Like a lot of Southern California fishermen, I bookmark web sites that post ocean temperatures and tide information. In particular I look at ocean temps for the Coronado Islands off Tijuana \, the La Jolla Pier and other beaches. When the water temp gets above 65 degrees I go shopping for new fishing line, terminal gear and the various totems I think I need in my sun damaged tackle box to ensure productive fishing trips.
Growing up here, I came to associate San Diego ocean fishing with two specific species of tasty tuna family members; Yellowtail and yellowfin.
I’ve chased yellow tail schools from the Coronado Islands, north to Catalina.But most frequently, I’ve caught them using live bait near any of the many kelp forests that dot the Southern California coastline. When I think of yellowtail, I automatically imagine the thrum of a tight line coming off my beloved Penn reel and my rod tip bent as a 15-pound fish starts to run.
Yellowtail hang out in schools, so if you get hit once you stand an excellent chance of another hook up as soon as you can get a fresh bait in the water.
I have a ritual for yellowtail fishing that begins with honing a razor sharp point on my hook and carefully selecting fat active anchovies for bait..laggardly bait get a trip to the seabed where I hope they’re gobbled up by sweet meat cabazon, the infrequent lingcod or my one of my two other favorite California game fish; sanddabs and California halibut.
Going out tuna fishing on a long range boat I something I try to do once or twice a year, particularly in late summer when the albacore schools arrive.
Boatless yellowtail fishermen can get to the yellowtail schools for about $100 on party boats such as the Malhini which is based at SeaForth Landing in the San Diego bay. All of the San Diego based boats offer rod and reel rentals. A California fishing license is required for all trips in California waters. one-day licenses are offered on the boats.
Overnight and two-day Tuna fishing trips are also available on boats out of San Diego harbor. the cost of an overnight steam to the tuna grounds and back is begins at about $300 and all of the long range boats offer troopship-like berths for up to 50 passengers.
Unless you own fishing gear capable of fighting and bringing a 50-100 pound yellowfin alongside the boat, it’s best to rent your gear on the boat. Most all of the boats have experienced deck hands who will help you land your fish and make sure you have a good time on the water.
All of the offshore fishing boats have fully stocked galleys and if you go out of San Diego don’t hesitate to order a tasty barracuda burger.
You don’t need to take an eight-hour or longer boat ride to catch dinner from the Southern California shoreline. In fact, there are numerous spots where you can spend as much time as you want alone with your fishing rod and your dreams.high on my list are the entrances to the several lagoons here in north San Diego County, plus Las Pulgas Beach, which adjoins Camp Pendleton on the west side of the I-5 freeway. I regularly fish several of these spots and often come home with mixed catches of sweet tasting surfperch, California halibut and yummy sand dabs.
If you want to fish the lagoons in San Diego County you need to fish from designated areas since most of the lagoons are now protected wetlands. If you have questions about where to fish the lagoons, you can call the California Department of Fish Game’s San Diego office, or ask any of the volunteers you see leading hikes.When in doubt, ask!
A valid California fishing license is required for surf fishing and bring your own bait.--Tight lines! Jim Forbes on 06/01/2014.