BY MERIT McCREA
SAN DIEGO — For the fleet from San Diego County landings it was all about the continuing excellent offshore bite. And while any given day the hot-spot popped from place to place, there was good fishing to be had. Over the weekend there was a U.S. waters contingent laced all along the backside of San Clemente Island, and a Mexican waters contingent, just 25 to 30 miles from Point Loma.
The big bite was characterized by lots of breezers and breaking fish, some days biting pretty hard, others there was a bit of looking for the right one going on.
And for the southern sector at least, there were both yellowfin and yellowtail on tap, in addition. Capt. Ryan Bostian of the boat San Diego found some big ones, 39 yellowfin from 30 to 50 pounds and 44 yellowtail of 10 to 18 pounds in one long drift, he posted.
As for the grade on the bluefin, reports had it the bulk of the catch were fish of 30 to 40 pounds, with a sprinkling of smaller ones, and lots of fish to about 100 pounds seen, some hooked, but for the lighter tackle being fished, never making it to the boat.
WON Staffer Dylan Depres fills in on deck from time to time and was aboard the Apollo. He said, “Average fish was about 30lbs, with our biggest being 40lb and also a couple football bluefin from the breezers. Hot stick of the trip went 7 for 8 on the bluefin using butt-hooked sardines on 30-pound test.”
That’s not to say there weren’t some huge fish in the mix or that none of the larger grade were landed. Indeed, the kite and flyer nailed a few, including a 300 pounder aboard the Legend, H&M Landing.
As for the outer banks, those big yellows were still there, and bluefin too. However, the weather most of the week was “sporty” and “nautical,” in the outermost waters, according to Heather Ferrari at H&M Landing, but becoming nice over the weekend.
Depres added, “The majority of our fish came in the morning when we had a lasting drift on a sonar school, picking bluefin off on fly-lined sardines on 30-pound test and 80- to 100-gram Coltsniper jigs fished 50 to 200 feet deep. We fished breezers and foamers in the afternoon, some of them stayed up very close to the boat but bites were very tough to come by and there were no real jig throwers on the boat.”
There was no shortage of full boat-limits on bluefin in the counts. Here are a few examples. The Tribute on a 1.5-day with 24 folks, 48 bluefin, 19 yellowtail. The Pacific Voyager was back from a 3-day with 16 anglers catching 161 yellowtail, 92 bluefin and 2 yellowfin. Sunday the 6-pack Dos Gatos had it done by 8 a.m. and was looking for other species.
The Pacific Dawn on an overnighter with 12 anglers returned with 41 yellowfin tuna, 24 bluefin and 10 yellowtail. The Liberty with 20 fishing found 40 bluefin, 29 ‘tails and a yellowfin.
The Success had 8 fishing a 2.5-day for 32 bluefin. The Pacific Islander with 15 fishing and 30 bluefin and the American Angler on a 1.5 dayer with 24 anglers catching 120 yellowtail (limits) and 48 bluefin (also limits).
The New Lo-An took 23 fishing for 46 bluefin on a 1.5-day. The Mission Belle got into the act on a full-day with 22 landing 44 bluefin. Not quite limits but impressive for the shorter time-frame, the Grande, with 24 anglers on a full-day brought home 61 bluefin and a lone yellowfin.
The Ocean Odyssey had a 2.5 dayer with 23 fishing, landing full limits, 92 bluefin tuna.
As for going big, the luxurious Game Changer unloaded a catch which included a 170-pound swordfish and 7 nice bluefin, 2 of which were over the hundred pound mark. In addition, they whacked the big mossbacks at the Cortes Bank.
Capt. Ryan Stahl posted, “Our anglers hit the jackpot of yellowtail. With fish swimming all around the boat and right up to the boat, our anglers reeled in 53 yellowtail ranging in size from 30 to 40 pounds!”
Up out of Oceanside, the Oceanside 95 was in on the action offshore as well with a nice catch including tuna to 90 pounds.
As for local trips, the cold water right along the coast still had the bass bite on the ropes, and although there were some decent catches for the more southerly sector, the prevailing ½- and 3/4-day dynamic remained shifted to the deep reefs for rockfish.
Results supported that choice as catches put plenty of 1/2-day cods in the 1/2-day counts. The report was waters of just 59 to 60 degrees right along the coast. Local 3/4-day trips landed the larger cods, with a bit more time to run to the better grounds father afield.
The Blue Horizon turned in full limits of rockfish on a 3/4-day trip, plus 32 whitefish. It included some nice reds.