SOUTHERN CALIF.— Hurricane Hilary stirred up waves last month as it churned off the west coast of Mexico and moved toward Southern California. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the tropical cyclone intensified, increasing maximum sustained winds of at least 30 knots (35 mph) in 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued its first-ever tropical storm watch for parts of Southern California (later changed to a warning) as the system approached the coast. The impact of hurricanes on fishing in Southern California would depend on several factors.
- Distance from the Hurricane: If a hurricane were to approach Southern California, its effects could include rough seas, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. In such conditions, it would be unsafe for most fishermen to venture out to sea, and fishing operations would likely be disrupted.
- Fish Behavior: Hurricanes can affect fish behavior. In the lead-up to a hurricane, fish may become more active and feed aggressively. However, as the storm approaches and weather conditions deteriorate, fish often become less active and seek shelter. This can make fishing more challenging.
- Water Quality: Hurricanes can stir up the ocean, leading to changes in water temperature and clarity. Fish may move to different depths or areas in response to these changes, which could affect where and how fishermen target them.
- Safety Concerns: Safety is a top priority when dealing with hurricanes. Fishermen should always prioritize their safety and adhere to any advisories or warnings issued by local authorities. Trying to fish during a hurricane or in its immediate aftermath can be extremely dangerous.
The question of how the tropical storm would affect offshore fishing in the Southern California region is that it has had minimal effect and that the fishery remains suitable for a mix of big game fish such as bluefin tuna, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and yellowtail. For example, Bluefin tuna are a highly migratory species found in both warm and temperate waters worldwide. Their preferred water temperature can vary depending on the life stage and the specific species of bluefin tuna. However, they are known to inhabit waters with temperatures generally ranging from approximately 50°F -77°, making our average 68-degree waters in Southern California perfect for them.
Regardless of whether the fish are still biting, staying updated on weather forecasts and advisories issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) and the NOAA when a hurricane is approaching your area is crucial. Additionally, local fishing authorities or organizations may provide guidance and information specific to your region.