Add opah to the list of exotic catches made off Southern California during the El Niño-like summer of 2014.
A 50-pound opah was caught Sunday morning by Tosh Williams aboard the Fury, which runs from Dana Wharf Sportfishing.
The Fury was on an overnight excursion that departed for the fishing grounds Saturday night. The catch was made 50 miles south of Dana Point, about 22 miles east of San Clemente Island.
The crew stopped the vessel and turned on the bright lights at about 4 a.m. Sunday. After some chumming of anchovies, bluefin tuna arrived under the boat, and anglers began hooking bluefin.
The opah was caught at first light.
Capt. Curtis Dailey said another opah was probably hooked–opah fight differently than tuna–but was lost before it could be seen.
Opah are mostly solitary fish that live in tropical and temperate waters. They’re occasionally caught in years when El Niño conditions are not present, but catches are associated with warm-water events such as an El Niño.
It’s unclear how many other opah have been caught by Southern California anglers this summer. One was reportedly caught a couple of weeks ago off Marina del Rey.
The Fury’s count for Sunday was 21 bluefin, 11 yellowtail, one dorado and one opah.
Fishing remains hot and cold for these these exotics, which are not typically caught in these numbers, in U.S. waters, this early in the season.