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Tuna Bite Continues Into December

tuna biteWhile it’s not quite yet December, I’m actually writing this on the morning of November 30th, I’m confident that the bluefin and yellowfin will still be biting when this article publishes on December 1st. In fact, I’ll venture a guess that they’ll be biting better than they are today. Since I’m in a guessing mood, my next one would be that we’ll see some of those jumbos back in the counts over the weekend if Sunday night’s full moon does what it’s supposed to.

tuna biteIn other good news, the bluefin biting on the 60 Mile Bank aren’t the only game in town right now. This morning I spoke to Captain Gerry Mahieu of All Harbors Charters who fished out of San Diego yesterday. He reported finding dolphin with a mix of bluefin and yellowfin on them and had wide open fishing on fish ranging from 25 to 30-pounds until he ran out of bait. These fish were almost 20 miles away from where the fleet is fishing and he said he never saw another boat all day. There’s lots of good looking tuna water from the border all the way up to San Clemente Island so there’s plenty of places to look for fish. I’ve seen tuna on my way to fish bass at SCI two out of the last three trips I’ve been out and water temps in the channel between there and Cat averaged 67-degrees when I made the crossing on Friday. If you’re running offshore anywhere this weekend keep an eye out for dolphin or foamers. The tuna have been feeding on the surface during full moons this year and Sunday’s shouldn’t be any different.

As you can see on the Navionics chart, the tuna bite is definitely the highlight of what’s happening in Southern California. While rockfish and bass may not sound all that exciting, this weekend’s weather is going to make for enjoyable fishing wherever you decide to go.

There are lots of boats targeting rockfish along the coast and at the islands but the most consistent action has been around the Channel Islands. If you’re thinking about fishing rockfish I’d recommend getting on at least a full day trip out of Ventura or Santa Barbara as that will give you the travel time you’ll need to get to some of the better spots. If I were going, I’d jump on an overnight trip to maximize my fishing time and because I like having a bunk to sleep in on the way home.

Private boaters planning to fish rockfish anywhere other than at the Channel Islands should do their best to get some live squid before they head out. I spoke with Bobby Martinez who’s been fishing rockfish in the Santa Monica Bay and he reported that having live squid makes all the difference when targeting reds. Without it you’re basically wasting your time right now.

Finally, the calico bass bite at San Clemente Island is incredible right now. I fished the island on Friday and it was the best fishing I’ve ever had there. You can read my full report here. I had several friends fish there over the weekend and all of them reported wide open fishing. I’ll be heading back there on Saturday but I’m going to be looking hard for tuna while making the crossing. This weather isn’t going to last forever so get out there and enjoy some of this unprecedented December fishing.

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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.