OUTDOORS / PETE THOMAS : Mackerel Make Way for Dorado

It's business as usual off the South Bay coast, with sand bass and barracuda roaming hungrily in huge schools and light-tackle anglers reeling them in to no end.

But things are getting interesting.

At the Isle of Redondo barge, mackerel are usually so prevalent that many anglers consider them pests. But in the past few days, the mackerel have had to share the water around the deep-sea barge with exotics.

According to Redondo Sportfishing owner John Glackin, dorado have sought refuge beneath the barge and the brightly hued dolphinfish have been chasing bait, though none has been caught.

"They hook one once in a while, but they're the big guys, though, so (the anglers) get dusted pretty quick," Glackin said.

However, five yellowtail--the largest an 18-pounder--were landed on the barge Tuesday and three more were taken Wednesday by 9:30 a.m. And bonito, a late visitor to local waters, have arrived in force. Barge anglers landed 240 on Tuesday and the bite remained steady Wednesday.

The mackerel seemed undaunted by this intrusion, however. Anglers reeled in 1,000 of the slippery fish on Tuesday.


Fishermen aboard Malibu Sportfishing's Aquarius on Friday morning were pulling 2- to 3-pound calico bass from the kelp when a black seabass, estimated at 80 pounds, emerged from the depths.

"It was swimming around in morning and everybody got a good look at it," said Phil Campanella at the landing.

An hour or so later, the seabass surfaced again, but this time it inhaled a calico bass an angler was reeling in. The angler in turn reeled in the seabass. The crew quickly unhooked the seabass and set it free because the species is protected by law.

The Aquarius' fish count on Friday was 193 calico bass, 37 barracuda, 19 sand bass, two rockfish, two sculpin, one halibut, one sheephead and an 80-pound black seabass, released.


Landings from Redondo to Long Beach are sending boats twice a week to the outer banks in search of tuna.

Although the boats are finding some fish, the bite is far from wide open.

L.A. Harbor's First String returned Tuesday morning with 18 bluefin tuna and two yellowtail.


South Bay anglers getting the most for their money: Jaeis Chon of Torrance, a 68.5-pound bluefin during a trip aboard the Shogun; Ray Hawkes of Torrance, a 35-pound yellowtail aboard the Aztec; Roy Agee of Long Beach, a 34-pound yellowtail aboard the Southern Cal; Joe Miller of Gardena, a 30-pound yellowtail aboard the Toronado and David Duran of Long Beach, a 22-pound yellowtail aboard the Blackjack.


On a trip aboard the Tracer out of San Diego, Peter Villanueva, Bruce Root and Marcel Ross, all of San Pedro, caught tuna ranging from 47 to 66 pounds.

On a 6 1/2-day trip to Cedros Island off Baja California, anglers aboard the Shogun sacked 52 bluefin, two yellowfin, 134 yellowtails, 410 calico bass, six dorado and one grouper.


Top honors go to Ron Smothers of the Marina del Rey anglers and Rick Oefinger of Marina del Rey Sportfishing's Del Mar.

On Wednesday, Smothers brought 30 underprivileged children from the Crenshaw YMCA aboard Oefinger's boat and the kids proceeded to have the time of their lives in Santa Monica Bay.

Oefinger, through the marine operator, said that as of 9:30 a.m. the children, most of whom were fishing for the first time, were all smiles as they reeled in sand bass and an occasional barracuda.

"The kids are having a ball, you can probably hear it in the background," Oefinger said. "One kid is reeling in a three-pound sand bass as we speak."

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