I know everyone is excited about offshore fishing right now. Be it the traditional paddy hopping yellowfin and dodo kind of affair, or chasing after the giant bluefin, offshore is dominating the fishing conversation right now in SoCal. What you might not have noticed is…
the yellowtail fishing is pretty good right now at the Coronado Islands.
I remember a time when if the boats were getting 20 yellows a trip, it was time to make the run to San Diego to fish the islands again. Right now, the bar is well north of 20 fish a trip!
I had the pleasure yesterday (Thursday) to ride the Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing for a “full day” trip (they don’t call it a 3/4-day anymore) fishing at the Coronado Islands. The San Diego was on a private charter, so Capt. Kris Karpow and his crew were filling in to make the open party run.
One of the things that has always struck me about the captains that fish these islands for a living is the level of communication and cooperation they share with each other. This courtesy was extended to Kris as well. Capt. Steve Peterson of the Mission Belle was quick to share the dope with us over the radio on the way down.
When we got into the zone, we started looking around North Island, but were soon called over into an area just off it where the San Diego and Mission Belle (and a handful of privates) were stopped on a school of fish. We swung wide and eventually slid in on a sonar school of fish nearby. Deckhands Andrew and CJ had rigged all the rent rods with dropper loops and Kris instructed them to deploy them on fish he was marking 80-120-feet below the boat. That said, some fish came up on our chum and could be seen boiling around us.
I had a rough start to my day. I went for my yoyo rig when Kris said the fish were below us and caught a bocaccio. I saw they were biting the iron, so I switched up and went to the bow. I connected on a blind cast using a Salas 7x in mint sardine. I hooked up on the port side and followed the fish around the anchor to the starboard side. It came to color and I could see it was a 10-12-pound fish. It wanted to go to the stern. Not wanting to let it get in the sure tangle back there, I tried to muscle it. Pulled the hook. Ergggh. Then I hooked into a bigger yellow on the flyline…and lost it to a sea lion. And then I got dogged again on a bonito.
The sea lions were brutal!
And they dictated how the day went. We’d find a new batch of fish, get a few and have to move when the dogs got on us.
I finally turned things around with a larger bonito. And then something kind of unusual happened, the boat was trolling a couple Rapalas. I’ve always considered that more of a private boat tactic, but it got bit. I dropped a bait in on the slide. Boom. Got one.
Win some, lose more. High casualty rate for the day. I ended up with 2 yellows (getting a second, nicer fish, on a 100 gram flatfall), and kept 2 larger bones. I lost 6 fish though! Pulled the hook on 2 and lost 4 to sea lions. Similarly, the boat ended up with 44 yellows, 31 bonito, and some random bass and bottom fish (for 26). The count easily could have been double. Other boats have had 100+ yellow days this week.
The Coronado Islands are a good option and a welcome change up to offshore fishing right now.
Good luck if you get out there.