Dock Totals 7/16 – 7/22: 5,128 anglers aboard 200 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 90 bluefin tuna, 24 yellowfin tuna, 727 dorado, 10,126 yellowtail, 2 white seabass, 3,813 calico bass, 152 sand bass, 3,144 rockfish, 139 sanddab, 56 lingcod, 587 bonito, 213 barracuda, 160 sculpin, 61 whitefish, 84 sheephead, 14 halibut, 12 cabezon, 2 mako shark and 1 striped marlin (released).
Saltwater: Yellowtail came over the rails of the fleet this past week in surprising numbers with lots of anglers getting limits of the feisty jacks on fly-lined sardines and surface irons. These fish have been running in the 10 to 20-pound class with a few exceptions going larger. As for the tuna, they have been slow to bite with most boats getting a handful of either bluefin or yellowfin while filling the hold with yellowtail and dorado. The dorado bite has been amazing, considering the low numbers of yellowfin. Dorado and yellowfin tend to feed in the same temperature range and areas, with the tuna usually out-numbering dorado 10 to 1 in the reports.
Dorado are often drawn to the activity of the large schools of tuna feeding and work the outside of the fray that can explode at the surface with diving birds and charging yellowfin trapping the bait in the ‘boiling’ water of a feeding frenzy. With the dorado feeding in small groups from a few to a dozen or so in the midst of thousands of darting tuna, it is often hard to get a bait or lure past the tuna and hook one. This year, though, they are lurking in larger schools under kelp patties offshore where there are fewer tuna around as though waiting for the action to begin. When a sportboat slides up and dorado are there, it’s usually a frantic event, with slashing and leaping dorado crossing lines and causing lots of over/under shuffling on deck by the anglers trying to avoid each other’s fish. As soon as a dorado is hooked, it is easy to tell it is not a tuna or yellowtail; instead of the long, hard downward runs of a tunny or jack, dorado usually explode out of the water in flopping and tumbling leaps and as soon as the golden fish is spotted in the air, a few anglers and crew will usually holler at the sight: ‘Dodo!’, or ‘Dorado!’ before the angler that hooked it can yell ‘hook up!’
Over the past few seasons each has had its surprises; from shortbill swordfish and wahoo within sight of the city to several rare opah caught and boiling schools of ‘football’–sized yellowfin a couple miles from Point Loma. This year, it seems to be the incredible yellowtail numbers, 200+-pound bluefin within one-day range, and dorado vastly outnumbering tuna in the counts.
Top performing boats this week: A hard pick with so many trips doing great from all the landings.
July 22 The Mustang hauled 22 anglers out on an overnight trip and reported 31 dorado and limits of 110 yellowtail caught. The Grande called in with 150 yellowtail and limits of 150 yellowtail for the 30 anglers aboard their overnight run. 11 anglers aboard the Pride overnight run caught limits of both dorado (22) and yellowtail (55).
July 21 The Old Glory reported limits of 180 yellowtail along with 42 dorado and 3 bonito for the 36 anglers aboard their overnight run. The New Lo-An called in 120 yellowtail (limits), 1 yellowfin tuna, 31 dorado, 3 bonito and 2 bluefin tuna for the 24 anglers aboard their overnight run.
July 20 24 anglers aboard the Pacific Queen 1.5 day trip caught limits of 120 yellowtail as well as 4 dorado and 11 bluefin tuna. The Voyager returned to the dock with limits of 32 dorado and 80 yellowtail for the 18 anglers aboard their 1.5 day trip.
July 18 The Fisherman III fished the Coronado Islands for a good mixed bag of 20 calico bass, 10 cabezon, 1 sheephead, 26 barracuda, 18 rockfish and 16 yellowtail on their ¾ day run. The Tribute called in 15 dorado, 8 bonito, 11 bluefin tuna, 2 yellowfin tuna and limits of 300 yellowtail for the 30 anglers aboard their 2 day trip.
Fish Plants: No plants this week.