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Private Boater’s Report: Blue marlin now among offshore targets

Published: Oct 10, 2017
Continued bluefin tuna hook-ups along with yellow­fin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin lead the offshore scene, and a surprise blue marlin recently entered the picture.

The bluefin bite at San Clemente Island slowed a bit, but there were still some of the smaller 20 to 35 pounders biting along with good numbers of yellowtail. The Desperation Reef and Lost Point areas offer the best chance at bluefin and yellowtail. Most boats were finding their action while sitting on anchor and fishing with sardines.

Captain Ron Bowers of the Salt Fever fished the 86 Fathom Spot on Thursday and Friday and reported catching a 20-, 40-, two 100-pound bluefin, and 2 yellowfin. Their bluefin were caught on bait outfits with 30-pound fluorocarbon leaders and sardines on circle hooks. Bowers said they also had three additional bluefin hook-ups that were lost. It took over two hours to land each of the 100 pounders, and he said they also fought another large bluefin for two hours and lost it. He caught the 30- and 20-pound yellowfin on the way back to San Diego from the 86 Fathom Spot on porpoise southeast of Pyramid Head.

Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn fished San Clemente Island on Thursday afternoon and caught a 35-pound bluefin on a sardine on a sinker rig. He said they also had a mystery hook-up on a kite-rigged mackerel. He said it was a big fish, but he was not certain it was a tuna. Woodard found this action while fishing near the 86 Fathom Spot.

A zone where some of the bigger bluefin tuna were showing over the weekend was to the south of the 43 Fathom Spot, and Saturday, there were reports of occasional showings of the bigger bluefin in the region of the Mackerel Bank.

Yellowfin tuna seem to pop up now and then around Catalina but the best action is being found at some of the banks located below and outside of the Coronado Islands. Near Catalina, the weekend saw some spots of yellowfin showing around the Mackerel Bank and in the region of the 277 Spot, but it was difficult to get the them to bite.

In the San Diego area, there continues to be good yellowfin fishing for boats working offshore banks such as the 425, 371 and the 475 Knuckle. Also look for a few dorado and yellowfin to be biting around the 302 and 224. The 425 Bank has been the best zone, and other solid fishing was found further down by around the 475 Knuckle.

The yellowfin are mostly 6- to 12-pound fish with some 20-pound class mixed in while fishing around porpoise. Yellowfin have been found from kelp paddies, trolling strikes, spots of breezing fish, porpoise schools, meter marks and sonar marks. Cedar plugs, feathers, Rapalas and Halcos have been working on the troll.

Tom Golding of the Last Buck reported catching four yellowfin tuna and a dorado. His yellowfin were in the 8- to 12-pound range, and the dorado was an 18 pounder. They were fishing the region of the 475 Knuckle down around 35 miles, 170 degrees from Point Loma, and caught three of the yellow­fin on the troll and one on a sardine. The dorado came from a kelp paddie found to the northwest of the 475 Knuckle at 32 miles, 166 degrees from Point Loma.

Rick DeVoe of the Jaysea fished on Sunday and reported catching seven yellowfin a few miles below and inside of the 425 Bank. He was fishing at about 27 miles, 181 degrees from Point Loma, and he reported three jig stops that all were related to kelp paddies. The first stop was a quadruple jig strike where they caught three jig fish and a bait fish. The second stop was a double jig strike where they caught a jig fish and a bait fish, and the third stop was a single jig fish. DeVoe added they also caught a yellowfin on bait while drifting near a kelp paddy, and to top off the day, they added a nice yellowtail they speared under kelp paddy by North Island.

Blue marlin suddenly entered the offshore picture with an estimated 400-pound fish hooked and lost on Friday. This fish bit a dead skipjack off a boat fishing near the San Diego-area tuna fleet.

On Saturday, the boat Pura Vida was fishing in The Marlin Club’s ILTT Tournament and hooked an estimated 400-plus-pound blue marlin that bit a jig while fishing the ridge area a few miles below and outside of Church Rock off the east end of Catalina. They fought the fish for about 25 minutes before it was lost.

Captain Mike “The Beak” Hurt of the Chiquelin reported hooking and losing a large blue marlin that bit on a jig while fishing the deep-water weather buoy area to the south of the 43. Later, he reported seeing a jumper estimated to be well over 200 pounds while fishing closer to the high spot at the 43.

The Marlin Club held its ILTT Tournament on Friday and Saturday and Captain Bob Woodard Jr. of the Dropback was the Tournament Control oper­ator while fishing in the tournament. He provided a summary of the two days of fishing and said there were six boats fishing that caught-and-released two striped marlin out of five hook-ups. The boat Pura Vida was the projected winner of the tournament with a striped marlin that they caught on Friday outside of Church Rock. The fish was caught-and-released by Leah Duprey who was fishing 30-pound-test.

The second striped marlin in the tournament was caught on Saturday aboard Dos Gringos with angler Roger Eberts. It was a jig fish on 30-pound that sounded like it was caught in a grid that has the 181 and 138 and The Ridge in it.

Dos Gringos was also out fishing in The Marlin Club’s Small Boat Tournament on Sunday, and they caught a marlin there as well. Marcus Hale of the Old Blue was out fishing on the Dos Gringos on Sunday and reported catching a marlin on bait while fishing outside of the 182.

The 499 Spot proved to be the best marlin zone over the weekend with an estimated to 4 or 5 marlin caught-and-released for not very many boats. The area off the East End of Catalina outside of Church Rock and around the 277 was another productive sector with what sounds like 3 marlin caught-and-released over the weekend.

The Coronado Islands have not been fished much lately with all the nearby tuna action offshore but on Sunday there was a report of good fishing for big bonito by a boat fishing the Middle Grounds. There have also been a couple of reports over the past week about yellow­tail biting along the weather side of North Island.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast is producing some pretty good numbers of calico bass, along with an occasional flurry of bonito action and a chance at scratching out a yellowtail. Fishing for rockfish has also been good for those shifting over from kelp beds to bottom fishing. One of the better bets for a chance at bonito or yellowtail is trolling Rapalas and feathers while looking for spots of breezing fish, meter marks or sonar marks to stop on while fishing a short way above the Border at the Imperial Beach Flats.

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