SoCal sportboat fishing: Offshore bite is on!

Rob Tressler beats an estimated 175-pound bluefin with 50-pound Izorline on a Penn Fathom 30 fishing aboard the Old Glory 1.5-day offshore trip. Don't try this at home – get on the darned boat. All anglers limited out on yellowtail. PHOTO CREDIT LORI HEATH

LISTEN to the report, straight from Rob Tressler on episode 55 of the WON Podcast:[buzzsprout episode=’10265325′ player=’true’]


OCEANSIDE/SAN DIEGO — It’s been a couple of weekends since the 1.5-day fleet first put their crosshairs on offshore waters and this past weekend Capt. Kley on the Old Glory made the run with 23 intrepid anglers aboard for the exploratory run. One of them was the inimitable Rob Tressler along with Lori Heath. It was flat-out limit-style yellowtail fishing on kelp paddies with ghostly bluefin on the finder down deep.

Tressler reported the whole scenario in detail. Here it is: “We boarded the boat Friday evening and (Capt. Kley) gave us the game plan for the next day. We were heading south and west based on information he had about good fish sign in that area. It ended up being a good call. We were all in our bunks when the boat stopped in the dark on a school deep around 2:30 a.m. We groggily stumbled out on deck, grabbed our jigs and dropped them deep, but only one angler got bit and the fish didn’t stick. We found a kelp paddy and it was game on as 7-12-pound yellowtail swarmed the boat and bit the iron, so Lori (Heath) and I were having a great time throwing the plug and hooking up nearly every cast.

Rob Tressler’s big bluefin on the Old Glory. PHOTO CREDIT LORI HEATH

She put 10 yellowtail on the boat and I managed a limit as well – everyone was bit and got limits after a couple of stops on different kelps. During this, Kley said he was marking tuna deep, but Lori and I were having too much fun with the iron! Finally I wondered if the yellowtail frenzy might activate the bluefin, and when Kley said he had good sign of 60- to 80-pound class fish at 250 feet and the school was fuzzed up as shallow as 90 to 120 feet. I decided to put the jig stick on the rack and dropped a sinker bait to 250 feet and slowly wound it up to 200 feet where the bulk of the fish were marking and let the bait drift there. Within a couple of minutes a thump told me I was bit and I was confident my 50-pound setup would make this a quick fight. Wrong! The fish came up high and dumped most of my Penn Fathom 30 with the drag at sunset, and mind you, I run a heavy drag. I didn’t say anything but thought uh oh, bigger fish. Over an hour later, three gaffs were needed to deck a beast that pegged the processing scales at 147.5 pounds (gilled and gutted).”

That’s his story and this writer is sure he’s sticking to it.

Fish coming out of the hold field dressed in the usual way weigh about 20% less than whole. That puts the round weight near 175 pounds! The final score for the boat was 23 anglers, 115 yellowtail and 1 bluefin.

This week San Diego landings had several boats already slated for open party runs to tap the bite. These included, from H&M Landing – the Relentless and Old Glory, from Point Loma Sportfishing – the New Lo-An, from Fisherman’s Landing – the Fortune and the Condor, and from Seaforth Landing Sportfishing the Tribute. These trips ranged from 1.5-day to 2-days, with both weekday and weekend trips.

As for those Coronado Islands, boat San Diego fished and loaded up on the bottom grabbers, good cods and whitefish, totals for 21 anglers were 116 rockfish with 42 reds, 47 whitefish and a sheephead. Saturday they’d seen no signal on the yellowtail. On Sunday they showed but didn’t cooperate.

The Liberty took 31 folks to the islands and put on 230 rockfish with 90 reds, 4 lings and a scorpion fish. All the landings had half-day boats out, including Oceanside. In general, results were modest with rockfish the top catch, sculpin and whitefish making a showing too along with a few sand and calico bass.

Highlights included the Premier with 18 anglers getting 104 rockfish, 10 scullies, 2 sand bass and a pair of sheephead too.

Helgren’s Oceanside sportfishing had the Electra out on half-day and turned in a rockfish, a whitefish and 23 sculpin for 19 anglers. From the Oceanside SEA Center, the Blue Horizon, Southern Cal, Chubasco II and Pronto all ran a trip or more last week. Most results showed combo catches of rockfish, whitefish and sculpin, with rockfish dominating and anglers averaging about 5 or 6 fish each. However, the Pronto had a 3/4-day with just 3 anglers one day and limited them on rockfish, added 5 whitefish each and a couple of the red devils on top.