Photo by Kevin Mattson of Excel Sportfishing
Excel angler Stephen Zing with a 184-pound yellowfin tuna.
Dock Totals Dec 3 – Dec 9: 1,032 anglers aboard 59 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 577 bluefin tuna, 16 yellowfin tuna, 146 yellowtail, 23 calico bass, 16 sand bass, 2,063 rockfish, 12 lingcod, 56 bonito, 268 whitefish, 68 sheephead, 22 sanddab, 4 bocaccio, 2 mako shark, and 8 spiny lobster.
Mattson with wahoo
Kevin Mattson of Excel Sportfishing
Saltwater: While the bluefin tuna fishing for the overnight to 2.5 day trips has been strong, the anglers aboard the winter long-range boats have been seeing excellent action for pelagics and grouper in the waters from Cedros Island to the offshore high spots south of Cabo San Lucas. On one stop, Kevin Mattson of the Excel reported wahoo action at Hurricane Bank, some 1,100 miles south of San Diego and 180 miles from Clarion Island: “Some pretty good Wahoo fishing at Hurricane. A hundred something and we weren't really fishing em' ”. If you haven’t had it, I suggest a trip to your favorite fish market for wahoo
The Excel’s anglers have been doing well on the big yellowfin tuna in the area, with many caught over 100 pounds. That area has been a haven for big tuna. Commercial tuna boats from Pacific nations have been working the area since the end of World War II, and though much of it is now protected, some still poach. The tuna fishery was heavily fished during the post-war years and in 1948, the Pacific Ocean Fishery Investigations Office was established to study the tuna fishery in the Pacific.
Recreational vessels need to follow strict rules and remain at least 12 miles from some of the Islands. There are several long range choices out of San Diego, including the Excel, Red Rooster III and the Qualifier 105. Trips to the area are usually 8 -16 day outings that can run from three to six thousand dollars or more per angler.
Top boats of the week:
Dec 3 – Just three anglers aboard the Reel Champion caught 25 yellowtail while aboard a 1.5 day run. The Sea Watch ½ day morning run with 24 anglers aboard returned to the dock with 140 rockfish, 4 sheephead, 5 whitefish and 1 yellowtail in the gunnysacks.
Dec 4 – 15 anglers aboard the Relentless 1.5 day trip caught 30 bluefin tuna and 34 yellowtail.
Dec 5 – Plenty of room on the Pride as 3 anglers caught their limit of 2 bluefin tuna each, along with 10 yellowfin tuna during a 1.5 day trip. The Tribute, New Lo-An and Pacific Queen all reported limits of 24 bluefin tuna for 12 anglers each on 1.5 day runs.
Dec 6 – Limits for two 1.5 day boats, as 9 anglers aboard the Liberty caught 18 bluefin tuna, while 12 anglers aboard the Aztec caught 24 bluefin tuna.
Dec 7 – Good ½ day December fishing for 9 anglers aboard the Sea Watch as they boated 21 yellowtail, 40 rockfish, and 12 bonito. The Legend reported limits on their 1.5 day run with 32 bluefin tuna for the 16 anglers aboard.
Dec 8 – 30 bluefin were caught by the 15 anglers aboard the Endeavor overnight trip.
Dec 9 – 21 anglers aboard the Legend caught limits of 42 bluefin tuna on a 1.5 day trip offshore, while the Premier reported good local bottom-fishing, with 217 rockfish, 3 sheephead, and 1 bonito caught by the 22 anglers aboard their ½ day run.
Fish Plants: 12/15 - Santee Lakes, trout (TBD) 12/18 – Jennings, trout (1,500) 12/19 – Cuyamaca, trout (1,200)