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Long Range Report: Fleet hammers spring yellowtail

Special to Western Outdoor News
Published: Jun 20, 2017
See, but no-bite tuna, frustrates offshore forays

SAN DIEGO — The offshore waters of northern Baja are teeming with tuna, yellowfin on the inside and bluefin tuna out west and northwest well into U.S. waters. The problem is, the fish do not want to bite. Skippers are reporting excellent signs like warm water temperatures, blue water and plenty of forage. But the tuna swimming these waters are, for now, off the bite. These fortunes put the long range fleet on the high spots in search of spring yellowtail, not a bad second choice.


Indy strikes yellow


JACKPOT WINNING YELLOWTAIL caught aboard the Independence.

With the offshore bite floundering, Capt. Matt Kaullen aboard the Independence, made the move to the beach in search of yellowtail. The vessel was on the 6-Day Yellowtail Shootout hosted by Rick Ozaki. The group was greeted with some excellent yellowtail fishing on a solid grade of fish. The skip sent this report, “We got down to our destination midday and we had good action on 17-to 20-pound yellowtail. They were boiling around good, flashing in the corner and stuck around till our current died around 5 o’clock. The guys and gals fishing the surface plug had a great time as well as the bait and yo-yo jig fishermen. We are hanging out tonight and giving it another try in the morning.”


The boat finished up on yellows and upon returning to San Diego, weighed a jackpot. The winners were, 1st place Ken Huber with a 36.2-pound yellow, 2nd place Gary Atkins with a 29.2-pound yellowtail and 3rd place was a tie between Jeff Vogl and Beaver Valenzuela at 28.8-pounds.


Rooster 8-days


The Red Rooster III began a series of 8-day trips with a Seeker sponsored trip. The offshore fishing had been uneven so Capt. Andy Cates looked to the shallows for some spring yellowtail action. “It didn’t take long to get busy on these nice yellows. By 9:00 we were steady, keeping 6 to 8 going all the time. The action lasted about three hours and then tapered off to just a pick. At about 2:00 it looks to be all done. Drifting along and trying for a few more.”


Star 7-day


LARRY BROWN POSES with a 43-pound Guadalupe yellowtail landed on the Star.


STEVE BERND STEADIES a bright, clean 109-pound yellowfin at the ’lupe.


The Royal Star left San Diego Bay and made a beeline for Guadalupe Island on the Brown/Berutich 7-Day Open trip. The boat found some good quality but the spring bite had yet to materialize. Nevertheless, there were some big yellowtail in the offing. Capt. Brian Sims was at the helm and sent this report, “We had a decent day of scratching today, it was never wide open but, the quality was very nice. We had better than one around on the yellowtail which averaged right at the 30-pound mark with the best at 39.8 pounds. We also saw a little sign of better tuna that were reluctant to bite. Steve Bernd landed a 109-pound yellowfin tuna which he bested on 40-pound test.


The following morning, the fish got tight, “Today we had tough fishing in the morning. The conditions were fine. We saw the fish. They just wouldn’t bite, so we enjoyed the spectacular scenery as we went in search of biting fish. In the early afternoon, we found a few more good quality yellowtail, and some beautiful grade yellowfin tuna. We sat and scratched at the yellows and watched the tuna splash around. Randy De Leon hooked and landed a 47-pound yellowfin for our lone tuna today.”


Big X fishes local


YOUNG JASPER HOLDS a yellowfin tuna caught in local waters on the Big X.


The Excel was rolling down the line on a Father’s Day 5-day trip when the boat came across a school of local yellowfin tuna. Capt. Mike Ramirez was at the wheel and took a shot at the breaking fish, “We departed today on our Father’s Day 5-Day Trip. To our surprise, in the afternoon we ended up finding a school of yellowfin close to home that wanted to bite a little bit.”


Once the boat committed to the area of fish, the tuna got lockjaw, “We’ve spent the last couple of days looking at lots of local tuna that just doesn’t want to bite yet. There were a couple of shots at these yellowfin where we picked up 21 of them so far.”


Angler fishes mossbacks


The American Angler was on the Kadota-Old School Stick Open 8-Day and found yellowtail to be the top draw of the trip. The boat capped off the trip with an excellent last day, “In beautiful flat calm weather everything came together for a perfect conclusion to our yellowtail hunt as just after breakfast, conditions became favorable and the fish really wanted to cooperate. Unlike the past couple days, it was solid steady action until it was time to pack it up and go. There was even an added bonus to the whole package with all the fish being 18 to 25 pounds of solidness. Feeling extremely lucky for our timing down on the grounds, we are now heading up in search of some tuna fish.”

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