It is hot – both the weather and the fishing. How hot? Stick around and see in this contrite midweek edition of the SCMO Fishing News …
(cue theme music … and the fans)
Before we get started, an apology – and no, I didn’t piss anyone off this time. Ever have a great plan and have it take a dump all over you? I did tonight. Tonight’s the night I promised the big IGFA Release Rules rant, and I was about 2000 words into it when I realized I wasn’t close to done. Given that it was already nearing midnight, and I hadn’t done the rest of the report, I made the command decision to change direction. So you get a midweek update tonight, and you’ll get a much better rant in the Thursday edition next week. You don’t want to miss it …
It was 101 freaking degrees today in Redondo Beach. I figured that wouldn’t happen until the sun was melting the planet in a couple million years, but apparently I was wrong. God help those of you who live away from the water, but hey – that would be a miserable existance under the best of conditions.
As hot as it was here at the Home Office, though, it was hotter on the water. No, not the weather – the marlin bite. Midweek fishing is usually reserved for the hardcores, but this was a week to play hooky from the office and hit the water – and number of anglers did just that, with fantastic results.
Early in the week, the place to be was the 302. The marlin were so thick there that one angler said you could have jackpoled them if you wanted. DOS HERMANOS was the class of the fleet, releasing one on Monday and five more on Tuesday, but they were hardly alone – SEA TREK IV, LYNN MARIE and DROP BACK each released a pair on Tuesday.
A first release for RELENTLESS
The southern success wasn’t limited to San Diego boats, as a number of craft from the northern fleet made the run south to get in on the fun. Burt Moss released one Monday on the 302 while fishing on Dave Elm’s RASTAFISH, and Pat Holmes brought HAWK south on Monday and released one short of the 302. That’s him at left, walking the life back into a marlin. A couple of hours later, he got a second jig fish on the ride home – and had so much fun that he went back and got a third release Tuesday. Did I mention it was all fishing singlehanded?
I don’t know if it was a case of the bite shifting as much as different boats fishing different places on different days, but later in the week most of the action was off the East End of Catalina. Kathy Ecklund on HOOKER and Kurt Pollard on RELENTLESS each released a pair of marlin Wednesday – hers off the Slide and his off the Can Dump. I know the bite is continuing, as both 1ST THINGS 1ST and CONQUEST each released one today, although I don’t have details on either yet.
The pelagic edibles are still out there, and the cattle boats are scoring. I haven’t heard much lately from private boaters, but to be honest, SoCal may have simply plugged their freezers …
That’ll have to do it for now as my brain is fried. Be sure to check the Billfish Release Board, as that’s where all the details that don’t make the report are found – and with this many fish being released, there’s a lot of details! Look for the usual weekend update on Monday, and then my hopefully-shortened opus on release rules on Wednesday.
14 Years Ago …
October 2, 2000
Your opinion of the current marlin fishing probably depends on your homeport. If it’s Dana Point or north, you think it’s pretty good, and you’re right. But if you’re fishing south of that, I’m sure you think it sucks. You’re right, too!
The epic bite we enjoyed off the Dome at San Clemente Island is well and truly gone, replaced by a weaker (but closer) bite inside of Catalina. Participants in the Tuna Club’s event Friday found marlin on the Avalon Bank, as well as inshore off the Isthmus. Fish were reported close to the island down towards the West End as well. In fact, fishing within a mile or two of the entire island from the slide down past Long Point and then to the West End has been a pretty good place the last few days. Away from the island, there has been a good feeder show on the Avalon Bank and the 14-Mile Bank. One area showing a lot of good signs was northwest of the 14 towards the mid-channel oil platforms. Neal Shaver on OSPREY reported baiting a dozen sleepers there (33.28 / 118.08) Saturday, as well as seeing a half-dozen jumpers. Unfortunately, they weren’t biters. This seems to be a common thread right now, with the fish not really being interested in baits. The exception seems to be on the tides. Jig bites are up as well, which is good news for the rest of us. It seems that the fish are sliding to the west, which is common non-El Ni–o year late season behavior. Look to see them off the West End soon, as well as on the banks around Santa Barbara Island.
Unfortunately, happy things cannot be said for those fishing out of San Diego. The bite we’ve seen the last few years out of Marina Coral simply never materialized this year, and it’s been a long run for those looking for billfish. The 302 showed some action over the weekend, but that was about it. The story is happier for fishing tuna, as a 166-1/2lb bigeye tuna was caught at the 302 and weighed in at the San Diego Marlin Club. That’s one of the largest bigeye in recent memory, and perhaps a sign of good things to come. The big tuna are also being found on the 43.
Yellowfin tuna are being found pretty much everywhere right now. They’re on the banks, under the paddies, and swimming with the porpoise. There’s even a lot of free-swimming schools being seen. Among the best spots are the 267 and 209 to the north, and the 312 and 390 to the south. For those adventurous types (or those with their own oil well), probably the best spot right now is the Butterfly Bank. The challenge remains getting the tuna to bite, as they continue to be very finicky. Try the smallest baits or lures in your arsenal, since they seem to work best.
Rich Hamilton attended the most recent round of planning meetings for the Highly Migratory Species plan last week in San Diego. Unfortunately, he reports that he was one of only a handful of individuals representing the recreational fishing community. That’s sad, because a lot of people (your host included) worked hard to get the word out. After the high attendance at the last series of meetings a few months back, it is disappointing to hear so few turned out this time, particularly in a fishing-rich region like San Diego. We established a conservation forum when we introduced the new Offshore Fishing Forum so we would have a place to post meeting notices, agendas and minutes for such meetings, so that everyone could at least be aware of what is going on. Of course, when you see how few people have viewed the postings there, it’s easy to see why Rich was alone. What happens in these meetings impacts us all, and will determine the future of recreational fishing in our waters for years to come. We all need to make it important to ourselves to be involved. Stop by the RFA Conservation Corner regularly to see what is happening, and learn how you can help. We all need to fight for what we want – you can bet the other side will!