8-8 is a lucky date in some cultures. It was indeed a lucky fishing date. Even with a very crowded start, the day turned out to be one of the best I’ve had in San Diego local waters. After a relatively short run, we found breaking tuna that were more willing to play than I was able to endure.
This summer in San Diego has been a story of great fishing, but not wide open fishing. Tuna showed very early and the yellowtail have been great, but most boats have been getting about 1 fish per person. Some have done better, but fishing has been a lot of work. So, my trips this season have been with mixed expectations. Today, I was hoping to get a fish or two and with some luck it wouldn’t take all day.
Knowing that the line at the bait barge can be long, we met at the dock at 5am. There was already a very long line at the launch ramp with everything to dialed offshore boats to aluminum lake boats. We queued up in line for the bait barge and had about an hour wait. We got very nice bait and cleared the jetty around 6:30. My intent was to work more north, but out toward the far banks that had seen a lot of Dorado. Instead of pointing right at the 182, I found a point on a temp break about 15 miles out and headed up the coast for about 2 miles before making the turn west.
That little jog north got us away from a lot of boats. I don’t like crowds, so that made me happy. After about 45 minutes, we were around 10 or 11 miles off La Jolla and the sea state was choppy. We slowed down to rig up. We put out the trollers and got the live bait rigs ready. I saw some things on the meter, but not too much.
15 minutes or less later Andy sees breaking fish. We trolled a figure 8 around them for nothing. I then went back to where we saw them and there were marks under the boat. We cleaned up the trolling gear, Andy put a bait out and I started a chunk line. Andy was bit less than 10 minutes later.
I put out a bait, but was too lazy to re-tie my old leader that may have been 20#. A classic mistake I make all the time. I broke off the leader. Timing was good as it was time to gaff Andy’s fish.
A few more chunk, a retie and we put baits out again. Andy was on again, and I got bit off again in a spectacular surface boil. I tied on fresh 25 after gaffing Andy’s fish. We were starting to see a few more boils around the boat. I kept the chunk going and the occasional live sardine as chunk.
The boils around the boat were getting bigger and consistent. I was gaffing a fish with one hand and holding on to my loaded rod with the other. This continued for about an hour and a half. With 9 20+ pound yellowtail in the boat, I was beat and there wasn’t much more space to put fish. It was just after 9:30am. With fish still under the boat and boiling, we decided to point the boat toward San Diego bay so we could drop the fish off at Fisherman’s Processing.
Our path toward San Diego bay took us about 4 miles north of the top of the 9 mile bank. Andy sees breaking fish again. We can barely move our arms, but we stopped anyway. Two baits went out and some chum. Breaking fish… I was tying on a jig to see if that would work when I got bit. That one beat my tired body up good and when I got it to color declared that as my last cast.
We ended up with 10 yellowfin tuna. The total weight per Fisherman’s Processing was 208 pounds, so an average of 21 pounds bled out. We dropped the fish off around 11:15 and even with the extra 15 miles to do that, we were still pulling the boat out of the water by 12:15.
10 yellowfin tuna averaging 21 pounds bled out. All caught on 5-7″ sardines. The tuna came up to the boat on chunk and were willing biters.
It was slick calm conditions with some left over wind chop. Water was around 73 where we found them. We saw 69 heading out the jetty and up to the mid to upper 73 temperatures. We stayed on the warm side of the temperature break, so I don’t know how much it dropped.
Warm, lite wind and slightly overcast with a high ceiling. The sun started to come out as we headed into the dock at noon.
Engine is running very well since the oil pan/pump change. The engine was tired with the extra weight in the boat.
Fuel: Burned 21.5 Gallons
Distance: 59.2 nautical miles for an average of 2.85 MPG.
Engine Hours: 7.9 for total of 898.5