San Diego Bluefin tuna vs Spain Tuna and Yummee Flyers Gummy Flying Fish Lures
(Picture from Gibraltar)
What a rush for California residents! Three years now of bluefin tuna action just off the coast of San Diego. But these fish are finicky, they won’t eat just anything and sometimes nothing at all.
We set out to fish and speak with a variety of the anglers targeting these beasts on a regular basis. Our study consisted of 8 charter captains and 4 weekend warrior boat owning fishermen. We have chosen not to include the names in the article but more than happy to provide details on an individual basis if requested. We interviewed and spoke with sport fishermen from San Diego to Long Beach and though opinions vary, there is at least a somewhat clear consensus that kite fishing gets them to eat more than non-kite fishing.
But clearly the case is not closed on how to catch these amazing fish. What Lure to use, what color, bait, poppers jigs, etc. Some of the people we spoke with at point loma had similar ideas, while others were entirely separate. This was true of some Oceanside and Dana Point bluefin fishing enthusiast as well as Long Beach. Each Harbor / Marina had their own opinions that varied and so did each city along this coast.
It became apparent that 3 years fishing for bluefin tuna is not enough to determine what works.
If you go Wahoo fishing in Magdalena Bay sure some opinions might vary, but you would be hard pressed to find too many people disagreeing on what works for the Wahoo and what does not. For the most part the answers will be similar because over the past 30 years sport fishermen and sport fishing teams have targeted these wahoo, shared ideas and figured out a general consensus at least on the style of fishing.
The same is true of fishing in Cabo San Lucas. If your goal is to target marlin in Cabo, and you book a charter, most captains are going to use very similar tactics. Some might work harder than others, have little tricks here and there, but overall the tactics will be quite similiar.
But the bluefin in California still seem to be an unknown. It is not to say that a couple people we spoke with did seem to think they have it down to a science, and they very well might, but definitely the jury is still out on any concrete overall consensus. It seems that a small majority favorite of our interviews was a yummee flyer flying fish lure rigged on a kite and even with a stinger hook.
Most of the people we interviewed seemed to think this was viable, but still admit it mostly does not work as you simply have to “get lucky” to get one to go for it.
Other options that seemed to sometimes work were to throw poppers at them, jigs, cast anchovies and sardines, mackerel on the kite and only a few said trolling will also work and these same few actually had great success with the magbay lightning and the halco 170 trolling farther back that you would for wahoo.
By nature southern California sport fishermen are not big on trolling at all. We fish with live bait, throw surface irons, jig the bottom, cut bait, but trolling is more of a last option over a first. This has been bred into our nature over our entire lives growing up fishing So Cal. I am beginning to wonder if this “upbringing” of the so Cal angler is now actually counter productive in figuring out this bluefin fishery.
This is true of anything in life, right? Our pre-formed conceptions often give us valuable insight, but they also often cause us to fail to see value in new ideas.
MagBay Lures as a team will be putting together a trip this summer soon and using some pro staff to see if maybe, just maybe, there is some potential to “tease” these fish like they do in Gibraltar and off the coast of Scicily in the Mediterranean sea or on the east coast of the united states. There are Spanish fishermen who would catch 100+ bluefin trolling alone in a very short season off the coast of Seville. Those days appear to be gone in the Mediterranean sea for blue fin tuna fishing, but still during the season they do quite well. We are in discussions with some Spanish companies about their fishery and how they get the bluefin to bite. This fishery has been there for literally hundreds of years. Some real salty fishermen off the coast of Gibraltar and Andalucía using trolling tactics that make them a living, even today, in the very short season allowed and the scarcity of the bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.
We believe fishermen can learn a lot from traveling and trying to understand techniques outside of their local techniques. We believe there are some better ways to get these bluefin tuna to the deck (or if not better let’s just say “other or additional” methods that might work in some situations).
Keep an open mind and we will report back on this San Diego Bluefin Tuna fishery and what we continue to learn. They might be here to stay, and if that is the case we need to learn all we can about them.