As much as I hate to do it, this is going to be another one of those “good news and bad news” types of columns. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week you already know the good news. The offshore bite has been great!
Ready for the bad news?
We’ve got a full moon this weekend and unlike the last couple moons, this one is bringing the wind with it.
While not all weather forecasts are in agreement about how much wind there’s going to be, they’re all forecasting it to blow at least across the outer waters. I’m not a meteorologist but I do pay attention to the weather and noticed that at my house in Long Beach the last couple evenings have felt different than the way things have been the last few months. I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s different, but the humidity in the air and the smell of the breezes changed back to how I remember they felt before this weird and windless localized heatwave started. If nothing else, I’d imagine we’re going to see the return of normal weather, meaning windy afternoons on the water.
While this week’s Navionics Chart doesn’t look all that different than last week’s, I’d warn you that if you were to draw an imaginary line from the upper left corner of the chart down through San Clemente Island and off the bottom of the image, everything on the left hand side of that line is going to be too windy for private boats to comfortably fish. Whatever is on the right hand side should be fine but I’d err on the side of caution. If it’s windier than forecast in the morning you can bet it’s going to be windier than the forecast in the afternoon too so don’t just head out and hope for the best.
I’m going to start up north and work my way down today. There are still some yellowtail biting at Santa Cruz Island but the wind is definitely going to be a factor up there. I’m sure that the backside east end of the island will be fishable but the crossing will probably suck. If it were me I’d wait until next week to give it a try.
There’s not much happening along the coast other than bass and a very few yellowtail being caught on the Horseshoe Kelp right now. Having fished locally the last couple weeks, I’ve found that when it comes to bass, the bite is much better in the afternoon. It’s going to be windy, but I’d much rather deal with a little wind than I would with not catching anything.There is a yellofin and dorado bite scattered around the Orange County Offshore banks and up around Catalina and San Clemente Islands. I was lucky enough to find some dorado on my way to fish bass at Clemente over the weekend and you can read my full report here. Even if the wind blows I think the banks below Catalina should be fishable in the mornings this weekend.
The big yellows and small bluefin are still biting at Cortes and Tanner Banks but the wind is going to blow out there big time. I’m sure that some of the bigger boats will still make the run, but the wind is forecast to blow in the teens to low twenties. That may not sound like too much wind but those banks are outside the protected waters of the SoCal Bight and subject to much bigger swells.
Speaking of the Bight, I spoke with Captain Brandon Hayward of Bight Sportfishing and he reported catching a big eye tuna on the Flat Fall while targeting bluefin at night. This is the first large big eye caught in local waters in quite a while. Only time will tell if this is an anomaly or the beginning of something. In the meantime, the big bluefin bite has been good lately and should improve during the full moon if the wind doesn’t blow too hard. If you’d like a shot a trophy fish, Brandon let me know that he has a spot available on his open party trip out of San Diego on Sunday. You can contact him through his website.
The Coronado Islands are still producing good yellowtail fishing with a side of bluefin for full day boats. The photo at the top of this column is from the San Diego out of Seaforth Landing and gives a pretty good indication of the size of fish being caught. Some of the full day boats are running offshore and catching yellowfin tuna along with a decent dorado bite. Overnight boats fishing farther down the line are getting good scores, sometimes limits, of yellowfin tuna.
Wherever you fish this weekend make sure and keep an eye on the wind!