BY MERIT McCREA
OCEANSIDE/SAN DIEGO — But for a brief break early Wednesday morning, the outer banks weather was sloppy to worse with winds in the mid to high teens most of the week, finally settling some ahead of a bout of wet weather moving down the California coast. But in the midst of all that, there were some epic battles fought, some won, some lost – and huge bluefin in play. Plus, a panga, one with 25 souls aboard adrift in the dark.
Lori Heath posted that during their Pacific Queen charter, a panga was spotted drifting between that boat and the New Lo-An about 90 miles offshore.
At the time the seas were running 6 feet, driven by 18 to 20 knots of wind, the boat low to the water with 25 persons aboard and a good bit of flooding too. She reported they’d apparently run out of gas some three days prior.
The New Lo-An stood by while a USCG helo was dispatched to the site, followed by a cutter.
As of Sunday evening, the Intrepid was out on the grounds chasing the big ones with Mitch Chavira and crew. Capt. Bill Cavanaugh reported a slow start, fish but wouldn’t stick. Then for about three hours the tables turned and they were able to have the fish hold to the boat, getting from 2 to 5 bites per stop.
“They were all nice fish. We ended up with 3 over 200, 2 around 190 and another 4 between 130 and 150.” There were a few lost in the sloppy conditions and mostly to connection failures.
Saturday was spent in calmer waters near San Clemente Island, but Sunday’s lay-down saw them back out there.
Down the inside, weather was better for the full-day boats and longer, including those running for the yellowfin bite.
Sunday the Mustang called in to Fisherman’s Landing with limits of yellowtail, 150 for 30 anglers on a full-day. Friday the Condor, fishing a 1.5-day time frame, had limited on yellows, plus pulled 48 yellowfin and 12 skipjack tuna for their 31 fishers.
The Pacific Queen had ended their 3-day with 9 bluefin over the century mark and one cow going 200-plus.
Sunday the Producer called in to H&M Landing with limits of yellowtail fishing kelp paddies, a couple of skippies, a dorado and a bluefin fishing an overnighter.
Back in at the dock from 2.5-day trips Thursday, both the Legend and Excalibur had big scores – the Legend with 253 yellowfin, 56 tails and 2 mahi, and the Excalibur with 178 yellowfin, 5 of the flatheads, 21 forktails and 50 skippies.
The Ranger 85 pulled in Friday with 26 folks scoring 234 on the yellowfin and 50 on the skipjack tuna. The Pacific Islander had one of the best scores of the week with 19 anglers on a 2.5-dayer limiting both days on both yellowfin tuna and yellowtail.
As for local inshore, it appeared the Malihini had tested the island bite at the Coronados and found rockfish the only willing participants, but for a handful of bonito.
But for a few sand bass and calicos, half-day action was again mostly all about rockfish and other bottom grabbers.
While bottom biter bags were modest for the San Diego-based half-day boats, up in Oceanside they continued to score big numbers – actually limits on the 3/4-day runs and better than half limits on the half-days. The Southern Cal pulled rockfish limits on a pair of their half-day runs too.
Capt. Shon Roberts on the Chubasco II sent in a few photos, showing some nice grade reds.