Here's a quick saltwater report from San Diego. I hit the water with my friend and fellow Cousins Tackle pro-staffer, Thomas Aranda. While there has been a solid yellowfin tuna bite this last week or so, the bait situation was less than ideal to say the least, with all of the barges offering only 1"-3" anchovies to the private boaters. Having said that, if you are looking to hop on a 3/4 day boat, bait is not an issue and chances are, you'll stick some tuna, which is quite insane to be catching tuna this close to home at the end of November. In addition to the micro anchovies, it was an absolute zoo around the tuna grounds .
For the reasons above, we decided to do something a little different and try drifting for halibut and White Sea bass. We launched early with the intention of making bait, and we quickly picked off 10-15 mackerel. While making bait in the bay, we ended up running around finding schools of bonito crashing on smelt and had some fun with those.
Unfortunately, the wind was not our side, as it was essentially non-existent all morning. We shifted gears and decided to go catch fish tacos. Rockfish was the goal, and sheephead or lingcod were a very much welcomed bonus. We pulled up to a rock pile, and could immediately see on the sonar that it was loaded, approximately 300 feet deep. The set up we were using consisted of a 6oz-8oz torpedo sinker, with two 1/0 or 2/0 live bait hooks on dropper loops.
Almost every drift resulted in a handful of nice fish. We ended up with limits of mixed rockfish, including reds, starry eyed, and vermillion. Thomas also stuck a Sheephead and a pair of Whitefish, as well as his personal best, an absolute pig at 5.7 lbs.
The bonus and fairly unexpected part of the trip were the two yellowtail I caught 300ft deep on cut bonito. One went 15lb and the other was slightly larger. I hooked a nicer model as well but it ended up popping off after several good runs. Thomas had hooked up to one as well, and no more than 10 seconds into the fight, the yellowtail turned into two. He had another fish eat the second bait. Unfortunately, this was too much to handle, as he never really had a chance to turn or slow the fish down.
Another great day, and back at the dock by 2:00PM. All fish were caught on either the Cousins CJB 80M-CT or Cousins 1009.
Check back in soon for more reports! -Stan Kaplun-