Albacore, the mere mention of which gets the adrenaline flowing in most Southern California saltwater anglers, have apparently been sighted off the Southern California coast.
If observations made by a commercial boat captain are correct, the fish would be within reach of the overnight boats from San Diego to Santa Barbara.
On Monday night, Cisco's Sportfishing in Oxnard sent out a search party to follow up on reports made by the captain of the Rampage, who said albacore tuna in the 30- to 40-pound class could be seen feeding and jumping on the surface 60 miles out, about 10 miles southeast of Santa Rosa Island.
Three crew members aboard the Island Tack made it to the area before dawn Tuesday but found no fish. They did, however, run into a large school of white sea bass and caught 23, weighing between 25 and 50 pounds, in 3 hours of fishing, according to Cisco's manager Nick Dikova.
Dikova sent out another albacore search party later Tuesday, and the search is expected to intensify.
Ron Dotson, a National Marine Fisheries biologist and albacore specialist, said the conditions are right for albacore.
Albacore normally show in the waters south of San Diego in July and begin their northward migration. The last two years, however, have been a disappointment for most albacore fishermen, since the fish made only brief showings from San Diego to Morro Bay.
David Solomon of Laguna Hills became the first person this year to catch a marlin off the Southern California coast when he landed a 178-pound striped marlin at the 279-fathom spot about 12 miles off Dana Point.
Solomon's catch marks the beginning of the local billfish season, which typically starts during the first week of July. Solomon hooked the billfish at about 4 p.m. last Thursday and, after a 25-minute battle on 50-pound test line, took his prize to the Avalon weigh station where it was officially recorded at 6 p.m.
John (J.D.) Doughty of Bisbee's Tackle in Newport Beach said he has had several reports of anglers baiting marlin, but no others have been landed.
A western Kentucky doctor has been collecting fishing lures for the last 30 years. He saves the ones he removes from his patients.
Since 1958, Carroll W. Traylor has accumulated about 300 artificial lures, fishhooks and a few other objects, most of which he has taken from anglers who accidentally hooked themselves on nearby Kentucky Lake.
Traylor, who has a family practice and does minor outpatient surgery at his clinic, expects his examining room collection to grow.
"I make a deal with the patients," he said. "I don't take the lure out unless they give it to me. It's as simple as that."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it plans to cancel or restrict special September hunting seasons in 18 states for the blue-winged teal, a variety of duck hard hit by the drought in many areas of the country.
Director Frank Dunkle has accepted a staff recommendation made earlier in the week to propose dropping the early season, generally nine days, this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico, the service said.
A similar early season for all ducks in Iowa will also be canceled.
The blue-winged teal has been one of the species most damaged by the drought and loss of marshy breeding habitat in the northern Great Plains and in Canada. The service earlier called the breeding outlook this year "grim."
The normal population of 4.8 million teal has declined to about 3.6 million, according to preliminary estimates.