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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, June 29, 2018
Bluefin bite improves


Bluefin bite moves into U.S. waters
Yellowtail fishing is outstanding at the Coronado Islands!

The offshore bluefin fishing has seen some changes during the past week but as some things change other things remain the same. The areas where bluefin are being located has changed but the hit and miss nature of being able to locate biting bluefin remains pretty much the same with most days seeing a whole lot more bluefin being seen than what are biting.


The Butterfly Bank has become the new bluefin hotspot with the past few days seeing fish showing around and about the northern wing tip of the Butterfly Bank. Another productive zone is now the region between the northern wing tip of the Butterfly Bank and the 43 Fathom Spot with the area around and about the 43 Fathom Spot proper also holding fish. The waters around and about the 43 Fathom Spot have been improving with more bluefin showing in the area all the time as the bluefin continue a northwesterly and westerly movement.


The bluefin have been mixed size fish that are running from 25 to 200+ pounds with increasing numbers of the 100- to 200-pound fish showing and sometimes biting in recent days. Some fish counts for the fishing on Thursday, June 21, 2018 start with the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing that was out on an overnight trip with 33 anglers who caught 2 bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing reported that those were two jumbo sized bluefin that were in the 180- to 200-pound class.


Seaforth Sportfishing had the Tribute fishing an overnight trip with 22 anglers that caught 9 bluefin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing reported that 6 of those bluefin were whopper sized fish that were up between 120 and 180 pounds. Seaforth Sportfishing also reported that the bluefin were biting on flat fall jigs as well as sardines that were being fished down deep with a sinker.


Point Loma Sportfishing had an overnight trip on the New Lo-Ann fishing with 25 anglers that caught 2 bluefin tuna and 1 yellowtail. Those bluefin were quality sized fish as Point Loma Sportfishing reported them to be weighing at 75 pounds and 150 pounds.


H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing an overnight trip with 12 anglers that caught 1 bluefin tuna. That bluefin was a jumbo sized fish which H&M Landing reports to have been estimated to weigh over 180 pounds. H&M Landing also had the Grande fishing a full day trip with 33 anglers that caught 2 bluefin tuna.


Flylined sardines, sardines fished deep with a 4- to 8-ounce torpedo sinker attached with a rubber band, flat fall jigs, slow trolled mackerel, poppers and iron have been working for the bluefin tuna. There has also been some action on the bigger bluefin while kite trolling with Yummy Flyers. There has also been some action reported on kite fished live baits that are presented to spots of breezing fish.


Most of the bluefin action is found after stopping on sonar marks, meter marks and spots of breaking fish which are often found under working birds. Areas with shearwater birds and tern birds have been likely spots to find a sonar mark, meter mark or see a spot of breaking fish. There are a few yellowtail and an occasional bluefin that are being caught around kelp paddies as well.


There has been excellent yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands and to add to the action, there has also been a mix of calico bass, bonito and barracuda biting. The yellowtail have been running from 6 to 25 pounds with most falling within the 10- to 18-pound range.


Yellowtail have been found in several areas with the South Kelp Ridge, the Middle Grounds, the weather side of South Island and the lee side of South Island being productive zones. Once yellowtail are located, action has been coming while sitting on the anchor and while drifting.


The yellows have been biting flylined sardines, slow trolled sardines, surface iron, yo-yo iron and trolled Rapalas. Surface iron and flylined sardines have also been productive for the barracuda. Calico bass have been biting on sardines, anchovies and plastics. Try small chrome jigs, sardines and anchovies for the bonito.


As an example of the recent fishing at the Coronado Islands, Thursday, June 21, 2018 saw the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing fish a full day trip with 35 anglers who caught 154 yellowtail, 12 bonito and 15 barracuda. The Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing fished a full day trip with 47 anglers that caught 209 yellowtail, 23 bonito and 26 barracuda. Seaforth Sportfishing had a full day trip aboard the San Diego out fishing with 42 anglers that caught 210 yellowtail (limits), 45 barracuda, 2 halibut and 5 bonito.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, sculpin and rockfish and there have been a few yellowtail, barracuda and halibut in the mix as well.


Kelp bed areas have been the best for the calico bass and have also been producing a few sand bass. There is also good sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach for boats fishing over cobblestone and sandy bottom areas in 8 to 10 fathoms of water. Hard bottom and structure spots have been best for the sculpin and rockfish. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to hard bottom and structure spots has been best for a chance at a halibut.


There are a few barracuda in the mix with the good sand bass fishing being found off Imperial Beach and there are a few yellowtail showing in that zone as well. Boats are also catching an occasional big halibut incidental to the sand bass fishing.


Private boater Richard Hamilton of the Apollo fished the Imperial Beach area on Thursday, June 21, 2018 and found pleasant surprise great catch in boating a 52-pound white seabass! Hamilton reported catching the big white seabass while fishing for halibut in about 40 feet of water outside of the Imperial Beach Pier. The fish was caught on a sardine that was flylined with a size 1/0 hook on 25-pound test line. Hamilton reported 63 degree water in the area and says he caught 3 legal sized halibut to 15 pounds while fishing in the same zone on Sunday, June 17, 2018.


Halibut fishing has been improving with some legal sized halibut reported to be biting for boats fishing outside of Imperial Beach, inside of San Diego Bay, outside of Mission Beach, off Solana Beach and off Leucadia. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to structure and the sandy bottom adjacent to kelp and hard bottom has been the best bet for halibut.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the water temperatures in the kelp bed areas they have been fishing between Carlsbad and Solana Beach is running about 69 degrees and varies in color from an off color green to a clean green.


Cacciola says that there are a lot of short sized calico bass in the mix and that on Thursday, June 21, 2018 they had 24 keeper sized calicos that went to 16 inches and 124 calicos that were short sized fish that they released. In addition to their calico bass they caught a few sand bass, a 5 foot soupfin shark that was released, and 2 legal sized halibut. He says they have also regularly been catching and releasing short sized white seabass and some short sized barracuda. One of the halibut they caught on Thursday was at 23-inch fish and the other was considerably larger and weighed in at 28 pounds. Cacciola says they been catching their halibut on the sandy bottom at the edges of the kelp bed and kelp stringer areas where they have been fishing for the calico bass.


Cacciola reports having had anchovies in their bait supply lately and says that the anchovies have been working very well for bait, especially for the calico bass. On Thursday they were also doing well on the calicos while using Hookup Bait plastics. He was suggesting using the 3/8-ounce or the 1/2-ounce size Hookup Bait plastics on 12- to 15-pound test line. Most of the bites on the Hookup Bait plastics were reported to be coming while the jig was sinking.


There have also been some yellowtail biting at San Clemente Island and at Catalina Island. Over at San Clemente Island, when the Island has been open, there have been some yellowtail biting for boats fishing off Pyramid Cove, White Rock and Purse Seine Rock. The White Rock and Purse Seine Rock areas have also been good for calico bass and a few bonito.


At Catalina Island there has been a mix of yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and barracuda biting at spots around the Isthmus and at spots around the middle part of the front side of the Island. There has also been good fishing for a mix of calico bass, yellowtail and bonito along with an occasional white seabass or halibut for boats fishing spots along the back side of the Island from the V's over to Ben Weston.


Squid has not been easy to catch and at times squid boats have been offering squid for sale while anchored up outside of Avalon. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 11 or 72.


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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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