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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, May 17, 2019
FISH BITE GOOD WHEN WEATHER ALLOWS


Jumbo sized bluefin tuna biting!
The past week of fishing has been another good one that has been highlighted by big bluefin tuna and yellowtail that have been biting offshore. The past few days have seen more of the jumbo sized bluefin tuna included in the mix with a 275 pound bluefin tuna caught aboard the American Angler out of Point Loma Sportfishing on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Wednesday's catch aboard the American Angler was a very good one with a fish count of 35 bluefin tuna and 37 yellowtail. The size of their bluefin was very impressive with most in the 60- to 80-pound range. What put it over the top was that in addition to all their 60- to 80-pound bluefin they also caught three of the 140-pound bluefin along with bluefin of 233 pounds and 275 pounds!

Wednesday's catch aboard the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing was also very impressive one with 30 anglers aboard a 1.5 day trip catching limits of bluefin tuna, which was 60 bluefin tuna. The size of the bluefin in their catch was very impressive with most in the 50 to 80-pound range along with two of the 130-pound bluefin and a whopping 270-pound bluefin.


The best zone for the bluefin is spread around in the regions of the 371 Bank, 390 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank in an area that ranges from 30 to 45 miles 180 to 210 degrees from Point Loma. The bluefin have been ranging from 25 to 275 pounds with most falling within the 40- to 80-pound range.


Bluefin action has been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of puddling fish, spots of breaking fish and spots of breezing fish. Some of the best stops have been started by finding a meter mark or sonar mark to stop in the dark.


Sardines and flat fall jigs have been working for the bluefin with flylined sardines working best. Using flying fish or mackerel would also be effective for targeting the larger bluefin. It is nice to be able to carry live bait outfits with fluorocarbon leader sizes ranging from 30-pound test to 100-pound test to be able to use an appropriate leader size based on how aggressive the bluefin are and what size fish you are encountering in the school of fish you are working.


Kelp paddie yellowtail help to supplement the bluefin fishing and the right kelp paddie can produce very good action. Most of the yellowtail have been running between 4 and 12 pounds.

There has not been much news coming from the Coronado Islands lately as the yellowtail fishing slowed last weekend. The slowing of the yellowtail bite at the Coronados coincided with the improvement of the bluefin and kelp paddie yellowtail fishing in local offshore waters and this prompted most of the boats that had been fishing full day trips to the Coronado Islands to switch over to running offshore full day trips.


This morning is Friday morning, May 3, 2019 and there was a report of a few bonito biting around the Coronados for a boat that was trolling feathers off the weather side of North Island. Places that were providing yellowtail action before the bite slipped last weekend were the hard bottom to the northeast of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the 5 Minute Kelp, the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge.


Most of the schools of yellowtail were being located by finding sonar marks and meter marks but there were also spots of fish found under working birds. Private boaters also had some success in locating schools of yellowtail to fish with bait and jigs by getting trolling strikes on trolled X-Rap Rapalas.


Once located, yellowtail were been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron, sardines fished on a dropper loop rig and flylined sardines. Fish the yellows on the surface if you can get the flylined bait or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Try the yo-yo iron or the dropper loop fished sardine if the fish are holding deep or have sounded by the time you get to the spot.


Good yo-yo jig choices would include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. Good surface iron jig choices would include Tady 45's and Salas 7X lights in blue and white, mint and sardine colors.


The fishing for an assortment of rockfish around the Coronado Islands has also been very good. Good areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in 35 to 50 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish and sculpin and the upper end of La Jolla produced some yellowtail action for the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing on Thursday afternoon, May 2, 2019. The New Seaforth posted an afternoon half-day trip count of 10 anglers catching 27 calico bass, 6 yellowtail, 2 rockfish and 1 sand bass. Seaforth Sportfishing reports that the yellowtail were nice sized fish that were up in the 20- to 25-pound class.


Look for sonar marks, meter marks and spots of fish working on the surface to locate the yellowtail at La Jolla. A good depth range is in 14 to 20 fathoms of water. Fish the yellowtail on the surface if you can get a mackerel, sardine or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Otherwise, fish the yellows deep with yo-yo iron or a dropper loop rig fished sardine or mackerel. Private boaters might also want to try slow trolling with live sardines or live mackerel.


The upper and middle parts of La Jolla are also providing good calico bass kelp bed fishing. The best calico bass fishing in the kelp beds has been during the afternoon hours.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mixed bag of reds, rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, whitefish and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod and halibut biting.


Productive rockfish areas remain the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure area at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


There have been a few halibut biting in coastal areas. Some productive halibut areas include the sandy bottom near the Aliso Pipeline off South Laguna Beach, Box Canyon, the area outside of the Oceanside Pier, the sandy bottom off South Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower located outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck located outside of Mission Beach, San Diego Bay and while fishing sandy bottom areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier.


San Clemente Island was good for yellowtail last week but the bite slowed down and was pretty scratchy during this week. Good news is that the yellowtail bite has picked up today (Friday, May 3, 2019) with better numbers of yellows being metered and biting compared to what was being found during the week.


The best of the yellowtail activity has been found along the inside western and middle part of the Island between Gold Bluff and White Rock. Sonar marks, meter marks and the occasional spot of fish found working on the surface are leading to action. Sardines, surface iron and yo-yo iron have been working best once yellowtail are located.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of timely and accurate information.


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