Kelp paddy fishing down south takes the lead

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MARC GORELNIK'S 180-pound bluefin on the iron was the third of 6 he hooked aboard the New Lo-An.
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BY MERIT McCREA

SAN DIEGO — Early in the week, what was excellent nighttime tuna fishing between the outer islands became mostly fish watching of massive schools, with lots of show, mostly little go. Much of the San Diego fleet migrated south to tap limit-style yellowtail fishing on kelp paddies.

The full-day boats found opportunities offshore and though kelps weren’t common to find, most held fish. In addition, trolling connected to schools of big bonito and sometimes a nicer yellowfin tuna.

Stretching out farther south into 1.5-day range and beyond, the bite and opportunities became more plentiful and consistent, with a greater chance of seeing those incoming yellowfin. Long range boats saw some solid yellowfin fishing as the fish moved north.

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The most recent good catch of bluefin reported fell to the Pacifica, fishing a 1.5-day Thursday — 47 fish for 28 anglers.

Some of the earlier action was excellent and Marc Gorelnik was aboard the New Lo-An. He said he’s usually the one watching as someone else has the hot hand, hooking fish after fish, but this time it was his turn.

He noted that nearly all the bluefin were caught that first night out, with none during daylight hours. “Virtually all the fish were caught the first night… once daylight came, the bite shut off.”

He started his night with a pair of 90- to 100-pound class fish and was stoked. Then came the big one on his hot, yet discontinued River2Sea spoon. That one was a 180 pounder. Others following were in the 35- to 40-pound class and he donated 2 of 6 he hooked to others.

During the day the fish were everywhere — foamers and meter marks, but wouldn’t touch a thing. The second night of the 1.75-day, 4 more fish of the 38 landed by 25 anglers came aboard.

The skipper and crew worked hard to provide the best chances, having baited up before boarding and getting them the most opportunity that first night. Gorelnik said that jig went back out fishing with a friend who was aboard the Intrepid at press time.

It’s been a great season so far for this Bay Area resident, starting with a banner trip to Alaska fishing huge halibut, continuing to limits salmon fishing at the Farallon Islands aboard his boat with SoCal friends Marci Yaremko and Mike Stefanak, and now this San Diego tuna trip.

Gorelnik serves as Chair of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and President of Coastside Fishing Club. He’s also on the CCA-CAL State Board.

In Mexican waters, the best bet has been searching out kelp paddies for limit-style action on yellowtail. On Friday, five boats at H&M Landing arrived back at dock Sunday morning with limits of yellowtail aboard.

Sunday, the Oceanside 95 was back at Point Loma Sportfishing from a 2-dayer with 186 yellows, 35 bonito and 6 dorado for 24 anglers.

Out at the Coronado Islands, the bite has included an abundance of log barracuda, bass and a few yellowtail. Friday the Malihini had 21 folks fishing who caught 40 barries, 35 calicos, 100 whitefish, 26 rockfish and a pair of yellows.

That day, the San Diego really connected with the yellows fishing offshore on a full-day, 70 of the forktails, a pair of yellowfin and 119 big bonito with 34 anglers on deck.

Most of the half-day fleet remained fishing surface and bass but the bite remained modest. Out of Oceanside those boats broke out the bigger sinkers and 2-hook bottom grabber gear, resulting in a lot more take-home for anglers — typically 3 to 6 bottom biters per each, mostly rockfish with a few whitefish and sculpin in the mix.

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