Alternate title for this article was, “A Tale Of Two Pictures.”
I posted the above picture on my Facebook page this week. It’s my buddy April and her fiancé, Kevin Martin, a crewmember on Toronado Sportfishing. The Toro was on a 2 day last weekend with Capt. Ray Lagmay running the trip. They fished San Clemente and picked up 42 Yellowtail, 21 sheephead, 110 whitefish and 45 rockfish…a very solid Fall combo trip for sure.
On the way home they ran into a spot of bluefin and managed to pickup a couple nice ones. The above fish ran around 100-pounds and a bigger one went 140.
I posted “Heckuva catch by our buddy April…” She hit me up and corrected me saying it wasn’t her, but another angler on the boat, Fermin Melendez (right). Kevin had a hand in decking the fish, so they took a pic together with it.
People commented on the fact it was a such a big catch on relatively light gear.
I had a chance to connect with Fermin. He told me it was a typical quick shot, throw and pray bluefin scenario. They came upon these fish up splashing around on the surface. He grabbed his surface iron setup to throw on them, a Shimano Terez 80M and a Tranx 400 filled to the brim with 65# braid. Fermin casted his Kicker 25 into the the melee…wind wind wind and got BIT commencing a fight that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes!
The Toronado was out on a 2-day again mid-week and managed a nice score of 8 bluefin tuna, 25 yellowtail, 5 calico bass, 2 barracuda, 20 sheephead, 100 whitefish, 60 rockfish, 3 bonito in deteriorating conditions.
Another boat, the Aztec with Capt. Greg Gawitt returned on Wednesday from a day and half trip with 13 bluefin to 195. They called in yesterday in the middle of another 1.5 with a cow (225) and a super cow (321)!
Greg reported high winds making for fast drifts hurt their numbers, but they still converted on some big opportunities.
Obviously, this is all really great news. Conditions should improve for the weekend fishing too.
My gut tells me though that the window may be closing on these fish for the year.
It’s not so much that they’ll up and leave. It’s more that a majority of boats have been focusing on shorter trips for bigger numbers on smaller grade yellowfin. We’re going to have more weather as we progress into winter. Eventually, we’ll hit a stretch of poor conditions and lose track of them. When that happens, will there be enough interest to brave the weather, throw down the scratch and find them again? We won’t know until it happens, but the safe bet is to go now while there are still boats targeting these fish and we know where they are. I’m getting on the Eclipse tonight for a 2 day. Still some spots available. Roll out.
Good luck if you get out there!