GOOD BLUEFIN BITE PETERS OUT
BY GUNDY GUNDERSON
SAN DIEGO — The long range fleet on the shorter trips got in on the bluefin bite just before it turned to look but don’t touch, the classic frustration with the sleek tuna. Fortunately, the boats had a strong plan B, an excellent mixed-bag bite at Alijos Rocks and on the Ridge. With many boats beginning to shift to longer fall trips, the timing was right. The vessels boated a good catch of wahoo, school yellowfin, quality mossback yellowtail and an assortment of grouper, dorado and pargo.
Indy on the Ridge
The Independence was on the annual Young’s Tackle 7-Day Trip and bombed down to the Ridge to get a shot at the excellent bank fishing. Capt. Matt Kaullen was on the bridge and sent this first report, “Variety style fishing today with lots of action on yellowfin, yellowtail, and wahoo. The weather was hot and so was the fishing. We had great conditions today with lots of school grade tuna on the surface and yellowtail below. We trolled around and snagged some wahoo in between spots and the guys are happy. We are going to enjoy a nice meal on the anchor tonight and hope to get started again early tomorrow morning.”
The big boat Intrepid was down on the Ridge with the Angler’s Choice group fishing an 8-day trip. Known for variety and quality, this 8-day did not disappoint. The boat, with Capt. Bill Cavanaugh at the wheel, bagged an excellent mixed bag catch highlighted by some beautiful wahoo. The boat sent this first report after arriving at the Rocks. “Yesterday we fished Alijos Rocks with some good opportunities on wahoo. Our weather was nice all day and everyone caught at least one wahoo. A very enjoyable day and very exciting on a couple of stops that we had multiple casting jig and bait fish hook-ups. Our best stop of the day was for 15 wahoo. A great start to the trip. We made a move last night and will be fishing the Ridge for the next couple of days. Our weather is flat calm.”
Two days later, another report, “We fished the Ridge over the last 2 days for decent fishing on school sized tuna, yellows, dorado, and some wahoo. Our weather has been gorgeous. Everyone is having a blast. We are fishing a new area today.”
A move up the line and on the coast provided some fast yellowtail action with a bonus of chunky red rockfish, “Yesterday was the perfect way to finish our trip. We dedicated the entire day to fish yellows and it worked out perfectly. We found some fish in a couple different areas and ended our day with an absolutely wide open yellowtail bite. Every technique worked. Yo-yo jigs, surface iron, fly-lined sardine. It was as good as it gets yellowtail fishing. Everyone is stoked. We are currently fishing rockfish in flat calm weather and catching monster reds.”
The boat returned home after a couple days fishing yellowtail and rockfish on the Baja coast, “We returned home this morning with a beautiful catch of wahoo, yellowfin, yellowtail, dorado and some pargo in the mix. Yesterday we had as good as it gets fishing on trophy reds. Most of the reds we caught were between 5 and 8 pounds. It was a great trip with an awesome group of guys. We would like to thank Anglers Choice and Kevin Norling for hosting this trip. Jackpot winners go as follow, 3rd place, Richard Stokes with a 35-pound yellowtail, 2nd place, Raymond Streeter with a 35.2-pound wahoo and 1st place, Bob Mc Pherson with a 43.8- pound wahoo.”
Big X on the Ridge
The sportboat Excel was on a 10-day trip, one of the best trips on the long range schedule. The quality and variety of species is unmatched. The big sportfisher sent this report after the first day of fishing. “We are out on our Gallagher 10-Day Trip where wahoo were first up on the menu. We managed to scrape up 52 skinnies with all 27 passengers taking home at least one. As usual, there were lots of chances for everyone on board with the wahoo winning about half of the battles. It’s a great start to our trip.”
RP stays local
The Royal Polaris had two short trips on the schedule and was lucky to get a piece of the local bluefin as the bite slowed. The first group found a school to save the trip, the second group scratched. The storied sportfisher sent this report, “We had excellent bluefin tuna fishing on our first 3 day trip, and the second was a bit tough. We saw tons of bluefin tuna and we stopped on many schools. Most showed little interest in our baits, until the last school. It wanted to bite for us. Most of the bluefin were in the 25- to 35- pound range, and it saved the trip for us.”
The Polaris Supreme was also on the local bluefin grounds on a 3-day charter. The group managed to find some willing takers before the fish stopped biting. The boat sent this report, “We left yesterday afternoon on Tom Chaparros 3 ½ -day trip limited to 18 passengers. We found great fishing on 30- to 40-pound bluefin tuna. We had some bonus big ones with the top fish going 130 pounds.”
AA goes big
The American Angler was another boat that got on the bluefin before the bite shut off. The sportfisher was on the annual Skinny Pirates charter and filed this final report, “Thanks to our Skinny Pirates for another memorable trip. Congratulations to the jackpot winners, 1st place, Jon Rauterkus with a 95-pound bluefin, 2nd place, Barb Carter with a 49-pound bluefin and 3rd place, Gary Commock with a 42-pound bluefin tuna. The largest fish were taken on the kite including a 265 cow, a 240 cow, a 160, a 159, a 154, a 148, a 146, a 142, a 140, a 133 and a 120. Not a bad local trip”.