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240 lb Yellowfin Tuna Caught off Northern California

Spiney Lobster Season Opens

Lisa Kitagawa with her line class world record yellowtail caught at San Clemente Island.
Lisa Kitagawa with her line class world record yellowtail caught at San Clemente Island.

Dock Totals 9/18 – 10/1: 8,466 anglers aboard 383 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past two weeks caught 8 barracuda, 2 black seabass (released), 2,292 bluefin tuna (to 250 pounds), 448 bonito, 1,361 calico bass, 12,698 dorado, 3 halibut, 12 lingcod, 2,057 rockfish, 269 sand bass, 4 sanddab, 697 sculpin, 144 sheephead, 102 skipjack tuna, 1 striped marlin (released), 1 triggerfish, 332 whitefish, 8,262 yellowfin tuna, and 908 yellowtail.

Saltwater: While offshore fishing is still going strong with plenty of dorado, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin tuna being caught within 50 miles of Point Loma in Mexican and U.S. waters, recreational lobster season is kicking off as well. The Saturday before the first Wednesday in October is the official beginning of the season that runs through March 22nd this year. Commercial season begins Wednesday the 5th, so shortly, for those who do not want to go out and pull hoops through the night, fresh locally caught spiny lobster should be available at fish markets by this weekend. On that note, this Saturday, October 8th, from 8AM to 1PM, the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market will be holding their Third Annual Lobsterfest featuring music, lobster meals, recipes, and event tee shirts. Lobster will be available at the event at market price.

For those going out to catch their own, there are a few hoops to jump through before dropping yours to the bottom. First, lobster can only be taken by hoop net, or by hand when free diving. Along with a California fishing license for each angler 16 years old and up, each angler hooping for lobster must have a lobster catch card and lobster gauge. You must fill out the location code on the catch card before dropping the first hoop. Five hoop nets are allowed per angler when hooping from a boat, with no more that ten hoops per boat. Those hooping from shore or piers can use two hoops. Every hoop must have their lobster card ID number on each hoop in the water. This is best done with a strip of tape on the line buoy.

A fine for overtake or undersized lobster can be very expensive, with possible jail time and fines and penalties in the thousands of dollars. Most anglers know the minimum size limit for California spiny lobster of 3.25” from between the eyes to the end of the carapace at the beginning of the tail. There are a few lesser-known regulations concerning possession of legally caught lobster. The possession limit is seven lobsters per angler per day. The caveat is that ‘possession’ includes at your home, so the seven per legal angler is how many you can have at any point. If you still have a couple in the fridge from the last hooping session and are going out again, then the balance between what you have at home and seven is how many you can take. You can always give your catch away but selling or even posting ‘for trade’ on social media is illegal, and selling any recreationally caught species, freshwater or salt, can bring much higher penalties than would an infraction for an illegal take.

In the last fish report, I noted the remarkable trip north by the Intrepid. When most boats tied up as remnants from hurricane Kay made conditions too rough to fish locally or down south, the Intrepid went north for their 8-day and found a good grade of albacore off Ft. Bragg. That’s the first time a San Diego sportfishing vessel has reported catching a number of albacore tuna over one or two in the past 15 years. Well, news of another first came from the waters off northern California, an estimated 240-pound yellowfin tuna. Though they do occasionally catch tropical species on the current breaks off northern California, this year has produced some odd catches for the area. The largest yellowfin tuna caught off northern California before this 240 was a 151-pounder caught just this past September 11. Both fish were hooked while trolling for albacore. Through September, anglers targeting the offshore waters from Bodega Bay to Crescent City have caught several warm water pelagic species off the current breaks while trolling for albacore, including dorado, yellowfin, bigeye and bluefin tunas, and even striped marlin.

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Closer to home, congratulations to Lisa Kitagawa of the Balboa Angling Club for her official record yellowtail caught at San Clemente Island. It took 25 minutes to land the 36-pound, 10-ounce yellowtail on just 12-lb test line. The fish, which bested a 34-year-old IGFA Women’s 6-kg Line Class World Record by 7-pounds, bit on a live fly-lined sardine. Though Lisa caught the brute yellowtail on July 19, the IGFA just officially certified the record this past week. As conditions seem to be holding for dorado and yellowfin tuna within 1.5-day range (or less), bluefin are still around, some very large (several over 200 pounds have been caught this past two weeks), and yellowtail from La Jolla out to the islands north and south of the border, it’s a great time to book a trip with one of San Diego’s sportfishing vessels or get out on your own (or better, a friend’s) boat for fresh fish for the table. They’re out there, so go get ‘em!

Notable catches:

9/18 – The Grande 2-day trip with 26 anglers aboard returned to the dock with 181 yellowfin tuna, 43 dorado, 10 skipjack tuna, and 2 yellowtail in the hold.

9/20 – 29 anglers aboard the Islander 2-day trip boated 112 dorado, 107 yellowfin tuna, and 1 bluefin tuna.

9/22 – 190 dorado, 2 yellowfin tuna, and 1 bluefin tuna were reported caught by the 23 anglers aboard the Excaliber 2.5-day run.

9/25 – 16 anglers aboard the Daiwa Pacific overnight trip caught 32 dorado, 1 bluefin tuna, and 1 yellowfin tuna.

9/28 – The New Seaforth called in with 10 local yellowtail along with 23 calico bass and 2 sand bass for 19 anglers aboard their AM ½-day run.

10/1 – 26 anglers aboard the Ranger 85 3.5-day trip whacked ‘em, with 156 dorado, 146 yellowfin tuna, 43 bluefin tuna, 2 skipjack tuna, and 4 yellowtail coming over the rail, while the first night of hooping this season for 6 anglers aboard the Jig Strike nighttime lobster run produced 67 rock crab and 5 lobster (3 lobster released).

Fish Plants: 10/10 – Lake Jennings, catfish (1,000)

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Lisa Kitagawa with her line class world record yellowtail caught at San Clemente Island.
Lisa Kitagawa with her line class world record yellowtail caught at San Clemente Island.

Dock Totals 9/18 – 10/1: 8,466 anglers aboard 383 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past two weeks caught 8 barracuda, 2 black seabass (released), 2,292 bluefin tuna (to 250 pounds), 448 bonito, 1,361 calico bass, 12,698 dorado, 3 halibut, 12 lingcod, 2,057 rockfish, 269 sand bass, 4 sanddab, 697 sculpin, 144 sheephead, 102 skipjack tuna, 1 striped marlin (released), 1 triggerfish, 332 whitefish, 8,262 yellowfin tuna, and 908 yellowtail.

Saltwater: While offshore fishing is still going strong with plenty of dorado, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin tuna being caught within 50 miles of Point Loma in Mexican and U.S. waters, recreational lobster season is kicking off as well. The Saturday before the first Wednesday in October is the official beginning of the season that runs through March 22nd this year. Commercial season begins Wednesday the 5th, so shortly, for those who do not want to go out and pull hoops through the night, fresh locally caught spiny lobster should be available at fish markets by this weekend. On that note, this Saturday, October 8th, from 8AM to 1PM, the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market will be holding their Third Annual Lobsterfest featuring music, lobster meals, recipes, and event tee shirts. Lobster will be available at the event at market price.

For those going out to catch their own, there are a few hoops to jump through before dropping yours to the bottom. First, lobster can only be taken by hoop net, or by hand when free diving. Along with a California fishing license for each angler 16 years old and up, each angler hooping for lobster must have a lobster catch card and lobster gauge. You must fill out the location code on the catch card before dropping the first hoop. Five hoop nets are allowed per angler when hooping from a boat, with no more that ten hoops per boat. Those hooping from shore or piers can use two hoops. Every hoop must have their lobster card ID number on each hoop in the water. This is best done with a strip of tape on the line buoy.

A fine for overtake or undersized lobster can be very expensive, with possible jail time and fines and penalties in the thousands of dollars. Most anglers know the minimum size limit for California spiny lobster of 3.25” from between the eyes to the end of the carapace at the beginning of the tail. There are a few lesser-known regulations concerning possession of legally caught lobster. The possession limit is seven lobsters per angler per day. The caveat is that ‘possession’ includes at your home, so the seven per legal angler is how many you can have at any point. If you still have a couple in the fridge from the last hooping session and are going out again, then the balance between what you have at home and seven is how many you can take. You can always give your catch away but selling or even posting ‘for trade’ on social media is illegal, and selling any recreationally caught species, freshwater or salt, can bring much higher penalties than would an infraction for an illegal take.

In the last fish report, I noted the remarkable trip north by the Intrepid. When most boats tied up as remnants from hurricane Kay made conditions too rough to fish locally or down south, the Intrepid went north for their 8-day and found a good grade of albacore off Ft. Bragg. That’s the first time a San Diego sportfishing vessel has reported catching a number of albacore tuna over one or two in the past 15 years. Well, news of another first came from the waters off northern California, an estimated 240-pound yellowfin tuna. Though they do occasionally catch tropical species on the current breaks off northern California, this year has produced some odd catches for the area. The largest yellowfin tuna caught off northern California before this 240 was a 151-pounder caught just this past September 11. Both fish were hooked while trolling for albacore. Through September, anglers targeting the offshore waters from Bodega Bay to Crescent City have caught several warm water pelagic species off the current breaks while trolling for albacore, including dorado, yellowfin, bigeye and bluefin tunas, and even striped marlin.

Sponsored
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Closer to home, congratulations to Lisa Kitagawa of the Balboa Angling Club for her official record yellowtail caught at San Clemente Island. It took 25 minutes to land the 36-pound, 10-ounce yellowtail on just 12-lb test line. The fish, which bested a 34-year-old IGFA Women’s 6-kg Line Class World Record by 7-pounds, bit on a live fly-lined sardine. Though Lisa caught the brute yellowtail on July 19, the IGFA just officially certified the record this past week. As conditions seem to be holding for dorado and yellowfin tuna within 1.5-day range (or less), bluefin are still around, some very large (several over 200 pounds have been caught this past two weeks), and yellowtail from La Jolla out to the islands north and south of the border, it’s a great time to book a trip with one of San Diego’s sportfishing vessels or get out on your own (or better, a friend’s) boat for fresh fish for the table. They’re out there, so go get ‘em!

Notable catches:

9/18 – The Grande 2-day trip with 26 anglers aboard returned to the dock with 181 yellowfin tuna, 43 dorado, 10 skipjack tuna, and 2 yellowtail in the hold.

9/20 – 29 anglers aboard the Islander 2-day trip boated 112 dorado, 107 yellowfin tuna, and 1 bluefin tuna.

9/22 – 190 dorado, 2 yellowfin tuna, and 1 bluefin tuna were reported caught by the 23 anglers aboard the Excaliber 2.5-day run.

9/25 – 16 anglers aboard the Daiwa Pacific overnight trip caught 32 dorado, 1 bluefin tuna, and 1 yellowfin tuna.

9/28 – The New Seaforth called in with 10 local yellowtail along with 23 calico bass and 2 sand bass for 19 anglers aboard their AM ½-day run.

10/1 – 26 anglers aboard the Ranger 85 3.5-day trip whacked ‘em, with 156 dorado, 146 yellowfin tuna, 43 bluefin tuna, 2 skipjack tuna, and 4 yellowtail coming over the rail, while the first night of hooping this season for 6 anglers aboard the Jig Strike nighttime lobster run produced 67 rock crab and 5 lobster (3 lobster released).

Fish Plants: 10/10 – Lake Jennings, catfish (1,000)

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