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Lobster on the crawl

Big yellowtail at Guadalupe Island

Kevin Mattson with yellowtail from Guadalupe Island

Kevin Mattson with yellowtail from Guadalupe Island

Excel Sportfishing

Dock Totals Dec 2 – Dec 8: 616 anglers aboard 39 trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 113 bluefin tuna, 1 yellowtail, 77 bonito, 12 calico bass, 58 sand bass, 56 sanddab, 2 halibut, 2,336 rockfish, 547 whitefish, 70 sheephead, 54 bocaccio, 14 lingcod, 3 opaleye, 2 rock crab, and 87 spiny lobster (250 released).

Saltwater: The angler count dropped to another low with just over 600 anglers for the week aboard local runs. The tuna counts dropped off; only bluefin were reported caught. Conditions offshore had a lot to do with that, though 30 anglers scored 60 bluefin, 28 bonito and 1 yellowtail while fishing the Cortez Bank and San Clemente Island area on the Chief's 2.5- day run.

Rockfish are the winter target for most short-range boats. Ten anglers aboard the Dolphin afternoon ½-day run on December 4 counted 128 rockfish, 18 sheephead and a lingcod pulled in.

Spiny lobsters typically walk a lot – each night, the bugs search for food during treks of up to ½ mile along the bottom aside reef edges, kelp beds and jetties. Unlike their East Coast counterparts – California spiny lobster do not have claws, nor do they return to the same den. They find a spot to hole up for the day and then spend the majority of their nights crawling about. There must have been plenty of them on their walkabout on December 2 – the Jig Strike reported 28 legal sized lobster kept and 83 shorts released for the seven anglers aboard their twilight hoop-netting run.

Shelter Island boat ramp: Good news for private boaters launching out of San Diego Bay. The Port of San Diego has slated December 21 as the day the ramp will reopen. It was closed in May 2017 and original estimates had the ramp reopening on or around Memorial Day 2018.

Long Range: From Kevin Mattson aboard the Excel’s latest run south: “Well the trip is windin’ down and it was another epic one. It wasn’t your typical 16 Day Cow Trip but we had damn good fishing. The wahoo bit for us at Alijos and the marlin were thick as well. The tuna fishing at Guadalupe was better than your typical pick bite, but you still had to have a bit of skill and work for it. That jig bite on the yellows was probably the highlight for me, but the wahoo on the spinnerbait and bass rod was a close second. Not sure what this yellow weighs, but it was the biggest I had on 3 straight drops with every one in the high 30s.”

Fish Plants: Dec 14, Santee Lakes, trout (1,000), Lake Cuyamaca, trout (1,200)

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