off yesterday and the Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing had limits for sixteen passengers, along with a couple yellowtail and a big halibut. Private boaters have also been getting good scores on seabass at the island the last few days. The island is probably going to get pretty crowded this weekend, but there’s a good spread of fish so don’t just sit in the parking lot if you head across.
Regarding where to fish, I spoke with Captain Jeff Jones of Captain On Board and he suggested, “Catalina is really good right now, squid is at Eagle Reef and spread along the front in lesser volume on the stock spots. The whole backside of Cat now has seabass and a few yellows. East and West ends are good. The deep-water stuff off the V’s and up to Salta Verde is biting, mostly because the seiners are not on it spooking fish; haven’t seen that in a few years. Those deep-water fish are the bigger models. Beaches have spawning seabass, any beach with structure, kelp and some conditions.”
There were also some tanker seabass caught along the beach this week by private boaters.
Fishdope.com has the info on that bite and is a good source to get up to the minute information of what’s biting. So if you’re not already a member, you may want to sign up before the season kicks into full swing. San Clemente Island kicked out some yellowtail for the Seeker out of Long Beach Sportfishing on Wednesday. Private boaters fishing the island have also been catching a few yellowtail and seabass. The island might be a good alternative to Catalina this weekend as it will be less crowded but several prime areas will be closed. Before making the run to SCI always consult the island’s website to make sure the area you plan to fish is open.
The big news this week is that the yellowtail bite at the Coronado’s went wide open for a few boats yesterday. While all of the sport boats had good scores, Captain Ryan Bostian on the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was again the highliner with 94 yellowtail for his 37 passengers on Wednesday’s trip. Most of yesterday’s fish bit on the surface, with fly-lined baits and surface iron being the hot ticket.
Another remarkable but not surprising report came from Captain Duane Mellor of Seasons Sportfishing, who reported full limits for his charter group yesterday.
I can guarantee you that the sportboats fishing the Coronados are going to be crowded this weekend, so if you’re heading out just try to relax, have fun and go with the flow. If you have the luxury of being able to fish during the week, I’d recommend waiting until Tuesday or Wednesday to head out as the sport boats will be less crowded. Another option is to book a trip on one of the four or six pack boats that’s been fishing the islands.
Private boaters have been getting in on the action as well, including Bloodydecks member Dan “wakefishr who caught a personal best 34-pound fish on a live mackerel. He reported also catching fish on jigs and trolled baits. Private boaters looking to fish the islands this weekend should try to stay away from sport boats (and their associated seal problems) and locate fish of their own. A good way to do this is by slow trolling mackerel while looking for birds, bait or breezing fish.