This week we’re featuring some great local fishing information from guest blogger Captain Scott Leon of www.ParadigmShiftCharters.com!
“Spring is winding down and on the verge of shifting into summer and since the Padres are playing dismally, the only thing I can say is at least the fishing is finally heating up. Predictably, once our local nearshore waters begin to warm up, fish begin to make their presence known. Calico bass crash baits on the surface and bonito and barracuda swarm the edges of the kelp beds like marauding wolves. While these things have occurred a bit later than normal this year, we’ve been able to occupy ourselves with some outstanding yellowtail fishing both locally and around the Coronado Islands.
Nothing has broken wide open yet, but we’ve seem glimpses and it’s only a matter of time before things get consistent. On the right day at the end of May, anglers could run into good numbers of bass, cudas and even yellowtail, but on other days, the switch flipped and the bite would end. Luckily, that will change as we approach our normal summer weather pattern. Sea conditions will calm, water temps will continue to rise and the kelp beds will virtually swarm with life. We’re hoping to see a repeat of the sensational white seabass bite we’ve had the past few years as well.
Now is the time when yellowtail should begin showing under paddies offshore. They will become less abundant but remain consistent around the local kelp beds and Coronado Islands as well. With luck, we should soon hear reports of bluefin tuna on the offshore banks. For those so inclined, the warmer water also means mako sharks. They began showing in fair numbers in mid-May and you can expect to find them straight through the summer months and into early fall if conditions remain favorable.
While June usually marks our transition from chasing nearshore species along the coast to pursuing tuna and yellowtail offshore, it’s hard to say when those offshore trips will become worthwhile this year. Normally our offshore season reaches full speed by mid July and runs well into September, but the last few seasons have been tough. On the plus side, most anglers took the solid yellowtail fishing this spring as a good sign of things to come. It’s always best to check with your captain regularly to see what’s happening because we can only tell you what usually happens until season actually starts. Fishing around the kelp beds, however, normally jumps off the charts during the summer months, when a bad day consists of only a few dozen fish. This kind of fishing has the advantages of being close, low-key and wildly productive.
A couple of new things to keep in mind for this year that are radically different from years past are the new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs or MLPAs) and the new visa requirement for fishing coastal Mexican waters (e.g., the Coronado Islands and the Rockpile). While the implementation of the local MLPAs caused a fair amount of ruffled feathers over the winter, the reality is that most of the charter fleet remains unaffected by them here in San Diego.
The new visa requirement for fishing in coastal Mexican waters started out as a nightmare, but seems to have finally resolved itself into a minor–albeit expensive–headache. What anglers need to know is that if they intend to fish within 25 miles of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, they will be required to obtain an FMM visa. You can obtain them at several local landings or directly through the Mexican Consulate in Tijuana. They require an official government ID like a driver’s license or passport and cost up to $40. The FMM is required in addition to your fishing license and all people on board the vessel need them. Make sure you check with your captain when booking to see about their policies regarding this new requirement. Keep in mind that this visa is not necessary if you intend to fish outside of the 25-mile boundary, which includes most of the offshore tuna grounds.
Of course, as with all fishing, the only way to catch, whether or not the bite is wide open, is to be on the water. No one wants to hear “you shoulda been here yesterday,” so that means you should fish today!”