Experts with the National Marine Fisheries Service have published their annual Albacore Tuna Outlook and for the most part are predicting another productive season for California's sportfishing fleets.
That's not telling Dan Sansome anything he doesn't already know.
"As far as the multi-day boats are concerned, the albacore are already here," he said this week after returning from a recent five-day trip aboard the American Angler out of Point Loma Sportfishing in San Diego.
The vessel had in its hold 237 albacore, 153 bluefin tuna and 136 yellowtail for 22 passengers. It was the most impressive haul yet in this young season.
Sansome, the boat's owner and operator, predicts a wide-open bite within range of the 1 1/2-day boats "any day now."
While his customers' action took place mostly 170 to 190 miles southwest of Point Loma, "the warm water was moving in a northerly direction, and the fish are staying with the warmer water," he said.
Indeed, 26 anglers aboard the Vagabond, also out of Point Loma, put 130 albacore, 50 bluefin and 207 yellowtail on the deck only 140 miles out during a three-day trip that ended Monday.
The Big Three--Point Loma, H&M Landing and Fisherman's Landing--this week began full schedules of 1 1/2-day trips, which enable maximum travel of about 140 miles. Twenty-four-hour trips, with a maximum range of about 90 miles, are being run but are producing mostly yellowtail.
But Sansome said, "We saw spots of scattered [albacore] well inside of that, so of course things could change in a hurry."
The albacore landed aboard American Angler and Vagabond, weighing 20 to 30 pounds, were slightly heavier than those landed during sporadic bites in previous weeks, indicating a different group of fish. The bluefin weighed 20 to 36 pounds and the yellowtail eight to 18.
Clients at sleepy Cielito Lindo motel in San Quintin south of Ensenada enjoyed some memorable moments on the water during Memorial Day weekend, encountering voracious yellowtail and periodic schools of marauding albacore as close as 15 miles from the docks.
It was the first quality bite for either species this season for the small fleet at the southern end of San Quintin Bay, and serves as another indication that the exotics are moving north.
"The albacore are in the same class as last year [20 to 25 pounds] and they seem to be coming in closer each day," says Gene Allshouse, owner of San Quintin Sportfishing.
Allshouse has something up his sleeve to ensure success this season: the services of "Way Kool Bob," a retired Colorado property manager who restores and flies vintage aircraft as a hobby. Bob, when he's not offering flight tours for motel guests, will be spotting fish for Allshouse's fleet in either of two 1940s-model Aeronca planes.
Allshouse can be reached at 011-526-162-1455 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were among the few hundred anglers fishing for white seabass off Torrance on Sunday, you might have been startled by the presence of officers aboard a Palos Verdes Estates Police Department vessel, checking for fishing licenses.
Lt. Kent Smirl of the Department of Fish and Game said the DFG does not recruit help from other law enforcement agencies but added that other agencies are aware of the DFG's limited resources and help out from time to time.
"Their inspection authorities are not as expansive as ours, but they do have the authority to enforce our code," Smirl says.
Palos Verdes Estates police maintain a boat in Redondo Beach's King Harbor, mostly as a means of monitoring the non-fishing-related goings-on off the peninsula.
The white seabass bite off Torrance has fizzled, but off the Malibu area it has been sizzling for about a week. The proximity to the beach is making the huge croakers accessible to kayakers and one of them--Dennis Spike of Coastal Kayak Fishing--set his hook on a 75-pounder last Friday.
"That fish moved my kayak 1,000 yards," the Reseda angler says. "On a boat the fish is basically working against the reel. You get one or two runs and that's it. On a kayak, the dynamics are much different. This thing made five to seven really long runs."
Those interested in learning about the growing sport of kayak fishing can contact Spike by calling (818) 345-5824 or on the Web at http://www.kayakfishing.com.
Seabass seem to be springing up everywhere. Ronnie Kovach of Eagle Claw Fishing Schools located them at Santa Barbara Island on Sunday aboard the Islander out of 22nd St. Landing in San Pedro. His 29 customers, all beginners, boated 29 seabass weighing 12 to 38 pounds during an afternoon bite. For information on Kovach's on-the-water schools, call (714) 375-9888.
While the Santa Barbara Island bite has since died, the fishing at San Clemente Island rebounded strongly Wednesday. The Toronado out of Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach had 30 anglers land 30 seabass to about 45 pounds, and 40-plus yellowtail to about 25 pounds.