Calmer seas might reveal Clemente tuna

Fishing in San Diego Dec. 16-20

Good grade of yellowfin tuna at Guadalupe

Good grade of yellowfin tuna at Guadalupe

Credit: Excel Sportfishing

Dock Totals Dec 16 – Dec 20: 537 anglers aboard 28 half-day to three-day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 4 bonito, 55 calico bass, 50 sand bass, 1,844 rockfish, 408 whitefish, 63 sheephead, 6 sanddab, and 65 spiny lobster (144 released)

Saltwater: Most of the boats in this week’s abbreviated report were local half-day runs. Though there are none represented in the report, yellowtail are biting well within 1.5-day range from just south of Ensenada down to Colonet and beyond for the local pangeros, so as the seas settle and folks return to the landings post-holidays I expect to see yellowtail well represented in the 1.5 to 3 day counts. Locally, there are still signs of yellowtail though most of the action this week was rockfish, sheephead, whitefish, and bass. The outer banks and San Clemente Island bluefin tuna bite was untested due to the large swell that kept the boats still working the area in the docks or closer to home if they did get out.

It is the midst of long range season for 8- to 15-day trips and folks on those runs are seeing lots of large yellowtail, a good grade of yellowfin tuna, and outstanding wahoo fishing from Guadalupe Island to the high spots off Bahia Magdeleña, Alejos Rocks, and the grounds off the Mexican mainland near Puerto Vallarta, including La Corbeteña and the Tres Marias Islands. Of those hot spots, Guadalupe Island is the nearest to San Diego at about 260 miles from Point Loma, and can be fished on a five-day outing. As it is a 24 hour trip – depending on seas – actual fishing time is three days.

Among the cool things about Guadalupe Island is the population of great white sharks that visit the sportboats often. A bad thing is that, as sea lions often do, they will chomp a fish that is coming to gaff after it has been worn down by the angler. It’s called being "taxed." Losing a fish to a great white may be disappointing, but unlike the sea lion stealing a fish, you’ll usually hear a few “whoa, that was cool!” outbursts.

The Polaris Supreme, Excel, Shogun, Royal Star, and Independence are among the boats to check with if considering a winter long range fishing trip. Prices are seasonal and fluctuate depending on targeted area and passenger load. Plan on spending from around $1,500 for a five-day trip to over $6,000 for most fifteen-day or longer runs.

Fish Plants: 12/28, Santee Lakes, trout (1,000)

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