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Sperm Whale Visits 'Voyager'

Also inside: The 'Redondo Special' finds itself near a Coast Guard search and the latest in fishing news.

Passengers on the Redondo Beach-based whale watching boat out of spotted a sperm whale Monday. Just before that, the lucky group of whale watchers also saw a minke whale breach—jump out of the water—11 times. Sperm whales are toothed whales that prey almost exclusively on squid, and they’re not seen all that often off Southern California.

The whale spotted Monday off the Palos Verdes Peninsula is believed to be the same whale that has been seen multiple times in the same general area since it was first photo-documented aboard the Voyager in 1996.

Observers have also spotted lots of blue whales from Dana Point to Santa Barbara. Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach reported seeing eight of the giant whales on their 11:30 a.m. trip on Wednesday.

Redondo Special gets caught up in sunken panga ordeal

The half-day Redondo Special unwittingly headed on a collision course with a myriad of law enforcement agencies Tuesday. Captain Brian Walker had been having excellent fishing near Bluff Cove, so he pointed the bow of the half-day boat in that direction.

That same day, a in the very same area where the Redondo Special had been making excellent catches. 

Walker could see there was a commotion in the distance, so he lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes. He could see two Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department boats, two Coast Guard boats, two lifeguard boats, several paddleboarders and a Coast Guard helicopter flying low.

To add to the spectacle, there were at least five news helicopters hovering above for live, breaking news coverage.

“Damn, that’s just where I wanted to fish,” said Walker under his breath.

Walker and his 23 passengers had been fishing a less desirable spot from the time they had arrived on the Redondo Special. Fishing was slow. Walker decided to pull anchor and move to where the panga was now under-tow behind a lifeguard vessel.

“They’re never going to let us fish here,” said 16-year old passenger Patrick Friedman. Walker moved to within 50 yards of one of the sheriffs’ boats on scene and gave the order to a crew member to drop anchor. The sheriffs never said a word, and the Special started catching big calico bass.

“It was wild,” said Ebersman. “A sunken panga was being towed off our stern, Coast Guard boats were buzzing around, and helicopters zooming overhead while we caught lots of big calico bass. Now that’s s fishing trip.”

“I’m just glad the captain moved the boat,” said Patrick. “I caught a nice halibut for fish tacos.”

Kids welcome at fishing derby

The 48th annual Huntington Beach Huck Finn Fishing Derby will be held at the Huntington Beach Pier on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Children up to 15 years of age are welcome to this free fishing event where they can win prizes for everything from fishing to best Huck Finn or Becky Thatcher costume!   

Prizes include bikes, skateboards, fishing poles and fishing passes. Rods and reels are being provided by the Department of Fish and Game, and every child in attendance will receive a free fishing trip ($60 value) from Long Beach Marina Sportfishing. Philip Friedman Outdoors will have volunteers on scene to help you catch more fish.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. at the end of the pier.

San Diego, Baja Tuna bite breaks open

San Diego tuna have been biting better this week than they have all season. The fish are still about 120-140 miles from Point Loma but they have been biting with a vengeance at times. It’s by far, the best fishing of 2011

The Pacific Voyager from Seaforth Sportfishing reported catching 189 bluefin tuna, 104 yellowfin tuna, five albacore, 12 dorado and 14 yellowtail during a 3-day trip earlier in the week. On Wednesday afternoon, the Islander caught more than 100 tuna, mostly 12- to 18-pound bluefin with a few bigger yellowfin tuna mixed in. The New Lo-An was nearing 80 tuna by 5 p.m. Wednesday and reported vast schools of the tasty tuna, while the Searcher caught limits during their four-day trip. The Searcher’s limits came after only two days of fishing.

The weather was much nicer this week, making finding big schools of tuna easier. We are also have a full moon in play, which can spur a bluefin bite.

Some species of fish, like bluefin tuna, have a penchant for biting better during full moon periods. White sea bass and blue marlin are a couple of other fish that like dining during the full moon.

The tuna are biting near San Martin Island, 140 miles south of the Mexican-American border. The Mexican Navy has been stopping boats on a regular basis and asking for passports, so bring your passport any time you cross in to Mexican waters.

Squid good for calico bass

There is also very good calico bass fishing on the kelp lines from La Jolla to Palos Verdes. The key to a good bite is water temperature—it should be at least 65 degrees. Live and freshly killed squid have been the best baits, but anchovies and sardines have worked as well.

Surf fishing good by Channel Islands

Surf fishing enthusiasts are seeing great fishing along Channel Islands beaches from San Clemente to Santa Barbara. Barred perch, corbina, spotfin croaker and a few halibut have been around, too. The fish bite best on six-pound test line with a No. 6 hook and a quarter-ounce sliding egg sinker.

San Clemente Island has also been kicking out some yellowtail, good calico bass and a few white sea bass.

Catalina Island has been providing anglers with some good calico bass fishing along with bonito, barracuda and a few white sea bass and halibut.

Barracuda bite hit-and-miss

The barracuda bite has been very inconsistent. There have been excellent barracuda catches one day followed by poor fishing the next. The best sand bass fishing has been on evening and twilight trips.

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