H&M Landing’s three-quarter day boat Malihini, fishing at the Coronados Islands with 25 anglers on April 3, had one of the best days of the new season. Fishing with iron jigs, anglers scored 15 yellowtail. They also caught near-limits of rockfish and bocaccio (otherwise known as salmon grouper), along with a few bass and ling cod. It looked like the beginning of the spring bite at the islands, but the next day the yellows wouldn’t cooperate.
No matter, the rest of the day fleet from San Diego to Oceanside is catching jumbo (Humboldt) squid on evening trips, with the “squish” running 20 or 30 pounds on the average. Rockfish are biting on half-day trips, and the bass, particularly sand bass, are starting to go on the nip. After this weekend’s predicted gloomy weather, look for fishing to get going.
If you’ve never fished spring yellowtail with jigs, know there are two basic types that have produced very well over the years: “heavy” iron of four or more ounces, like the Salas 6X Jr. or the Tady 9 and A-2 models, and “light” surface iron like the Salas 7X or the Tady 45. No matter which make of jig you choose, the best colors for this kind of fishing have been blue and white, “scrambled eggs,” (brown and yellow) or sometimes all green, all white or jigs with chrome on the back.
Here's an assortment of heavy iron in 4 to 6-ounce weights.
The heavy jigs get bit best on the sink or on the way back up (usually up to the halfway point of the surface). The light jigs are favored by yellowtail when they reeled at a speed that produces the greatest side-to-side or “kicking” movement. When they’re on the chew, yellows will also bite surface iron on the sink or even while they’re reeled at maximum speed, skipping across the surface.
One more thing about fishing for spring yellowtail; they bite on bait, too. Sardines or mackerel are favored. The larger the bait, the more time the angler should give spring yellows to eat it. A large mackerel and a small yellowtail mean waiting for a five second count before trying to set the hook. Please do us all a favor and release any yellowtail less than eight pounds. Give ‘em at least one chance to spawn, and make more yellowtail for next year.
If you’d like to see more about fishing for springers, take a look at my DVD, “Spring Yellowtail,” available in your favorite tackle store or right here at FishingVideos.com.