Giant bluefin tuna back on the bite
By JIM MATTHEWS
While the interest from anglers waned over the holidays, a few sportfishing boats along the Southern California coast have continued to run trips to the offshore banks 60 miles or more offshore for bluefin tuna. These 1 1/2-day trips have been consistently returning with two-fish limits of bluefin for all anglers on board.
The size did dwindle from last summer and fall, when bluefin topping 200 pounds were being caught every week for months on end. The big fish disappeared from the catch by December, but bluefin tuna from 30 to 70 pounds are nothing to dismiss and they were still being caught in good numbers. Many dedicated ocean anglers have fished for years, even decades, and weren’t able to land bluefin even that size.
At least until the last three years.
Now bluefin have become fixtures along the Southern California coastline – year around fixtures.
It also looks like the giant bluefin of last year are starting to return to the catch already. In January!
The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing in San Diego had back-to-back trips this past week on Tuesday and Friday where a couple of bluefin over 100 pounds were landed – and more were being seen and hooked, breaking lines and spooling anglers. On Tuesday’s trip the big fish was a 152 pounder and it was limits around for all on board. On the trip that returned Friday, the top fish was 178 pounds and the 34 anglers on board had a total of 54 bluefin.
The New-Lo An out of Point Loma Sportfishing, also in San Diego, had 24 anglers on its 1 1/2-day trip that returned Thursday morning, and they had full limits of 48 bluefin, but the biggest fish on board was a 60-pounder.
This is historic, unprecedented fishing. The good ol’ days are now.
How good is the bluefin tuna fishing right now?
“If we could transport ourselves into a Zane Grey book, this is how good the fishing would be,” said Terrence Berg, owner of 976-Tuna.com, the fishing report website that tracks local ocean fishing throughout the year. “The last three or four years have been better than what was documented in books like Gray’s 100 years ago [off Southern California]. This is just unheard of bluefin tuna fishing.”
That’s how good the tuna fishing is right now.
Lake Palmdale reopens to
fIshing In just two weeks
The membership-only Lake Palmdale’s fishing season reopens on Saturday, Feb. 3, and the fishing is expected to be excellent. The lake will be planted with a total of 70,000 pounds of trout this year, and three loads of those fish – 22,000 pounds – have already been stocked for the opener. That also includes a plant of 500 pounds of trophy Lightning Trout (the gold- and crimson-colored rainbow trout bred and raised at Mt. Lassen Trout Farms in northern California).
For information on annual memberships to Lake Palmdale, call the Palmdale Fin & Feather Club at 661-947-2884 or got to www.palmdalefinandfeatherclub.com.
Have you bought your
2018 fishing license?
The Department of Fish and Wildlife reminded anglers this week to make sure they purchase their 2018 fishing license before heading out this year.
Licenses are still sold on a calendar year basis and are valid from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year. Now that the DFW’s license sales are computerized, there have been a number of efforts to get the state to sell annual licenses that are good for a year from their date of purchase, but the agency has continue to balk at making that move.
Anglers can purchase their new license ($48.34 for the basic resident license without extra stamps or ocean fishing validation) at license vendors in person (at most sporting goods stores and tackle shops) or on line by going to the DFW license sales website at https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/. Anglers should do Internet purchases well in advance of fishing so there is time for the license to be mailed.