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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite Hot Bite

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Improved weather conditions see bluefin and yellowtail biting offshore
The weather conditions during the spring fishing season have often made it difficult on anglers wanting to fish the offshore fishing grounds for bluefin tuna and yellowtail but the past few days have seen the weather conditions improve to allow anglers back out on the water to fish in decent weather. The wind is forecasted to pick up a bit again over the weekend but there are no Small Craft Advisories currently posted for the NOAA forecast covering the area outside of the stretch of coast between San Mateo Point and the Mexican Border out to 60 nautical miles. As always, be sure to check the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.


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The bluefin bite was slow during the early part of the week but a sprinkling of 20- to 25-pound bluefin have been biting during the past few days. Good kelp paddie fishing for what are mostly 3- to 7-pound yellowtail remains the current mainstay of the offshore bite and the right kelp paddie can be loaded with fish and produce limits of yellowtail.


The most recent fish counts are from Thursday, May 18, 2017 and they start with the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing that had a fish count of 30 anglers on a 3/4 day trip catching 2 yellowtail, 30 bonito and 3 bluefin tuna. The Tribute fished an overnight trip out of Seaforth Sportfishing and they had 22 anglers catch 53 yellowtail and 1 bluefin tuna.


The Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing fished a 3/4 day trip with 26 anglers that caught 36 yellowtail, 2 bluefin tuna and 62 bonito. The Pacific Queen fished an overnight trip out of Fisherman's Landing and had 26 anglers catch 99 yellowtail, 5 bluefin tuna and 27 bonito.


The Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing had a 3/4 day trip with 11 anglers catching 6 bonito, 1 bluefin tuna and 31 yellowtail.


H&M Landing had a 3/4 day trip aboard the Chief with 17 anglers catch 27 bonito and 42 yellowtail. The Legend fished an overnight trip H&M Landing and had 10 anglers catch their limits of 50 yellowtail.


The best areas for the yellowtail and bluefin have been for boats fishing between 24 and 40 miles from Point Loma while working the regions around and about the 371 Bank, the 425 Spot and the area outside of the 475 Knuckle.


The bluefin have been mixed size fish that have gone from 15 to 200+ pounds with most of the recently caught bluefin falling within the 20 to 25 pound range. The kelp paddie yellowtail have been mostly 3 to 7 pound fish with a few bigger fish to 12 pounds found in the mix.


The bluefin have mostly been biting from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks and spots of breaking or puddling fish. There is also an occasional bluefin caught from a trolling strike or while drifting with sardines near a kelp paddie. A good indicator of a zone that might be holding bluefin tuna is where you might see shearwater birds or see tern birds that are diving and picking on the surface of the water.


The bluefin have been biting best on sardines and Flat Fall jigs with Colt Snipers and surface iron also working at times. Productive jigs on the troll have been cedar plugs and the Halco 130 jig in the purple tiger stripe color pattern. Most of the yellowtail are being caught on sardines.


With the yellowtail and bluefin biting offshore, the Coronado Islands have only seen occasional fishing pressure. A report from a private boater fishing the Coronado Islands this morning was that they had an early morning showing of yellowtail under working birds while fishing along the weather side of South Island and were able to catch a 20 pound yellowtail on surface iron. It sounded slow after that early morning showing of fish went down.


The surface fishing along the San Diego County Coast has been improving over the past few days after slowing early in the week. There is currently some pretty good to sometimes good calico bass fishing in the kelp bed areas and a chance at finding a yellowtail at Point Loma or La Jolla.


One of the best calico bass bite kelp bed areas is currently at the Point Loma Kelp Beds for boats fishing areas such as the Green Tank, Point Loma College and Sunset Cliffs. This morning there was also a yellowtail caught while fishing along the edges of the kelp at the Green Tank area and boats fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla were seeing spots of yellowtail on their fathometers and were also seeing an occasional spots of yellows flare up under the birds. It was not easy to get those La Jolla yellows to bite this morning but there seems to be improving numbers of yellowtail showing up outside of the upper end of La Jolla.


John Campbell of the 2017 International Yellowtail Derby reports that the currently first place yellowtail was just caught at La Jolla. The date on the catch was today, Friday, May 19, 2017 and it was a 31 pound 9.6 ounce fish that was caught aboard a kayak by Jeremie Chapin. Chapin's catch gives him the current lead in the yellowtail division of the tournament and moved into second place a 30 pound 12.8 ounce yellowtail that was caught by private boater Chris Blevins on Saturday, May 13, 2017.


San Diego area anglers have been finding thresher sharks to be active and biting in an area ranging from La Jolla to Oceanside with some of the best action being reported in an area between La Jolla and Del Mar and at the Carlsbad Canyon. The threshers have been seen in a variety of depths while fishing in 40 to 100 fathoms of water. Mackerel have been the best baits while slow trolling on the surface with a live mackerel or a live sardine or while trolling one of those two baits below the surface using a Bait O Matic. Most of the thresher sharks have been falling within the 150- to 250-pound range.


San Clemente Island has been providing occasional flurries of yellowtail action to go along with some pretty good numbers of calico bass and good numbers of rockfish. The best yellowtail areas have been along the back side of the Island while fishing the ridges outside of the stretch between Pyramid Cove and China Point and also while fishing the area outside of and below Lost Point. A good depth range has been 18 to 23 fathoms of water.


Most of the yellows have been falling within the 15- to 20-pound range and live squid has been the best bait for the yellowtail. A few yellows have also been biting on yo-yoed iron. The squid being used for bait is being brought over to San Clemente Island from Catalina.


Catalina Island has been producing occasional flurries of yellowtail and white seabass action along with a nice mix of calico bass, barracuda, bonito and rockfish. The best zone for yellowtail and white seabass has been while fishing outside of the stretch between the V's and Salta Verde. Boats fishing spots around the East End and along the middle part of the front side of the Island have also been seeing a few yellowtail biting and have been catching some bonito, barracuda and calico bass. This morning (Friday morning, May 19, 2017) a private boater reported catching 3 of the 30 pound class yellowtail out of 4 yellowtail hookups while fishing with live squid between the V's and Silver Canyon.


The yellowtail at Catalina have been mixed size fish that go from 5 to 30 pounds with most in the 15 to 20 pound range. Live squid has been the best bait for the yellowtail and white seabass.


The best squid zone at Catalina has been in the area ranging from China Point to Ben Weston with the area outside of the V's also providing squid to catch for bait at times. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 72 and 11. This morning, a squid boat that was loaded up with squid and leaving from Ben Weston was offering live squid for sale while traveling to anchor up and sell squid outside of Avalon.


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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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