Area fishing is off the hook

Warmer water brings the Big Four

San Diego has seen epic tuna catches the past few years
  • San Diego has seen epic tuna catches the past few years

Over the last two years it seems the tuna have never left. All through the winter-spring, bluefin were on the Tanner Bank and offshore. Local boats were getting yellowfin right off the coast late-summer through early winter, and they were close enough for even the half-day boats to get into the fray as they have this year.

One of hundreds of tuna crabs that have washed ashore Fiesta Island.

One of hundreds of tuna crabs that have washed ashore Fiesta Island.

It is not a normal occurrence for yellowfin to come so close to the San Diego coast. Exceptionally warm water pluming up from the south and an abundance of bait, including the pelagic crab, are contributing factors. Those little lobster-looking pelagic crabs are also known as the "tuna" crab, as they generally indicate a strong tuna bite not far offshore during years when they wash up on local beaches. Many of the tuna caught this year have bellies packed full of them. Albacore tuna have been pretty much absent in our area, as they like cooler water in the 65-68 degree range. One has to go up north a bit to, say, southern Oregon, for some tasty white-meat albacore.

Yesterday was a good day for anglers out on the water, but I started thinking about last year's epic fishing. What happened out there a year ago today? Among the big four, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowtail and dorado, last year anglers boated 2,021 yellowfin, 116 bluefin, 776 yellowtail and 26 dorado on 8/7/2014.

This year, the dorado are being caught in numbers I don't believe I have ever witnessed. This may be due to the water being warmer. The bluefin are larger in average size and are also being found nearer than usual in better numbers. The yellowfin were in greater numbers but smaller last year on average and the yellowtail numbers have been off the hook, pardon the pun, even though yesterday's count was less than half that of last year. "Big four" fish count for 8/7/2015: 1,092 yellowfin, 360 bluefin, 312 yellowtail and 232 dorado.

Here are the totals from the San Diego landings from Friday's fishing:

Dana Landing hosted 4 anglers aboard 1 boat and reported 23 yellowfin tuna and 4 dorado caught.

189 anglers aboard 8 boats out of Fisherman's Landing caught 35 bluefin tuna, 9 dorado, 160 yellowfin tuna, 37 yellowtail, 8 calico bass, 10 barracuda and 4 sand bass.

H&M Landing reported that 98 bluefin tuna, 145 dorado, 462 yellowfin tuna, 207 yellowtail, 8 calico bass, 5 bonito and 2 skipjack tuna were caught by the 397 anglers they hosted aboard 16 boats.

Helgren's Oceanside Sportfishing sent 123 anglers out aboard 4 boats and reported a total catch of 7 sand bass, 11 calico bass, 100 mackerel, 3 yellowtail and 18 yellowfin tuna.

220 anglers aboard 9 boats out of Point Loma Sportfishing caught 134 yellowfin tuna, 40 dorado, 120 bluefin and 27 yellowtail.

Seaforth Sportfishing hosted 344 anglers aboard 12 boats and reported a total catch of 295 yellowfin tuna, 107 bluefin tuna, 12 rockfish, 13 calico bass, 1 sculpin, 38 yellowtail, 6 barracuda, 34 dorado and 2 sand bass.

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