Courtesy Jordan Jennings
Hotspot: San Diego, CA
Species: bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, yellowtail
“All the buzz is about bluefin tuna,” reports Jordan Jennings, an angler and outdoor writer from San Diego, California. Jennings said anglers caught up to 60 pounds of bluefin tuna just nine miles from the beach. Further north, great bluefin tuna are eating kite baits and high-speed trolling plugs. With all the tuna activity, Jennings encourages anglers to start their day with live bait catching dolphins. “We saw a lot of dolphins,” he said.
For Jennings, a typical trip begins with a stop on a bait barge for a spoonful of sardines. He then headed west to southwest looking for floating kelp patties holding dolphins and yellowtails.
He used gyro-stabilized binoculars to scan kelp patties floating in the water. He said the water temperature had been in the mid to mid 70s and the water was clear and blue. Jennings used the online Satfish satellite chart to look for temperature changes and color changes. “We’ve been spoiled by gorgeous weather and less wind than we’ve been in the past few summers.” Early in the morning, winds were 4 to 8 knots, then he expected 10 to 15 o’clock from the west or northwest. rising.
When he found a bunch of floating kelp, he installed a live sardine on a 1/0 to 1 J-hook and a 12-foot long 15- to 30-pound Seaguar Gold fluorocarbon lead. “Hook the sardine with the nose and let it swim above the water, and hook the bait with the butt and let it swim under the kelp,” Jennings instructs. He says the water is clear and bait with a nose hook is best.
When he saw a yellowtail swimming across the water, he turned to his cast rod and a four-foot 50- to 60-pound Seaguar Blue fluorocarbon surface iron.
Once he’s full of dolphins and yellowtail, he’ll work inshore. “The best tuna bites are at low tide in the afternoon,” he said. As Jennings reached offshore locations such as the Nine Mile Bank, he began searching for schools of tuna that fed on the bait pods. He also hunts for work birds and picks terns. If the tuna is actively feeding, he will cast a large topwater popper or stick bait with a 50 to 60 lb fluorocarbon leader. “Since the top water bite is a reactive hit, I use heavier leaders.” If the tuna is picky, he’ll choose live sardines on 1/0 to 2/0 round hook and 20 to 30 lb Seaguar Gold fluorocarbon lead .
Jennings was most excited about the bite of the big bluefin tuna. The traditional big bluefin tactic is to catch a rigged fly from a kite or helium balloon. This year, Jennings said that high-speed trolling with Nomad 200 to 240 Madmacs was just as effective and much easier. He uses a 130-pound pole to pull the bait at 10 to 15 knots. “Trolling is much easier than playing with kites and balloons,” he said.
Jennings expects offshore fishing to remain hot for the rest of the season. “September is my favorite month,” he said. He hopes the water will stay warm in October. “I think we’re going to see more tuna moving west, and then they’re going west offshore to Tanner and Cortez Banks. “We’ve got a lot of great offshore fishing in Southern California, “He says.
- Rod: 7ft Seeker Live Bait
- Reel: PENN Fathom 2 25 narrow
- Wire: 50 lb Yozuri Superbraid
Top Water Tuna:
- Rod: 8ft Seeker Rotary Rod
- Reel: Penn Authority 6500
- Wire: 65 lb Yozuri Superbraid
- Rod: 9ft 3in Seeker Jig Stick
- PENN Fathom 25 Narrow (Star Trailer)
- Wire: 65 lb Yozuri Superbraid
High Speed Trolling:
- Pole: 7ft Seeker OSP Track Pole
- Reel: PENN 50 VISX
- Cord: 130lbs Seaguar Braid
- Leader: 100lbs Seaguar Blue label wind-on