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265 pound bluefin caught from New Lo-An

Try channel edges for halibut, try Tidelands park for corvina

“Last fish of the day. Father and son, Bernie and Ben Pirih with one that taped out at 172#.”
“Last fish of the day. Father and son, Bernie and Ben Pirih with one that taped out at 172#.”

Dock Totals 5/8 – 5/14: 1,623 anglers aboard 71 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 813 bluefin tuna (to 265 pounds), 8 bonito, 143 calico bass, 4 lingcod, 1,226 rockfish, 26 sand bass, 160 sculpin, 28 sheephead, 2 treefish, 63 whitefish, and 242 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Another windy week caused quite a few cancellations, yet the boats that did get out found that fish are still out there and biting. Somewhat. Bluefin tuna seem to bite better at night during waxing and full moon cycles, so the boats with time to fish between sunset and sunrise are producing much better counts. The average size of the tuna caught has gone up quite a bit over the past month, with many fish in the 100 to 200-pound range as opposed to the 25-40 pounders that were the bulk of the catch in March and April.

Still, the wide size range of these fish require three basic rod and reel setups; a light-medium 25-40 pound for flyline bait; a 40-60 pound (preferably a two-speed reel) for yoyo iron on the medium tuna and yellowtail; and an 80 to 130-pound rig for the big bruits that are showing up at over 200 pounds. No worries if you don’t have a heavy rig, all the boats targeting bluefin have rental rods available. Be sure to take care of that need when booking a trip. The most productive terminal tackle for bluefin is still the sinker rig with live bait, and knife jigs in the 180 to 300 gram size.

As the moon shifts to waning after Sunday’s full blood moon, I expect to see more daytime action and better numbers for the full-day fleet. As of late, the best bet for a chance at trophy bluefin has been 1.5 day trips and longer. Even though the fish are well within full-day range, full-day boats arrive to the spot around or after sunup and must depart before sunset. If aiming for yellowtail, the bite outside the Coronado Islands has picked up, so look for any full day boats that will be keying on that action until the daytime bluefin bite picks back up.

Half-day boats fishing off Point Loma have been scoring on a few calico bass along with their normal catch of rockfish, sheephead, and sculpin. As the water warms slowly toward the 64-degree mark, calico bass and local yellowtail action along the kelp beds should heat up. White seabass are biting to the north at Catalina, San Clemente, and the Channel Islands, as a few show up in local waters. May is the month that, normally, along with the appearance of white seabass, the focus for local nearshore fishing moves up in the water column as bonito, barracuda, and large schools of baitfish signal the coming of another San Diego summer season.

Halibut may not be represented in the counts by the fleet save for a few, but they have been biting very well in the bays, especially the big bay, for private boaters, kayakers, and even the shore-pounders fishing from the rocks and piers. The majority of halibut caught have been along the channel edges from 10 to 30 feet in depth, and they are biting bait and lures. Considering the depth, plastics or a live sardine on a Carolina rig or dropper loop fished slowly on the drift along or up the sloping edges are the better presentation. If fishing shallower in 12 feet of water or less, crankbaits will trigger a bite.

Along with the halibut, shortfin corvina are also biting in San Diego Bay. These fish are usually caught along the riprap in 8 to 20 feet of water, so any of the rocky shoreline surrounding the bay can be productive, though I prefer the stretch just north of the Coronado Bridge near Tidelands Park when fishing from shore, and around the old seaplane ramps across from Shelter Island when on the kayak. As they tend to school in small groups, when one shortfin bites, there should be more. Shortfin corvina respond well to crankbaits, such as a Lucky Craft or smaller Rapalas, but will also eat live bait, plastics, or old standbys like Krokodile or Kastmaster spoons.

Freshwater: Though the seasonal stocking in San Diego County lakes has switched from trout to catfish, trout are still being caught by anglers targeting them in the deeper holes and coves, especially in Lake Jennings, Dixon, and Poway. This should fade away as the water heats up and the last of the trout are caught by anglers, birds of prey, and even largemouth and hybrid striped bass. Largemouth bass are in spawning mode, and anglers targeting them are finding willing biters in all area lakes. Catfish are biting well where stocked, with warmer, shallower lakes and coves therein producing best in the gray light hours near sunset and sunrise. As per their usual diet and scent-based feeding habits, chunks or strips of mackerel and scented blood-baits presented on the bottom are working best for the ‘whisker fish’.

Notable catches this past week:

5/8 – The New Lo-An 2-day trip with 25 anglers aboard returned to the dock with 65 bluefin tuna caught, including a massive 265-pounder, and 1 yellowtail.

5/11 – 25 anglers aboard the Premier afternoon half-day trip caught 58 rockfish, 3 sculpin, and 2 whitefish

5/14 - The Mission Belle full-day run with 20 anglers aboard called in with 69 yellowtail caught.

Fish Plants: 5/20 – Santee Lakes, catfish (1,500)

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“Last fish of the day. Father and son, Bernie and Ben Pirih with one that taped out at 172#.”
“Last fish of the day. Father and son, Bernie and Ben Pirih with one that taped out at 172#.”

Dock Totals 5/8 – 5/14: 1,623 anglers aboard 71 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 813 bluefin tuna (to 265 pounds), 8 bonito, 143 calico bass, 4 lingcod, 1,226 rockfish, 26 sand bass, 160 sculpin, 28 sheephead, 2 treefish, 63 whitefish, and 242 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Another windy week caused quite a few cancellations, yet the boats that did get out found that fish are still out there and biting. Somewhat. Bluefin tuna seem to bite better at night during waxing and full moon cycles, so the boats with time to fish between sunset and sunrise are producing much better counts. The average size of the tuna caught has gone up quite a bit over the past month, with many fish in the 100 to 200-pound range as opposed to the 25-40 pounders that were the bulk of the catch in March and April.

Still, the wide size range of these fish require three basic rod and reel setups; a light-medium 25-40 pound for flyline bait; a 40-60 pound (preferably a two-speed reel) for yoyo iron on the medium tuna and yellowtail; and an 80 to 130-pound rig for the big bruits that are showing up at over 200 pounds. No worries if you don’t have a heavy rig, all the boats targeting bluefin have rental rods available. Be sure to take care of that need when booking a trip. The most productive terminal tackle for bluefin is still the sinker rig with live bait, and knife jigs in the 180 to 300 gram size.

As the moon shifts to waning after Sunday’s full blood moon, I expect to see more daytime action and better numbers for the full-day fleet. As of late, the best bet for a chance at trophy bluefin has been 1.5 day trips and longer. Even though the fish are well within full-day range, full-day boats arrive to the spot around or after sunup and must depart before sunset. If aiming for yellowtail, the bite outside the Coronado Islands has picked up, so look for any full day boats that will be keying on that action until the daytime bluefin bite picks back up.

Half-day boats fishing off Point Loma have been scoring on a few calico bass along with their normal catch of rockfish, sheephead, and sculpin. As the water warms slowly toward the 64-degree mark, calico bass and local yellowtail action along the kelp beds should heat up. White seabass are biting to the north at Catalina, San Clemente, and the Channel Islands, as a few show up in local waters. May is the month that, normally, along with the appearance of white seabass, the focus for local nearshore fishing moves up in the water column as bonito, barracuda, and large schools of baitfish signal the coming of another San Diego summer season.

Halibut may not be represented in the counts by the fleet save for a few, but they have been biting very well in the bays, especially the big bay, for private boaters, kayakers, and even the shore-pounders fishing from the rocks and piers. The majority of halibut caught have been along the channel edges from 10 to 30 feet in depth, and they are biting bait and lures. Considering the depth, plastics or a live sardine on a Carolina rig or dropper loop fished slowly on the drift along or up the sloping edges are the better presentation. If fishing shallower in 12 feet of water or less, crankbaits will trigger a bite.

Along with the halibut, shortfin corvina are also biting in San Diego Bay. These fish are usually caught along the riprap in 8 to 20 feet of water, so any of the rocky shoreline surrounding the bay can be productive, though I prefer the stretch just north of the Coronado Bridge near Tidelands Park when fishing from shore, and around the old seaplane ramps across from Shelter Island when on the kayak. As they tend to school in small groups, when one shortfin bites, there should be more. Shortfin corvina respond well to crankbaits, such as a Lucky Craft or smaller Rapalas, but will also eat live bait, plastics, or old standbys like Krokodile or Kastmaster spoons.

Freshwater: Though the seasonal stocking in San Diego County lakes has switched from trout to catfish, trout are still being caught by anglers targeting them in the deeper holes and coves, especially in Lake Jennings, Dixon, and Poway. This should fade away as the water heats up and the last of the trout are caught by anglers, birds of prey, and even largemouth and hybrid striped bass. Largemouth bass are in spawning mode, and anglers targeting them are finding willing biters in all area lakes. Catfish are biting well where stocked, with warmer, shallower lakes and coves therein producing best in the gray light hours near sunset and sunrise. As per their usual diet and scent-based feeding habits, chunks or strips of mackerel and scented blood-baits presented on the bottom are working best for the ‘whisker fish’.

Notable catches this past week:

5/8 – The New Lo-An 2-day trip with 25 anglers aboard returned to the dock with 65 bluefin tuna caught, including a massive 265-pounder, and 1 yellowtail.

5/11 – 25 anglers aboard the Premier afternoon half-day trip caught 58 rockfish, 3 sculpin, and 2 whitefish

5/14 - The Mission Belle full-day run with 20 anglers aboard called in with 69 yellowtail caught.

Fish Plants: 5/20 – Santee Lakes, catfish (1,500)

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