Windy conditions offshore have put a bit of a damper on the tuna bite south of San Diego, but the white seabass have stepped in to keep anglers busy. The on again, off again, bite that had been happening at the Channel Islands turned on in a big way last week, with boats scoring limits at multiple islands. This is particularly good news for weekend anglers as it will spread out the fleet and give everyone a little more room to fish.
Most of the seabass are in the 12-15 pound class, but there have been some bigger fish (including a 57 pounder) in the mix. Along with the seabass, boats fishing Anacapa and Santa Rosa Islands have been catching some big halibut, while boats fishing Santa Cruz Island have been catching calicos and the occasional yellowtail.
The Santa Monica Bay continues to be in the same holding pattern it’s been in for the last few months. Conditions look good, there is plenty of bait in the bay and they are getting the occasional flash of barracuda, but things just aren’t coming together with any consistency. In the meantime, sport boats continue to fish rockfish while private boaters scratch away at the bass on the artificial reefs.
Palos Verdes isn’t fairing much better. I fished up there twice this week and the fish aren’t biting despite good conditions and water temperatures in the high 60’s. An overabundance of micro bait in the kelp may have these fish off the feed, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens when the bait moves out.
Down in Long Beach there are some barracuda to be found at the Horseshoe Kelp, but the sport boats trying to catch them are getting annihilated by seals. The sand bass and calicos are also starting to bite a bit. On Wednesday, the Enterprise out of Marina Sportfishing reported good bass fishing. When the bass don’t bite, or they have a heavy load of people, most local boats are fishing sculpin.
The front side of Catalina Island is another area that’s suffering from an overabundance of micro bait. There is a huge spread of yellowtail and barracuda along the western half of the island, but the fish just aren’t biting because there is too much bait in the water. The Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing has been scratching away at the fish every day and once in a while been getting a big score on yellowtail or seabass.
Their best day this week was a 52 fish score on Monday, but that was followed by zero fish on Tuesday and 9 fish on Wednesday. Since there’s really no way to predict when these fish will bite, you’ll just have to roll the dice and hope they bite on the day you’re out.
The fishing at San Clemente Island is settling into a standard summer pattern. Overnight boats are catching lots of calicos and rockfish every trip and getting the occasional score on yellowtail. The Thunderbird out of Davies Locker has been running pretty much every day and would be a good choice if you’d like to get out and fish the island. Most of the fishing has been done with live squid, but I’d bring a surface iron rod and a yo-yo rod just in case.
The big seabass are still biting along the coast, with the bulk of the fish coming out of Orange County. This bite is the same as it’s been for the last few weeks; find squid, anchor up, catch squid, put some baits out and wait for the fish to come through. The fishing has been far from wide open with one in four boats scoring a fish on any given day. But the guys that know what they’re doing have been getting consistent scores. Brandon Vulgamott, for example, fished two nights in a row and had limits both trips; including his son Garrett‘s personal best on the second night.
The calicos are biting in the kelp along coast and there are some barracuda showing along Imperial Beach, but things are quiet other than that in San Diego. There are still yellowtail to be caught at the Coronado Islands, but it’s been miss more than hit in the last few days. Captain Ryan Bostian on the San Diego has been one of the highliners all season and he warns that passengers need to be ready to fish with anchovies for bait if they want to catch fish. His recommendation is that using 20 or 25 pound monofilament with a #2 bait hook and a 3/8 ounce rubber core sinker has been an effective way to get bit when there is no big bait.
Not much news out of the tuna zone since early last week as the weather has been up offshore.
Earlier last week the Eclipse caught the first dorado of the season and other boats in the 1 1/2 day zone loaded up on yellowfin tuna.
The last report from a boat fishing tuna was the Blue Horizon who reported catching 15 bluefin tuna on Wednesday morning.
The weather looks like it should be excellent at the beginning of this week, so if you’d like to catch tuna you may want to think about booking a trip in the near future.