Inshore: The half-day boats are getting a good mix of calico bass, sheephead, rockfish, and sculpin with occasional top-water activity on barracuda, bonito and yellowtail. Bluefin tuna are back in ¾-day range and the boats heading south are getting a slow pick on them. On May 5, San Diego angler Kevin Mattson caught his limit of two bluefin tuna around 60 pounds each fishing solo on his 17-foot Ranger Bass Boat on the 9 Mile Bank towards the border. He said that the fish were “basically all up and down the 9, with lots of activity.” Kevin is the angler that caught the 315-pound blue marlin last year on the bass boat, also off the 9 mile bank outside of Mission Bay. The northern edge of 9 Mile Bank is roughly 12-14 miles out on a 220-degree heading from the Mission Bay channel. From there the high spot spreads out and runs SSE toward the Coronado Islands.
Outside: Overnight trips and longer are heading south and fishing off the coast for bluefin tuna, yellowtail, lingcod, and rockfish with most of the activity on the banks near Colonet and San Quintin. The fish are there but it is usually the weather that makes the difference in the springtime along the northern Baja coast. On the days the seas are calm enough for the pangeros to get out. The fishing has been very productive on the high spots for yellowtail, big lings, and reds. The yellowtail are fat-plugged with pelagic crab and, assuming they are getting “fed up” with the crustaceans, are crashing any baitfish they find in fast-moving frenzied explosions that the surface iron works well on.
5/1 – 5/7 Dock Totals: 1950 anglers aboard 90 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 68 bluefin tuna, 959 yellowtail, 301 calico bass, 40 sand bass, 3,709 rockfish, 48 lingcod, 243 sculpin, 82 bonito, 5 barracuda, 1 halfmoon, 25 sheephead, 184 whitefish, 10 mackerel, 13 bocaccio, 3 halibut, 3 finescale triggerfish, 10 treefish and 1 rubberlip seaperch.
Whale Watch: Though we are between seasons here in southern California, there are whales everywhere out there. Maybe it’s the plethora of pelagic crab off the coast from midpeninsula Baja waters to north of San Diego County that is keeping the leviathans around more than usual for this time of year, but regardless of why, it’s always cool to see them breaching just off shore. Last week, while heading out of San Quintin Bay, we came across no less than 50 fin whales feeding just off the sand bars in 10 to 30 feet of water. Though the seas were calm, the whales were so thick that we had to slow down and cut across the kelp beds to avoid them.
Scheduled fish plants (lbs): There are no scheduled plants this week. Last plant 5/10, Cuyamaca (1000), next plant 5/24 Cuyamaca (1100)