It’s been a slower week of fishing in Southern California. While conditions are still good throughout the bight, the Channel Islands seabass went AWOL on Wednesday, the yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands has gone from limits style fishing to one or two fish per rod and the bluefin bite down south isn’t quite as good as it was. For lack of an obvious culprit, I’m going to go ahead and blame this week’s slower fishing on the fact that we’re coming off the full moon. On a brighter note, some fisheries saw a slight improvement this week, so I’m sure the other fisheries should get back on track soon (no guarantees on the seabass though).
Instead of making a fresh Navionics Chart this week, I thought I’d add to last week’s to show the good and the bad. As I mentioned earlier, the seabass bite at Rosa dried up on Wednesday, along with the squid that they were feeding on. *Friday morning update: It sounds like at least one boat found the seabass in a different area on Thursday, so hopefully that’s a good sign of things to come. Even if the seabass don’t bite, we’ve got great weather in the forecast for the Channel Islands this weekend and the rockfish bite has been excellent. There’s also a good calico bite happening for private boaters fishing Santa Cruz Island. If you’re headed out on a trip this weekend, I’d go expecting rockfish and hoping for seabass.
Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Jumping back to the coast for a minute, the full moon had the calico bass bite hit and miss over the weekend, but the teams fishing the SBS tournament on Saturday reported decent to good fishing at Palos Verdes. Teams reported good hardbait fishing despite water temps in the mid to high 50’s. While no team broke the 20-pound mark for their five fish bag, there were some big bass in the mix, like this 9.01-pounder caught by Ron Withers. With stable weather in the forecast, the calico bite should improve over the weekend.
The fishing at Catalina continued to slow this week and I didn’t hear any reports of seabass or yellows being caught. There are still some bonito around, but it’s mostly rockfish for the sport boats and calicos for the private boaters that are targeting them. The Thunderbird out of Newport Landing fished San Clemente Island on Wednesday. They reported finding multiple schools of yellowtail that were mostly not biting, but they did manage to land three to go along with a bunch of bonito and some rockfish. While this isn’t a flame thrower by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a promising sign of things to come.
The yellowtail and big bonito are still biting at the Coronado Islands, but the bite has been a little tougher than last week. My buddy Matt Kotch fished the islands with Jackpot Charters on Tuesday and reported that the yellowtail were biting the surface iron and flylined sardines well but that the sea lions were a huge problem. He also said that there was a surprising amount of boat traffic down there and if it was that bad on Tuesday, the weekend should be a nightmare. If you’re thinking about heading down, my advice is to jump on a 3/4-day midweek trip. Finally, the bluefin are still biting for the 1 1/2- day trips but the grade was mostly smaller over the last couple days. There are still some bigger fish around but the sub 30-pound fish are the most cooperative. Boats fishing Wednesday reported catching kelp paddy yellows, mostly 10-pounds and under, so there’s at least something to target if you limit out on bluefin or aren’t lucky enough to find a biting school.
I know, it’s not the greatest offshore fishing right now, but try to remember that this is the end of April and before 2015 we’d still have another two months to wait before anyone even went looking for tuna.