In case you haven’t been following the weather, last week’s heatwave blocked the afternoon west winds from blowing for most of the week.
Those five or six days of hot and windless weather, caused sea surface temperatures to skyrocket and when I say skyrocket, I mean it. We saw water temps as high as 80.5 degrees on the inside edge of the Mackerel Bank on Sunday. While these warm temps got the people on social media prognosticating about blue marlin and wahoo, the reality is that the water a few feet below the surface is significantly cooler. How much cooler? Well, judging by the fact that water temps in some areas dropped as much as 15 degrees after a few days of strong wind, I’d recommend leaving the wired up Marauders at home if you’re heading offshore.
On a brighter note, the bigger bluefin have returned from wherever it is that they went and have set up shop back in the same zones they were biting in a couple of months ago. The wind kept a lot of the smaller boats out of that zone this week but the bigger boats were able to get them pretty good as you can see from this pic of a trip aboard the Shogun. The weather looks pretty lousy out that way through Saturday morning, which means that Saturday will probably be sub-optimal at best and while the wind isn’t forecast to blow on Sunday, if the current is screaming uphill, like its been for most of the last month, the water conditions in that zone will still be pretty horrible all weekend. The weather forecast for the rest of the week looks quite a bit better.
Let’s go to this week’s Navionics chart to see what else is happening. The big swordfish were biting for the deep drop guys fishing around Santa Cruz Island over the weekend with several fish to 400 plus pounds being caught. While I’m sure the wind had no effect on water temps at 1200-feet, I’d imagine it’s been too rough to fish that deep up there this week. The yellows are still biting at Catalina and the 3/4 day boats have been consistently catching nice fish. There have been a lot of yellows around the island this year but with all of the bait around they’ve been on the tough side for private boaters to catch since you need quite a bit of chum to get them interested. If you’re looking to catch one, I’d conserve your bait by driving around and looking for fish to chum to instead of blindly setting up and chumming in hopes of drawing one in. More often than not you’re going to run out of bait long before a yellowtail stumbles into your chum line.
I fished bass at San Clemente Island on Sunday and along with finding excellent fishing on both the front and backside of the island, we saw lots of yellowtail cruising around. These fish would lazily follow a jig or swimbait but had no interest in biting. Before heading home we decided to run down the front side of the island a ways to look for yellows or tuna. Just below Wilson Cove we found a big breezer of yellowfin hugging the 200-fathom curve, but they sank out before we got a cast on them. Every time we’ve seen bluefin or yellowfin on the front side of Clemente this year they’ve been right on that fathom curve, so if you’re heading out there, I’d take a look at it.
Most of the action for the San Diego based fleet this week has come from the Cortes and Tanner area, where boats have been finding consistently easy fishing on 20 to 40-pound bluefin. There have been a few bigger bluefin in the mix and depending on where the boat is fishing in relation to the high spot on the Cortes there is a chance at catching a big yellow. Boats that aren’t making the long run west, are fishing kelp paddies down south for dorado and yellowtail. Based on the reports that I’ve seen, the farther south you go, the better your shot of finding the right paddy. This area got hit by the wind this week as well but will hopefully get back on track in a few days.
Make sure and keep a close eye on the weather forecast if you’re headed out this weekend!