It’s been an odd week in the blue with a humpback whale taking a tour of Ventura Harbor, and great whites posting up just out of the lineup as might the one surfer too far out to catch a wave. Both seem very dangerous, but it is just life interacting as we all collide on an ever-shrinking planet. I hope, by the time this ink dries, the whale is safely out of the marina and on its way, and no injurious shark encounters transpired.
Other than whale tales and shark sightings, over this past week, ¾ day trips boated more yellowtail and bluefin tuna per angler; some of the calico bass caught off the kelp were larger than the average yellowtail caught offshore, and the long-range season ended with a slow bite while the local boats have been generally killing it. It’s looking good up and down the coast when spring takes a break between blows. Large schools of bluefin tuna are being metered, though they have been slow to bite. Those that are taking the bait have been in the 25– to 40-pound range. Yellowtail are thick on the nearshore banks, and though mostly in schools of juvenile 5 to 8 pounders, a few up to 20 pounds or so have hit the deck. The larger fish are coming just off the Coronado Islands and occasionally under floating paddies offshore.
For those wishing to fish the bottom, rockfish, lingcod, sheephead and sculpin are all biting well on the dropper loop. It’s a good time to get out; the changing conditions have kept a few folks at home, providing a lot of elbow room for the anglers that do go. Two ½ day trips by the 85-foot Dolphin this past week had 5 or less anglers on board. That’s commitment, running when you know you won’t cover fuel, much less crew wages. I expect the elbow room to shrink considerably as the seas calm and the weather warms into summer. The fish are there and the signs are good for another epic year.
Dock Totals 5/14 – 5/20
1942 anglers aboard 91 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 21 bluefin tuna, 2,089 yellowtail, 220 calico bass, 51 sand bass, 2,153 rockfish, 623 sanddab, 19 lingcod, 290 bonito, 113 sculpin, 10 mackerel, 3 whitefish, 16 sheephead, 1 mako shark, 1 cabezon, 1 rubberlip seaperch and 3 halibut.
Top performing boats of the week
5/20: The Tribute called in with limits (165) of yellowtail and 4 bluefin tuna for the 33 anglers aboard their overnight trip.
5/18: 12 anglers aboard the Chubasco II ¾ day run boated 127 calico bass (100 released) and 1 rockfish. The Pacific Queen reported 99 yellowtail, 5 bluefin tuna and 27 bonito caught by the 26 anglers aboard their overnight trip.
5/17: The Vendetta called in one mako shark, 1 bonito and limits of 45 yellowtail for the 9 anglers aboard their ¾ day run. The San Diego ¾ day run with 29 anglers at the rail returned to the dock with 101 yellowtail, 2 bluefin tuna and 75 bonito.
5/16: 15 anglers caught limits (75) of yellowtail aboard the Liberty ¾ day run.
5/15: The Malihini reported limits (80) of yellowtail for the 16 anglers aboard their ¾ day run.
5/14: 23 anglers aboard the Mission Belle ¾ day run boated limits (115) of yellowtail.
Fish Plants: 5/30 Cuyamaca, trout (1,200)