Well, it looks like the fat lady has finally sung on the tuna grounds as the Cortes and surrounding areas had pretty good coverage over the weekend and few SoCal bluefin(rockfish) were seen and zero were hooked or landed. While the fish went MIA on several occasions earlier this year, this time its likely for good. Water temps are dropping on the outer banks and conditions are deteriorating along with them.
Will these big bluefin return to our waters next year?
My gut says yes but historical precedent proves that they could be gone for another hundred years. Whatever the case, I’m thankful for another amazing year of targeting them in our local waters.
This week’s Navionics Chart certainly doesn’t look very exciting but I found the color scheme to at least look Christmassy. As you might have already figured out, the take away from this week’s report is that the rockfish are biting. Everywhere.
The thing to keep in mind about this chart is that rockfish season ends in 17 days and then your good options will be limited only to those in green. Keeping that in mind, I recommend taking advantage of this weekend’s good weather and doing some rockfishing. If I were going to target rockfish I’d head up to the Channel Islands in hopes of finding some big reds, like the ones at the top of this article caught aboard the Coral Sea earlier this week.
SoCal Bluefin Bite & Rockfish Season
My next choice would be jumping on a trip to San Nicholas Island as there have been a few yellowtail caught there in recent days. The yellowtail bite is far from guaranteed but the rockfish have been biting and since the island is in the CCA you’re going to be fishing less than 120-feet of water, which makes for fun fishing on the bass gear.
Boats fishing the coast have also been getting some nice rockfish, like this sheephead caught out of Dana Wharf. Live squid tends to be the key to local fishing success and Nacho’s barge in Long Beach is currently tanked with it so I recommend splurging on a scoop if you’re headed out on your own boat. Rockfish aside, there are some other fish to catch, like this big halibut caught by Scott Smith while fishing with Chris Oaks in San Diego Bay over the weekend. The duo were targeting spotted bay bass in the south end of the bay and reported wide open fishing on crankbaits and swimbaits that resulted in over 100 spotties to go along with their halibut by-catch.
Speaking of bass, the only good bite I heard about this week was from the guys fishing San Clemente Island. Jayson Quimby ran his boat over on Sunday and reported good bass fishing with a side of yellowtail. The fact that they incidentally caught a yellowtail while targeting bass likely means that there are enough yellows at the island to make it worth the effort for someone interested in targeting them to make the run. If you are thinking about running out to look for yellowtail, I highly recommend bringing along a scoop of live squid. You should probably also bring some heavy torpedo sinkers so that you can go fish cod if the yellows don’t bite.