Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, August 10, 2018
Bluefin and yellowfin catches surge!

Bluefin catches remain steady
Yellowfin and dorado catches on the rise!

The past week of offshore fishing has had some ups and downs but today is Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 and today appears to be an "up" day of offshore fishing heading into the weekend.

What is still attracting a lot of attention is the fishing for jumbo sized bluefin tuna that have gone to 300+ pounds that have been biting off the back side of San Clemente Island in the region of the 57 Fathom Spot, the 190 Fathom Spot and the area outside of Seal Cove. The past couple of days have also seen showings of bluefin inside of San Clemente Island in the area above the 289 Spot and in the area inside of the 499 Spot.

The bluefin have been biting on a variety of baits and lures with kite trolled Yummy Flyers, flying fish, Flat Fall jigs, live squid and poppers working well. Live squid has been hard to get at times but the Pacific Carnage has been offering it for sale in the Avalon area the past 2 days.

There is also excellent fishing for mixed sized yellowfin tuna, skipjack and a few dorado and yellowtail in the area between the Upper Hidden Bank and the 475 Knuckle. Recent days have seen a lot of near limit to limit yellowfin catches reported by boats fishing between 36 miles and 40 miles 170 to 180 degrees from Point Loma. The yellowfin have been running from 5 to 25 pounds with most in the 5 to 10 pound range. Yellowfin have been located by finding trolling strikes, spots of breezing fish, porpoise schools and sonar marks. There have been some good bait stops that have lasted for hours.

Boats fishing at the Cortes Bank have been finding good fishing for what are mostly 15 to 25 pound bluefin tuna and mixed size yellowtail. Most of the fishing is being done while sitting on the anchor and sardines and live squid have been good baits. The bite at the Cortes Bank was good early in the week but dipped some on Thursday so it is yet to be seen if these fish will settle in and put on a sustained bite.

Elsewhere, it is mostly kelp paddie fishing for dorado and yellowtail along with a chance at scratching out a yellowfin tuna for boats fishing offshore areas between Ensenada and the Catalina Channel. The kelp paddie fishing has been hit or miss and was rather scratchy on Thursday. The great news is that the kelp paddie bite has rallied sharply today (Friday) and is providing some very good dorado fishing. The great thing about the dorado bite today is that the fish seem eager to bite on the sardines anglers are presenting them. This is after what has been a long stretch of it more often than not being difficult to coax the dorado into biting. Anglers are hoping the dorado are in the process of changing their habits to where they will start becoming eager biting fish.

Today there have been reports of good dorado kelp paddie bites for boats fishing areas such as the 302 Spot, 224 Spot, 182 Spot, 43 Fathom Spot, the 178 Spot, 5 to 12 miles off the stretch between Mission Bay and La Jolla and the area 4 to 10 miles outside of the stretch of coast between Oceanside and Box Canyon.

Striped marlin fishing has been slow during the week but there have not been many boats out targeting marlin. A marlin was caught and released on Tuesday as reported by private boater Ray Millman of Go The Distance. Millman was fishing in the area where the yellowfin tuna fleet was working by the 475 Knuckle outside of the Finger Bank when a marlin came into the trolling pattern and bit on a black and purple Coggins jig that was being trolled past some working birds.

Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 saw a good day of marlin fishing for boats fishing outside of the Slide at Catalina with 4 or 5 marlin being caught and released. There are also marlin up above Catalina weekend also provided a pretty good showing of marlin at the Osborn Bank.

The fishing around the Coronado Islands remains good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito and calico bass along with a chance at a bluefin tuna. There have been several productive areas such as the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the Ribbon Kelp in the lee of South Island, the 5 Minute Kelp, the lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and the South Kelp Ridge.

On Thursday, private boater, Captain Bob Fletcher of the Fletch was out fishing with private boater, Captain Louie Zimm aboard Zimm's boat Shearwater and he reported about the trip. Fletcher said they had a nice start to their day while fishing about 3 miles to the northwest of North Island where they found an area with a lot of birds and bait and where there were big 8- to 10-pound bonito biting. The water in that zone to the northwest of North Island was reported to be 72+ degrees and very clean and they caught 3 of the 8- to 10-pound bonito before heading in to try fishing the weather side of North Island. Fletcher said that they released two of their bonito and kept one.

When they went in to fish the weather side of North Island they found good yellowtail action while fishing off the middle part of the Island. Fletcher said that the water was nice in blue and was 72.9° and that there was a down and out current flow. He said other boats in the area were catching yellowtail while drifting with live baits and using surface iron. He said they would have preferred to slow troll their live baits but that they joined the other boats that were drifting and started catching yellowtail on drifted live mackerel. Fletcher said they had caught mackerel for bait from meter marks they had found early in that morning while fishing outside of the Zuniga Jetty at San Diego Bay.

Fletcher reported hooking 5 yellowtail and catching 2 of his 5 hookups and said that Zimm hooked 5 yellowtail and caught 4 of his 5 hookups. The report was that their yellowtail were 8 to 14 pound fish and that the seals stole a few of their hooked fish.

After fishing the yellows at North Island Fletcher said that they went to the Middle Grounds and found good calico bass fishing while fishing in close to the rocks. After catching some calicos he said that they went to try the South Kelp Ridge below South Island. They did not see much going on at the South Kelp Ridge but got bit while slow trolling a sardine and caught a 15-pound bluefin tuna! This put the icing on the cake for their great morning of fishing of catching big bonito, nice sized yellowtail, lots of calico bass and a 15 pound bluefin tuna. They were happy and headed home early and were back at the dock in San Diego by 1:30 p.m.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast remains good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, rockfish and sculpin and is also producing a few bonito and barracuda along with an occasional yellowtail or halibut.

Kelp bed areas have been producing most of the calico bass action with the top areas being the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, Carlsbad, the Barn, Box Canyon and San Onofre.

The Point Loma Kelp Beds and the La Jolla Kelp Beds currently provide the best chance at a yellowtail or a flurry of barracuda or bonito action but the fishing for those species has been scratchy.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center has been reporting very good calico bass fishing while working kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Solana Beach. At last report they had small sardines in their bait supply and Cacciola reported that the small sardines were working very well for the calico bass. With all the warm water around, Cacciola suggests targeting the calico bass by fishing your baits and lures 15 to 20 feet below the surface where the water is a bit cooler than what is on the surface.

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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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