Wow, I got back from Puerto Vallarta last Monday, to find out that Capt. Gavin Harbour running the Pacific Queen had scored a bluefin on their Colonet trip, the first bluefin of 2016 for the Southern California sportfishing fleet. Capt. Jeffrey Markland of the Thunderbird had put his customers on a 106 yellowtail!
You’re gone a few days and you can miss a lot! And it wasn’t even the opener yet! Rockfishing season opened on Tuesday, March 1st. And then our unofficial fishing season opener, The Fred Hall Show, ran Wednesday, March 2nd through Sunday, March 6th at the Long Beach Convention Center.
It was a busy week!
Here are some highlights from the week that was…
As I mentioned, up top, the Pacific Queen scored the first bluefin for the season. The fish was caught by angler, Jim Todd, on a 1.5-day trip to Punta Colonet. Jim tricked the fish into biting a Salas 6x heavy in the dorado pattern using 50-pound line on a Penn Fathom 2-speed reel.
The fish weighed in at 49.7-pounds when they got back to Fisherman’s Landing.
I’ve since talked to several other captains who are telling me there is a volume of fish down there, they just haven’t wanted to go…YET. This is nevertheless very exciting news for March. They’ve got to bite sometime.
Further north, where in a normal year the rockfish opener would be the main story, they’re having a nice bite on yellowtail in the Channel Islands. My colleague, Erik Landesfeind, on March 1st previously mentioned the 50-pounder caught aboard the Aloha Spirit (Yellows Highlight Excellent Rockfish Opener).
On Friday March 4th, the Aloha Spirit and 3 other boats, Speed Twin, Erna B, and Sea Jay, combined for a 47 yellowtail tally out of Channel Islands Sportfishing. The yellowtail counts have been augmented by the typically good rockfishing activity up there to combine for a fantastic start to the season.
Hopefully, once we get past these weather fronts, we’ll see things pick back up.
As far as Fred Hall goes, I managed to get down to the show for about 3 hours opening night on Wednesday, and then most of the day on Saturday. It was great to finally meet my editor, Scott Goodwin, live at the show. Scott flew in from Florida to check out the madness firsthand.
I spent most of my time talking to various captains, setting up trips and talking about other salty matters. Many captains mentioned the possibility of seeing the elusive albacore tuna this year, so that is something I will definitely keep an eye out for in the coming months.
Gear wise, I certainly didn’t get around to every manufacturer, but I talked to several and saw my share of new gear.
I talked to Matt Florentino, Creative Marketing Manager of AFTCO, who showed me a new, lightweight, foul weather coat and bib combo they have coming out for Fall 2016. I’ll be very excited to see that combo, especially as we round into the latter, nastier (weather) part of the year. AFTCO Sales Manager, Greg Stotesbury, showed me a new perforated sun mask that solves the dilemma of sunglasses fogging while wearing the mask. That product is available now.
“Kewly” Zamora of Seeker Rods showed me a prototype Ulua rod that combines a more forgiving bend with a lighter, smaller diameter blank. The old blank was very tough to fit a reel seat onto, or even clamp a reel, so I’m sure this will be very exciting news for a lot of salties.
Danny Uribe of Accurate Reels showed me their new Valiant reel that combines 25-pounds of fish stopping power in a very small, extremely lightweight (8oz) package that I’ll be very excited to get my hands on and play with in the coming months.
Fred Hall makes it’s North County Del Mar stop on March 17th, so if you missed the Long Beach show, you still have time to check things out there. All for now. Tight lines!