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Finger Bank looked like a parking lot

Fish don't care about clouds

The bluefin being caught right now are ranging from 20 to over 200 pounds. That said, owning heavy gear isn’t necessary for catching larger tuna. This fish was caught on rental gear.
The bluefin being caught right now are ranging from 20 to over 200 pounds. That said, owning heavy gear isn’t necessary for catching larger tuna. This fish was caught on rental gear.

Dock Totals 5/22 – 5/28: 3103 anglers aboard 142 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 1816 bluefin tuna (to 235 pounds), 7 bonito, 847 calico bass, 2 halibut, 8 lingcod, 1528 rockfish, 2 rubberlip seaperch, 143 sand bass, 1 sanddab, 164 sculpin, 81 sheephead, 1 thresher shark, 8 treefish, 3 triggerfish, 201 whitefish, and 1,372 yellowtail.

Saltwater: May Gray spread her influence out over coastal and offshore fishing grounds, leaving bumpy cool conditions for anglers heading out. Even so, fish don’t much care about clouds, wind swells, or foggy wet breezes, so fishing was very good for most. Half-day boats are shifting their focus up in the water column to target more calico bass and pelagics than rockfish, resulting in the first 2022 report of a yellowtail caught off the local kelp by a sportfishing vessel.

Offshore, yellowtail numbers are climbing dramatically, up from a few dozen to 493 caught the previous week, and up to over a thousand caught this past week. That most yellowtail being caught offshore are smallish 8- to 15-pounders is normal for springtime kelp paddy fishing. School-sized fish are usually the first to enter our offshore areas as warmer water pushes north; even so, some yellows coming from inshore coastal and island fisheries are a better grade of fish, averaging over 20 pounds. Either way, whether “firecrackers” or “mossbacks,” their appearance in numbers bodes well for the coming summer/fall pelagic season. With inshore surface temps between 60-64 degrees, one could argue they are a bit early. Yellowtail are subject to temperature, and 64 degrees is the magic number where they show as temps rise — or split as temps drop.

That yellowtail are subject to a slight change in temperature is most apparent along the mid-Baja Pacific coast. Right now, yellowtail are showing up off of Cedros Island and south to La Bocana and Abreojos. This area runs from the point of the Vizcaino Peninsula and along its southern edge to Laguna San Ignacio, and hosts a cool-water trend where, although 500 miles south of San Diego, yellowtail season in the zone varies greatly. While biting at Cedros and Abreojos, they probably won’t show in any numbers around Bahia Asuncion in the middle of that zone until late July/early August.

The coastal fishery along the Vizcaino is similar to that of San Diego, with coastal kelp beds holding calico bass and sheephead, beaches offering halibut and corbina, and yellowtail and white seabass cruising the outside of the kelp. As the southern-most cool water trend in the eastern Pacific hosting giant kelp, the beginning of the pelagic season can vary by three months in towns just fifty miles apart. Travel another couple hundred miles south, and wahoo and dorado, two of the more common tropical-water species, are starting to bite as the water temps push past 70 degrees. In the mid-Vizcaino, some sea temps are still in the high 50s. By August, yellowtail will be swarming Asuncion and will stick around until March, which makes the area a great go-to as the bite starts fading elsewhere in late fall/winter.

Bluefin tuna have been slowly shifting north over the past few weeks and the fleet is concentrating their efforts in an area off the northern Baja coast that ranges from the Finger Bank up to the 425 and out to the 371 — basically, a 50-mile triangle nearer Rosarito than Ensenada. The size and numbers being caught on the banks closer to home are excellent, with a limit of 100-plus pound fish within five hours from the slip being very possible. This means less fuel and more fishing time than if running south outside of Ensenada.

Operators in Mexico are catching big bluefin on the banks further south to off the backside of the 240 Bank outside of San Quintin, and probably can be found on the Tanner or Cortez out west. It’s 100 miles to Tanner and closer to 200 miles to the 240, so if they’re targeting bluefin and the fish are within 50 miles of Point Loma in good numbers and size, that’s where the fleet will go. I still expect, as the warmer water pushes north, that the fleet that wants to concentrate on bluefin will shift to the cooler waters off Cortez and Tanner, while the rest of the fleet heads south to greet the yellowfin and dorado that should be coming up the line by July to the same areas occupied by the bluefin now. This past week, the Finger Bank, the 425, and the 371 looked like parking lots when checking Marine Traffic satellite imagery. Even with all that pressure, they’re out there and getting closer, so get out and get ‘em!

Notable catches this past week:

5/28 – 45 anglers aboard the New Seaforth half-day afternoon run had fine inshore fishing, with 167 calico bass caught (100 released), 20 rockfish, and 1 yellowtail. The Diawa Pacific called in with limit of 20 bluefin tuna and a solid catch of 29 yellowtail for 10 anglers aboard their overnight run.

5/27 – Both the Pacifica and the Polaris Supreme returned from 1.5-day trips with 24 anglers each, and limits of 48 bluefin tuna.

5/26 – Lots of elbow room and two-day limits for just 10 anglers aboard the Pacific Islander 1.75-day trip with 40 bluefin tuna reported caught. 18 of these fish were over 100 pounds, and the rest ranged between 25 and 90 pounds.

5/25 – 25 anglers aboard the New Lo-An 1.5 day trip enjoyed solid action, putting limits of 50 bluefin tuna along with 50 yellowtail on the deck.

5/23 – A light load of 22 anglers aboard the Polaris Supreme 2-day run returned to the dock with limits of 88 bluefin tuna and 42 yellowtail.

Fish Plants: 6/3 – Santee Lakes, catfish (1,500)

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The bluefin being caught right now are ranging from 20 to over 200 pounds. That said, owning heavy gear isn’t necessary for catching larger tuna. This fish was caught on rental gear.
The bluefin being caught right now are ranging from 20 to over 200 pounds. That said, owning heavy gear isn’t necessary for catching larger tuna. This fish was caught on rental gear.

Dock Totals 5/22 – 5/28: 3103 anglers aboard 142 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 1816 bluefin tuna (to 235 pounds), 7 bonito, 847 calico bass, 2 halibut, 8 lingcod, 1528 rockfish, 2 rubberlip seaperch, 143 sand bass, 1 sanddab, 164 sculpin, 81 sheephead, 1 thresher shark, 8 treefish, 3 triggerfish, 201 whitefish, and 1,372 yellowtail.

Saltwater: May Gray spread her influence out over coastal and offshore fishing grounds, leaving bumpy cool conditions for anglers heading out. Even so, fish don’t much care about clouds, wind swells, or foggy wet breezes, so fishing was very good for most. Half-day boats are shifting their focus up in the water column to target more calico bass and pelagics than rockfish, resulting in the first 2022 report of a yellowtail caught off the local kelp by a sportfishing vessel.

Offshore, yellowtail numbers are climbing dramatically, up from a few dozen to 493 caught the previous week, and up to over a thousand caught this past week. That most yellowtail being caught offshore are smallish 8- to 15-pounders is normal for springtime kelp paddy fishing. School-sized fish are usually the first to enter our offshore areas as warmer water pushes north; even so, some yellows coming from inshore coastal and island fisheries are a better grade of fish, averaging over 20 pounds. Either way, whether “firecrackers” or “mossbacks,” their appearance in numbers bodes well for the coming summer/fall pelagic season. With inshore surface temps between 60-64 degrees, one could argue they are a bit early. Yellowtail are subject to temperature, and 64 degrees is the magic number where they show as temps rise — or split as temps drop.

That yellowtail are subject to a slight change in temperature is most apparent along the mid-Baja Pacific coast. Right now, yellowtail are showing up off of Cedros Island and south to La Bocana and Abreojos. This area runs from the point of the Vizcaino Peninsula and along its southern edge to Laguna San Ignacio, and hosts a cool-water trend where, although 500 miles south of San Diego, yellowtail season in the zone varies greatly. While biting at Cedros and Abreojos, they probably won’t show in any numbers around Bahia Asuncion in the middle of that zone until late July/early August.

The coastal fishery along the Vizcaino is similar to that of San Diego, with coastal kelp beds holding calico bass and sheephead, beaches offering halibut and corbina, and yellowtail and white seabass cruising the outside of the kelp. As the southern-most cool water trend in the eastern Pacific hosting giant kelp, the beginning of the pelagic season can vary by three months in towns just fifty miles apart. Travel another couple hundred miles south, and wahoo and dorado, two of the more common tropical-water species, are starting to bite as the water temps push past 70 degrees. In the mid-Vizcaino, some sea temps are still in the high 50s. By August, yellowtail will be swarming Asuncion and will stick around until March, which makes the area a great go-to as the bite starts fading elsewhere in late fall/winter.

Bluefin tuna have been slowly shifting north over the past few weeks and the fleet is concentrating their efforts in an area off the northern Baja coast that ranges from the Finger Bank up to the 425 and out to the 371 — basically, a 50-mile triangle nearer Rosarito than Ensenada. The size and numbers being caught on the banks closer to home are excellent, with a limit of 100-plus pound fish within five hours from the slip being very possible. This means less fuel and more fishing time than if running south outside of Ensenada.

Operators in Mexico are catching big bluefin on the banks further south to off the backside of the 240 Bank outside of San Quintin, and probably can be found on the Tanner or Cortez out west. It’s 100 miles to Tanner and closer to 200 miles to the 240, so if they’re targeting bluefin and the fish are within 50 miles of Point Loma in good numbers and size, that’s where the fleet will go. I still expect, as the warmer water pushes north, that the fleet that wants to concentrate on bluefin will shift to the cooler waters off Cortez and Tanner, while the rest of the fleet heads south to greet the yellowfin and dorado that should be coming up the line by July to the same areas occupied by the bluefin now. This past week, the Finger Bank, the 425, and the 371 looked like parking lots when checking Marine Traffic satellite imagery. Even with all that pressure, they’re out there and getting closer, so get out and get ‘em!

Notable catches this past week:

5/28 – 45 anglers aboard the New Seaforth half-day afternoon run had fine inshore fishing, with 167 calico bass caught (100 released), 20 rockfish, and 1 yellowtail. The Diawa Pacific called in with limit of 20 bluefin tuna and a solid catch of 29 yellowtail for 10 anglers aboard their overnight run.

5/27 – Both the Pacifica and the Polaris Supreme returned from 1.5-day trips with 24 anglers each, and limits of 48 bluefin tuna.

5/26 – Lots of elbow room and two-day limits for just 10 anglers aboard the Pacific Islander 1.75-day trip with 40 bluefin tuna reported caught. 18 of these fish were over 100 pounds, and the rest ranged between 25 and 90 pounds.

5/25 – 25 anglers aboard the New Lo-An 1.5 day trip enjoyed solid action, putting limits of 50 bluefin tuna along with 50 yellowtail on the deck.

5/23 – A light load of 22 anglers aboard the Polaris Supreme 2-day run returned to the dock with limits of 88 bluefin tuna and 42 yellowtail.

Fish Plants: 6/3 – Santee Lakes, catfish (1,500)

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