This past weekend, Lori Heath and I went on a 1.5-day trip on “Old Glory” with Captain Kley Williams, who had received information that there were signs of bluefin and yellowtail southwest of San Diego. So we headed to that zone looking for tuna and yellowtail paddies.
We had good weather and stopped several times in the dark and early morning on deep tuna marks. One angler got hit but did not connect. As the sun came up, we spotted jumping tuna and were excited to know we were in an area holding fish. Late morning we slid up to a kelp paddy, and it was “game on” for 7 to 12-pound yellowtail on flylined sardines, yoyo jigs, colt snipers, and surface irons!
Congratulations to the winners for their remarkable achievement under harsh conditions: Team Pelagic Gear, with Victor Julio Pizarro, Captain and Jeffrey Aaron, angler; Daniel Arieta, angler, mate, Tony Berkowitz, angler, Brandon Cotton, angler, Mario Cubillo, angler & mate, Joe Frizzelle, angler, Kevin Hibbard angler & mate, Ron Kawaja, angler, Chris Raya, angler for their 319-pound Black Marlin, the only qualifying billfish landed in the two days of fishing. The catch earned them an astonishing $863,480.
“Gary, Have you ever tried to explain that amberjacks are extremely rare in Baja? And that all the fish being identified as amberjacks recently are really Almaco jacks?” texted Steve Crooke, Scientific Adviser for the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) providing biological assistance for both State and Federally managed fisheries and who worked for the California Department of Fish and Game for 38 years.
Almaco jacks are much more robust, shorter, and stockier in their bodies, plus they feature a dark bar that extends through the eye to the base of the dorsal. The few amberjack Crooke has seen, traveled down the Mexican coast and to the south. He did count a few gill rakers to be sure.
Regardless of what you call them Amber or Almaco, they are biting now!
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