Last week I reported that The San Diego was going to change up from their offshore program and head back to the Coronado Islands fishing yellowtail for Monday and Tuesday’s runs. They ended up staying the week at the islands.
Over the course of the week, they posted progressively better Coronado Island yellowtail fishing counts, but Saturday the dam broke open. For Saturday’s run (July 13), they posted a count of 246 yellowtail for 52 anglers…close to the Mexican limits of 5 per angler. The San Diego was far from the only boat in on the party. The other full day boats, the Liberty also posted 246 (for 59), as did the Grande (246 yellowtail and 1 barracuda for 59). I guess all the captains were being exceedingly modest and didn’t want to outdo each other?
“This year is my 20th straight season operating a boat at the Coronado Islands. The fishing that is happening right now is the best I have ever seen. Boats from 10-feet to 124-feet all drifting and getting them,” said Capt. Ryan Bostian of the San Diego.
I had several fishing buddies on the boat fishing the Coronado Island Yellowtail Saturday and the accounts I heard were all the same. The boat was getting stopped on sonar schools, and then the fish were sticking with the boat for long, productive drifts. Junior size yo-yo jigs were the top catcher initially, and then flylined baits and even surface iron was putting them in the boat afterward. San Diego regular, Rachel Todd (top, middle) told me her Salas 7x Jr. light was getting bit so well, she managed to lose a hook on it after putting 7 fish on the deck (right).
Everyone I talked to reported that it was a blast to be in on a wide-open Coronado Island yellowtail bite, especially given how scratchy it had been chasing tuna on the boat previously. There’s a lot of fish around, but I wouldn’t count on it staying wide forever. The fish may be on the chew due to the full moon phase right now. That condition obviously will change and the boat pressure on these schools isn’t going to improve the bite. If you want in, best to go while the getting’s good.
Big Bean Update
I was really hoping to take my son Jacob down to San Diego to fish this weekend. He’s home for the summer after finishing his first year in college. He couldn’t go on Saturday, and then his sister had a swim meet on Sunday.
I couldn’t not fish this weekend, so despite the fact it was a summer weekend in So-Cal, I decided to try and fish the beach anyway. It was a zoo, but after circling around the lot a few times, I managed to find a metered spot. Two-hour limit, so I set an alarm on my phone and hurried down to the sand to see if I could make something happen.
The effort was rewarded.
I was able to quickly make bait (sand crabs) as they are now abundant on the beach. Then I proceeded to walk away from the crowd until I was able to find about a 20-foot empty spot where I could fish. Luckily, there happened to be structure there (a nice trough close to the sand) and I hit it during the ideal corbina conditions of a rising tide, just after the low tide. I was immediately encouraged that I found a good spot when a corbina splashed right next to me on a receding wave. Game on.
I don’t know if it was the same fish, but shortly after that initial sighting, I got bit. I could tell by the strong initial run that it had some weight. Even with the relatively light surf, it took me a while to beach it. It was a good one, 21-inches, tying my personal best of the year. It was my fifth fish this year so far that was at or bested the 20-inch milestone. That catch happened relatively quickly, so I kept fishing.
A couple of kids wandered into my area, so I moved on to the next empty spot. I had 5 more baits in my pocket and the clock was running down. On the 3rd bait, I got bit again. Again, I could tell it was a nicer fish from its strong run. I tried to keep it within my small patch of sand, but it took me down the beach where there were another couple of kids playing in the water. “Hey watch out. Get out of the way!” I yelled as I held the rod with my right hand and waved frantically at them with my left.
“We were here first!”~ Clueless mother at the beach
“Hey lady, I’m on a fish. Let me land it and you can have “your” spot back.”
I told this story to my surf sensei, Randy Toji, after I eventually landed the fish and got back to my car. “One word to remember if this happens to you again Joe – Shark!”
Long story short, the kids got up and ran to their mom, and I landed my fish. As soon as I beached it, I could tell it was much larger than any other I’d ever caught. I put the measuring tape on it – 23 inches, a new personal best!
According to the IGFA, the all-tackle world record length for a California corbina is 22-inches (56 centimeters), caught by Gregory S. Tate in Newport Harbor; April 23, 2015.
I guess people aren’t submitting their fish for records (maybe I should), because I know a handful of anglers that have caught 25-inch fish or better. That’s the ultimate goal though (to hit that 25 inch mark) and I feel like this spot could yield a fish that size by the end of the summer. Stay tuned.
All for now, there’s a lot of good fishing all over, especially the Coronado Island Yellowtail Fishing, so get out and enjoy it. Good luck if you get out there.