Fishing Reports

SoCal Bluefin & Yellowtail Bite

SoCal fishing

Looking back on last week’s column, it turns out that I was right on about as many predictions as I was wrong regarding what would and wouldn’t be biting once the weather came down. The good news is that I was correct in guessing that the fishing should continue to improve given a week of stable weather.  Better yet, we’ve got at least another full week of stable weather in the forecast and that should warm the water up enough to kick SoCal fishing into summer mode.

SoCal fishing

What’s Different

This week’s Navionics Chart may look a lot like the ones I’ve been posting in recent weeks, but there are a few bites that are significant. Of those, the least exciting yet potentially most significant is the barracuda that are being caught at Catalina Island. There’s a possibility that these are just resident fish that are schooled up and biting but they might also be the first wave of the summer migration into our local waters. I know it’s been a long time since we’ve had a good early summer barracuda bite, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these fish will eventually return en masse because it would be great for our 1/2 and 3/4-day fleet. Wishful thinking aside, let’s take a look at what’s biting this week.

SoCal fishing

Starting up north, there are still some seabass, yellowtail, and halibut biting at Santa Rosa Island when the wind backs off enough to let boats fish, but the northern Channel Islands are the one place that hasn’t gotten much of a break in the wind this week.  Santa Cruz Island is a more weather-friendly option right now and there are some seabass and yellowtail scattered around the island as well. Even if you don’t find the exotics, the bass fishing at the island is good right now. Scott Summersgill fished there over the weekend with Nick Tharp and Avo Oughourlian , a previous PEI winner, and reported good fishing on quality calicos on both hard baits and swim baits.

SoCal fishing

Fish Caught This Week

The yellowtail bite at San Clemente Island went wide open on Wednesday with the Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing catching 89 yellowtails and the Thunderbird out of Newport Landing scoring 129 fish. These fish are mixed in size from 8 to 15-pounds and are biting sardines as well as the surface iron and yo-yo jigs. There are several areas of fish biting along the backside of the island and the fish are averaging 20 to 30-pounds but these fish are keyed in on live squid. As is always the case at San Clemente Island, finding current is the key to finding biting yellows. If there’s no current the fish won’t be biting, so if you’re heading out on your own boat, that should be the first thing you look for when scouting around.

Both calicos and sand bass are biting in all of the usual spots along the coast and that bite should continue to improve as the water warms up. The yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands has yet to rebound after the storm as there is cold and dirty water at the islands. Once that goes away I’d imagine the yellows will bite again. The bluefin is still biting for the boats fishing in overnight to 1 1/2-day range of San Diego and the Pacific Queen managed 32 fish on their 1 1/2-day trip on Wednesday. There are also fish closer to home but the bite is far from consistent.

Hopefully, the bite in both of these areas will improve as we come into the new moon on June 3rd. As I said before, we’ve got good weather in the forecast this weekend, so get out there and catch some fish!

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Erik Landesfeind
Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California an...