Lucky anglers aboard the Constitution with a nice catch of Yellowtail and Dorado.
Dock totals 7/24 – 7/30: 5,483 anglers aboard 235 half-day to 3-day trips from last week’s San Diego landings caught 109 barracuda, 3 black bass (released), 404 bluefin tuna (up to 203 lbs), 26 skipjack tuna, 1,432 calico Bass, 2,203 dorado, 4 halibut, 1 leopard shark (released), 7 ling cod, 4 mako shark, 1,097 rockfish, 1,013 sand bass, 59 sand buffalo, 56 bullhead, 41 sheepshead shark, 1 striped marlin, 1 thresher shark, 1 treefish, 178 whitefish, 2 whitefish sea bass, 710 yellowfin tuna and 14,694 yellowtail.
salt water: Phenomenal yellowtail and dorado fishing marked another outstanding week for the San Diego sport fishing fleet. With decent offshore conditions and increasing Dorado and Yellowfin numbers, anglers showed up in good numbers and were not disappointed. Although the more tropical yellowfin tuna and dorado can cause a stir when they show up in warmer water, yellowtail remains the main catch with a total of 24,865 catches over the past two weeks.
In one day, Sunday 24th July and counting only pelagic species migrating to our area, 3,369 Yellowtail, 546 Dorado, 75 Bluefin Tuna, 321 Yellowfin Tuna and 1 Striped Marlin were caught by 1,301 anglers. In one day in late July 2017, 1,147 anglers caught 3,268 yellowtail, 709 dorado, 114 yellowfin, 71 bluefin tuna and 1 striped marlin. Historically, the large numbers of yellowtails caught in cooler waters with a slight mix of tropical and pelagic species are more common in light to temperate La Niña years, which is the case now and was the case in 2017.
During the last El Niño years 2018-2019, classified as “weak” El Niños, yellowtail numbers were much lower in late July, while yellowfin, dorado, and bluefin numbers were similar. In strong El Niño years with warmer sea surface temperatures in our area, such as July 2016, yellowfin tuna vastly outnumbered yellowtail tuna by the end of the month, and bluefin tuna were few and were mainly caught around the cooler Cortez – and Tanner Banks caught for over 100 miles west of Point Loma. With hurricane season just beginning, warmer water pushing north can change things quickly.
Coast bass, sand bass and calico bass make up the majority of the catch, with the occasional halibut, white sea bass and yellowtail making an appearance from the local kelp beds. Fishing for halibut and spotted bay bass in San Diego and Mission Bay has been very good for anglers targeting holes in eel grass and channel edges. On the beach, surf bass, yellowfin quaker and corbina have taken good shots of gulp sandworms and sand crab, while some anglers have caught halibut with spoon or pole baits in the deeper cuts in and just behind the surf.
The Baja anglers working down the peninsula are enjoying a great summer season along the cool coastal gyres off Ensenada, San Quintin and along the Vizcaino biosphere where the latter are areas of San Diego type kelp beds and inshore fisheries. Ensenada operators report good catches of bluefin tuna 10 to 15 miles away, while yellowtail and calico bass bite well offshore. Yellowtail and Dorado also bite off kelp fields offshore and up to a few miles from Punta Banda.
San Quintin operators get excellent calico bass, very good white sea bass and some halibut near San Martin Island, while the 240 and 15 banks produce limits of yellowtail just 12-20 miles offshore, along with the occasional shot of dorado and redfin and redfin fish yellowfin tuna. Anglers dropping deeper on these banks also report big bottom action for whitefish, sheepshead and lengdor.
Further south the action is heating up from Tortugas to Abreojos, with yellowfin tuna and dorado biting well in warmer waters outside while the inshore yellowtail and calico fishing, which was sporadic in June, is improving. Peak yellowtail season begins 400 to 600 miles south along central-coastal Baja a few months after ours here in San Diego. August through February is the best time to head for the central Baja Pacific coast, with the better fishing opportunities lasting after hurricane season ends in October and through into the end of winter. While it is sweltering in the Sea of Cortez and inland along the peninsula, air temperatures along the central Pacific coastal region of Baja are quite comfortable year-round, with the prevailing cool onshore Pacific breezes pushing the average daily highs into the highs 70’s and low 80’s holds most of summer/fall.
With great fishing and so many viable options from our sport fishing fleet to a day trip from San Diego, deciding what to target and where to fish can be the hardest time at this time of year.
They’re out there, so get them!
Notable catches over the past week:
24.7 – 30 anglers on board the Legend 2 day run scored Mexican limits of 300 Yellowtail along with 36 Dorado.
26.7 – That tomahawk called in with 75 Yellowtail (Limits), 9 Dorado, 3 Bluefin Tuna and 3 Yellowfin Tuna for her 15 anglers on board for a 1.5 day run. That Pegasus An extended 1.5 day trip resulted in 190 Yellowtail (2 day Mexican limits) and 8 Dorados caught.
27.7 – 35 anglers on board the San Diego 175 yellowtails and 17 dorados were caught for a full day run.
28.7 – That Daiwa Pacific came off their full day trip with 13 anglers on board and caught 65 Yellowtail, 10 Dorado, 1 Yellowfin Tuna and 1 Bluefin Tuna.
29.7 – 11 anglers on board the Traveller 1.5 day boat tour with a maximum of 55 yellowtail sharks, along with 18 dorado and 1 mako shark.
30.7 – 223 Yellowtail, 100 Dorado (Limits) and 27 Yellowfin Tuna were caught by 25 anglers on board Poseidon 1.75 day trip.
fish plants: None planned