Well, it looks like our endless summer has finally morphed into a protracted miserable winter weather pattern that waited until late spring to show up. The good news is that for the second week in a row, this crappy weather will be rolling in ahead of the weekend, so at least we’ll be able to salvage some of our fishing options. Unless the forecast changes for the better, any private boaters planning trips to the Channel Islands, San Clemente or the offshore banks would be advised to wait until Sunday when the weather has come down a bit. Sport boats fishing those areas should be fine, but it’s going to be a rough ride on Saturday.
Speaking of the offshore banks, the bluefin tuna are still biting in US waters but the bite has been scratchy. The Shogun just got in from a three-day trip and reported seeing lots of tuna and managed 36 fish. According to Captain Aaron Barnhill, the fish were keyed in on small anchovies and reluctant to bite the sardines. The Producer out of H&M Landing fished the area earlier this week and managed a handful of fish as well.
The yellowtail bite at San Clemente Island has slowed down in the last couple weeks, mostly due to wind and its associated water temperature drops. The Thunderbird still managed a decent score on the yellows earlier this week and reported excellent calico bass fishing to go along with it. There is quite a bit of Naval activity scheduled there for Saturday and much of the island is closed, but it’s all-open on Sunday. With the wind forecast to back off and more island to fish, Sunday looks like the better bet for fishing Clemente.
The yellowtail bite picked back up this week at Catalina and both private boaters and sport boats are catching fish off the backside of the island.
These fish are biting in the same areas they were a month ago, so just get out there and look around for signs of life.
I fished the front side, west end of the island on Saturday during an SWBA bass tournament and saw quite a few birds acting like they were on yellows in deep water. This suspicion was reinforced by the fact that I caught a yellow on the surface iron off one of those spots of birds. I had to get back to bass fishing after that fish, but the birds stayed active for several hours and I’d imagine someone could have put a day together on them if they wanted to. These fish were just cruising around in open water; so don’t drive by anything that looks remotely fishy if you’re at the island.
On the bass front, the big calicos were definitely on the chew at Catalina during that tournament. Most teams reported getting big fish in shallow water on swimbaits and surface iron. The bass are also biting on the coast and the breakwall has been producing some slugs. My friend Chris Lilis fished the wall on Wednesday night and caught several big fish, the largest was over 9-pounds.
The yellowtail are also biting along the beach for boats fishing out of Long Beach. The Enterprise out of Marina Sportfishing and the Victory out of Pierpoint Landing both caught a handful of fish and lost several more on Wednesday’s trip. These fish were caught on the surface iron fished on bird schools. Several private boaters in the area got on the fish as well. This area will be getting hammered by the wind on Friday, so we’ll have to see if those fish are still around once the weather settles back down.
The final area of biting yellows is down around the Coronado Islands. As I said last week, the fish counts were due to improve and they did just that this week. The Malihini out of H&M Landing went from 16 fish on Tuesdays trip to over 100 on Wednesday.
The San Diego out of Seaforth Landing had similar results with 92 fish on their 3/4-day trip. Private boaters who are willing to go out and find their own fish have been scoring as well.