Ross Zoerhof with winning halibut in tough conditions in San Quintin halibut tourney
Maybe the hot, hot weather and/or the big tide swing put a damper on the tuna fishing for the second week in a row. Yes, the yellowfin and bluefin are around, as is their cousin bonito, which seems to like the conditions as they, unlike the tuna, did bite a little better. Barracuda were fairly active too, with a little more size, meaning more keepers over 28 inches total length. Calico bass made the number one spot for overall catch of kept fish with nearly 3000 fish toted home by happy anglers. Many boats are releasing two or three for every one kept, which indicates a good average size, as in the spring, sometimes one legal for ten caught is not uncommon. I’ve noticed a few boats with all releases on calico bass, it’s good to see some catch and release going on as the pressure on the kelp is increasing due to more anglers (over 3000 for the second week from the landings) are hitting the water and finding the fishing better inside, with a good mix of species, while the tuna apparently have a slight case of lockjaw.
While the rest of the southwest was baking, down south in San Quintin, the Mako Bob Kayak Halibut Tournament was held in tough conditions, with a coolish stiff wind opposing an in-surging tide. The best fishing for lenguado in Bahia San Quintin is in the relatively narrow bay mouth, or La Boca, just of Punta Azufre. The channel there can hold halibut up to and over 48 inches (my personal best), though on a big tide swing and especially with a driving wind it is practically impossible to fish. The bay is broad and shallow, with many false bays small and large that are high and dry on any minus tide. A main channel runs the length of the bay, with smaller tributaries leading in from the tidal flats on either side — the continuation of sloughs, if you will. Bahia San Quintin seems to lose nearly half its surface area on a minus tide due to the several square miles of littoral, or intertidal areas.
To complicate issues for the kayak anglers, the launch at the point was mostly inaccessible due to the road being flooded, nearly four miles of it, on the 6.9-foot high the evening previous to tournament day. Still, a few folks figured out a spot to launch, how to pin up or deal with the surge, and managed some eligible fish before the wind just got to be too much. Friend Ross Zoerhof persevered in the conditions and won the event with a nice 27-inch fish from the channel edge, his largest of three caught by 10am, when, as avid kayak angler and Bahia Asunción resident said, "It just got too tough.” When a kayak angler living in Baja (on either coast) says it’s too tough, it’s too tough. Considered a small fish by San Quintin measures, it was an amazing feat in surging current and windblown whitecaps in the shadows of the volcanoes of San Quintin.
Dock Totals 6/18 – 6/24
3396 anglers aboard 124 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 21 bluefin tuna, 48 yellowfin tuna, 713 yellowtail, 2 white seabass, 2,978 calico bass, 143 sand bass, 2,738 rockfish, 95 sanddab, 19 lingcod, 430 bonito, 214 barracuda, 210 sculpin, 670 mackerel, 67 whitefish, 103 sheephead, 1 halibut, 2 cabezon, 6 bocaccio and 8 finescale triggerfish.
Top performing boats this week
6/24: The Legend fished with 30 anglers aboard on a ¾ day run and reported 150 rockfish, 50 sculpin, 8 calico bass and 25 barracuda caught. The Prowler reported 1 bluefin tuna and limits of 50 yellowtail for the 10 anglers aboard their 1.5 day trip.
6/23: 11 anglers aboard the Jig Strike ½ day run boated 110 calico bass. The Point Loma called in with 1 sheephead, 2 white seabass, 1 bonito, 19 rockfish, 5 sand bass, and 145 calico bass for a nice mixed-bag ¾ day run with 11 anglers aboard. The Tribute with 17 anglers aboard a 2 day run had a little success offshore with 3 bluefin tuna, 5 yellowfin tuna and 53 yellowtail caught.
6/22: 25 anglers aboard the Fisherman III ¾ day run caught 6 whitefish, 44 calico bass, 44 rockfish and 20 mackerel.
6/21: The Pacific Queen with 16 anglers aboard their overnight trip reported 79 yellowtail and 23 bonito caught. The Pacific Voyager called in with 40 bonito, 21 sheephead, 1 barracuda, 65 calico bass and 47 yellowtail caught on their overnight run.
6/19: 24 anglers aboard the Topgun 80 2.5 day trip caught 5 bonito, 4 yellowfin tuna and 120 yellowtail. The Pacific Queen reported a tuna per rod, with 10 bluefin tuna for 10 anglers on their overnight trip.
Fish Plants: None scheduled this week.