BY MERIT McCREA
SAN DIEGO/OCEANSIDE — The San Diego County landings had a wide array of options offshore. To the south beckoned kelp paddy fishing featuring limits of dorado, yellowtail and now a new influx of yellowfin tuna, not huge, but lots. Then the outer banks held both hefty yellowtail on the Cortes, and 30-pound class bluefin on the Tanner. If a skipper felt he had the talent and tenacity on deck for it, the cow-town zone west and south of San Clemente was loaded, and featured a wide mix of bluefin sizes from small to super cow. There the yellowfin in the mix were burly ones.
Anglers on multi-day trips had the option to tap into more than one zone. Topping the list of lifetime achievements was a pending new state record bluefin tuna at 377 pounds by Nathan Wickham onboard Into the Depths out of Fishermans’ Landing and skippered by owner-operator Capt. Weston Bryant.
That super cow eclipses John Corria’s catch of a 245 pounder in 2016, which is the current accepted state record bluefin tuna. Heather Ferarri at H&M Landing said the big fish took an hour and a half to best and added, “Nathan is a Captain himself, former deckhand on the Red Rooster III and experienced angler. It was a group effort, they are still in disbelief.”
There were several other big fish landed in that fleet, including a 218 aboard the Poseidon. Hunter Denette, Captain of the Poseidon stated “Weather is beautiful, boats have been fishing south and at San Clemente island.” Angler Del Matticks landed that one.
Aboard the Constitution on a 2.5-day they managed to fish the kelps and the cows, landing limits of dorado, 3 yellowfin, 32 yellowtail and a 220-pound cow bluefin.
Jolene Thompson, galley on the Chubasco, Oceanside Sea Center, had a 3-day aboard Capt. Mark Oronoz’ Pacific Voyager, Seaforth Sportfishing. On their itinerary were both the Tanner and Cortes banks.
On the Cortes, they whacked the big yellows, 30-pound average fish. Their final was 101 yellows for the 15 anglers. Fishing the Tanner resulted in a 7-hour stop and 90 bluefin for the trip.
For the boats fishing south it was generally full limits on the dorado, plus a bonus whack on the yellowtail and/or yellowfin. On a two-day aboard the Tomahawk 25 folks fly-lined sardines for 101 yellowfin, 100 dorado, 39 yellowtail and 83 skipjack tuna – that’s fine fall fishing!
The Liberty limited on dorado and fished bluefin too, nailing 20 including 3 over 100 pounds. The Ocean Odyssey had a trip with 28 anglers getting limits of both dorado (56) and yellowfin (140). The anglers aboard the Ranger 85 had the same limits of both catch.
With epic catches the number of anglers going eased off such that there were spots available somewhere, even the night of departure.
Izorline pro-staffer Michelle Namaka Fonoimoana tagged a 140 blue aboard the Pacifica, with Fish 101 charter on the G-fly rigged flying fish, balloon and kite rig.
The Oceanside 95 also tapped the offshore action from Oceanside Harbor. The 26 anglers landed 78 bluefin on a 2 dayer, with fish to 100 pounds. Thirteen yellowtail added to the catch.
Fall offshore action is epic.