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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowtail, bass, rockfish and halibut continue to bite!
We are in the middle of February and still have bluefin tuna to talk about in offshore waters that are within 1.5 day range of Point Loma. On Thursday, February 15, 2018 the Mustang out of H&M Landing had a 1.5 day trip with 10 anglers return with 7 bluefin tuna and 3 yellowtail. On Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, the Mustang ran a 1.5 day trip where 21 anglers caught 37 bluefin tuna and 10 yellowtail.


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The bluefin have been running from 20 to 50 pounds with most of the fish in the 30- to 40-pound range. Stops have been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breaking fish, kelp paddies and the occasional trolling strike. Looking for offshore areas of relatively warm 64 degree water has been a key in locating bluefin tuna.


Boats fishing in closer to the Mexican coast on 1.5 day trips to Punta Colnett have been doing well on a mix of reds, rockfish, lingcod and bonito and have also had some hit or miss action on yellowtail. The most recent 1.5 day trips fishing the area have found yellowtail hard to locate. When schools of yellowtail are located there has been good action on 15- to 20-pound fish that have been biting best on yo-yoed iron that is dropped down to meter marks or sonar marks.


On Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing fished the Punta Colnett area and had a 1.5 day trip with 30 anglers catch 150 reds, 120 rockfish and 2 lingcod. The Chief out of H&M Landing fished the same day and had a 1.5 day trip with 31 anglers catch 310 assorted rockfish. The Dominator out of Point Loma Sportfishing was also fishing on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 and had a 1.5 day trip with 22 anglers catch 40 whitefish, 65 rockfish, 110 reds and 5 lingcod.


Boats fishing around the Coronado Islands continue to find good fishing for an assortment of reds and rockfish. Not much is being reported in the way of yellowtail activity but there has been some surface fishing action for a few bonito for boats fishing around the Pukey Point area of North Island.


The best bottom fishing areas have been the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40 to 50 fathom depths. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border. The most recent sportboat trip I know of was aboard the Daiwa Pacific out of H&M Landing that had a morning half day trip targeting rockfish that fished on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 and had 15 anglers limit out on reds and rockfish in catching 75 reds and 75 rockfish.


Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast continue to primarily focus on fishing for sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and halibut. Anglers need to remember that the seasonal 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure remains in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, 2018. Boats fishing off Imperial Beach have been doing well on sand bass and sculpin and have been catching an occasional halibut. The sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach has been good at times and the best area has been fishing the Imperial Beach Pipeline. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to the patches of kelp outside of the Imperial Beach Pier has been a likely spot to catch a halibut.


As an example of the fishing the Dolphin out of Fisherman's Landing ran a half day trip on Thursday, Feb.15, 2018 that had 16 anglers limit out on sand bass in catching 80 sand bass.


In the Point Loma region, look for some bass and sculpin to be biting at the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 and to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy. The Point Loma Pipeline and the hard bottom outside of the Dropoff would also be spots to try for bass and sculpin as well.


The upper end of La Jolla and Del Mar are areas that have provided a chance at some bass and sculpin and also produce an occasional halibut. The afternoon hours have seen some improved calico bass fishing at the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla. Going further north, look for bass and sculpin biting at hard bottom spots outside of Leucadia and Carlsbad as well as while fishing the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines. The structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor has been producing some bass and sculpin as well. Bass and sculpin have also been biting at hard bottom areas outside of Box Canon, the Barn and San Onofre.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a half day trip that fished on Thursday, Feb.14, 2018 which had 13 anglers catch 29 sand bass, 50 short sized calico bass that were released.


The sandy bottom adjacent to some of the structure spots talked about above would be good spots to try for halibut and also look for halibut at the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower and the Yukon shipwreck outside of Mission Beach. Sandy bottom areas off Ponto Beach, the Golf Ball, San Onofre and the San Clemente Pier are also areas likely to produce a halibut.


There have been reports of hit or miss fishing for squid for bait at night while fishing outside of the Scripps Pier and at other areas between La Jolla and Oceanside.


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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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