|Spring is just a few days away and the yellowtail activity at the Coronado Islands is looking more "spring like" every day. There have been three-quarter day sportboat trips fishing around the Coronados most every day and they have usually been finding a chance at biting yellowtail at some point during day.
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On Thursday, March 16, 2017 Western Outdoor News Editor Pat McDonell went out fishing aboard the three-quarter day trip on the Malihini out of H&M Landing and reported about the trip. They had a fish count of 9 anglers catching 4 yellowtail and 42 rockfish. Pat reported that they had a few good shots at yellowtail late in the day and that they had at least 7 yellowtail hookups that resulted in the 4 yellows that were boated. The yellowtail were all quality sized fish that were in the 15- to 20-pound class.
The yellowtail were found from sonar marks found along the weather side of North Island and the yellows would come up in good numbers and boil around on the chummed sardines when they stopped and chummed over a sonar mark. They could not get the yellowtail to bite on the live sardines that had hooks in them and all their hookups came on iron. They had most of their hookups on yo-yoed iron but also hooked and caught 2 of their yellowtail on surface iron.
McDonell reported that the showings of yellowtail boiling around on their chum were very impressive and said that a person would think that they would have been able to hook a lot more fish than what were actually biting. There were quite a few seals around and he thought the seals might have been a reason that the yellows were on the touchy side. The water conditions went from being cold and green in the morning to being clean and 62 degrees during the late afternoon hours when the current switched around and started running downhill. The yellowtail action picked up in the late afternoon when the current ran downhill and the water conditions improved. The change in conditions when the current started to run downhill was like turning on a yellowtail switch.
The rockfish fishing was reported to be on the picky side. They tried rockfish spots off North Island and also below South Island and could not find a good rockfish bite.
The Malihini's best yellowtail catch of the week was on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 when 8 anglers on a three-quarter day trip caught 9 yellowtail and 32 rockfish.
Boats fishing 1.5 day trips down the Mexican coast to fish off Punta Colnett continue to catch a nice mix of yellowtail, lingcod, reds, bonito and assorted rockfish. Some counts from boats that fished the Punta Colnett area on Saturday, March 11, 2017 were the Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing that had 35 anglers on a 1.5 day trip return with 40 yellowtail, 17 bonito, 36 reds and 90 rockfish. Seaforth Sportfishing had the Pacific Voyager fishing a 1.5 day trip that had 7 anglers catch 13 yellowtail and 30 reds.
Harry Okuda of the Alfresco III reported fishing on a 1.5 day trip aboard the Old Glory out of H&M Landing on Saturday, March 11, 2017 that had 19 anglers catch 38 yellowtail, 13 bonito and 82 rockfish. Okuda reported that the yellowtail were biting best on yo-yoed iron that was dropped down to meter marks that were found with scanning sonar and he mentioned the heavy Salas 6X and a heavy Candy Bar jig to be two standout jigs. Good colors were reported to be dorado, scrambled egg and a red crab like red. Okuda reported that 3 of the anglers aboard the trip caught their limits of yellowtail.
Recent weeks have seen occasional bluefin tuna encounters for boats fishing outside of Punta Colnett, Punta Camalu and at the offshore waters outside of San Martin Island with an occasional bluefin being caught. Okuda reported that one of the boats fishing the Punta Colnett area on the day he was fishing on the Old Glory saw a spot of puddling bluefin while they were drifting over a yellowtail meter mark but he added that no bluefin were hooked.
Last weekend saw a couple of boats out looking for bluefin in more local offshore waters. One of the reports was from a private boater Skipper at the 302 Spot who had caught a 12 pound yellowtail from a kelp paddie but had not seen any bluefin activity. Another private boater report from the 43 Fathom Spot was of some nice looking 60.5 degree water, some bait and porpoise but no signs of bluefin tuna.
Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast report occasional showings of yellowtail in the La Jolla region but this type of activity has slowed during the past several days. The two main areas where yellows have been popping up from time to time have been "The 270" out to the west of Mission Bay and outside of the upper end of La Jolla. Look for meter marks, sonar marks and areas of working or sitting birds to locate the yellowtail. Surface iron, yo-yo iron and live mackerel have been producing an occasional yellowtail once some yellows are located.
The rest of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been producing a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin, reds, assorted rockfish and an occasional lingcod or halibut. There has not been much to report in the way of white seabass activity.
Some productive areas from the south to the north have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the west of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, Point Loma College, the Jetty Kelp, The 270, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor and Box Canyon.
Try sandy bottom areas are best for a chance at a halibut. There has not been much halibut activity reported lately but this is the time of year when they should start to become more active. Likely spots to find halibut could be the sandy bottom patches outside of the Imperial Beach Pier, the sandy bottom on the Coronado side of the sunken Zuniga Jetty at Point Loma, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower and the Yukon Shipwreck off Mission Beach, the sandy bottom outside of Ponto Beach, at the sandy bottom next to the structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor and the sandy bottom outside of the Golf Balls above Oceanside.
Catalina Island has also been showing some signs of increased springtime fishing activity. There was a recent report about barracuda and calico bass biting around the boiler rocks in the Church Rock area as well as a second hand report about a recent catch of white seabass. I have been hearing occasional offerings of live squid for sale by squid boats at Catalina over the VHF radio. Check for squid boats offering live squid for sale at Catalina by making inquiries on channels 11 and 72 on the VHF radio.
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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.