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Angler aboard the Tribute, bluefin tuna caught on surface iron

Tribute Sportfishing

Dock Totals July 8 – July 14: 5,420 anglers aboard 197 trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 498 bluefin tuna, 613 yellowfin tuna, 17 dorado, 1,957 yellowtail, 15 white seabass (13 released), 3,871 calico bass, 97 sand bass, 909 rockfish, 42 whitefish, 3 lingcod, 339 bonito, 59 barracuda, 1,070 sculpin, 32 sheephead, 12 halibut, 1 mako shark, 1 leopard shark, 105 sanddab, 2 treefish, and 1 opah.

Saltwater: Another good week offshore: more anglers on the water, and more yellowfin, bluefin and dorado caught per angler. The yellowtail bite slowed, but for a few lucky boats early in the week. There are lots of spots of fish in a large area out about 30 to 40 miles off Point Loma, centered on the 43 Fathom spot, and that’s where the majority of the full-day to 1.5-day boats are fishing. The yellowtail are biting off the Coronado Islands, but as that had slowed, some of those boats decided to fish due west of Point Loma in US waters, negating the need for a passport.

If heading out to look for the tuna, the area in general, runs from the Corner, where the US – Mexico boundary makes the turn southwest, and west-northwest in a thirty-mile swath from there to San Clemente Island. Closer in, The 9 Mile Bank has schools of tuna on it, too, so a trip generally westward from Mission Bay or San Diego Bay will put you in the game. Now, once you find them, the trick is getting them to eat whatever you are presenting. Most boats are trolling while looking, focusing on the edges of the high spots.

Occasional fish pushing bait to the top are popping up in a pulse-quickening displays, though at times the fish are slow to hit the lures or baits tossed into the flurry. In spite of the amount of fish, the counts have been low on tuna in general, with most boats getting a scratch of fish, while an occasional trip hits good numbers with limits, or near limits of at least one species. All estimates are that the season should blow up soon with thousands of tuna in the weekly counts, so don’t be discouraged if your bait or lure is being ignored in a boil. As an example, long time angler and co-host of Angler’s Chronicles, Larry Moore, noted: “I will tell you this for certain ... some of you have known me for over 40 years and fished with me most of those years. I even spent three of those years fishing tuna from the rack on a bait boat. I have never in my life seen the volume of fish as I saw yesterday, never ever, and it was tough to get a bite.”

Inshore, the calico bass continue to rule the scene along the kelp beds, while yellowtail and white seabass are biting at a slow pick pace. Given the large amount of bait in the water and the temp coming up, I would expect there to be more surface action off the kelp edges soon. Sand bass and halibut have been biting on the flats, the halibut holding from about 20 feet out to 60 feet or so, especially in the slots between reefs, while the sand bass have been running in 40 to 80 feet in the San Diego Bay channel and the flats off Imperial Beach.

Fish Plants: July 27, Lake Poway, catfish (TBD), Santee Lakes, catfish (1,000), July 30, Jennings, catfish (1,000)

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