For the first time in what seems like forever, Southern California’s summertime offshore fishery is once again firing on all cylinders. Kelp paddies holding yellowtail and dorado can be found as far north as Dana Point and the variety of species to be caught, along with the volume of fish in the schools, increases the farther south you go.
Over the last few weeks, the best way to take advantage of this bite has been to jump on a San Diego-based sport boat, where trips ranging from three-quarter day to one-and-a-half day (or longer) have been consistently catching yellowtail, dorado, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and even a few albacore.
Having lots of options available is great, but having too many options can be a little overwhelming when it comes to booking a trip. In hopes of helping you make an informed decision when planning your next trip, I got in contact with John Yamate of Seaforth Sportfishing and asked him for a breakdown of the landing’s boat schedules and the fish being targeted on different offshore trips.
With the fleet currently not permitted to fish the Coronado Islands, three-quarter-day trips have been venturing offshore.
“The San Diego has been running a 5:30 a.m. offshore trip (returning around 7 p.m. and costing $115 per person, including Mexican fishing license) and they’ve been fishing kelp paddies for yellowtail, dorado and the occasional tuna,” said Yamate. “The yellowtail have been mixed in size anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds, depending on the paddy they fish. The dorado have mostly been in the 5- to 10-pound range but they are getting a few bigger ones up to 15 pounds.”
When asked about tackle needed on these trips, Yamate offered a couple of options: “You can get by just bringing a rod with 25- to 30-pound mono, but the ideal set up for these trips is to use a reel filled with 65-pound Spectra and a fluorocarbon leader as it gives you the versatility to switch down to a lighter leader to get bit when the fishing is tough,” he said.
Yamate recommends bringing several weights of fluorocarbon leader ranging from 15 up to 50-pound. “If the fish are biting, fishing the heavier leader will give you a much better shot at landing your fish.”
Regarding terminal tackle, Yamate recommends bringing a variety of hook sizes. “There has been a real mix in the size of the sardines we’ve been getting lately, so to cover your bases you’ll want to bring a few different sizes between a #2 and a 4/0 hook,” he said.
Seaforth Sportfishing’s overnight trips, which depart at 10 p.m. and range from $185 for an open party to $225 for a limited load, are fishing farther south and are catching bluefin tuna in addition to the yellowtail and dorado the three-quarter-day trips are catching.
“Most of the bluefin we’ve been getting on the overnight trips are in the 15- to 30-pound range, but every once in a while a boat will get into a school of 50- to 70-pounders,” said Yamate. “There are also some bigger yellowtail on the paddies down in that range and the Pride caught a 49-pounder a couple of days ago.”
With the bigger fish around on these trips, Yamate suggests bringing along some heavier tackle. “So, if you’re going on an overnight or 1-½ day trip, you’ll want to bring a heavy bait rod with 40- or 50-pound line in case the boat gets on a school of big fish.”
The 1-½ day and longer trips, which start at $305 and go up from there depending on the boat, trip length and passenger load, are fishing in the 100-plus mile range and offer the opportunity to catch yellowfin tuna in addition to the bluefin tuna, yellowtail and dorado being caught on the one-day trips.
“The yellowfin tuna in the one-and-a-half-day range are all nice fish,” said Yamate. “Most of them are in the 25- to 35-pound range and there are a few 50- to 60-pound fish in the mix. These are some impressive fish to have within range of these short trips.”
In closing, Yamate offered some advice on when to go fishing. “I know that it’s difficult for people to get off work and go fishing during the week, but that’s usually the best time to go, especially on a three-quarter-day or overnight trip.”
These trips have been fishing close to home and the amount of boat traffic and competition for kelp paddies on the weekends definitely can hurt the fishing. The weekend trips are still catching plenty of fish, but the best scores are being made during the week.
For more information about taking a trip with Seaforth Sportfishing, you can call their office at 619-224-3383, visit them on the web at www.seaforthlanding.com or stop by their tackle shop and gear up for your next trip.
Next week Capt. Jamie Thinnes of Seasons Sportfishing will share some of his secrets on successful offshore fishing from a private boat so make sure to keep an eye out for the article.