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SoCal Yellowfin Tuna Bite Improves

SoCal yellowfinAfter several false starts over the last few months but it looks like the San Diego offshore fishing season has finally hit its stride. Full day and overnight trips found steady action on mixed schools of SoCal yellowfin and skipjack tuna this week and on Wednesday the fleet tallied almost 1200 yellowfin. While many of these fish are small, there are enough bigger ones (like those pictured) to keep things fun. While the bulk of the yellowfin tuna is still below the border, there are fish spread as far north as Catalina so this bite should continue to improve.

There’s a lot to cover in this week’s report so I’m just going to jump right into what’s happening on the Navionics Chart. Since I started in San Diego, I’m going to work from the bottom up this week. The Coronado Island yellowtail bite kicked back into gear this week as well and most boats had limits, or near limits, this week.

socal yellowsThe Grande out of H&M Landing had 126 fish for 30 anglers and the San Diego out of Seaforth Landing brought in 219 yellows for their 49 anglers on Wednesday. These fish are biting the surface iron readily, which makes for some fun fishing. There are also a few bluefin at the islands that are occasionally being hooked on fly-lined sardines. Boats fishing the coast in San Diego are reporting excellent calico bass fishing in the kelp off Point Loma and La Jolla. Half day anglers looking to target bass should jump on an afternoon trip because the bite has been better once the sun gets out and the wind blows a little.

The fishing along the coast in LA and Orange County is surprisingly slow for this time of year. I fished from Newport to Palos Verdes on Sunday and struggled to find any biting bass. Conditions looked great but the fish had lockjaw, probably due to too much bait in the water. Things are looking better on the offshore scene. Boats fishing out of Newport Beach and Dana Point are scoring limits of dorado if they’re lucky enough to find the right paddy. I took a look offshore on Saturday while driving to and from San Clemente Island and looked at quite a few empty paddies but did find some yellowfin on dolphin at the Mackerel Bank. You can read my full report here.

socal calico bassWhile we struck out offshore the bass fishing at the island was wide open and we had a few shots at yellows that didn’t make it into the boat. Sport boats fishing the island have been getting good scores of bass as well. The Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker fished the island on Wednesday and scored over 100 quality calicos to go along with two 200-pound plus bluefin they caught in the predawn hours. The big bluefin are still biting well for boats fishing the backside of the island with most of the daytime action coming on flyers fished on a balloon. At night the fish are biting flat fall jigs. It’s not a sure thing but the boats that are lucky enough to find biting fish are often scoring multiple fish per trip.

socal bluefinThe small bluefin and bigger yellowtail are still biting for the 1 1/2-day trips making the run to Tanner and Cortes. No one that I’ve heard of has made the run to San Nick lately but I wouldn’t be surprised if the bigger bluefin were up there as well. The uphill current has been running hard and as more warm water pushes up those fish are going to have to go somewhere.

Finally, there are still some yellows and a few seabass being caught at the Channel Islands. The bite is far from wide open but I’d expect it to improve a bit as we approach the full moon next Sunday. The bass bite has been good at Santa Cruz Island for the guys that are fishing them and the rockfish bite is also good. The weather forecast looks good this weekend across the SoCal Bight, so get out there and catch some fish!

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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 and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal Scene, Erik keeps all of the BD readers up to date on what's biting in Southern California. Erik divides his fishing time on local boats, long-range trips and Mexico excursions. For the past eight years, Erik has been competing in the SWBA (Saltwater Bass Anglers) tournament series and has multiple tournament victories to his credit. His sponsors include Batson Enterprises / Rainshadow Rods, Robalo Boats, Tilly's Marine, Abu/Garcia, Penn Reels, Navionics, Raymarine, MC Swimbaits, Uni-Butter Fishing Scent and Bladerunner Tackle.