SoCal Fishing Outlook
It’s my birthday weekend. So it was a foregone conclusion that I’d be doing a lot of fishing this weekend. I’m doing back-to-back overnight trips. I’m riding with Capt. Tucker McCombs (right) of the Outrider on Friday. Saturday, I get off the Outrider and board the Eldorado with Capt. Sal Salazar for a second overnight on my Sav-On Tackle sponsored So Cal Salty trip. I’m trying to give myself opportunities for white seabass. It’s not dead on in terms of moonphase (this weekend), but I’m counting on a newfound abundance of squid at Catalina to fuel our success. It’s time to go ghost hunting.
Where Would You Go?
One reader asked me on twitter this week, “What would be your top recommendation for this weekend?” A relative was visiting from out-of-town and they wanted to get salty. Both of my trips are sold out, or I would say to come join us. Looking out at the array available options, I think I’d have to say my top pick would be to jump on an overnight out of San Diego and go after those bluefin!
Argument For Going Now
Pre-El Nino, I had a rule…
“I won’t go offshore until at least July.”
Here it is May and I’ve already gone. I was talking about this topic when I went last Friday with Capt. Adam Williams on the New Lo-An. His boss, owner/operator Marcus Medak, recently appeared on Let’s Talk Hookup (the podcasts get me through my commute. Highly recommend them.) where he said they had actually gone for over an entire year now where they have caught bluefin every month!
Clearly, the calculus has changed in terms of timing and to be honest, I think these fish are here to stay. When we went last week, we started out 60 miles down. As the day progressed, we moved back up the line closer to home. Around 30 miles out, we got into some really good looking water and had our only opportunity for the trip, a sonar school about 180-feet under the boat. We couldn’t get any to go.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Early the next morning, the Pacific Queen got their first fish after a couple months at the dock of boat work. It happened to be this 181-pound monster (left). Fast start.
Given the time of day, and knowing that Adam (of the NLA) and Capt. Gavin Harbour of the Queen are in the same code group, I figured they were in that zone of nice water we saw the previous day. Shortly after, Adam was calling in a report, confirming what I was thinking.
These fish are in easy overnight range and the guys have been on them consistently all week.
My son graduates from high school next month. Once the kids are all on vacation, the herd of seasonal anglers will start turning their attention to fishing offshore. Aside from the physical crowding and the normal hassles that brings…more tangles, less room for your gear etc., the talent level on the boats tends to drop as well, magnifying the tangle issue. Why not go now when the opportunity is good, and the hassle factor is much lower?
Boat pressure is one thing. But at this point in the season, it’s not even the whole sportboat fleet that’s out there. As the season progresses, that situation isn’t going to get any better.
Secondly, there’s the pressure of catching. Offshore fishing comes down to a few moments. You have to stay alert and ready to capitalize on those moments when they present themselves. It’s mentally tiring. I had a buddy go out midweek this week, and he said it took him awhile just to get in the groove of flylining a bait. Do you really want to go on your first offshore outing being elbow to elbow on a full boat?
There’s also a nice fallback position right now with pretty steady paddy yellowtail fishing. If the bluefin follow their nature and don’t want to play, getting back in the saddle on those yellows (above) isn’t a bad thing at all.
You should really go.
Good luck if you get out there.