Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, June 22, 2018
Bluefin bite moves into U.S. waters

Bluefin bite improves
Excellent Coronado Islands yellowtail bite continues!

The offshore bluefin fishing continues to attract a lot of attention and the past few days have seen the bluefin biting better than they have been biting in recent weeks. Bluefin have been ranging in size from 25 to 200+ pounds but most of what has been biting in better numbers in recent days have been the 25- to 40-pound fish. In addition to bluefin, offshore waters have been providing an occasional kelp paddie that produces some yellowtail as well as an occasional yellowfin tuna. The appearance of yellowfin tuna is something new and anglers are hoping that this is a sign of good yellowfin fishing to come during the summer and fall months ahead.

The early part of the week saw most boats fishing the area between the 43 Fathom Spot and San Clemente Island as well as the area between the 43 Fathom Spot and the Butterfly Bank. There were lots of fish being seen in these areas but it was very difficult to get the bluefin to bite.

The bluefin counts started to pick up when boats started fishing a new area of bluefin that was located in Mexican waters in the region around and about the 475 Knuckle and in the area below and inside of the Upper Hidden Bank. The region both above and below the 475 Knuckle has been providing action for boats fishing from 28 to 42 miles 160 to 175 degrees from Point Loma. There are still bluefin to be found in the region between the 43 Fathom Spot and San Clemente Island and in the region between the 43 Fathom Spot and the Butterfly Bank but the bluefin in these areas are not showing as well as they were early in the week and it is still usually difficult to get the bluefin in those areas to bite when you do locate some fish.

The middle part of the week also saw a good showing of bluefin tuna in the deep water outside of the Kidney Bank. On Wednesday, June 27, 2018 private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the boat Robalo was out fishing with private boater Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna aboard their friend Dan Gallivan's private boat. They fished the Coronado Islands in the early morning and had excellent fishing for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass before heading offshore to look for bluefin tuna. McDonell reported that they had their excellent action at the Coronado Islands while slow trolling and drifting with sardines and mackerel at the Middle Grounds.

After limiting out on yellowtail, McDonell said that they ran offshore to look for bluefin tuna. What they found was an area outside of the Kidney Bank where there were lots of spots of breaking and foaming bluefin tuna showing. They had one bluefin bite for them on a mackerel fished off a balloon and another bluefin bite for them on a kite trolled Yummy Flyer. In each instance they were short bites where the fish dropped the bait or lure before being hooked. This action was found out at 28 miles 230 degrees from Point Loma.

Some fish counts from the bluefin fishing on Thursday, June 28, 2018 start with Point Loma Sportfishing that had the New Lo-An fishing an overnight trip with 19 anglers that caught 17 bluefin tuna. H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing an overnight trip with 21 anglers that caught 8 bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing had a 1.5 day trip on the Pacific Queen that fished on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 return home on Thursday morning with a fish count of 25 anglers catching 44 bluefin tuna, 1 yellowfin tuna and 8 yellowtail.

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 or 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 rosy picture 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 8- to 15-pound range.

Yellowtail have been found in several areas with Pukey Point at North Island, the lee side of North Island and the Middle Grounds being the best spots for yellowtail in recent days.

In addition to the report of excellent yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass action on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 received from Pat McDonell as talked about above, Wednesday's fishing saw great fishing at the Coronado Islands also being reported by private boater Captain Bob Fletcher of the Fletch. Fletcher was fishing with his friend Captain Louie Zimm aboard Zimm's private boat Shearwater and said they had excellent fishing for yellowtail and bonito at the Middle Grounds. He said they limited out on yellowtail and caught a bunch of bonito. He said they released all of their bonito except for 2.

Fletcher said that their yellowtail were running from 7 to 10 pounds and that the bonito were 3- to 5-pound fish. The yellowtail bite was so good that they were limited out on yellowtail at 9:30 a.m. and back at the dock in San Diego Bay by 10:45 a.m. They fished at the Middle Grounds and most of their action was on slow trolled sardines. The water temperature was running 64.5 degrees and the water was a clean green color.

Some important news is that Fletcher said that Captain Louie Zimm of the Shearwater had just got word that he was appointed to the Pacific Marine Fisheries Management Council. He said that Zimm would be taking over the position pertaining to commercial charter boats. Fletcher was thrilled about this news and called it "wonderful news for sportfishing."

The yellowtail at the Coronados 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 28, 2018 saw the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing have a full day trip fishing with 36 anglers catch 125 yellowtail, 2 bonito, 6 calico bass and 1 barracuda.

The Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing fished a full day trip with 44 anglers that caught 123 yellowtail, 5 bonito, 9 rockfish and 27 barracuda.

Seaforth Sportfishing had a full day trip aboard the San Diego out fishing with 54 anglers that caught 147 yellowtail, 7 barracuda, 24 calico bass and 6 bonito.

H&M Landing had the Grande fishing a full day trip with 31 anglers that caught 91 yellowtail, 10 bonito, 2 barracuda and 3 rockfish.

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, bonito 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. The early part of the week saw good sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach in 8 to 10 fathoms of water but that bite has slowed the past couple of days. 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 have been a few barracuda caught incidental to bass fishing off Imperial Beach, Point Loma, The Barn and San Onofre. The Imperial Beach area has also produced a few halibut and an occasional large white seabass. Wednesday and Thursday's fishing saw good bonito fishing for boats fishing the 50 fathom curve outside of Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs. There was also a report of some bonito being caught on Wednesday at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank.

In addition to Imperial Beach, other areas that have produced an occasional halibut have been for boats fishing 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.

There have 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 is the best bait for fishing at Catalina and San Clemente Island but squid has not been easy to catch for bait. When they have squid available, the 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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