September 11th, 2013 – Kelp Yellowtail

Classic late summer conditions with great weather sum up a good day on the water.  The took us around many of the local high-spots for some nice little yellowtail.


A work colleague and I left San Diego bay in gray light after getting  a great half-scoop of bait.  The plan was to head across the north 9 to the 302, then south past the 371 and 425 weather permitting.  Leaving the bay, the water was in the mid to upper sixties and we watched it improve as we headed out.  There was life everywhere and the slick calm conditions were great.

Not too far past the south 9, we found a dirty kelp line.  A boat a half mile south of us was looking at another kelp and not long after a boat rolled up north of us about the same distance.  Water was now just over 70.  It seemed like there was something there, but we weren’t getting any action. The water was ugly with trash and a dirty oil looking slick.  The boat south of looked like they were getting something, so we drifted for a few more minutes.  It only took a few minutes to start seeing jumping bull dorado.  That kept us there a while longer, but they didn’t like our offering.

We continued toward the 302 and saw a few more empty kelps.  At the high-spot, we went south.  The weather was still great.  We mixed trolling with some faster pace.  We could see the sport boats heading past the 371 area, some going further west.

After the 302, we didn’t see any kelps.  At one point, we spooked something, so we stopped.  There was a cardboard box not far off, so we soaked a few baits.  Ended up with a little blue shark and headed on.  Water from the 371 to the 425 was 72.0 – 72.2 and beautiful.  There were whales everywhere (we saw over 20 on the day), but few kelps.

After turning north just past the 425, we started to see more pieces of kelp.  We had the trollers out and looked under a few bigger pieces with the side scan, but saw nothing.  Then we found a piece that was just a long string, maybe 10′, but skinny.  Sidescan showed something was home and as I reeling in the troller, there were two followers.

Right away we got into 5-8 lb yellowtail.  It was fun.  We kept a few and released more.  When that one shut down, we found another kelp with more of the same.  Our drifts on the kelps were clearly tracking north, so good water is still heading up.

We finished the day off a large kelp at the south 9.  Lots of fish, but no takers.  Seems they are loaded with dorado that don’t want to play.  They should get hungry.

The red dot marks where we found the fish.



All smaller yellowtail on live sardines.  We got some boils on the iron.  Fun fishing.

Bait was great, not one died all day in the bait tank.


Uh, the best I’ve ever seen offshore.  Wow.  Grease calm, small waves and lite wind.


Bait barge temps were about 67 and we saw 65 to 72.2.  The 9 high spot was about 69, the 302 about 71 and the 425 about 72.


Tides for September 11, 2013


Overcast in the morning with some sun after about 11am.  Wind was calm until about 11 and then picked up to a lite 5-8.  Super nice day.  Waves were small 2-3′ out of the NW at 9 seconds and 2′ out of the south at 11-12 seconds.  Almost no wind chop.


Fuel: Gauges read 31.1 gallons, filled 29.1

Distance: 86.7 nautical miles

Engine: 627.5 hours

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