Feast Or Famine
The old adage applies to fishing in a special way. Seems like it’s all or nothing in this sport, and lately there been a lot of not very much if anything biting. But that’s over now, as it would appear from the excellent albacore bite that’s been going on for several days at 80 to 100 miles west-southwest of San Diego. They’re biting to the south at 120 miles or more, too, so it won’t be long before the regular day boat fleet will be harvesting. Right now most of the longfin may be coming on day and a half boats.
But wait, as John Madden says; there’s more! As it often happens, other fish in other places began to bite with the albacore. The best area seems to be up and out from the 13 Fathom Spot, where the American Angler found the big tuna you’ll read about here next, and where the Royal Star is presently fishing. Tim Ekstrom reported eight bluefin up to 108 pounds from that zone June 13, and he’s still fishing there. Yellowtail and yellowfin tuna are also on the chew. The season is up and running.
Here’s what Ekstrom wrote on the 13th:
“Not to rub it in to the guys on the previous trip who paid some dues for all of us, but this is a great opportunity to reinforce the fact that conditions change rapidly on this ocean and a big portion of luck pays a role in the results of every trip. It's all about timing as we say and in the case of this trip timing so far is good. First of all the weather could not be better and as a result, the ocean is waking up following a week of breezy, rugged offshore conditions.
“Albacore are up and chomping in the local zone, yellowtail are cooperating at the islands, and most significant to us is the fact that we had a couple of good shots at bluefin yesterday including one school of 60 to 108-pound fish that gave us a hell of a show and bit pretty good for a couple of minutes. In addition to the bluefin, there has been some good action on fifteen to twenty five pound yellowfin in the same area that keeps everyone busy while waiting for a shot at trophy bluefin.
“Twenty four was our total on bluefin yesterday with eight of the 60 - 100# fish and fourteen in the thirty to forty pound range. Needless to say we are pleased with the potential we saw yesterday…”
Markus Medak and his New Lo-An had 140 albacore for 14 anglers fishing on the American side of the border to start the better scores of summertime fishing.
Today, June 15, the Relentless with skipper Joel Ralston reported Mexican limits of albacore before lunch. The Pacific Queen, with 25 anglers had 95 albies at the same hour. The Legend had 75 fish aboard. The Grande had 25 fish before eight a.m., and the Sea Adventure had 50 albacore by lunch. That’s good fishing, that’s a feast; and it’s just going to get better.
‘Tails, Tuna Biting
Sam Patella docked American Angler after a Catchy Tackle trip early June 15 with limits of yellowtail and near-limits of yellowfin tuna from the area around the Benitos Islands and south. The catch of the trip was Drew Grindley’s 152-pound bluefin.
“He bit about 200 feet down, on the sink at 4:30 p.m.,” said Drew. “I knew he was bigger that the 40 to 60-pounders by the way he took off. He peeled off 150 yards of my blue Izorline and got into the 80-pound Izorline Spectra backing. He took me around the boat once, and came in after 35 minutes. They put three gaffs in him.
“This is my best bluefin, and I’d like to thank the crew,” continued Grindley, “especially Greg Tanji, who was right there with me.”
Drew’s dad John Grindley said, “I told Drew it was lucky he took my rod instead of his when he hooked that fish; at least the knots were properly tied.”
Drew did his work with a new Sea Strike 33 jig in a striped pattern called, “blue zebra,” and used a Newell 631 reel and a seven-foot Graftech rod.
“It finally calmed down,” said skipper Patella. “It looks good out there now. We got a lot of yellowfin strikes on trolled jigs.
Drew wasn’t in the jackpot (he was chartermaster), so the pot was swept by yellowtail, which were thick at Benitos and on the 13 Spot, where Patella said the water was 65 degrees.
Karen Schrantz of Valencia won first place, for a 38.3-pound yellow she picked off with a sardine on a 3/0 Mustad hook, 40-pound Big Game line, a Newell 440 reel and a Sabre six-foot rod. She said it took ten minutes.
Dave Jackson of Oceanside was second, for a 32.8-pounder, and Hal Sharp of Torrance was third, for a 31-pound yellowtail.