By Zach Cavanagh

Cooper Allen (left) poses with his 212-pound swordfish, dad Cliff and mom Devon. Photo courtesy of Devon Allen.

Before going into the regularly scheduled weekly fish report, an astounding catch was made on a private boat out of Dana Point Harbor.

Cooper Allen, a 15-year-old from San Clemente, pulled in a surprise catch on a family fishing trip on Sunday, Aug. 18.

The Allen family took a private fishing trip on the Cliffhanger out of Dana Point Harbor looking for some tuna. However, 12 miles off San Onofre, Cooper Allen caught what his mom Devon called “the pinnacle of a fisherman’s career.”

On a rod and reel hooked with a mackerel as live bait, Allen pulled in a 212-pound swordfish. Without the proper gear, Allen managed to fight and haul in the fish after a seven-hour battle.

In the weekly report out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, Captain Brian Woolley said the fishing has “had its differences for us,” with highs and lows.

Bass fishing has hit a lull with cooler and off-color water. There are plenty of catches coming in, but the vast majority are undersized fish, requiring a catch and release. Woolley would like some water movement and current to mix things up a bit.

At Catalina Island, the bass action has been better, along with catches of yellowtail, bonito and barracuda. Yellowtail have been in the 12-20-pound range. Boats on offshore trips have also picked up, with yellowtail, dorado and yellowfin tuna showing up.

For more information on fishing trips, check out


Here are the latest fish counts out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching:

Aug. 21 – 4 boats, 93 anglers: 160 yellowfin tuna, 1 dorado, 1 bonito, 120 rockfish, 90 vermilion rockfish, 28 calico bass, 15 sand bass, 40 whitefish, 14 bocaccio, 15 sheephead, 311 bass released.

Aug. 20 – 7 boats, 227 anglers: 4 bluefin tuna, 2 yellowfin tuna, 63 yellowtail, 58 calico bass, 3 sand bass, 1 sculpin, 10 sheephead, 5 whitefish, 6 rockfish, 1 barracuda, 2 bonito, 1 halibut, 3 sanddab, 1 sargo, 6 blue perch, 2 opal eye, 1 triggerfish, 246 bass released.

Aug. 19 – 6 boats, 157 anglers: 1 yellowtail, 52 calico bass, 8 sand bass, 4 sculpin, 11 sheephead, 8 whitefish, 49 rockfish, 13 vermilion rockfish, 8 bocaccio, 2 bonito, 1 halibut, 1 triggerfish, 361 bass released.

Aug. 18 – 8 boats, 307 anglers: 100 yellowfin tuna, 4 yellowtail, 51 calico bass, 5 sand bass, 5 sculpin, 11 sheephead, 5 whitefish, 4 rockfish, 11 bonito, 1 triggerfish, 2 blue perch, 653 bass released.

Aug. 17 – 10 boats, 203 anglers: 110 yellowfin tuna, 3 bluefin tuna, 78 calico bass, 10 sand bass, 1 sculpin, 6 sheephead, 5 whitefish, 22 vermilion rockfish, 1 barracuda, 931 bass released.

Aug. 16 – 11 boats, 253 anglers: 26 yellowfin tuna, 9 yellowtail, 1 dorado, 23 calico bass, 8 sand bass, 2 sculpin, 3 sheephead, 36 whitefish, 11 rockfish, 128 vermilion rockfish, 6 barracuda, 4 bonito, 1 copper rockfish, 22 sanddab, 4 blue perch, 2 salmon grouper, 270 bass released.


Zach Cavanagh
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.

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