Offshore happenings spark Labor Day

JIM NIEMIEC

Labor Day weekenders should be able to find plenty to do outdoors.

Fair weather is predicted for the beaches and fishing might be the

perfect type of recreation to end the summer season. Marlin showed

again between Catalina and San Clemente islands after becoming nearly

a no-show during the full moon. Yellowtail and Dorado are being found

under some of the floating kelp patties in the channel, white seabass

and calicos are biting at San Clemente Island and off shore waters

are still producing some pretty good scores on albacore and tuna. The

water along the coast is warm and full of small bonito and mackerel

while the surf line has been pretty consistent for barred perch,

yellowfin croaker and small leopard sharks.

This writer teamed up with Drew Lawler of Bay Shores and local

angler Bill DePriest aboard Lawler's deluxe sportfisher, Escape, to

compete in the Church Mouse Marlin tournament earlier in the week.

Even though we didn't get a spikebill to jump on any of the five

marlin lures trolled off the stern of the 38-footer, we covered a lot

of good looking water that should produce pretty fair marlin fishing

over the holiday period. There were at least a dozen fish released

during the tournament and that's not a very high number for the 89

boats that competed, but the event did raise money for the kids of

Catalina Island.

The EAL sonic lure, manufactured by Sevenstrand, has been the

hottest marlin lure of the season. The new lure gives off actual

acoustical sounds that are emitted by frightened baitfish and

Sevenstrand engineers incorporated this same resonance into a

computer chip and designed a big fishing lure around the unit.

According to the specs the lure attracts billfish from meters around

when trolled off the stern of a sportfisher. The cost of an EAL No. 7

is $249, a smaller version lists for $199 and batteries, lasting for

six to eight hours, sell for $10. Many local anglers are hearing

about the lure, so J.D. at J.D.'s Big Game Tackle on Balboa Island is

renting EAL lures by the day. For more details on this lure or for an

update on fishing conditions in the channel call J.D. at (949)

723-0883.

Offshore fishing has been good for big albacore and schooled up

yellowfin tuna between the 43 Fathom spot and Airplane Bank for boats

making runs to the outer waters. There is still a ton of fish holding

off Baja Norte, which only means good things for Newport's fleet of

overnight sportfishers. The Bongos II, captained by Skip Driggers,

has been mixing trips to off shore high spots and the islands with

equal success returning daily to the dock at Davey's Locker with

albacore, tuna, Dorado, big yellowtail, white seabass and lots of

legal calico bass.

Captain Drew Cosgrove of Newport Beach headed the Sweet Thing, a

35-foot Cabo, out to the warm waters off Clemente and scored on

yellowtail for his anglers. On board was Rob Meinhardt of Newport who

reeled in a 25-pound yellowtail, released a number of smaller

forktails and then topped off the day by landing a 23-pound halibut

that bit a sardine as the Cabo drifted just off Salt Creek.

Surf fishing should continue to be good all along the Newport

coast. The water temperature is holding at 68 degrees, there are

plenty of sand crabs for bait and fish are biting best just before

low tide. Strong currents during the full moon moved the bait along

the beach a little too fast last weekend, but these conditions should

back off and there are some pretty good tides coming up to fish early

in the morning and late in the evening according to the tide book.

Fishing off the East Cape has been wide open for sailfish,

yellowfin tuna, Dorado and blue marlin. The water temperature is

currently holding at 87 degrees and there is plenty of bait to hold

billfish and exotics along the resort beach well into the hurricane

season. My wife, Toni, and I were invited down by Esaul Valdez to

spend a few days fishing out of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. The

timing couldn't have been better as a wide-open bite on Pacific

sailfish exploded just a few miles off the white beach. All the fast

sportfishers in the Buena Vista fleet returned to the dock with

"catch and release" flags waving in the warm breeze. Even though blue

marlin fishing was on the slow side, there were still good numbers of

striped marlin in the area and big schools of yellowfin and Dorado

were fished within a 20-minute run from the resort. For information

on heading down to the East Cape to tap these prolific fishing

grounds contact the resort at (800) 752-3555.

California Coastal Clean Up Day is slated for Sept. 18 and

everyone should plan to spend some time along the beaches to help

pick up trash and other debris that has drifted ashore. Conservation

groups, businesses and concerned individuals are supporting this

effort. People will be gathering along Pacific beaches early Saturday

morning but official clean up hours are from 9 a.m. until noon. To

find out more about how you can participate in this worthwhile effort

to enhance our beautiful beaches log on to their website at

www.coastforyou.org.

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