Dock Totals Nov 11 – Nov 17: 2,282 anglers aboard 107 trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 1,499 bluefin tuna, 441 yellowfin tuna, 113 skipjack tuna, 1 bigeye tuna, 5 dorado, 451 yellowtail, 724 bonito, 5 barracuda, 61 calico bass, 114 sand bass, 3 halibut, 14 sanddab, 2,838 rockfish, 623 whitefish, 20 lingcod, 201 sheephead, 56 bocaccio, 3 triggerfish, 17 halfmoon, 1 shortbill spearfish, 50 rock crab, and 201 spiny lobster (799 released).
Saltwater: The water has cooled to the mid-60s along the coast and the local fishing is following suit. Calico bass have slowed down, yellowtail are not biting much at the Coronado Islands and the local boats are shifting their attention to the bottom for rockfish, sheephead and whitefish. There is sporadic surface activity with the bonito around, but other surface biters are being found further south along the Baja coast and on the banks offshore for the 1.5 day and longer trips. It seems that the season has started to shift, with a few holdouts including the bluefin tuna that continue to haunt the Cortez and Tanner banks and some roaming schools of yellowfin.
Unlike most fish, bluefin tuna are endothermic and can elevate their core temperature up to thirty-eight degrees above that of the water around them, which is why they will still be around some seasons when all the other pelagic species of summer have skedaddled. They may be warm-blooded, but they are truly cold-hearted. Unlike most animals on the planet, the bluefin’s meat will be warm, yet the heart can drop drastically in temperature without stopping. This happens when they dive deep into the cooler water below as blood flows through the gills directly to the heart which mirrors the water temperature in spite of body temperature. Bluefin can dive to three thousand feet below the surface and their hearts can endure a twenty-seven degree change in temperature in a few minutes. This accounts for their strength in battle when hooked, and their wide-ranging migrations.
Sand bass continue to bite on the flats off Point Loma and Imperial Beach, while a few halibut have been caught on the trips targeting the same areas. The spotted bay bass bite has slowed in San Diego Bay, though some sand bass are being caught in the deeper parts of the channel. Bonito and mackerel are popping up on bait occasionally in the South Bay, though that action is slowing down to mostly mackerel, and the schools are more infrequent. Those fishing large baits on the bottom near the landings and piers in the bay are catching mostly bat rays with a few shovelnose.
Hoop-netters are doing well on lobster and rock crab along the jetties and along the coast, especially near the reefs just outside of the reserves off La Jolla and Birdrock. Though the keeper-to-short ratio has dropped to about 1 in 5, there are a few limits of seven being reported by kayakers and private boaters.
Fish Plants: 11/26, Jennings, trout (1,500)