CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Big bluefin tuna highlight offshore fishing!
The days leading up to Thanksgiving have been producing very good fishing for large bluefin tuna and have also been producing a few yellowfin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail. That said, it is Wednesday morning, Nov. 22, 2017 as this report is being written and some of the boats fishing the bluefin tuna hot bite area out at the 60 Mile Bank are reporting a scratchy morning of action this morning when compared to the hot fishing of recent days. There are some bluefin and a few yellowfin being caught this morning but this morning's bite has not been up to the standards of recent days. The water temperature dropped a bit this morning and was down at 64.7 degrees from a recent temperature level of around 65 degrees. This drop in the water temperature could be responsible for the decline in the bite this morning but Skippers are hoping that it is just an off morning and that the bite will improve during the afternoon.


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The bluefin tuna have been running from 20 to 200+ pounds with most falling within the 100- to 160-pound range. Action has been coming while fishing around the upper high spot at the 60 Mile Bank. Some boats have been finding action while drifting and some boats have been finding action while fishing on the anchor. Good live baits have been mackerel, sardines and squid. Bluefin have also been biting on 200 to 250 gram sized Flat Fall jigs.


Private boater, Captain Billy of the E Fish N Sea reported fishing the 60 Mile Bank on Sunday and catching a 135 pound bluefin tuna. He reported catching the fish on a "double trouble" kite fished sardine. Captain Billy was drifting and fishing with the kite baits, flylined baits and baits with sinkers and said that the sportboats in the area were fishing while sitting on the anchor.


There have been a few yellowfin tuna biting around the 60 Mile Bank but the better chance at yellowfin has been while fishing around the Butterfly Bank. There have also been a few yellowfin biting in the areas of the 43 Fathom Spot, the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy and the Corner.


The yellowfin have been 15- to 60-pound fish with most in the 15- to 25-pound range. Yellowfin have been biting from porpoise schools, kelp paddies, blind trolling strikes and spots of working birds. Sardines have been working well for the yellowfin which have also been biting trolled cedar plugs, Rapalas, Halcos and feathers.


Private boater Ben Babbitt of the Gato Gordo fished the 43 Fathom Spot, the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy and the Butterfly Bank regions on Saturday and reported catching 3 yellowfin tuna and a bunch of yellowtail. Babbitt reported finding the yellowtail action from kelp paddies located 4 to 5 miles west of the 43 Fathom Spot. He also reported seeing spots of breaking tuna in that same zone but those tuna did not want to bite. Babbitt reported catching the 3 yellowfin tuna from 5 yellowfin tuna hookups while fishing porpoise up above the western wing of the Butterfly Bank. The yellowfin were 15 to 25 pound fish and were biting in an area that was located 54 miles 245 degrees from Point Loma.


Private boater Marcus Hale of the Old Blue reported about fishing aboard the private boat Grander on Saturday. Hale said that they started the day by fishing the area outside of the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy where they saw two spots of breaking fish which were the jumbo sized bluefin tuna. He said they were impressive showings of big bluefin but that they were all show and no go and would not bite. These fish were seen while fishing an area that was 40 miles 244 degrees from Point Loma.


Hale said that they ended up the day having caught 4 good sized yellowfin tuna that went to 40 pounds. Their 4 yellowfin came from a kelp paddie found 2 miles inside of the northern wing of the Butterfly Bank at 43 miles 234 degrees from Point Loma. When they first stopped on the kelp paddie the yellowfin came up boiling everywhere and everyone aboard hooked and caught a yellowfin tuna. The water temperature was at 66 degrees in the areas where they found fish.


The fishing around the Coronado Islands has been producing a mix of bonito, yellowtail, calico bass and rockfish along with an occasional bluefin tuna. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing ran a three-quarter day trip to fish the Coronados on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 and had 18 anglers catch 7 yellowtail, 2 bluefin tuna, 1 sheephead, 6 calico bass, 13 rockfish and 90 bonito.


The Rockpile has been the best area for bonito and yellowtail. Bonito have also been biting well at other spots around the Islands and anglers have been catching bonito and an occasional yellowtail while fishing areas such as the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the weather side of South Island, the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island, the 5 Minute Kelp and the South Kelp. The best zone for a chance at a bluefin tuna has been while fishing spots around the south end of South Island such as the Lighthouse, the South Kelp and the 5 Minute Kelp.


The yellowtail have been mixed size fish in the 5- to 20-pound range, the bonito have been 4 to 10 pound fish and the bluefin tuna have been in the 18 to 30 pound range. Trolling strikes on feathers and Rapalas have been a good way to locate bonito and sometimes yellowtail with the majority of the yellowtail action coming from drifting on sonar marks or meter marks. Slow trolling with sardines can also been a good way to find action on bonito, yellowtail and bluefin tuna.


The fishing along the San Diego area coast is producing a mix of bonito, bass and rockfish along with an occasional yellowtail. A productive area for a chance at finding some bonito action which provides a chance at a yellowtail has been while fishing the Imperial Beach Flats in 18 to 25 fathoms of water. There has also been some bonito activity and a bit of yellowtail activity outside of the stretch between the Point Loma Lighthouse and Point Loma College while fishing in the 20 to 40 fathom depths. The upper end of La Jolla is another zone where bonito and an occasional yellowtail have been biting. The bonito at La Jolla have been found in an area ranging from the outside edges of the kelp beds on up to the La Jolla Canyon. Occasional bonito activity is also reported outside of Carlsbad, Box Canyon and San Onofre. Trolling strikes on feathers and Rapalas have been a good way to locate bonito schools to fish with sardines and small chrome jigs.


A new bonito hotspot area that is also holding some yellowtail was reported this morning (Friday morning, Nov. 22, 2017) by private boater Jim Eisenberg of the Quick Turn. Eisenberg provided an on the water report and was fishing with his nephews Trey and Sam aboard. He said they were finding hot bonito action and hooking an occasional yellowtail while fishing the Jetty Kelp area within 2 miles of Mission Bay. He said they were having a great time with the large bonito that were going to 8 pounds and that they had hooked and lost a 10 pound yellowtail at the boat.


The bonito along the coast have been running from 3 to 10 pounds and have been biting well on trolled feathers and Rapalas. The bonito will sometimes bite well on sardines and small chrome jigs after getting a trolling strike.


Fair numbers of calico bass are still biting at some of the kelp bed areas up and down the San Diego County coast but as the water cools, more and more boats are starting to fish hard bottom areas for rockfish.


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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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