America's Cup Harbor gets extra busy as boats head to the open sea for fishing or whale watching expeditions. San Diego enjoys access to some of the most exciting saltwater sportfishing anywhere in the world, and the sportfishing fleet in Point Loma near Shelter Island is well-suited to meet the demand.
Sportfishing captains sailing out of the harbor are reporting that the dorado, yellowtail and yellowfin tuna are biting. This season schools of tuna and yellowtail are moving in along our coast in large numbers.
The tuna fishing this season is the best it has been in years, with many anglers catching 50-pound fish.
"People from all over the world come here to fish," said Andrew Correia, general manager at Fisherman's Landing.
Residents and visitors can choose a half-day fishing trip a few miles out to sea to catch yellowtail, multi-day trips to catch offshore tuna, and two-week long range fishing expeditions beyond the tip of Baja California where tuna in excess of 300 pounds are caught.
Fishing is not the only option. For the last four or five years, six-hour whalewatching trips during the summer have increased in popularity as residents and visitors look for Blue Whales, which are the largest creatures on earth and can be over 90 feet long, or finback whales, the second largest whale. The whales, known for both their size and relaxed temperament, seem to thrive in our southern California ocean—more than a thousand were sighted in 2010.
Blue Whale watching trips will be offered through October 18, 2012.
Gray Whale watching trips are scheduled to begin in mid-December, and continue daily until Spring 2013. Every year, the Gray Whales migrate along the West Coast between their feeding grounds in the waters off Alaska and breeding grounds in Baja California.
Whether one wants to fish or look for giant ocean mammals, the sportfishing fleet's first class accommodations are touted as the world's largest and most modern.
"The redevelopment of the sportfishing landings was an integral part of the revitalization of America's Cup Harbor," said Kristine Zortman, senior asset manager in the Port of San Diego's Real Estate Department.
The new Fisherman's Landing, at 2838 Garrison Street, was built slightly north of the original building to make room for a large public plaza and improved access to the waterfront promenade that affords views of the sportfishing fleet and downtown San Diego. The old buildings were demolished.
The project included enhancing the public area that connects the three businesses with a new, widened public promenade and a public artwork.
The total cost for the redevelopment was $3.5 million. Under the Port's tenant percent-for-art policy, Port tenants are required to allocate one percent of the total project cost toward artwork.
Today, a sculpture titled "Sportfishing Legacy" graces the plaza and pays tribute to the San Diego sportfishing industry. The artwork features a bronze bust of the late Bill Poole, a captain, businessman and boat designer who built up the sportfishing business in San Diego and designed many of the sportfishing boats that still carry fishermen out to the Pacific.
The bronze bust is portrayed at the top of a rocky seamount. Suspended around the seamount are metal silhouettes of tuna and yellowtail. Curved acrylic panels etched with the names of many of the area's sportfishing vessels and popular fishing destinations are also included in the artwork.
It was created by Bill Watts, an artist and architect, and Craig Hill, a former display curator for Sea World.
"The tenant artwork not only enhances the area, but commemorates the leadership of Bill Poole and the many sportfishing vessel captains who have championed this business for decades," said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Lou Smith at the April 2012 sculpture dedication ceremony.
About the Port:
The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest of the 11 ports in California. It was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City , and San Diego.
The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 18 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.
The Port of San Diego is an economic engine, an environmental steward of San Diego Bay and the surrounding tidelands, and a provider of community services and public safety.