Yellowfin bite bonkers in close

YFT BITE EXPLODES close to home. Huge schools of yellowfin tuna showed up southwest of South Island last week and offered up excellent fishing. Kamren Spafford shows off a dandy 25-pound tuna caught aboard the deluxe sportfisher Outrider, operating out of Fisherman's Landing. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC


WON Staff Writer


SAN DIEGO — WON Staff Writer Jim Niemiec reported wide-open yellowfin tuna midweek aboard the Outrider while fishing just south of South Island, Coronados. He called the fishing, “the best in many years.” Meanwhile, the Tanner Bank bluefin bite continued to crank, including a lot more really large models up to 345 pounds!


More locally just south of the Mexican border, the bite included a few bluefin with those yellowfin, skipjack tuna, limit-style dorado fishing for some and the occasional magic yellowtail kelp too.

Capt. Ryan Bostian of the San Diego, full-day boat out of Seaforth Sportfishing, reported earlier in the week when it got going good, “165 yellowfin 5 bluefin 119 skipjack. Handful of shots at very aggressive fish. We highly recommend starting off a stop with a heavy set-up (40- to 50-pound line) and only dropping down in line size when the bite settles down. We have also switched all of our trips in October to offshore.”

Across the fleet the word on the Tanner Bank was good fishing and sometimes crossed mixed up swells keeping things a little bumpy some days. As for this week, however, it’s all good out there up to early Friday. Beyond that bears watching.

The great bluefin fishing out on the high spot of the Tanner Bank continued and in fact improved with the additions of many cows caught, including one over 300 pounds.

On the Pacific Islander, Capt. Rick Russel was just heading offshore with the WON 3.5-day charter. He said all 3 of their cows on the previous trip came on the kite – a 201 pounder, a 229 and a 345! “We had numerous other blow-ups that did not stick.”

PACIFIC ISLANDER COWS – The top fish here weighed in at 345 pounds. The sportfisher is running a 3.5-day WON charter this week. PHOTO COURTESY OF PACIFIC ISLANDER SPORTFISHING

With the 25 to 60 pounders eating fly-lined sardines during daylight hours, after dark the 130-and-ups came out to play down deep on the iron. Aboard the Tribute they stuck 13 after sunset, 11 over 130 and 2 over 200.

More recently, the longer knife-style jigs have been gaining traction in this game, unseating the Flat-Fall-style jigs as the go-to.

Private boaters have also been having success trolling way back with the spreader bars – the most recent East Coast tackle type California anglers previously snickered at only to end up clearing tackle shop shelves of.

The roll-call this past week was like a broken record: limits, limits, limits. A good fraction of those out on the Tanner ended up with full limits of bluefin plus bonito and others.

Those fishing south might find limits of both dorado and yellowtail as the 20 anglers aboard he Daiwa Pacific did. There were big scores on those yellowfin tuna for others.

The number of trips over the weekend seeing bluefin over 200 pounds was impressive and included the Cobalt with a 235, the Pegasus with 3 over 200, the Outrider with a 250, The Pacific Dawn with a 210 and the New Lo-An with fish to 220.

Up out of Oceanside the local bottom biter action returned the kinds of counts not seen in years. Sunday the Chubasco II took 15 anglers on a 3/4-day resulting in limits of rockfish with limits of vermilion, 146 whitefish, 2 sheephead and 2 sculpin for full 20-fish limits for all anglers.

That was a top score, however, the rest of the trips weren’t far behind that mark. It’s impressive for a region where local party boat results have typically averaged less than a handful of fish kept per rod.