by Captain Paul Fischer
Seaforth Sportfishing in Mission Bay is home to about 12 sportfishing boats and where we tie up our boat the Outer Limits, the boat I’ve been on since 1997. We specialize in all marine related activities from fishing and whale watching to marine research. We do it all. I have logged over 9 years of sea time since I started as a sophomore in High School and 17 years later I still feel like I made a great career choice. And now I am excited to be sharing some fish stories or answering questions here in the Clairemont Times.
San Diego is home to the world’s largest and most modern sportfishing fleet. Trips range from just a few hours fishing locally up to long range adventures too far away destinations, such as, Clipperton atoll 2,100 miles away.
When fishing offshore you realize just how big the ocean really is. The pelagic species tuna, dorado and yellowtail are always moving around the ocean. A typical offshore trip consists of trolling four feathers or jigs behind the boat and driving around looking for fish indicators. Tern birds, floating kelp, temperature differences are all good indicators. The side scanning sonar is hands down the second most important tool on the boat. The first is placing the boat in a fishy location which can change day to day or even hour by hour. What we do is troll around looking for fish indicators when an indicator is seen, such as a shark fin, we turn the boat and head towards the object. As we get close we scan the object for fish. If a school of fish is seen the next step is to identify the direction the fish are swimming to get to the leading edge because more fish would swim under you increasing your chances of a hook up. If you stop on the back end the fish have probably already swam away before your bait gets into the water.
Each year seems like there are a few keys to catching more fish consistently. This year offshore I would have to say it was all about the hammer sharks. We started seeing the hammers in late June and about the middle of July for whatever reason the hammer sharks started following schools of yellowfin tuna. This lasted for about six weeks. Every hammer shark we saw was following a school of tuna. That did not mean the fish would always bite, but electronically with our side scan sonars we saw fish associated with the sharks.
In September, we spent many of our trips around San Clemente Island chasing a nice grade of yellowfin tuna. The tuna would appear every morning on the south east end of Pyramid Rock just off the shallows. The east end of the island drops off fast, so many mornings we were just a mile off land. The fish would move in and feed on market squid at night in the 100-300 fathom curve. The market squid is typically caught for bait and calamari on their spawning grounds typically in approximately 20 fathoms (6 feet to a fathom) but when not spawning live in deeper water. Like clockwork every morning the fish would be somewhere on the curve and typically move off during the day. The San Clemente Island fish were time of day sensitive and did not like to bite too well in the afternoon so we would move off the island and look for kelps or move to the island and try and take advantage of the large yellowtail the island had to offer this year.
Then there was the exotics, a day spent offshore had the potential for catching a striped or even a blue marlin. Wahoo was caught farther north than ever before (we caught ours at San Clemente Island) and we even found an albacore tuna.
This year was exceptionally good for us on the Outer Limits; we had great fishing on our local charters fishing from Mission Bay to Del Mar. The Coronado Islands had consistent yellowtail action since the beginning of the year and the offshore scene was one for the record books. The yellowfin or ahi fishing was the most consistent for us in late September and October when we also started catching more dorado or mahi mahi.
We’ll have a lot more fish stories to come in future editions stay tuned. For more information or questions about Outer Limits Sportfishing: visit www.OuterLimit.net