There are still tuna at the outer banks, yellowtail at Rocky Point, but the most consistent fishing has been inside King Harbor.
Of course you won't find tuna or yellowtail in the Redondo Beach marina, but if things are anything like they were the last couple of days, you will find plenty of bonito, which on light tackle or a fly rod provide quite a challenge.
"It's been fairly consistent because there are a lot of bonito in the harbor right now," said Lucas Newberg at Rocky Point Marine Fuels, where the skiff rental operation is run. "The fish aren't big, about two or three pounds, but they're all over."
Unfortunately, so are sea lions, which are adding to the challenge by chasing down hooked bonito in their attempts to get an easier meal.
"They're more of a problem when there are only a couple of guys out because they just go back and forth from boat to boat," Newburg said. "But when there are more people out, you have a better chance of landing your fish."
As for tuna and yellowtail and practically all game fish that visit local waters--they're simply not biting. Not in any quantity, anyway.
"It's all the fish, not just the tuna," said Bob Nemecek at Redondo Sportfishing.
Anglers aboard Redondo's boats can't help but be frustrated, watching yellowtail breeze about beneath the boat but not doing much catching.
"But we're still seeing them every day," Nemecek said.
The Sea Spray returned to King Harbor on Friday with three yellowtail and the City of Redondo came back with five, all about 7-8 pounds.
There were none caught last weekend, but the bite picked up on Wednesday. Anglers aboard the City of Redondo had landed five yellowtail and lost six more as of 11 a.m.
"And these fish are a little bigger, in the 10-pound class," said Les MacFarland at the landing.
Anglers aboard South Bay-based vessels still making overnight trips to the outer banks are encountering similar problems, often seeing plenty of tuna but not getting many to bite.
It's the same situation for the calico bass in the kelp north of Malibu, where an outstanding bass bite had been in progress for most of the summer. "We know they're there; they're just not biting," said Phil Campanella at the landing.
Longtime Santa Monica Bay fisherman Jerry Indik caught a 6 1/2-foot, 115-pound mako shark less than a mile off El Segundo's Dockweiler Beach in about 85 feet of water. Indik, a businessman, and retired Times news editor Warren Girard were aboard Indik's 32-foot Luhrs, out of Marina Del Rey.
The mako took a foot-long mackerel fished at 40-50 feet about 10 a.m. The shark made several spectacular leaps over the course of the 45-minute fight.
Other South Bay catches: Ron Dennis of Manhattan Beach, a 34-pound bluefin tuna on the Shogun at Santa Catalina Island; Ron McQueen of Long Beach, a 25-0 halibut on the Victory at Horseshoe Kelp; Oscar Laieinaga of West L.A., an 18-0 yellowtail on the Sea Spray at Rocky Point; Will McFly of Long Beach, a 14-8 yellowtail on the Toronado at Cortez Bank; John Popov of San Pedro, a 17-0 sheephead on the First String at Cortez Bank, and Dick Horton of Rancho Palos Verdes, a 12-0 lingcod on the Matt Walsh at Horseshoe Kelp.
Fresh water: Jake Jacobson of Marina del Rey, a 4-8 rainbow trout at Green Valley Lake.
South Bay landings are slowly adding more rock cod and shallow water rockfish trips to the schedules, and limits of the sluggish-but-tasty fish have been the rule. . . . Marlin fishing remains slow offshore, with only three being checked in at Avalon this month--all on Sunday. But then, not many are fishing for the billfish these days.
Giant seabass (black seabass) seem to be showing more frequently in the counts in recent weeks, perhaps an indication that the protected species is coming back after being nearly fished out in the early- and mid-1900s. The latest was an estimated 100-pound plus seabass caught last weekend aboard Malibu Pier Sportfishing's Aquarius. "They're endangered so we have to let them go and it's not always easy," landing operator Phil Campanella said. "Sometimes their air-bladder inflates when they are brought up and we have to deflate it with a needle; otherwise they can't swim back down, but this last one wasn't a problem; they just put it in the net and removed the hook and it swam away."