Inshore: In spite of being fat-plugged with pelagic crab, the rockfish continue to bite well for the local bottom-fish trips. Most of these fish come up with mouths and bellies full of the hapless crabs, yet they are still feeding. I’ve noticed lately that while smoking various bottom fish, including vermillion, whitefish, lingcod and olive rockfish, they all taste a bit like crab. Usually, that flavor is found only in sheephead as their diet is concentrated on crustaceans. Outside of the rockfish, ½ day boats are doing well on calico bass, barracuda and bonito. ¾ day trips are mainly working the Coronado Islands for plentiful yellowtail and an occasional bluefin tuna off the 9 Mile Bank..
Outside: The white seabass came on strong at Catalina this past week in good size and more than a few boats reporting limits on the ‘grey ghosts’. With squid being spotted in La Jolla it is looking good for those highly-prized fish here in San Diego waters through June. A rare albacore was caught on a 1.5 day run south aboard the Producer while most boats have been looking for those elusive bluefin while scoring on yellowtail. The Producer also reported a couple early-season yellowfin tuna. Lings, big reds and whitefish await those anglers that are dropping bait deep on the high spots outside and down the line.
5/15 – 5/21 Dock Totals: 2254 anglers aboard 94 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 1 albacore, 8 yellowfin tuna, 37 bluefin tuna, 425 yellowtail, 2 white seabass, 221 calico bass, 59 sand bass, 4,997 rockfish, 28 lingcod, 331 sculpin, 44 bonito, 106 barracuda, 72 sheephead, 41 whitefish, 3 cabezon, 5 halibut, 11 blacksmith, 73 treefish 30 sanddab, 4 halfmoon 10 mackerel and 1 rubberlip seaperch.
Notable: A rare broomtail grouper was caught (and released) in Quivera Basin in Mission Bay this past week. These fish are occasionally found north of the boarder though their range is listed as from San Francisco Bay to southern Peru. Bahia Magdelena, in Baja Sur on the Pacific coast is a more apt location for these fish that grow to 90 pounds or so and anglers wrestle them out from under the mangroves in shallow water there. Although excellent table fare, broomtails (AKA “mangrove grouper”) are protected in California waters and must be released immediately.
Scheduled fish plants (lbs): No plants scheduled this week. Last plants: 5/23 Jennings, catfish, (2000), 5/24 Cuyamaca (1100)