Tuna Bite Outer Banks
Just when it looked like things were finally winding down on the offshore scene, the Cortes and Tanner banks cranked it right back up with a late fall bite. The banks, which produced a lot of the bluefin for the long range fleet this summer, had been hit and miss the last couple months and hadn’t been getting much coverage due to better opportunities closer to home. But with the coastal fish drying up, 1 1/2-day boats have been making the run and loading up. On a recent trip the Tribute landed 115 yellowfin tuna, 38 bluefin tuna, 48 yellowtail and 200 rockfish. This bite should continue as long as we can avoid several days of sustained weather out there.
Closer to home, boats fishing the Coronado Islands have been getting some good scores on yellowtail when they can get the seals to leave them alone. The bite hasn’t been a sure thing for the 3/4-day boats fishing the islands, but even on the slow days they’re getting a couple handfuls of nice yellows. The upside is that if you’re lucky enough to pick the right day the fishing can be pretty damned good. Take for example the Malihini out of H&M Landing, on Monday they only managed 14 yellows for their 28 passengers but on Tuesday they knocked it out of the park with 156 yellows for 40 people.
As of right now, the Coronados are your best chance at catching yellowtail and the fish have been biting the yo-yo jig pretty well, which makes for some fun fishing.
Along the coast, boats are still picking off a few bigger yellows around San Diego but the bite is hit and miss at best. Other than yellowtail, it’s mostly rockfish along the coast with a few bass and bonito thrown in from time to time. Like with anywhere along the coast, the bigger yellows could show up again at any time down there, so if you’re heading out take a few minutes to look around before running straight to your rockfish hole.
The yellowtail bite off San Onofre seems to have temporarily shut off but as resilient as this bite has been I’d expect the fish to bite again sometime between now and December 7th. The same holds true for the yellows on the Horseshoe Kelp and the ones in the Santa Monica Bay. These fish have been biting sporadically over the last couple months with the best bites directly relating to the full moon. So, I’d be willing to bet that if the water temps remain stable we’ll continue to see sporadic scores of fish from these areas over the next few weeks and then big scores out of one or more of these zones by the 6th or 7th of December. This is obviously just a guess on my part, but the yellows have bit every full moon for the last 11 months so, if I were looking to catch a big local yellow, I’d do my best to be on the water during the later part of the first week in December.
Catalina and San Clemente Islands are still kicking out bass and yellowtail for private boaters and yellowtail, bonito and rockfish for the sportboats but neither island is getting much pressure these days. The El Dorado out of Long Beach Sportfishing has started running it’s overnight rockfish trips to San Nicholas Island. These are fun trips as there are lots of big rockfish to be caught and all of the fishing is done in less than 120 feet of water (due to CCA restrictions). If you’re thinking about jumping on one of these trips bring your bass gear and remember to keep a careful eye on the outer water forecast to make sure the weather will be good.
Speaking of rockfish, the Channel Islands are kicking out lots of quality fish for sportboats fishing out of Ventura landings. There have also been some big yellowtail caught by boats fishing Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands, but they’re not a sure thing. As is usually the case up that way, if you go expecting rockfish you might be pleasantly surprised with a yellowtail, but if you go expecting yellowtail you’re probably going to be disappointed.
Finally, the mid-season ban on sculpin goes into effect on Saturday November 15th. From that day until December 31st of this year sculpin will be strictly no take. These mid season changes don’t often get properly publicized, so please tell your friends as it may save them from getting a ticket.