It’s been yet another good week of offshore fishing for SoCal anglers. Bluefin and yellowfin tuna are both still biting in US waters and there has been some signs of better things to come down south.
The only limiting factor to this weekend’s fishing potential is that the wind is forecast to blow on Saturday. Before I get into the details on the weather, let’s take a look at this week’s Navionics Chart.
Starting at the top and working down, there are still some bluefin and yellowfin off the west end backside of San Clemente Island and in between the west ends of there and Catalina. These fish have been up in this zone for at least a month now but judging by the fact that it’s forecast to blow 15-knots with gusts to 20 on Saturday and 10 to 15 on Sunday, you may want to hold off until next week to give that area a look. There are guys I know that have been fishing marlin this week and they have seen schools of yellowfin on the front side of Clemente, at the 289 and on the 181. These are mostly just isolated schools but keep an eye out for them because you never know where they’ll pop up.
The yellows are biting at both San Clemente and Catalina islands, but I think that Clemente isn’t going to be skiff friendly this weekend, so if you’re a private boater looking for yellows, I’d make the run to Catalina. Sportboats are catching good sized fish at both islands as you can see by these fish caught aboard the Freelance out of Davey’s Locker earlier this week. There are lots and lots of mixed size bonito at Catalina as well with fish ranging from 1 to 6-pounds. The bonito are also biting for boats fishing along the coast from Dana Point to San Diego and there are some big fish in the mix there as well. Down in San Diego boats are also getting shots at yellowtail that are mixed in with the bonito.
The big bluefin are still biting for boats fishing the backside, east end of San Clemente Island but those fish have slid a ways off the island in recent days. The fish are scattered as far as 20-miles from the island so that should hopefully spread out the fleet a bit. There are some smaller 50 to 60-pound bluefin biting in this zone as well and some boats, like the Aztec out of Seaforth Landing, have caught limits this week. The weather forecast doesn’t look great for this zone either on Saturday, so private boaters may want to wait until Sunday or early next week to take a look. The weather forecast looks better further south and boats like the San Diego have been catching yellowfin tuna. These fish are mixed in size from 10 to 30-pounds and on Wednesday they started seeing some of those 50 to 60-pound bluefin as well, so make sure and bring some 40# tackle if you’re heading out on a trip this weekend.
If you want to catch a striped marlin, this would probably be a good time to go fishing. We fished the Master Angler Billfish Tournament over the weekend and caught fish both days while fishing aboard the Wild in Sac out of San Diego. The first day we found some tailers outside North Island in the morning and went back through that zone in the afternoon to get an Indian-attack of at least five fish. We ended up hooking three and having another one chewing on the squid chain five feet off the transom. The fish were all 150 plus pounds which didn’t bode well for the 16-pound line we were fishing. We ended up getting spooled on one, another broke off due to the resistance of dragging 400 yards of line in the water, and the last one, which was probably 160 to 180-pounds, was released by Jimmy Decker. The next day we ran up the line and fished inside the 181/182 ridge. We got three more bites there but only released one. The marlin didn’t seem to care what color jigs we were running but all of the fish were hooked on jigs fished on the corner as opposed to in the outriggers. Not sure what I’m going to fish for this weekend, but wish you all good luck if you’re heading out.