“Everyone will be happy to hear,” wrote Excel skipper Justin Fleck as he transited south on the initial day of his 15-day trip April 21, “that between 50 and 80 miles (south) we saw several schools of breaking bluefin tuna. The fish were 25 pounds to over 100 pounds. There is a lot of bait in that area and it looks very promising for our local offshore fleet.”
The San Diego got a few bluefin and some pelagic bonito on Saturday: “Nine bluefin tuna, 37 bonito. Very good sign of bluefin today. We see fish from 25 to 100 pounds.”
The ¾ day boats: Liberty posted a catch of 85 bonito and 35 bluefin Sunday; Mission Belle had 40 bonito and 28 bluefin, Old Glory had 127 bonito and a bluefin, and the San Diego went back to sea for 105 bonito and five bluefin.
Noted angler and conservationist Tom Pfleger of Newport Beach has been awarded a new men’s record in the 50-pound line class for a 221-pound bluefin tuna he caught August 19, 2016 off Guadalupe Island. Tom was fishing aboard his Hana Pau, according to the IGFA’s International Angler April to June issue, and kiting a Gummy Flyer he trolled. Thomas Fullerton skippered Tom’s boat. Pfleger has earned many world records, but any 200-pound bluefin is a special fish to Californians.
On The Water
Independence and Royal Polaris are enroute to the southern areas where giant yellowfin can usually be found.
Rippers At Las Arenas
“If you wanted action this was a great place to fish all week,” posted Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International April 23. “There’s tonnage of mackerel and ballyhoo in the bay. Still not much sign of sardines which doesn’t bode well for our fly fishers who have been watching the reports, but most of them don’t show up for awhile when the winds start dying down. Still, the sardines are what we like to see.
“However, the schools of mackerel have drawn in big spots of bonito that are just ripping everyone up. It’s great fun, especially for a lot of our first-timers, snowbirds, or light tackle folks. A dozen or two bonito a day, with every bait hitting the water getting slammed is awesome sport! Most of the fish are getting tossed back to chew again, but there’s also white bonito in the mix, which are pretty good eating. So, if your captains suggest you keep a bonito, don’t scrunch up your face! Keep it! Don’t tell folks it’s bonito and they will think it’s tuna! Honest. Seen it happen a lot, especially for the white bonito. Makes pretty good poke and sashimi too!
“The other side of the great bonito explosion is that there’s also some nice 20 to 50-pound tuna in the area and near the south end of Cerralvo. The tuna are deeper and not as fast as the scooting bonito! So, often as soon as a bait hits the water, the bonito blow up on it and the bait never has a chance to get down to the tuna or for the lumbering tuna (no slouch for speed) to get up and grab the bait.
“There’s some bigger model tuna around and we did get a couple. Squid is also working on them as well as the mackerel. Also, we have some wahoo swimming up in the same areas too. There’s been some rooster fish action along the beaches, but it’s hard to gauge because everyone is out chasing the fast action on the bonito or looking for the tuna, wahoo or other species they can eat.”