CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowtail, dorado and improving numbers of yellowfin providing offshore action!
The offshore fishing continues to provide good action on a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin. The great thing is that the fishing continues to improve with better numbers of biting yellowfin tuna now being caught by boats on multi-day trips fishing the area out to the west of San Martin Island and below. Those cooperative yellowfin have been moving up the coast and anglers are hopeful they will continue to push up the line and be within one day range of Point Loma sometime soon.


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The bluefin tuna continue to grab the headlines with large fish that have reached the 300-pound class being caught by anglers fishing up and down the back side of San Clemente Island. Bluefin can be found up and down the entire back side of San Clemente Island and the area of bluefin even extends out to the west of the West End of San Clemente Island.


Some productive areas for the bluefin at San Clemente Island are Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the 86 Fathom Spot and the area to the northwest and west of the 86 Fathom Spot to where you are fishing outside of Lost Point and Eel Point. Also productive has been the area along the 500 fathom curve out to the west of the West End of San Clemente Island. Boats have also found a mix of yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna while fishing to the east and the northeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island. Navy closures can effect the ability to fish some of these areas and one should research the Navy's San Clemente Island web site to see if the areas they want to fish will be open before heading out to fish the San Clemente Island area.


In a new development, another area where the big bluefin have been showing over the past couple of days has been much closer to Point Loma for boats fishing the area inside of the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot.


The bluefin have been running from 40 to 300+ pounds with most in the 100- to 225-pound range. The bluefin are being caught in a variety of ways with action being found on kite trolled Yummy Flyers, trolled cedar plugs, poppers, mackerel, live squid and Flat Fall jigs. Bluefin are being found by locating meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breaking fish.


Dorado and yellowtail have been biting in areas ranging from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada and below. There has also been a chance at finding some yellowfin tuna incidental to fishing the kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado. The yellowfin have been biting from trolling in porpoise schools, kelp paddies and the occasional blind trolling strike. Cedar plugs have been working best on the troll.


In U.S. waters, kelp paddies found 5 to 15 miles off the coast between Laguna Beach and San Diego have been producing yellowtail and dorado. Also productive have been paddies found around some of the offshore banks such as the 14 Mile Bank, the 267 Spot, the Avalon Bank, 152 Spot, 209 Spot, 312 Spot, 181 Spot, 182 Spot and 9 Mile Bank.


Offshore banks ranging from the waters outside of the Coronado Islands on down to the waters outside of Ensenada have also been producing kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado and scattered action on yellowfin tuna. The best zone has been in the more northern part of this region for boats fishing the areas of the 224 Spot, 302 Spot, 425 Bank, 371 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank.


The kelp paddie yellowtail have been mixed size fish that run from 4 to 20 pounds with a lot of 4- to 8-pound fish in the mix. The dorado have been running from small throwback sized fish up to 30 pounds. Most of the yellowfin tuna have been running from 15 to 30 pounds.


There is a body of yellowfin tuna that is being fished by boats on multi-day trips and these fish have been moving up the coast. The upper edge of this area of yellowfin tuna has now moved up to where it is about 15 miles to the west of San Martin Island with fish being found from that area on down to 40+ miles below San Martin Island. These have been mostly 10 to 15 pound yellowfin but have been running to 20+ pounds. There have been some limit catches of yellowfin tuna coming from this zone and Southern California anglers are hoping that the yellowfin keep working up the line to more local offshore waters.


Striped marlin fishing is also on the upswing with what I would estimate to be 10 striped marlin caught and released last weekend which was the weekend of Aug. 5 & 6 of 2017. Marlin action has continued during the week with a marlin or two being caught and released most every day including today, Aug. 11, 2017. The area of the 267 Spot off Dana Point has been the best the past couple of days with the ridge between the 152 Spot and the 277 Spot off the East End of Catalina also producing action most every day. Other productive marlin areas have been the 14 Mile Bank, 5 to 10 miles off the coast between San Onofre and Oceanside, the 182 Spot, 224 Spot, 371 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank.


The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands has been fantastic with recent sportboat trips often returning with catches that include limits of yellowtail. In addition to the yellowtail there are bonito, barracuda and calico bass biting along with a chance at a yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna or dorado.


The best yellowtail bite has been around the Rockpile with trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish leading to action while drifting and using sardines and surface iron. The yellowtail are mostly 5- to 10-pound fish with fish to 20 pounds also in the mix.


In addition to the bite at the Rockpile, there has been some action to be found in other areas such as the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island, the north end of South Island, the Middle Grounds and the weather side of North Island.


The fishing along the San Diego County Coast has been good for calico bass, bonito and rockfish and has also been producing occasional action for barracuda and yellowtail. Productive kelp bed areas for calico bass include the Point Loma Kelp Beds, La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and San Onofre. A lot of the calico bass being caught continue to be short sized fish that must be released but there have also been some pretty good numbers of keeper sized fish in the mix.


The current bonito hot spot area has been for boats fishing in 20 to 30 fathoms of water in an area ranging from the Point Loma Lighthouse on down to the Mexico Border. There have been a few yellowtail in the mix with the bonito as well. The bonito include a good percentage of 4- to 10-pound fish and have been biting from trolling stops and finding working birds, meter marks, sonar marks or shiner spots of fish just under the surface. Once located, the bonito have been biting on sardines and Megabait/Laser Minnow style iron jigs. Also look for occasional flurries of action on yellowtail, bonito and barracuda at the upper end of La Jolla.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports very good calico bass fishing while working kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Del Mar. There are lots of short sized calicos in the mix for every keeper sized fish but they continue to catch some good numbers of keeper sized calico bass. In addition to calico bass, they see occasional action on bonito and yellowtail.


Smaller sized sardines have been good baits for the calico bass. Also productive for the calicos have been anchovy color or chartreuse color 3/8 ounce Hookup Bait plastics and the sardine color Berkley Gulp 5" Jerk Shads that are rigged on a 3/8 ounce dart head.


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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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