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Friday, August 17, 2018
Bluefin catches remain steady


Bluefin, yellowfin and dorado catches remain steady
 The past week of offshore fishing has seen some changes and some of those changes are ongoing as I am preparing this report on Friday afternoon, Aug. 24, 2018.

What is still rightfully 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. The fishing for the big bluefin is still going strong but a big change that appears to be taking place is that there are more and more bluefin now being found off the back side of Catalina Island. There are still some bluefin to be found off the back side of San Clemente Island but quite a few of the boats that have been fishing San Clemente Island are fishing off the back side of Catalina today.


The best zone for the bluefin off San Clemente Island has been above China Point in an area ranging from the region of the 57 Fathom Spot on up to where you are fishing outside of Seal Cove. The best zone for the bluefin at Catalina ranges from the area outside of Silver Canyon on up to where you are fishing above and outside of the Catalina Canyon.


The bluefin have been biting on a variety of baits and lures with kite trolled Yummy Flyers, flying fish, mackerel, Flat Fall jigs, live squid and poppers working well. Live squid has been hard to get lately with flying fish and mackerel working best.


There is also good fishing for mixed sized yellowfin tuna, skipjack and a few dorado and yellowtail in the area below the 475 Knuckle for boats fishing 40 to 45 miles 165 to 175 degrees from Point Loma. The yellowfin down this way have been mostly in the 6 to 15-pound range with a few larger fish to 35 pounds in the mix. Most of the larger yellowfin have been found in porpoise schools.


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 generally on the scratchy side of things. Some of the better areas have been in the region of the 209 Spot, 289 Spot, 302 Spot and 8 to 15 miles off the stretch of coast between La Jolla and San Onofre.


Private boater Tom Parnakian of the Ambush reported looking offshore for kelp paddies between Oceanside and Carlsbad on Thursday. He ran about 14 miles offshore and found an empty kelp paddie. He started to troll southeast and went about 15 minutes before getting a trolling strike on a Rapala. The trolling strike did not last long as the line was cut off a short way below the Rapala. Parnakian's friend that was fishing with him said he saw a wahoo jump out of the water when they got the trolling strike. The speculation was that they got their Rapala bit and then cut off by a wahoo. Parnakian reported finding no other action offshore and ended up going in to fish for calico bass at Carlsbad where they found good fishing on calicos that went to 17.5 inches.


Striped marlin fishing has been producing some action off the back side of Catalina in an area ranging from outside of the V's on up to the area outside of West Cove. A lot of the marlin encounters have been found in the same areas where boats are seeing spots of breaking bluefin tuna. The marlin action was better earlier in the week than it has been the past couple of days but there are still some marlin being seen in the area. There are also reports about marlin action being found off Anacapa Island. The marlin fishing in the San Diego region has been slow.


The fishing around the Coronado Islands remains good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito and calico bass along with a chance at catching a bluefin tuna. There have been several productive areas with the best areas being the weather side of North Island, the hard bottom about 1.5 miles northeast of North Island and the Middle Grounds. The Ribbon Kelp in the lee of South Island and the South Kelp Ridge below South Island have also been productive at times.


Private boater, Captain Bob Woodard Jr. of the Dropback reported finding good yellowtail fishing at the Coronados on Tuesday and reported that good numbers of yellows were biting around North Island and at the Middle Grounds.


The yellowtail have been mostly 9- to 12-pound fish. The fish counts from Friday, Aug. 23, 2018 start with Point Loma Sportfishing that had a full day trip aboard the Mission Belle out fishing with 38 anglers who caught 117 yellowtail, 50 bonito, 2 sheephead, 1 halibut and 35 rockfish. Seaforth Sportfishing had a full day trip aboard the San Diego with 28 anglers catch 112 yellowtail, 27 rockfish, 3 calico bass and 12 bonito.


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 halibut or flurry of yellowtail action.


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 and San Onofre. The Point Loma Kelp Beds and the La Jolla Kelp Beds currently provide the best chance at some action on yellowtail, barracuda or bonito.


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 which have been working very well for the calico bass. He says they have been catching from 150 to 250 calico bass on most trips and says that most are undersized fish that must be released but that they usually catch between 15 and 35 keeper sized bass per trip. In addition to calico bass they are also catching some nice sized sheephead and an occasional halibut. He says that there are a few large yellowtail cruising around in the areas they are fishing the calico bass and he says that they hook one now and then.


Cacciola reports that the water temperature remains very warm and has been running from 75 to 77 degrees. With the warm water conditions, 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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