Although everyone hoped it wouldn’t be the case, we all knew that the consistent bite on big bluefin in local waters was going to come to an end. And while the bite may not be completely over, last weekend’s windy conditions, coupled with this week’s full moon, definitely have the bluefin at least temporarily off the bite. The good news is that we’ve still got good water conditions and tons of bait on our local banks, so the bite could come roaring back at any time.
As of Thursday, there are still some big bluefin being seen and caught by boats in both US and Mexican waters, but the fishing is far from being good. In other offshore fishing news, there are more yellowfin and yellowtail are showing up in the counts. Sauerfish Charters reported catching several quality yellows off kelp paddies on a recent trip. The Pacific Queen returned from a 1 1/2-day trip this week with 47 yellowtail, 23 yellowfin and 2 bluefin tuna.
This change to a more standard summer pattern should make for some more consistent fishing and will hopefully provide some more catch-able sized fish for the overnight and 1 1/2-day boats.
Private boaters looking to fish offshore this weekend are going to have to roll the dice and go look for fish. I spoke with Captain Gerry Mahieu of All Harbors Charters who fished offshore Tuesday and Wednesday this week. He reported fishing out of San Diego on Tuesday and only seeing one school of yellowfin the entire day in the southern zone. On Wednesday he launched out of Oceanside and covered most of the northern zone without seeing any fish before pulling into San Clemente Island and finding excellent calico bass fishing for his clients.
Sportboat anglers have two options this weekend. The first would be to jump on an overnight or 1 1/2-day trip out of San Diego in search of tuna and yellowtail. The other is to take an overnight boat out of LA or Orange County to fish yellowtail at San Clemente Island. The bite at San Clemente is the more consistent of these two options, but catching small to medium sized yellowtail, with a side of calicos and rockfish, isn’t quite as exciting as catching a tuna. If you are looking to fish San Clemente, the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker has been consistently catching fish.
Private boaters looking to fish a little closer to home can expect decent bass fishing along much of the coast and a shot at a yellowtail if they’re lucky. I fished Palos Verdes on Monday evening and found very cold water on the lower end of the peninsula but warmer water at the northern end. We managed several dozen bass for our efforts and saw multiple big yellows that followed our hooked bass to the boat. Captain Jimmy Decker fished south of Long Beach the same day and reported ice cold water. In fact, he said that the water outside Long Beach was the coldest he’d seen it in the last two years. This cold water is caused by wind driven up-welling from our local canyons and the fact that it has returned after a two year absence is a pretty good indicator that el nino is on it’s way out of Southern California.