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Bluefin continue to show within 1.5-day range with good signs going forward

Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival just up the coast at Costa Mesa this week

(left) Happy angler with a solid school-sized bluefin tuna caught while fishing aboard the Old Glory

(right) Good bluefin bites are often in the dark hours, especially during full moon phases.
(left) Happy angler with a solid school-sized bluefin tuna caught while fishing aboard the Old Glory
(right) Good bluefin bites are often in the dark hours, especially during full moon phases.

Dock Totals 2/25 – 3/2: 481 anglers aboard 23 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 9 bluefin tuna, 8 bonito, 14 calico bass, 1 halibut, 70 lingcod, 10 lobster (70 released), 16 perch, 17 rock crab, 693 rockfish, 705 sand bass, 297 sculpin, 13 sheephead, 13 spider crab, 1 triggerfish, 141 whitefish, and 23 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Fishing this past week has been mixed for the fleet, with sand bass rockfish, sculpin, and whitefish making up the majority of the catch. The number of lingcod caught jumped quite a bit over last week’s count, due mostly to a couple more boats heading into Mexican waters as the season begins for the Full Day to 1.5-Day runs that will also be looking offshore for bluefin. 

Again, as I am writing, a report just came in from H&M Landing for the Old Glory on their second 2-Day trip of the season while fishing off the Baja coast about 50 miles west/southwest of Ensenada. I’ll just pass it along here for anyone waiting to see if the fish are out there and biting: “Just got a late night update from Kley and the guys; they are up to 15 bluefin on deck and they’ve got tons surrounding the boat currently! They had some nice rock cod and a handful of yellowtail and started searching for some bluefin this afternoon. And they found em! Check back tomorrow evening for the final count on their two day trip. We will be running these two day trips on the weekends for the foreseeable future, hope to see you out there!” 

This is great news this early in the season, and is about a month ahead of the first biters we had in spring of last year. With only a few 1.5-Day to 3-Day boats running so far, it would be advisable to book early as these trips will fill up as word gets out of decent numbers of bluefin being caught. Boats currently running south for yellowtail and bluefin with a side order of rockfish and lingcod include the Horizon 1.5-Day and Old Glory 2-Day runs out of H&M Landing, the Pacific Dawn 1.5-Day out of Fisherman’s Landing, and the Polaris Supreme 3-Day and Tribute 1.5-Day runs out of Seaforth Landing.

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Sponsored

We are still officially in trade show season, and this week’s main event is the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, running this week, Thursday through Sunday, March 7-10. This is a huge show and worth the drive north. There will be seven halls, 217,000 square feet of fishing tackle, and boats, plus info on travel destinations and many speaker presentations. With a vendor list of hundreds of fishing, boating, and outdoor products, guides, and sportboat operations, there should be something for every enthusiast of the southern California outdoor recreational scene. 

Guest speaker seminars include tips and tackle recommendations for targeted species by seasoned professionals such as Dave Marciano (Wicked Tuna), Ali Hussainy (BD Outdoors), and Dave Hanson (Your Saltwater Guide) on Sunday at 11:30 am, covering the difference in fishing tactics for Pacific bluefin tuna and Atlantic bluefin tuna. Bobby Martinez, a calico bass guru, will be hosting the Island Calico Bass Seminar along with Benny Florentino, Erik Landesfeind, and Gerry Mahieu on Thursday at 1:30 pm. They’ll share their accumulated knowledge about targeting calicos. 

Other seminar topics throughout the show include deep-drop swordfish, white seabass and yellowtail, slow-pitch fishing, and much more. Check sportfishingfestival.com for schedules and details. Tickets to the show are $20 per day, kids 12 and under and active duty military are free. So if not going south after the bluefin and yellowtail this week, maybe a trip north to the OC is in order to get your fishing addiction fix with some supplies and tips as the season warms up and fish start biting. 

The extended shorter runs into Mexican waters for rockfish have been doing very well, and soon, on March 22nd, rockfish will open again in U.S. SoCal waters for all depths — as was the case for the first time since 2012 last year, with excellent results. The closure was to protect cowcod, which are still no-take, but their population health has recovered enough to allow targeting other rockfish species in the deeper waters that cowcod prefer. This brings us to descender rigs again: after you pull a rockfish from deep water and find it needs to be released, it will need a little help getting back down. Descender rigs are a weighted device with a release mechanism that makes a successful release more possible for deep dwellers that “gas up” and cannot swim down due to their expanded swim bladders. Once these fish return to the atmosphere and pressure they are used to, they will “de-gas” and get back to normal business. Of course, not every release is successful, but at least the rig gives the bloated fish a better chance. Used to be, many unwanted rockfish would get stuck floating on the surface, or have their swim bladders punctured to give them a chance. With a descender rig, the odds of successful release are greatly improved. These rigs can be purchased online or at one of the many tackle shops or landings. 

All in all, it is still looking good out there for an epic season, and as long as conditions allow, boats will be heading out for the trophy bluefin and feisty yellowtail to test anglers and their gear. Rockfish will be open soon closer to home, and it is a good weekend to stock up on swag and knowledge at the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival. Whether you are gearing up and getting ready, or thinking about booking a trip, they’re out there, so go get ‘em!

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(left) Happy angler with a solid school-sized bluefin tuna caught while fishing aboard the Old Glory

(right) Good bluefin bites are often in the dark hours, especially during full moon phases.
(left) Happy angler with a solid school-sized bluefin tuna caught while fishing aboard the Old Glory
(right) Good bluefin bites are often in the dark hours, especially during full moon phases.

Dock Totals 2/25 – 3/2: 481 anglers aboard 23 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 9 bluefin tuna, 8 bonito, 14 calico bass, 1 halibut, 70 lingcod, 10 lobster (70 released), 16 perch, 17 rock crab, 693 rockfish, 705 sand bass, 297 sculpin, 13 sheephead, 13 spider crab, 1 triggerfish, 141 whitefish, and 23 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Fishing this past week has been mixed for the fleet, with sand bass rockfish, sculpin, and whitefish making up the majority of the catch. The number of lingcod caught jumped quite a bit over last week’s count, due mostly to a couple more boats heading into Mexican waters as the season begins for the Full Day to 1.5-Day runs that will also be looking offshore for bluefin. 

Again, as I am writing, a report just came in from H&M Landing for the Old Glory on their second 2-Day trip of the season while fishing off the Baja coast about 50 miles west/southwest of Ensenada. I’ll just pass it along here for anyone waiting to see if the fish are out there and biting: “Just got a late night update from Kley and the guys; they are up to 15 bluefin on deck and they’ve got tons surrounding the boat currently! They had some nice rock cod and a handful of yellowtail and started searching for some bluefin this afternoon. And they found em! Check back tomorrow evening for the final count on their two day trip. We will be running these two day trips on the weekends for the foreseeable future, hope to see you out there!” 

This is great news this early in the season, and is about a month ahead of the first biters we had in spring of last year. With only a few 1.5-Day to 3-Day boats running so far, it would be advisable to book early as these trips will fill up as word gets out of decent numbers of bluefin being caught. Boats currently running south for yellowtail and bluefin with a side order of rockfish and lingcod include the Horizon 1.5-Day and Old Glory 2-Day runs out of H&M Landing, the Pacific Dawn 1.5-Day out of Fisherman’s Landing, and the Polaris Supreme 3-Day and Tribute 1.5-Day runs out of Seaforth Landing.

Sponsored
Sponsored

We are still officially in trade show season, and this week’s main event is the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, running this week, Thursday through Sunday, March 7-10. This is a huge show and worth the drive north. There will be seven halls, 217,000 square feet of fishing tackle, and boats, plus info on travel destinations and many speaker presentations. With a vendor list of hundreds of fishing, boating, and outdoor products, guides, and sportboat operations, there should be something for every enthusiast of the southern California outdoor recreational scene. 

Guest speaker seminars include tips and tackle recommendations for targeted species by seasoned professionals such as Dave Marciano (Wicked Tuna), Ali Hussainy (BD Outdoors), and Dave Hanson (Your Saltwater Guide) on Sunday at 11:30 am, covering the difference in fishing tactics for Pacific bluefin tuna and Atlantic bluefin tuna. Bobby Martinez, a calico bass guru, will be hosting the Island Calico Bass Seminar along with Benny Florentino, Erik Landesfeind, and Gerry Mahieu on Thursday at 1:30 pm. They’ll share their accumulated knowledge about targeting calicos. 

Other seminar topics throughout the show include deep-drop swordfish, white seabass and yellowtail, slow-pitch fishing, and much more. Check sportfishingfestival.com for schedules and details. Tickets to the show are $20 per day, kids 12 and under and active duty military are free. So if not going south after the bluefin and yellowtail this week, maybe a trip north to the OC is in order to get your fishing addiction fix with some supplies and tips as the season warms up and fish start biting. 

The extended shorter runs into Mexican waters for rockfish have been doing very well, and soon, on March 22nd, rockfish will open again in U.S. SoCal waters for all depths — as was the case for the first time since 2012 last year, with excellent results. The closure was to protect cowcod, which are still no-take, but their population health has recovered enough to allow targeting other rockfish species in the deeper waters that cowcod prefer. This brings us to descender rigs again: after you pull a rockfish from deep water and find it needs to be released, it will need a little help getting back down. Descender rigs are a weighted device with a release mechanism that makes a successful release more possible for deep dwellers that “gas up” and cannot swim down due to their expanded swim bladders. Once these fish return to the atmosphere and pressure they are used to, they will “de-gas” and get back to normal business. Of course, not every release is successful, but at least the rig gives the bloated fish a better chance. Used to be, many unwanted rockfish would get stuck floating on the surface, or have their swim bladders punctured to give them a chance. With a descender rig, the odds of successful release are greatly improved. These rigs can be purchased online or at one of the many tackle shops or landings. 

All in all, it is still looking good out there for an epic season, and as long as conditions allow, boats will be heading out for the trophy bluefin and feisty yellowtail to test anglers and their gear. Rockfish will be open soon closer to home, and it is a good weekend to stock up on swag and knowledge at the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival. Whether you are gearing up and getting ready, or thinking about booking a trip, they’re out there, so go get ‘em!

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