Inshore: Half-day trips are targeting the local kelps and bumps for rockfish, sheephead and calico bass and the occasional yellowtail or halibut. ¾ day boats are mostly looking for yellowfin tuna with mixed success, some trips are reporting just a few while others are getting five or so per angler. Either way, it is another epic season with tuna near enough for those short runs to find them.
Outside: Overnight to three-day trips are all running to the banks, mostly outside of the 12 mile zone and Mexican waters, for yellowfin tuna. Those trips going further south are finding good dorado action mixed in with the schools of yellowfin or under drifting debris and kelp paddies. Most of the yellowfin are 10 to 20 pounds, and when found feeding on bait the bite can be nonstop on just about any bait or lure. An occasional bluefin tuna has hit the deck and a couple striped marlin were caught within 1 to 2 days of Point Loma.
9/18 – 9/24 Dock Totals: 4839 anglers aboard 214 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 421 dorado, 53 bluefin tuna, 6,617 yellowfin tuna, 1 skipjack tuna, 531 yellowtail, 235 calico bass, 23 sand bass, 2,559 rockfish, 13 lingcod, 126 bonito, 1 barracuda, 25 sheephead, 2 halibut, 38 whitefish, 23 sculpin, 2 halfmoon, 2 rubberlip seaperch, 47 sanddab, 30 mackerel and 2 striped marlin (one released).
Notable: As the plethora of yellowfin tuna hitting the deck are finding their way to the dinner tables throughout San Diego, I have had it seared, broiled, baked and smoked. I prefer seared for a quick meal; I’ll just cut it into palm-sized pieces, roll it around in a light lemon and mustard sauce, pat some peppercorn on, and toss it in a hot pan with a little peanut oil. Cook it for a minute or so on each side, or just until the outside is seared while the inside is close to raw. My ‘other’ favorite is smoked or jerked. For this, I use a basic brine of equal parts brown sugar and (Kosher) sea salt mixed with water; about a cup of each per half gallon. Cut the fish into manageable pieces and place in bowl, cover with brine and let stand in the fridge for about 24 hours. This is great with just about any fish from trout to marlin. Place the fish on your smoker rack(s) with plenty of space between the pieces. At about 140 degrees it should be done in +/- 8 hours, depending on thickness. If you want it jerky-style, slice it a little thinner and leave it on longer. Smoked fish makes a great entree as well as a unique tuna salad and will keep longer.
Fish Plants: 10/1-10/2, Santee Lakes’ Stockzilla event, catfish (3,500)