The past week of fishing saw bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail continuing to provide offshore action. A couple of additional warm water species have also started to show up in local offshore waters with a few striped marlin being seen and with a few dorado being caught from around kelp paddies. There has been one marlin hookup reported but the fish was lost.
The tuna bite has been scratchy and has gotten even tougher as some off color water has moved into the area where the best tuna bite has been in the area outside of the 224 Spot and 302 Spot. Bluefin and yellowfin continue to be caught every day but fewer fish are being seen and caught since the off color water arrived. Skippers report getting into blue water when they get out toward the Butterfly Bank and to the area outside of the 43 Fathom Spot but they do not seem to find much tuna activity once they reach the blue water.
The deep water outside of the 224 and 302 Spots that are located on the Kidney Bank has been best for the tuna but there has also been recent tuna action reported in the region of the 182 Spot, the Corner and the 371 Bank.
The bluefin tuna are mixed size fish and are running from 20 to 200+ pounds. The big bluefin have been biting best on kite trolled Yummy Flyers. Also productive for bluefin have been sardines, mackerel, Flat Fall jigs, trolled cedar plugs, trolled Rapalas and trolled Halco 130’s. The bluefin have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and spots of breaking, breezing or puddling fish. A good indicator of a zone that might be holding bluefin tuna is where you might see shearwater birds or see tern birds that are diving and picking on the surface of the water.
The yellowfin tuna have been running from 20 to 40 pounds. Cedar plugs have been working best for the yellowfin which have also been biting on sardines, Rapalas and Halco 130’s. The yellowfin have been found by locating sonar marks, meter marks, porpoise schools and spots of breaking, puddling or breezing fish. The yellowtail and dorado have been biting on sardines fished around kelp paddies and have been running from 5 to 25 pounds.
Private boater Robert Serdoz of the Lucky Charm reported about fishing on Sunday, July 2, 2017 and catching a 25 pound yellowfin tuna. The yellowfin bit on a kite trolled Yummy Flyer while fishing a short way below the 230 Spot that is located outside of the 302 Spot at 29 miles 220 degrees from Point Loma.
Private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section reported about fishing on Saturday, July 1, 2017. He looked at 170+ miles of water and never saw a tuna but did manage to pick up a couple of 7 pound yellowtail from a kelp paddie that he found by the Corner while fishing out at 31 miles 248 degrees from Point Loma. Seymour reported looking at the 224 Spot, 43 Fathom Spot, the Corner, the 390 Bank, 371 Bank, 302 Spot, 224 Spot, 182 Spot and 178 Spot for nothing doing on the bluefin or yellowfin.
The surface fishing at the Coronado Islands has rebounded after falling off last week with the arrival of some cold off color water. The water conditions have now improved and the surface fishing has picked up and is providing good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, barracuda and calico bass.
As an example of the recent fishing, the fish count for the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing on Sunday, July 2, 2017 was 32 anglers on a 3/4 day trip catching 12 bonito, 105 calico bass, 21 yellowtail and 1 white seabass.
Action has been found at various spots around the Islands with the South Kelp, the area inside of the tuna pens, the north end of South Island, the Middle Grounds and the weather side of North Island being productive spots. Reports are that there are a lot of potential navigation hazards around the tuna pens in the way of floating ropes and the like. Be sure to stay the required 250 meters (820 feet) away from the pens and be extra careful when fishing or boating in the region of the pens.
Action at the Coronados has been found while sitting on the anchor and there has also been some action found from stopping on meter marks, sonar marks, spots of breezing fish and spots of working birds. Sardines and surface iron are effective for the yellowtail and barracuda. Good jig choices are Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, sardine and mint colors. Try sardines, anchovies and Megabait/Laser Minnow style jigs for the bonito.
The surface fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for calico bass along with a sprinkling of barracuda, bonito and an occasional yellowtail.
Kelp bed areas have been the best for the calicos with spots at the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the La Jolla Kelp beds, the kelp beds between Del Mar and Carlsbad and the kelp at San Onofre and the Barn all producing good numbers of calico bass.
Private boater John Carroll of the Huachinango reported fishing the Whistler Buoy area of Point Loma on Sunday, July 2, 2017. He said they had a fun time catching rockfish and that they also hooked and lost a large yellowtail. The yellowtail was hooked on a plastic swim bait and was hooked on a small bait casting outfit with 12 pound test line. The fish was in the process of spooling the reel and was lost when the drag was tightened with about 8 wraps of line left on the spool. After fishing the Whistler Buoy Carroll said that they came into San Diego Bay and had some more fun catching spotted bay bass.
Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports very good calico bass action while fishing kelp bed areas between south Carlsbad and Solana Beach. He said the water in the area is at 68.5 to 70 degrees and that the calicos have been biting on anchovies, anchovy color swim baits and Hookup Bait plastics in the 3/8 ounce size and the anchovy color body.
A high percentage of the calicos are short sized fish that need to be released but there are some legal sized fish in the mix. On his most recent trip, Cacciola reported that 19 anglers caught 35 legal sized calico bass and caught and released 175 short sized calicos.
Cacciola says they are also hooking an occasional fish that are much larger than the calico bass. On their last trip they caught a 125 pound thresher shark while fishing the kelp off south Carlsbad. On the prior trip they caught and successfully released an estimated 225 to 250 pound black seabass and also caught good numbers of calico bass.
Private boater Tom Golding of the Last Buck reported about fishing out of Long Beach on Saturday, July 1, 2017. He reported trying Izor’s Reef for sand bass and said they caught a 2 pound sand bass and another that was measured at 15 inches long. The sand bass fishing proved to be scratchy so they did some looking around and found very good barracuda fishing while anchored at the Horseshoe Kelp. The barracuda were all big logs and they caught 20 barracuda that went to 10 pounds. The barries were biting best on sardines and did not show as much interest in iron as they did in the sardines. They did try iron in addition to the sardines and 2 of their 20 barracuda were caught on iron.
San Clemente Island has been providing some good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, calico bass, bonito and rockfish along with an occasional white seabass. The yellowtail have been nice sized fish that have been running from 10 to 30 pounds. Boats are finding action in quite a few areas around and about the Island. On the front side of the Island, some of the more productive areas have been Fish Hook, Purse Seine Rock, White Rock and Gold Bluff. On the back side of the Island, productive areas have been the ridges between Pyramid Cove and China Point as well as fishing spots like Lost Point, Eel Point and West Cove.
Live squid has been the best bait for the yellowtail and most of it is being brought over to San Clemente Island from the Ben Weston area at Catalina. At San Clemente Island, the squid fishing has slowed but areas to take a look to try and find some squid would be West Cove and Pyramid Cove.
Catalina Island has been producing flurries of yellowtail action along with a mix of calico bass, barracuda, bonito and rockfish. One of the best yellowtail areas on the back side of the Island has been while fishing off Ben Weston which is the zone where most of the squid is being caught for bait at night. Squid boats have at times been offering squid for sale while anchored up near Avalon. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 72 and 11.
In addition to the yellowtail fishing off Ben Weston, also look for a chance at a yellowtail or a white seabass while fishing outside of the V’s and the Palisades. Other areas that have been producing more of a mixed bag catch of bonito, barracuda, calico bass and yellowtail have been at spots along the front side of the middle and the eastern part of the Island with Toyon Bay being one of the better spots in recent days.
JEFF KING OF CARLSBAD fished the maiden voyage on Matt Lynn’s new 28-foot Parker Blue Tuna west of the 302 on July 1 for one late afternoon Yummy bite and made it count for this 70 x 51-inch bluiefin. “This fish had an attitude...even with 400-pound leader and the hammer down, Lynn, from Cardiff could not subdue the beast until over one hour of pulling with 50 pounds of drag. This is Jeff’s sixth kite fish of 2017.