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Anglers and bluefin jump

Will this week's 2000 jump to 6000 by late June?

Larger bluefin are back! This 203 pound tuna was caught aboard the Tribute 1.5-day run.
Larger bluefin are back! This 203 pound tuna was caught aboard the Tribute 1.5-day run.

Dock Totals 4/24 – 4/30: 2,147 anglers aboard 93 half-day to 1.5-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 2,140 bluefin tuna (to 170 pounds), 1 bocaccio, 58 bonito, 37 calico bass, 5 lingcod, 1,911 rockfish, 17 sand bass, 1 sanddab, 95 sculpin, 12 sheephead, 4 treefish, 804 whitefish, and 101 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Springtime, as a transitional season, generally features inconsistent weather in this hemisphere. This is true even in sunny southern California, where to most folks from the northern half of the country, breezy days in the 60s and 70s might seem luxurious after a hard, cold winter. And though a little frost might gather on a windshield, or a little dust might blow between rare sprinkles and fresh new green grass withers and browns seemingly as quickly as it sprouted inland, neither winter or spring are very hard or cold in the San Diego area. Still, you can see a seasonal difference and feel the coming of summer.

Offshore, the signs of the changing seasons aren’t so visible to the average onlooker. To the well-salted seafaring angler, spring is a season that can hold any sea condition from flat calm sun-lit blue to frothy bucking cold and blown out. Sliding cold fronts poke their way south between high pressure bubbles and you end up with a week with some days sunny, calm and pushing 80, and others hovering in the low 60s with windblown chop and drizzle. May Gray is barely upon us, June Gloom has yet to come, and still, we’ll have days between reminiscent of lazy warm summer. Fish, however, respond more to bait availability and water temperatures than they do sun, wind, or rain. Anglers respond to fish, and the rising counts of both confirm my suspicions that this will be another bright fishing year.

The fleet fishes through most conditions, as San Diego’s top of the line sportfishing vessels can handle some fairly miserable weather, and as long as there are fish to catch, anglers will show up on even the most inclement days. This Spring's inconsistent weather has done little to slow the fishing. Bluefin tuna are biting well within full-day range, yellowtail are showing along the coast, and white seabass are turning on at San Clemente and the Channel Islands – a sign that they should start showing up along our coastal kelps soon. Frontal winds churn occasional upwelling, which cools the water and sometimes slows the bite for a day or two, but steady reports of good rockfish catches, and returning larger bluefin tuna to over 200 pounds within 3-day range has kept a stream of anglers showing at the landings.

As April faded to May, this past week was the first week of 2022 with over two thousand total anglers reported by the landings. By the end of June, we should see the number of anglers pushing six thousand per week. The bluefin tuna count also jumped substantially, and yellowtail represented well even though it is still early for them. Most of the tuna caught were in an area west of Ensenada 20 to 50 miles offshore, while the sporadic yellowtail bite was outside the Coronado Islands. Full-day boats have split their time between chasing tuna and yellowtail, fishing near the Coronados when the latter are showing, and making the long run south/southwest to the tuna grounds when the yellows are tight-lipped. That the better bluefin bite has been overnight until just after sunrise, the better bet is to go on a 1.5-day or longer trip when targeting them.

Full-day boats like the San Diego and the Grande have had mixed results on tuna for their efforts, given the fish seem to spread out causing more run-and-gun type fishing during daylight and the limited amount of fishing time considering travel time to the grounds. As the yellowtail bite picks up, I expect to see those trips concentrate more on the Islands which gives them several hours more fishing time. Locally, the main targets of the half-day boats are still rockfish, whitefish, and sheephead, though calico bass are beginning to bite around local kelp beds on calmer days.

For nearshore and land-based anglers, halibut and spotted bay bass continue to bite well in the bays along channel edges during the slacker tide swings, while surf fishing is picking up for barred surf perch and corbina as sand crab colonies are beginning to gather in the swash. Outside of the epic bluefin bite that seems to be a ‘new normal’ given the past few years, this is a fairly typical spring season for our area saltwater fisheries. A season where ‘gray’ and ‘gloom’ might describe the skies and the mood of the weather on some days, but for anglers, May and June are just the bright beginning of several months of great fishing ahead. Get out and get ‘em!

Notable catches this past week:

The Intrepid reported a boat limit of 104 bluefin tuna caught by 26 anglers aboard their 1.75-day trip that returned on April 28. On their next trip, a 3-day run, they found the larger fish to over 200 pounds, with the largest weighing in at 241.9 pounds.

The Tribute returned to the dock on May 1 from a 1.5-day run with some larger model bluefin among their catch, with their top two fish at 190 and 203 pounds.

The New Seaforth afternoon half-day run with 36 anglers aboard on April 30 reported 32 whitefish, 14 rockfish, 1 sculpin, and 16 calico bass (50 released) caught.

The Old Glory returned to the dock on April 28 with limits of 60 bluefin tuna for 30 anglers aboard a 1.5 day run.

Fish Plants: 5/6, Santee Lakes, catfish (1,000)

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Larger bluefin are back! This 203 pound tuna was caught aboard the Tribute 1.5-day run.
Larger bluefin are back! This 203 pound tuna was caught aboard the Tribute 1.5-day run.

Dock Totals 4/24 – 4/30: 2,147 anglers aboard 93 half-day to 1.5-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 2,140 bluefin tuna (to 170 pounds), 1 bocaccio, 58 bonito, 37 calico bass, 5 lingcod, 1,911 rockfish, 17 sand bass, 1 sanddab, 95 sculpin, 12 sheephead, 4 treefish, 804 whitefish, and 101 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Springtime, as a transitional season, generally features inconsistent weather in this hemisphere. This is true even in sunny southern California, where to most folks from the northern half of the country, breezy days in the 60s and 70s might seem luxurious after a hard, cold winter. And though a little frost might gather on a windshield, or a little dust might blow between rare sprinkles and fresh new green grass withers and browns seemingly as quickly as it sprouted inland, neither winter or spring are very hard or cold in the San Diego area. Still, you can see a seasonal difference and feel the coming of summer.

Offshore, the signs of the changing seasons aren’t so visible to the average onlooker. To the well-salted seafaring angler, spring is a season that can hold any sea condition from flat calm sun-lit blue to frothy bucking cold and blown out. Sliding cold fronts poke their way south between high pressure bubbles and you end up with a week with some days sunny, calm and pushing 80, and others hovering in the low 60s with windblown chop and drizzle. May Gray is barely upon us, June Gloom has yet to come, and still, we’ll have days between reminiscent of lazy warm summer. Fish, however, respond more to bait availability and water temperatures than they do sun, wind, or rain. Anglers respond to fish, and the rising counts of both confirm my suspicions that this will be another bright fishing year.

The fleet fishes through most conditions, as San Diego’s top of the line sportfishing vessels can handle some fairly miserable weather, and as long as there are fish to catch, anglers will show up on even the most inclement days. This Spring's inconsistent weather has done little to slow the fishing. Bluefin tuna are biting well within full-day range, yellowtail are showing along the coast, and white seabass are turning on at San Clemente and the Channel Islands – a sign that they should start showing up along our coastal kelps soon. Frontal winds churn occasional upwelling, which cools the water and sometimes slows the bite for a day or two, but steady reports of good rockfish catches, and returning larger bluefin tuna to over 200 pounds within 3-day range has kept a stream of anglers showing at the landings.

As April faded to May, this past week was the first week of 2022 with over two thousand total anglers reported by the landings. By the end of June, we should see the number of anglers pushing six thousand per week. The bluefin tuna count also jumped substantially, and yellowtail represented well even though it is still early for them. Most of the tuna caught were in an area west of Ensenada 20 to 50 miles offshore, while the sporadic yellowtail bite was outside the Coronado Islands. Full-day boats have split their time between chasing tuna and yellowtail, fishing near the Coronados when the latter are showing, and making the long run south/southwest to the tuna grounds when the yellows are tight-lipped. That the better bluefin bite has been overnight until just after sunrise, the better bet is to go on a 1.5-day or longer trip when targeting them.

Full-day boats like the San Diego and the Grande have had mixed results on tuna for their efforts, given the fish seem to spread out causing more run-and-gun type fishing during daylight and the limited amount of fishing time considering travel time to the grounds. As the yellowtail bite picks up, I expect to see those trips concentrate more on the Islands which gives them several hours more fishing time. Locally, the main targets of the half-day boats are still rockfish, whitefish, and sheephead, though calico bass are beginning to bite around local kelp beds on calmer days.

For nearshore and land-based anglers, halibut and spotted bay bass continue to bite well in the bays along channel edges during the slacker tide swings, while surf fishing is picking up for barred surf perch and corbina as sand crab colonies are beginning to gather in the swash. Outside of the epic bluefin bite that seems to be a ‘new normal’ given the past few years, this is a fairly typical spring season for our area saltwater fisheries. A season where ‘gray’ and ‘gloom’ might describe the skies and the mood of the weather on some days, but for anglers, May and June are just the bright beginning of several months of great fishing ahead. Get out and get ‘em!

Notable catches this past week:

The Intrepid reported a boat limit of 104 bluefin tuna caught by 26 anglers aboard their 1.75-day trip that returned on April 28. On their next trip, a 3-day run, they found the larger fish to over 200 pounds, with the largest weighing in at 241.9 pounds.

The Tribute returned to the dock on May 1 from a 1.5-day run with some larger model bluefin among their catch, with their top two fish at 190 and 203 pounds.

The New Seaforth afternoon half-day run with 36 anglers aboard on April 30 reported 32 whitefish, 14 rockfish, 1 sculpin, and 16 calico bass (50 released) caught.

The Old Glory returned to the dock on April 28 with limits of 60 bluefin tuna for 30 anglers aboard a 1.5 day run.

Fish Plants: 5/6, Santee Lakes, catfish (1,000)

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