The offshore tuna fishing

The offshore fishing continues its late-season rally as the good fishing keeps coming for those willing to head down to fish the offshore waters between Punta Colnett and Isla San Martin.
Action Continues — Bluefin and yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail action has continued to be good for long-range sportfishing boats out of San Diego, such as Excel (pictured). Excel crewman Derek Waldman (right) was just named second skipper for the long-range boat Red Rooster III.

Titan Tuna — During a long-range trip out of San Diego to Alijos Rocks, off Baja California, anglers aboard Excel reeled in three tuna weighing more than 100 pounds. Angler Ryan Christianson led the way with a 106.6-pounder, Chris Barth reeled in a 104-pounder and Al Petrovich caught a 100-pounder.

The first northern storms of the season went through Southern California and northern Baja a few days ago, and the boats that went out to sample the fishing after the storms found very good yellowtail and some hit-or-miss action on a mix of dorado, bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna.

There is a big area spread from 100 to 140 miles out from Point Loma, holding yellowtail, dorado, bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna — and boats have been finding action on headings ranging from 151 to 158 degrees from Point Loma.

Skippers are tending to fish the outer course lines between 158 and 154 degrees from Point Loma at the upper end of the zone and moving more to the inside part of the zone on the 151 to 153 degree headings from Point Loma as they work farther down the line to where they are fishing below and outside Isla San Martin. The water temperature in the region has been running 66.5 to 67.5 degrees.

Kelp paddies have been providing the best action with some action reportedly coming on the occasional jig strike, sonar mark or spot of working tern birds. Most yellowtail have been running from 3 to 15 pounds, and most of the tuna have been in the 15- to 20-pound range. Dorado have been mostly in the 12- to 20-pound range with an occasional bigger dorado being reported in the 35-pound range.

Starting off the reports, private boater Ronald Kruse of Kruse-N-Perfection fished a trip to the offshore waters below and outside Punta Colnet, and reported having four anglers catch 14 yellowtail, limits of dorado and one bluefin tuna. Kruse found dorado and yellowtail under a couple of kelp paddies and said the lone bluefin came on a jig strike. Their best fishing was found at 117 miles, 153 degrees from Point Loma.
Capt. Rich Hogan of the six-pack charter yacht Tom Cat of Cortez Yacht Charters fished the offshore waters below and outside Punta Colnett and reported catching limits of yellowtail and limits of dorado. Hogan found his fish from kelp paddies that were located while fishing between 115 and 117 miles from 154 to 159 degrees from Point Loma.

Private boater John Hoffereth of Sea Snake fished a recent 2.5-day trip to the offshore area ranging from below and outside Punta Colnett to the waters outside Isla San Martin. Hoffereth reported very good yellowtail fishing on both fishing days of the trip, and had limits of 8- to 15-pound yellowtail, a 35-pound dorado and a 20-pound bluefin tuna.

Most of their yellowtail and dorado came from fishing kelp paddies. They also had a double jig strike trolling stop on yellowtail and had another trolling strike that produced their bluefin tuna. Hoffereth said most of the action came while fishing between 110 and 125 miles on a 151 to158 degree heading from Point Loma.

Fishing at Los Coronados was producing yellowtail almost every day before the recent weather fronts came through the area. Yellowtail have been seen every day since the weather cleared, but the bite has been slow since the storms. Water temperatures dropped to between 61.5 and 63 degrees after the storms went through, and the yellows have not been biting very well in the cooler water.

Schools of yellows are still around at the Coronados, and anglers are hoping that they will go back on the bite soon. Most yellowtail have been located with scanning sonar, and they have been found at the Rockpile, the South Kelp Ridge and the Middle Grounds.
A few bass and barracuda have been biting at the Middle Grounds and the 5 Minute Kelp (just below and inside South Island). Hard-bottom areas have also been producing an assortment of bottomfish. Some productive areas for bottomfishing have been the outside drop-off of the South Kelp Ridge and at hard-bottom areas north of North Island.

The San Diego-area coastal fishing remains in bottomfishing mode with an assortment of rockfish and sculpin making up the bulk of the catch. There has been little to report in the way of recent surface-fishing activity except for a few bass. Some productive areas for bottomfishing have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the upper and lower ends of La Jolla, the hard-bottom area outside Cardiff and the Anderson and Buccaneer pipelines.

A long winter season is ahead. I would want to get out there before the summertime offshore species like tuna, dorado and the kelp paddy yellowtail head farther south for the winter. Keep on fishing, and I hope to see you out on the water.

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