BY MERIT MCCREA
SAN DIEGO/OCEANSIDE — The weekend fleet bound for Colonet encountered some solid lingcod and quality reds. In addition, bluefin put on a good show in the area, including the jumbos.All in all, it was a quiet wintertime week for San Diego County party boat landings. Midweek offerings were all local runs. For those fishing south toward Imperial Beach, the bass bite was good with some nice sand bass scores.
Over the weekend several 1.5-day and 1.75-day trips fished down the Mexican coast with their efforts focused on the high spots off Colonet.
In the fleet were the Ocean Odyssey from H&M Landing, the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing and the Tribute from Seaforth Sportfishing.While the vaunted yellowtail were reluctant, the big lings were eager biters and so were ample rockfish.
Aboard the Tribute, 26 anglers loaded on 31 lings, 5 sheephead and 224 rockfish including 94 big reds.The Ocean Odyssey’s Fishing Evike-sponsored 1.75-day took 28 who iced 450 rockfish and 50 lings. A trio of yellowtail brought gamefish into the mix.
Aboard the Pacific Queen, Capt. Billy Santiago took 34 anglers to tackle 214 rockfish with 44 reds reported, 29 lings and a lone yellow on the yo-yo iron. But that’s not the entire story. Since the week before last, a few of the schools of big bluefin — 80 to 200-plus pounders — that were a few miles outside and below the area had moved in on the high spot itself, right where the fleet fished. Angler Dr. Robert Tressler was aboard and said Santiago had spotted the fish on the sonar and meter initially.
A few anglers tried for the fish on bait, but the one they hooked ate a chrome heavy yo-yo iron. That fished looked to be in the neighborhood of 80 to 100 pounds, but came unbuttoned at the boat. As the day went on the big bluefin started to put on a surface show around the fleet, but no more biters.
As for the bottom bite, Tressler said, “Had great bottom fishing for big reds and I had my best day ever on lingcod, catching 4 nice keepers and losing some big head-shaking, drag-pulling monsters in the process.”
Bait was best for the big gators and his rig was a 10-ounce torpedo weighted single dropper rig with the loop 3 feet above the sinker and a 6/0 Aki twist hook baited with a live ‘dine. He made a guest appearance with Lori Heath on Rod and Reel Radio Sunday evening as well and had lots to say about the exciting show the tuna put on.
As for the bass bite down off Imperial Beach, highlights included the Dolphin’s score Saturday with 21 anglers on the morning run. They sacked 61 sandies and 8 calico along with 9 sculpin.
Sunday the Malihini and the Dolphin were both down there on half-day runs.
The Alicia and Jig Strike, also from H&M, continued to churn through lots of short bugs on their evening hoop netting trips, sorting out a few keepers each evening.
Coming out of Mission Bay to fish local waters along Point Loma and La Jolla, the Sea Watch picked away at the bass, boating a few keeper calico and sand bass among them.
From Helgren’s Oceanside Sportfishing, the Oceanside 95 fished local half-day Satuday and found the sculpin snap, with many smaller models released to bite again and 31 keepers sacked.
At the Oceanside SEA Center, the Chubasco II fished a few more trips and found a steady bite on the bass, with about half keeping. Anglers averaged just more than a keeper per rod on the bass, with a few sculpin and others. The Pronto took 2 anglers on a 3/4-day and they each limited out on bass.