Cristian Hernandez in northern Baja California with lingcod
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Dock Totals Nov 26 – Dec 2: 1,547 anglers aboard 74 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 1,027 bluefin tuna, 35 yellowfin tuna, 14 bigeye tuna, 57 yellowtail, 11 calico bass, 17 sand bass, 2,514 rockfish, 32 lingcod, 96 bonito, 336 whitefish, 51 sheephead, 76 sanddab, 19 bocaccio, 6 halibut, 1 mako shark, 1 cabezon 61 red rock crab, and 22 spiny lobster.

Saltwater: The tuna bite was predominantly a bluefin thing for our 1.5 day and longer boats out of San Diego landings this past week. Though the angler count dropped by a third, the Bluefin tuna numbers more than doubled this week over the week previous. The majority of those trips reported limits of good grade fish in mixed schools from 30 pounds to well over 100 pounds, and even with the yellowfin, skipjack and dorado all but gone from our mid-range waters, offshore anglers are able to bring home quite a load of pelagic fillets for their efforts.

For those targeting groundfish, the up and down fishing has been good so far early in the season. One-half and three-quarter day boats are reporting good numbers of rockfish, whitefish, sheephead and lingcod for their anglers as they target the high spots off the coast. The most aggressive species targeted in the lower water column is the lingcod. Though not closely related to either ling or cod, the greenling - Ophiodon elongates – is named for its resemblance of both. Lingcod range from Alaska to Baja along the Pacific coast and can grow to five feet in length.

Lingcod caught off southern California’s near shore waters are usually smaller than those from the Channel Islands to the Gulf of Alaska. Here, a 15 pounder is an outstanding fish for ½ or ¾ day fishing. The Nine-Mile Bank down to the Coronado Islands are the best spots. Further out, on the offshore banks 30 to 60 miles from Point Loma, 20 pounders are rare.

Though usually caught by those targeting rockfish in 150 to 300 feet of water, lingcod can be found in water as shallow as 70 feet deep. They will eat anything from mollusks to rockfish, octopus and whitefish, the latter two being favorites. For lures in the depths, try a heavy diamond jig with a strip of mackerel attached. A dropper looped whole bait like a super-sized sardine or mackerel will work

About 25 percent of lingcod caught have a bluish tinted flesh, sometimes very strikingly blue. The color disappears when cooked and the flesh is firm and prepares well in baked or lightly-fried dishes. I had some last night that I baked in a foil wrap tucked into the toaster oven. I lightly coated the foil with olive oil and then layered fresh spinach, scallions, tomatoes and boneless fillets of lingcod. I added a couple little dabs of real butter to the tops of the fillets and added fresh diced garlic and ground pepper and more spinach so the fillets were completely wrapped in greens, and sealed the foil.

Top boats of the week:

Nov 26 – The Outer Limits reported 29 bluefin tuna for the 18 anglers aboard their 1.5 day run. 18 anglers aboard the Daiwa Pacific caught all but one of the yellowfin tuna caught by the San Diego mid-range fleet with 34, along with 3 bluefin tuna on a 1.5 day trip.

Nov 27 – Limits for everyone, with the Liberty, Prowler and Relentless all reporting maximum 1.5 day catch, with a combined count of 150 bluefin tuna for 75 anglers.

Nov 28 – 10 anglers aboard the Pride caught limits of 20 bluefin tuna while the New Lo-An reported 30 bluefin tuna for their 15 anglers. Both were 1.5 day trips.

Nov 29 – The Endeavor reported limits of bluefin tuna for 18 anglers on their overnight run, while a little closer to home port, the Point Loma found some yellowtail, with 18 ‘forktails’ boated, along with 3 bonito, 2 calico bass, 3 sand bass, 2 whitefish, and 6 rockfish for the 21 anglers aboard a ½ trip.

Nov 30 – The Oceanside 95 reported limits of 66 bluefin tuna for the 33 anglers aboard their 1.5 day trip. The Legend reported 28 bluefin tuna for 14 anglers on their 1.5 day trip.

Dec 1 – 11 anglers aboard the Chubasco II had a nice mixed bag half-day fishing inshore, with 2 halibut, 4 lingcod, 3 yellowtail, and 106 rockfish in the gunnysacks. The Tribute reported limits of 50 bluefin tuna for the 25 anglers aboard their 1.5 day trip.

Dec 2 – 21 anglers aboard the Outer Limits caught limits of 42 bluefin tuna. 3 yellowtail were also boated on the 1.5 day trip.

Fish Plants: 12/9 – Wohlford, Trout (TBD), 12/13 – Poway, Trout (1,500)

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