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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowtail, dorado and yellowfin biting offshore
Yellowtail and bluefin biting at the Coronados!

The offshore fishing continues to provide good action on a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin. Some changes have occurred during the past week with the most noteworthy being that the numbers of kelp paddie dorado and yellowtail biting under kelp paddies found on the United States side of the Mexico border has been declining. One positive change is that better numbers of yellowfin tuna have been biting for boats fishing the region between the 182 Spot and the Inner Bank area outside of Ensenada. There were yellowfin biting with porpoise off of Church Rock and the V's at Catalina this morning as well. Other improved news on the tuna fishing front is that big bluefin tuna have moved into the offshore waters outside of the stretch of coast between Oceanside and La Jolla.



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The bluefin tuna remain in the spotlight 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 from the area outside of Pyramid Head on up to the area outside of West Cove with the majority of the fish being found in 100 to 300 fathoms of water.


Some specific productive areas for the bluefin at San Clemente Island are Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the 86 Fathom Spot, the 381 Spot and the area to the northwest and west of the 86 Fathom Spot all the way up to where you are fishing outside of West Cove.


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 area they want to fish and spend the night will be open before heading out to fish the San Clemente Island area. The Navy's San Clemente Island web site also has some newly posted information on kite flying regulations involved with kite fishing. The Navy's San Clemente Island web site address is: http://www.scisland.org


Another productive bluefin zone is 8 to 15 miles off the coast between La Jolla and Oceanside. There have been jumbo sized bluefin biting outside of this stretch of coast with the area between Carlsbad and La Jolla being the best. These are the jumbo sized bluefin and on Thursday an angler battled a big bluefin that he hooked on a sardine for about 7 hours before the fish won it's freedom.


The bluefin have been running from 40 to 300+ pounds with most in the 100- to 200-pound range. The bluefin are being caught in a variety of ways with most of the action being found on kite trolled Yummy Flyers, 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 but the kelp paddie bite in the Catalina region has slowed down considerably during the week. The best kelp paddie zone seems to start in the region of the 182 Spot outside of San Diego and goes down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada. Productive areas have been the 182 Spot, 224 Spot, 302 Spot, 230 Spot, 371 Bank, 475 Knuckle, the 480 Spot and the 385 Spot. There has also been a chance at finding some yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna activity incidental to fishing the kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado. The yellowfin have been biting best from trolling in porpoise schools and cedar plugs have been working best on the troll.


In the Catalina region, this morning there was a report of a few dorado biting from a kelp paddie found near the 277 Spot and another productive kelp paddie zone in more northern offshore waters has been between the 181 Spot and the 289 Spot. This morning also saw some yellowfin tuna biting at Catalina for a few boats that were trolling with porpoise in an area ranging from 2 miles outside of Church Rock to 2 miles outside of the V's. Earlier in the week there were also some bluefin and yellowfin biting 2 to 4 miles outside of Ben Weston and the Farnsworth 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 40 pounds.


Private boater Eric Noyes of the Reel Noyes reported about fishing kelp paddies in the area of the 385 Spot outside of Ensenada on Thursday. He said they found very good dorado fishing with action to be had on every kelp paddie that they found while fishing between the area of the 385 Spot outside of Ensenada and while working their way from the 385 Spot back up toward San Diego until they got to the 3200 latitude line outside of the 475 Knuckle (located outside of the tip of the Upper Finger Bank.)


Striped marlin fishing is providing a bit of action but overall the bite has been scratchy during the week. There have been a few marlin biting between the 172 Spot and the 175 Spot above the West End of Catalina and there have also been a few marlin seen around the Avalon Bank and the 152 Spot around the eastern part of Catalina. In the San Diego region there has been a bit of marlin activity outside of the Coronado Islands while fishing around the 224 Spot, 302 Spot and 371 Bank.


Ray Millman of the Go the Distance reported catching and releasing a marlin while fishing a short way below the 371 Bank on Monday. He said the fish bit a Coggins blue and pink color jig with a pearl head. The fish was caught and released by 18 year old Austin Wakefield who was on his first offshore fishing trip. Congratulations Austin!


The fishing at the Coronado Islands has been fantastic with lots of yellowtail and good numbers of bluefin tuna biting to go with a mix of bonito and calico bass. Many of the three-quarter day sportboat trips have been returning with catches that include limits of yellowtail.


The best yellowtail and bluefin areas have been while fishing near the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and at the 5 Minute Kelp that is located within a mile or so of the south tip of South Island. The South Kelp Ridge has also been a productive area while fishing 2 to 3 miles below the south tip of South Island. The Rockpile has also been very good for yellowtail and the weather side of North Island has also been producing some yellowtail action as well.


Most of the yellowtail and bluefin action has been had by stopping and drifting on trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish. While drifting, anglers have been using sardines and surface iron for the yellowtail and sardines for the bluefin tuna. Some action has been found while sitting on the anchor as well. The yellowtail are mostly 5- to 10-pound fish with fish to 20 pounds also in the mix and the bluefin have been running from 8 to 40 pounds.


Private boater, Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn reported about fishing the Coronados on Thursday. He said they had a fun day of fishing in catching and keeping 15 of the 10- to 12-pound yellowtail and catching and releasing about 25 of the 5- to 6-pound yellowtail. In addition to the yellowtail action they also caught a halibut and a bluefin tuna. They had 4 bluefin tuna hookups but that 3 of the 4 bluefin hookups were lost to the seals. The bluefin they caught was an 8-pound fish and one of the bluefin that was lost to a seal was a considerably larger 40-pound fish.


Woodard reported that they found their best fishing was found while fishing the Lighthouse area and the 5 Minute Kelp which both have you fishing within a mile or so of the south tip of South 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 hot bite area is not kelp bed related as there have been good numbers of bonito and some improving numbers of yellowtail biting for boats fishing the 20 to 40 fathom depths ranging from outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma on down to the Mexico border. Boats have been finding action from trolling strikes, spots of breaking or breezing fish, sonar marks and meter marks. After finding some fish, the boats have been drifting while anglers fish with sardines and iron. The bonito include a good percentage of 4- to 10-pound fish and the yellowtail have been running from 5 to 15 pounds.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports 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 large yellowtail and have been catching a few sand bass and sheephead.


Smaller sized sardines have been good baits for the calico bass. When they have the big sardines and mackerel for bait Cacciola says that they do better on the calicos when fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid. 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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