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Bluefin tuna biting well day and night

Santee Lakes Catfish Derby Saturday

(left): Satisfied angler with a quality mid-grade tuna caught during the night bite aboard the Constitution.
(right): Local fishing guru Tracy Hartman with a nice spotted bay bass caught from the float tube.
(left): Satisfied angler with a quality mid-grade tuna caught during the night bite aboard the Constitution.
(right): Local fishing guru Tracy Hartman with a nice spotted bay bass caught from the float tube.

Dock Totals 6/16– 6/22: 3116 anglers aboard 132 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 14 barracuda, 1862 bluefin tuna (up to 90 pounds), 939 bonito, 2501 calico bass, 20 croaker, 10 halibut, 3 lingcod, 1904 rockfish, 254 sand bass, 18 sculpin, 34 sheephead, 2 Spanish jack, 148 whitefish, 3 white seabass, and 181 yellowtail.

Saltwater: It’s not often that you see calico bass outpace rockfish by such a large margin as was the case this previous week, but with windy conditions outside, boats focused more along coastal and island kelp edges than they did on the banks. Bonito numbers also went up six-fold, while a few dozen white seabass were caught and released with only two of those kept. For the boats that did get out to the grounds, the fishing was very good for quality bluefin in the 30 to 90-pound range, but I didn’t see any reports of standout fish in 150 to over 200-pound class that we usually see one or a few of on any given week. The big fish are out there, but when the schools are mixed in size from 25-pounds and up anglers tend to fish lighter gear to get more bites and then get outclassed when bit by a larger fish. There is just no stopping a 200-pound bluefin tuna without the heaviest gear.

Fishing down the Baja coast has been excellent between blows, with yellowtail showing very well for the longer range runs as well as some yellowfin tuna south of the Vizcaino Peninsula. The Royal Polaris returned from their first 8-day run of the season with a great mixed bag of fishing inshore and offshore, posting up limits of yellowtail to 35-pounds, along with a solid catch of grouper, pargo, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin tuna. The Intrepid also scored well on yellowtail to 45-pounds while fishing down at the Ridge during their Avet 7-day trip that finished up targeting bluefin closer to home on the grounds 60 to 120-miles south of Point Loma.

Though much of the bluefin bite has been between sunset and sunrise, the fish are beginning to bite better in daylight hours. The Oceanside 95 and Constitution have begun departing on their 1.5-day trips at 1 pm to give anglers a chance at more fishing during the dark hours when the larger tuna have been most active and have had good results. Those trips tend to fill up quick, but just about any 1.5-day or longer trip will give great odds of boating a limit of tuna with the daytime bite improving and the large area of fish out there. 

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Half-day and ¾-day runs have been splitting their time between the kelp edges and local rockfish spots as the sand bass bite has slowed a bit off the Imperial Beach sand flats from wide open just a couple weeks ago. As noted in the counts, the calico bite has been phenomenal, with about half the fish caught keepers over 14-inches. I only total the fish kept as not all boats report the number of released fish and even then it is usually an estimate. In spite of those who claim the counts are exaggerated to draw more customers, the truth is that boats are under obligation to report accurate numbers, especially rockfish and bass as that is the main way the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) keeps track of the health of the marine biosphere and adjusts limits. 

Having worked on the boats, I would often hear the mantra that the counts were fudged, but in walking the deck with a whiteboard and marker hundreds of times totaling all the fish by species while getting the orders for processing, I know that to be at least mostly a falsehood. Maybe some boats have in the past, but I never witnessed it. I have seen anglers complain that the boat did not get limits because they did not catch a limit, or in some cases anything, but that is why there are boat limits. CDFW can only really verify the number of fish caught against the number of anglers, so a boat can return with limits considering the number of passengers and still have some passengers with fewer than a limit of any given species. Usually, those who catch over a personal limit will share with those who have fewer fish in those cases. 

Fishing from the beach has been very good now that the water is much cleaner after an extended algae bloom the week previous. Barred surfperch, corbina and halibut have been biting well in their respective zones along the coast, with perch wide open along the sandy stretches, corbina are biting better where sand meets cobble, and halibut laying in the deeper slots of sand near reef rock. Shortfin corvina are still showing well along the riprap inside San Diego Bay, while spotted bay bass have been very active along the deep side of eel grass beds. Halibut in the bay can be found most along the channel edges from just inside Point Loma back to the Coronado Bridge.

Freshwater: Santee Lakes has begun stocking catfish for the summer season and anglers have been doing well on them with cut bait such as mackerel doing the best. This Saturday, June 29, they will be holding their annual Santee Firefighters Catfish Fishing Derby at lakes 3 and 4 from 6 to 11 am. This event is for youths from 3 to 17 years of age, and though adults can help bait up and cast they cannot fish. Those interested can register at santeefirefighters.org. Walk ups will also be accepted. 

Wherever you wet your line, they’re out there, so go get ‘em!

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(left): Satisfied angler with a quality mid-grade tuna caught during the night bite aboard the Constitution.
(right): Local fishing guru Tracy Hartman with a nice spotted bay bass caught from the float tube.
(left): Satisfied angler with a quality mid-grade tuna caught during the night bite aboard the Constitution.
(right): Local fishing guru Tracy Hartman with a nice spotted bay bass caught from the float tube.

Dock Totals 6/16– 6/22: 3116 anglers aboard 132 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 14 barracuda, 1862 bluefin tuna (up to 90 pounds), 939 bonito, 2501 calico bass, 20 croaker, 10 halibut, 3 lingcod, 1904 rockfish, 254 sand bass, 18 sculpin, 34 sheephead, 2 Spanish jack, 148 whitefish, 3 white seabass, and 181 yellowtail.

Saltwater: It’s not often that you see calico bass outpace rockfish by such a large margin as was the case this previous week, but with windy conditions outside, boats focused more along coastal and island kelp edges than they did on the banks. Bonito numbers also went up six-fold, while a few dozen white seabass were caught and released with only two of those kept. For the boats that did get out to the grounds, the fishing was very good for quality bluefin in the 30 to 90-pound range, but I didn’t see any reports of standout fish in 150 to over 200-pound class that we usually see one or a few of on any given week. The big fish are out there, but when the schools are mixed in size from 25-pounds and up anglers tend to fish lighter gear to get more bites and then get outclassed when bit by a larger fish. There is just no stopping a 200-pound bluefin tuna without the heaviest gear.

Fishing down the Baja coast has been excellent between blows, with yellowtail showing very well for the longer range runs as well as some yellowfin tuna south of the Vizcaino Peninsula. The Royal Polaris returned from their first 8-day run of the season with a great mixed bag of fishing inshore and offshore, posting up limits of yellowtail to 35-pounds, along with a solid catch of grouper, pargo, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin tuna. The Intrepid also scored well on yellowtail to 45-pounds while fishing down at the Ridge during their Avet 7-day trip that finished up targeting bluefin closer to home on the grounds 60 to 120-miles south of Point Loma.

Though much of the bluefin bite has been between sunset and sunrise, the fish are beginning to bite better in daylight hours. The Oceanside 95 and Constitution have begun departing on their 1.5-day trips at 1 pm to give anglers a chance at more fishing during the dark hours when the larger tuna have been most active and have had good results. Those trips tend to fill up quick, but just about any 1.5-day or longer trip will give great odds of boating a limit of tuna with the daytime bite improving and the large area of fish out there. 

Sponsored
Sponsored

Half-day and ¾-day runs have been splitting their time between the kelp edges and local rockfish spots as the sand bass bite has slowed a bit off the Imperial Beach sand flats from wide open just a couple weeks ago. As noted in the counts, the calico bite has been phenomenal, with about half the fish caught keepers over 14-inches. I only total the fish kept as not all boats report the number of released fish and even then it is usually an estimate. In spite of those who claim the counts are exaggerated to draw more customers, the truth is that boats are under obligation to report accurate numbers, especially rockfish and bass as that is the main way the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) keeps track of the health of the marine biosphere and adjusts limits. 

Having worked on the boats, I would often hear the mantra that the counts were fudged, but in walking the deck with a whiteboard and marker hundreds of times totaling all the fish by species while getting the orders for processing, I know that to be at least mostly a falsehood. Maybe some boats have in the past, but I never witnessed it. I have seen anglers complain that the boat did not get limits because they did not catch a limit, or in some cases anything, but that is why there are boat limits. CDFW can only really verify the number of fish caught against the number of anglers, so a boat can return with limits considering the number of passengers and still have some passengers with fewer than a limit of any given species. Usually, those who catch over a personal limit will share with those who have fewer fish in those cases. 

Fishing from the beach has been very good now that the water is much cleaner after an extended algae bloom the week previous. Barred surfperch, corbina and halibut have been biting well in their respective zones along the coast, with perch wide open along the sandy stretches, corbina are biting better where sand meets cobble, and halibut laying in the deeper slots of sand near reef rock. Shortfin corvina are still showing well along the riprap inside San Diego Bay, while spotted bay bass have been very active along the deep side of eel grass beds. Halibut in the bay can be found most along the channel edges from just inside Point Loma back to the Coronado Bridge.

Freshwater: Santee Lakes has begun stocking catfish for the summer season and anglers have been doing well on them with cut bait such as mackerel doing the best. This Saturday, June 29, they will be holding their annual Santee Firefighters Catfish Fishing Derby at lakes 3 and 4 from 6 to 11 am. This event is for youths from 3 to 17 years of age, and though adults can help bait up and cast they cannot fish. Those interested can register at santeefirefighters.org. Walk ups will also be accepted. 

Wherever you wet your line, they’re out there, so go get ‘em!

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