Tackle? Bring it all was the call
BY MERIT McCREA
SAN DIEGO/OCEANSIDE — A full suite of options presented before the skippers this past week. There were kelps to find to the south – loaded with boat limits of dorado, some had lots of yellowtail too. Then to the west, on the outer banks were big yellows on one, and limit-style bluefin fishing on the other. And, cow-town was on the chew a few miles off the backside of San Clemente Island. There the big blues lurked and those with the inclination tried for fish from 125 to over 300 pounds.
However, Mother Nature always has the final say, and in this case, mid-week weather was a bit rough on the outside. Bluefin bit on the Tanner before it got windy there, and over the weekend, as it calmed, they were biting hard still.
For the Tanner fish, 25-pound was all you needed for the 25- to 40-pound class bluefin there. At the same time the crazy bottom biters were eager enough that some even managed to catch fly-lined sardines intended for tuna.
And there were a few stray yellows in the mix. At the same time, the word was those bigger yellows were still pretty hungry out on the Cortes and everywhere it seemed a few stray yellowfin tuna joined in.
In fact, Friday aboard the Game Changer, though weather conditions were still a bit “challenging” for their anglers, they scored 5 of the big bluefin weighing from 120 to 170 pounds.
They also reported eager yellowfin that charged the stern. “They found schools that were literally boiling at the back of the boat and staying with the boat. I am sure if the weather wasn’t so rough, our new anglers would have probably been able to catch more of them. However, they still came home with 7 yellowfin that were from 40 to 60 pounds!”
Those are some dandy yellowfin for U.S. waters!
Sam Moore with the Intrepid posted Saturday, “Yesterday was as good as it gets on big bluefin. We were able to keep one to three going for most of the day. All of our fish were 120 to 220 pounds. We arrived Point Loma Sportfishing this morning with an impressive catch of bluefin tuna. We ended our trip with limits of bluefin with 38 of those bluefin weighing over 100 pounds.”
Earlier in the week Capt. Markus Medak, owner of the New Lo-An had posted, “Fantastic bluefin fishing with full limits for the last three days. Fish are averaging 25 to 35 pounds with an occasional larger model. Big fish yesterday was 45 pounds. Some big ones are starting to show off the banks, so hopefully we’ll get a shot at some trophies soon!”
Heather Ferrari at H&M Landing reported, “We are seeing the bigger model bluefin within the overnight-plus range. Still running into a good amount of dorado. The weather was terrible during the week and calmed down considerably during the weekend,” adding, the Ocean Odyssey hooked a very rare short bill spearfish on Thursday. “We are also seeing growing numbers of yellowtail in that 15-pound range.”
She said Capt. Rick Scott on the Ocean Odyssey recommends anglers bring the whole arsenal from 20-pound to 80-pound – with multiple fluoro options — 1/0- 2/0 circle hooks.
Capt. Scott Meisel, owner of the Condor said yellowfin tuna were showing up on the kelp paddies as we approach fall fishing. Friday they posted 34 anglers getting limits of dorado (68), 25 yellowtail and 14 yellowfin tuna.
Aboard the Pacific Queen Saturday 34 anglers saw the same results on dorado – limits, and whacked the yellowtail too – 109, plus 8 yellowfin.
The kelp paddy fishing was easily within full-day range and the Liberty and Dolphin managed limits of dorado for their anglers too.
Apparently, the outer banks weather wasn’t too tough for the Pacific Queen and their 3-day right through the worst of it resulted in 3-day limits of bluefin tuna, returning with 144 in the hold.
It appeared the yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands was in play too, with the Dolphin posting a score for 11 anglers of 45 yellowtail, along with 11 bonito, some rockfish and sculpin and a couple handfuls of calico bass.
The Pacifica pulled a super-cow bluefin, one that taped to 353 pounds. A G-fly premium flying fish was the bait that drew the strike, and most of the big fish were caught fishing the balloon and kite rig baited with a flyer.
That same trip saw a 150, a 160 and another cow at 260 landed.
The boats out of Oceanside Harbor kept the local 1/2-day trade going with local bass fishing, again, mostly catch and release fishing with only a few over the 14-inch minimum.
Rockfish and a few bonito proved to be mostly what anglers took home. The Oceanside 95 ran an overnighter mid-week, resulting in a mixed catch of bonito, calico and yellowtail, with the yellows all absolute slugs, all 40-pounds-plus. They had 16.
At this point, the fleet is no longer maxing out on reservations days in advance and indeed, a reservation for the next day’s fishing can now be had fairly often.