With bass biting along the coast, yellowtail at the islands and both bluefin and yellowfin biting offshore, it’s been another great week of fishing in Southern California. The highlight of this week’s action was the brief appearance the yellowfin and bluefin made off the Orange County Coast on Tuesday. While the fish were mostly MIA by Wednesday, there is a ton of bait along the beach right now, so I don’t think they went far. My guess is that these fish have been around for a while but a lack of angling pressure in the area meant that no one was around to notice. In fact, I marked a good size school of tuna below the 14 while fighting a marlin on Labor Day. If these fish still are around, they should pop up over the weekend after tonight’s full moon.
As I mentioned, not all of the local tuna disappeared as Captain Gerry Mahieu was able to find easy limits of bluefin for his clients while fishing out of Dana Point on Wednesday. I had a couple of other friends out who weren’t lucky enough to connect as it’s been a bit of a right place at the right time deal. If you are fishing offshore out of Orange County this weekend and see a bunch of yachts all bunched up around one of the banks or off the east end of Catalina, I wouldn’t waste your time checking it out because they aren’t fishing tuna in the Master Angler Billfish Tournament. Speaking of the tournament, quite a few guys at the Captain’s Meeting on Wednesday night were talking about deep dropping for swordfish during the event. It’s exciting to see that the somewhat new to the west coast deep drop fishery along our coast has grown enough that it makes for a viable tournament fishing option.
I’ve pared down this week’s Navionics Chart to the basics. Rockfish up north, yellows at Catalina (and probably Clemente) and tuna outside. The weather was pretty lousy at the Channel Islands last week and with a much better forecast for this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some yellows and maybe seabass to be added to the counts along with the rockfish and calicos that have been the mainstay as of late. Haven’t heard much from the dirt clod lately and it’s been windy at Nic but the 3/4-day boats are still getting some nice size yellows at Catalina. I’m not going to tell you where I think they’re fishing but it’s not hard to figure out given the time of year and the large size of the fish they’ve been catching. If you know what I’m talking about I’d suggest looking at that zone before they get there or waiting until after the sport boats leave in the afternoon to fish there as you’ll have a better chance at catching some fish.
The bass bite in the Santa Monica Bay turned on big time for a local pro, Bobby Martinez on Sunday. He and Brian Sanner torched the big sand bass with multiple fish in the 5 to 8-pound range and then Bobby topped it off with this giant calico that weighed in just under 11-pounds. While I don’t think there are too many guys that know that part of the bay well enough to come close to repeating his performance, it’s good to know that that grade of fish is available to be caught up there right now. There aren’t a lot of guys fishing bass on the beach right now but I’ve heard a few scattered reports that would indicate that the fishing seems to be a little better overall than it was last month. I might try and sneak out one afternoon next week to fish bass in between the marlin tournaments and I’ll let you know what I see.
The tuna are still biting for boats fishing out of San Diego and while the action can be hit or miss given the day you choose to fish, you’ve got a good shot of catching both school sized yellowfin and 30 to 80-pound bluefin on full-day trips. The counts for the full day trips varied between 50 and 200 fish per trip this week and while the overnight boats are averaging a little better numbers, it seems like all of the boats are mostly grouped up and fishing the same zone, so the only advantage you get on those trips is more fishing time. Sometimes you’ll need that time to find fish and other times you won’t so if it were up to me, I’d probably stick to a full day trip and sleep in my own bed at night. That’s about it for this week. Good luck if you’re going fishing!