Dock Totals Oct 7 – Oct 13: 4,334 anglers aboard 192 trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 546 bluefin tuna, 9,322 yellowfin tuna, 3,261 skipjack tuna, 1 bigeye tuna, 636 dorado, 1,866 yellowtail, 1 white seabass, 2,877 bonito, 584 calico bass, 168 sand bass, 823 rockfish, 121 whitefish, 16 bocaccio, 29 lingcod, 81 sheephead, 4 halibut, 12 sanddab, 1 sand sole, 6 rock crab, and 278 spiny lobster (667 released).
Saltwater: A bit of rain and swell spun up from Sergio’s path across the mid Baja peninsula made its way to San Diego over the weekend, but the numbers are all up for this past week from the week previous. A few more boats fished the bluefin bite off San Clemente, staying north of the forecasted weather, and the fish cooperated. Those caught were running 50 to 70 pounds, a few 100- and 200-plus-pounders in the mix. These trips are usually 1.5 days and longer to accommodate the 50 miles to the grounds.
The boats fishing out west and south from extended three-quarter-day runs to 2.5 day outings scored limits or near limits on yellowfin tuna; dorado, skipjack tuna and yellowtail rounded out their counts. Yellowtail are biting well off San Clemente, and calico fishing can be fantastic there. If the bluefin aren’t cooperating, it’s a short run to fish the kelp on the southwest end of the island. So far, it looks like last year when the bluefin stuck around the area from San Clemente Island to the Cortez and Tanner banks through Thanksgiving.
The fishing inshore has been good for the half-day and local three-quarter-day boats; bonito, calico and sand bass, rockfish, sheephead, and a scratch of yellowtail were most represented in the inshore counts. Occasional white seabass, halibut and lingcod are being caught on the local runs. Half-day fares run in the 50-dollar range.
To get an idea of the fares for a sportfishing outing, full day trips are around $150-$170, overnight runs are $210-$225, 1.5 day runs average $310, and for multi-day trips, $200-$300 per day, depending on passenger load and destination. Know that while Mexican fishing licenses or permits are usually included in the ticket price, passports are not.
I get that it seems expensive to fish from an open-party vessel, but if one likes good fresh fish (and has a vacuum-sealer and freezer space, the ticket price can be recouped. A limit of two 50-pound bluefin per day will yield around 30-35 pounds of choice fillets after cleaning. Bluefin loin runs $15 per pound and up, and whole fish are around $4-$5 per pound.
California spiny lobster numbers remain good in the second week of the season, and the legal to short catch is in the one-in-three ratio – excellent by hoop-netting standards. A few boats are running evening lobster trips, the Alicia, Jig Strike, and Josie Lynn are getting an average of over three legal bugs per angler, per trip – at a cost of 60 to 70 dollars per run – about equal to or better than the current minimum market price of 21 dollars per pound for whole lobster.
Fish Plants: 10/20 Cuyamaca, trout (1,500)