Bluefin bite back!

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FULL-DAY zone cow caught in the kelp paddy yellowtail zone early in the week when fishing for the forks got slow. By the weekend the yellowtail bite was back on with anglers bagging full boat limits. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN DIEGO SPORTFISHING
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BY MERIT McCREA

SAN DIEGO / OCEANSIDE — Just when it was looking like it might be a wrap, the bluefin bite came roaring back. The Outrider reported in with 2-day full limits – 36 for 9 anglers, the Tomahawk had 70 on deck the first day of their 2-day so far, and the Pacific Queen turned in limits on a 3 dayer with 25 fishing – 150 blues.

With plenty of the larger models to be seen the biters ranged from 20 to 40 pounds. The Pacifica also turned in limits of bluefin fishing that outer banks area – 52 fish for 26 fishers.

The Tribute decked 26 for 13 fishing. The Pacifica had limits too, with 26 anglers.

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This action was out toward the outer banks, but not necessarily right on top. There were fish to try for scattered over wide area, including the basin south of San Clemente Island.

In full-day range, to the south, kelps produced limit action on yellowtail again, with an occasional yellowfin landed and schools of the jumbo bluefin in the area too.

Early in the week Capt. Matt on the San Diego had a tough time finding the lucky kelp, owing to the abundance of big blues in the area. The only appropriate tackle on tap that day was the boat’s kite gear and so they put that out on those fish.

The result was a cow, taping out over 200 pounds.

But a bit farther down the line, off the lower 500, outside Colonet – 1.5-day range and longer the waters remained warm enough for yellowfin and there were some big scores of those too, along with a few more dorado than the previous week’s results.

Top 1-day results over the weekend included the Old Glory with full limits of yellowtail for 30, or 150 forks. This was their third trip in a row with full limits of yellows.

TOMAHAWK BLUEFIN – The bite on this grade fish picked back up full speed between the outer banks over the weekend. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOMAHAWK SPORTFISHING

The Mustang also had yellowtail limits. So did the Condor, but on a 1.5 dayer with the range to tackle the yellowfin tuna too. The 14 anglers making the trip added 30 yellowfin tuna and 10 mahi.

The Pacific Queen ran south on their 1.5-day and put on 120 yellowfin tuna for 24 fishers – limits – as well as limits of dorado – 48 flat-heads too.

Out of Oceanside Harbor at Helgren’s Capt. Rick Slavkin’s Oceanside 95 got into that Mexican waters action and put up a 1.5-day catch for 27 anglers of 57 yellowfin, 7 dorado, full limits of yellowtail and a skipjack.

Local 1/2-day action along the coast was all about rockfish and the bite was pretty good. A morning trip on the Sea Watch took 24 anglers double dropper fishing, landing a pair of yellowtail and 165 rockfish with 130 reds in that.

Top local catches out of Oceanside this past week included a 3/4-day trip on the Pronto for limits of rockfish plus 20 whitefish.

From San Diego Bay the Daily Double, Point Loma Sportfishing’s 1/2-day, included good numbers of sand bass to go with whitefish and/or rockfish. Sunday morning it added up to 59 sand bass, one calico, a ling, 13 rockfish and 47 whitefish.

Now that it’s officially Christmas Season boats ran less than COVID capacity and the landings tended to put a single boat on each run as the charter and back-up boats’ crews started shutting down for the winter season.

At H&M Landing Sportfishing Heather Ferrari said the Mustang and Grande were wrapping it up, while the Relentless remained online for 1.75-day trips targeting bluefin, the Old Glory remained online for overnight trips offshore, the Producer was on 1.5-day runs and both the Jigstrike an Alicia continued to offer nightly lobster hoop-netting trips in the calm waters of the Bay each evening.

The Malihini will cover 7 a.m. extended 1/2-day fishing rockfish.

At other landings the situation was similar, with a full open party schedule but fewer secondary boats backing up their first line open party offerings.

At Point Loma Sportfishing the Mission Belle was on the Coronado Island full-day run, so we’ll have to see what results that will bring. Saturday 18 anglers loaded up on limits of rockfish including limits of reds, plus added 30 bonito.

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