The offshore fishing is still the big news this week, but before I get into detail about what’s happening, I’d like to take a look at some other fishing options. First off, the seabass, yellowtail and halibut are still biting at the Channel Islands. Most of the seabass and halibut are being caught by overnight boats out of Ventura Sportfishing. 3/4-day trips fishing the islands have been doing well on calico bass and there have been some yellowtail in the mix.
Sport boats fishing the coast from Marina Del Rey to Dana Point have been mostly targeting rockfish and sculpin but are occasionally targeting surface species. If you’re in the LA Area, your best bet is to jump on an afternoon half-day trip out of San Pedro or Long Beach. This is your best shot at targeting barracuda and calico bass.
Private boaters are fairing better on the coast. My friend Chris Oakes took his boat out on Sunday and started at the break wall and then fished down through Huntington Beach for 100 mixed bass for him and his two buddies. He reported that it was definitely a day of quantity over quality with most of his fish being in the one to three pound range.
The bass fishing at Catalina and San Clemente Island remains good for private boaters and the few sport boats fishing Catalina are also scoring some yellowtail. Most of the yellowtail at the island are the six pound models, but there are some bigger fish on the backside. I spoke with a buddy who is a commercial squid fishermen and he reported good fishing on 30 pound class yellows on the squid grounds in the dark and at gray light. There isn’t a lot of squid to be found at the island any more, but it might be worth taking a look if you’re tired of chasing tuna.
Speaking of tuna, the bite continues, but it’s changed a bit since last week. The fish that were biting along the Orange County coastline last week are still there but they’ve become a lot more difficult to catch. This may be due to the amount of boat traffic that’s been in the area, I saw at least 200 boats on the water when I was out last Friday. Whatever the case, the fish have been skittish and line shy.
John Curry fished the 14 Mile Bank on Sunday and managed one yellowfin tuna out of two hook ups. He’s been on these fish since they showed up and shared some of his observations. “The northern fish have been really line shy, so we’ve been fishing small baits on light line. I’ve been fishing 20 pound line with a 15 pound fluoro leader on an old school Calstar 196-8 and a Newell 229.”
“Trolling hasn’t been working well for these fish lately, so I’ve been spending my time looking for kelp paddies or areas showing signs of life, especially tern birds. Once you find fish, preferably well away from everyone else, fly line baits on light line or cast small jigs, like Mega Baits, at breaking fish.”
The Orange County 3/4-day boats are still scoring tuna, yellowtail and dorado on their trips but the action has slowed significantly. Overnight boats in the area are getting better results while fishing outside of San Clemente Island. These trips have been getting mostly yellowfin and smaller bluefin but they’re still catching the occasional big bluefin, with fish to 100 pounds being caught.
San Diego continues to be the epicenter for this bite and fish are being caught by trips as short as 1/2-day. These 1/2-day fish are being caught on the extended afternoon trips the Dolphin has been running out of Seaforth Landing.
Also out of Seaforth, the San Diego has been running offshore 3/4-day trips, and along with the Malihini out of H&M Landing , has been putting up huge scores on yellowfin tuna. Along with these yellowfin are the occasional yellowtail, dorado and big bluefin tuna.
The overnight boats are splitting their time between US and Mexican waters, depending on what the fish are doing on any given day. The only real difference is whether or not you’re going to be able to keep the bluefin tuna you catch. The 1 ½-day boats are fishing further south in Mexican waters and encountering some excellent yellowfin tuna fishing. This bodes well for the coming weeks as there appears to be a big area of tuna down there that are making their way north.
Barring any extreme weather, these fish should continue upward and replenish the tuna supply in U.S. waters.