CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowfin, striped marlin and dorado providing offshore action!
The 2018 offshore fishing season continues to roar with anglers having a wide variety of species to target. There are big bluefin tuna biting off the back side of San Clemente Island, there are lots of yellowfin tuna biting below San Diego by the Upper Hidden Bank and the 385 Spot and there are have been some pretty good to sometimes very good numbers of dorado biting for boats fishing 5 to 15 miles off the coast between Del Mar and Camp Pendleton. Those targeting marlin are finding their best action to be at spots off the East End of Catalina and in the area between the 267 Spot and the 14 Mile Bank.

The marlin fishing is front and center today (Friday, Sept. 14, 2018) with it being the first day of fishing in the Balboa Angling Club's Master Anglers Tournament. It is 1:30 p.m. as I am preparing this report and there are already 8 releases that have been reported. Most of this action is coming from the area of Church Rock, the 125 Spot that is off the East End of Catalina, the Slide and the area between the 267 Spot and the 14 Mile Bank. A great story of today's fishing in the tournament is that angler Mike Hansen just released a marlin caught on 12-pound test after an approximate 4.5 hour battle while fishing aboard the Flying Fish.


The past week has also seen some marlin activity for boats fishing in San Diego area waters with 2 marlin being caught and released in the region of the 302 Spot and with one marlin being caught and released a few miles into the north of North Island.


At the bluefin grounds outside of San Clemente Island the bluefin have been showing and biting best off the back side of the Island in the area outside of Seal Cove with the past couple of days also seeing fish showing in the area outside of West Cove. The bluefin fishing was best early in the week with a bit of decline being reported the past two days. The bluefin at San Clemente Island have been located by finding meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breaking or breezing fish. The bluefin have been biting on a variety of baits and lures with kite trolled Yummy Flyers, flying fish, mackerel and Flat Fall jigs working well. Some of the best bluefin action continues to come at night.


Some boats have been combining trips to fish the bluefin at San Clemente Island with some time spent fishing the Tanner Bank or the Cortes Bank. These banks have been providing pretty good to sometimes good fishing for mixed sized yellowtail, 15- to 25-pound bluefin tuna and 5- to 10-pound bonito.


There is also good fishing for a mixture of yellowfin tuna and skipjack which is complimented by a few dorado and yellowtail for boats fishing the area above the Upper Hidden Bank at 30 to 35 miles 185 to 190 degrees from Point Loma. There is also similarly good fishing for boats fishing the region above and outside of the 385 Spot at 50 to 55 miles 170 degrees from Point Loma. The better days of fishing have seen near limit to limit catches of yellowfin tuna and skipjack being reported. The yellowfin have been mostly 6- to 15-pound fish with a few larger fish to 40 pounds also in the mix. Most of the larger sized yellowfin have been found in porpoise schools.


Elsewhere, it is mostly kelp paddie fishing for dorado along with a chance at scratching out a yellowtail, yellowfin tuna or skipjack for boats fishing offshore areas between the region of the 371 Bank and the Catalina Channel. The kelp paddie dorado fishing has been hit or miss but in the past several days there has been an area of what has been pretty good to sometimes very good dorado action for boats 5 to 15 miles off the coast between Camp Pendleton and Del Mar.


The yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands had slowed down due to a recent influx of off color water but the water has been cleaning up and this afternoon I talked to a private boater who caught limits of 15- to 21-pound yellowtail while fishing along the weather side of North Island. He said there was nice looking blue water at North Island and that they caught their fish while slow trolling with 5/8-ounce mint color Hookup Bait plastics. He said he was trolling the Hookup Bait plastics at "4.2 to 4.7 miles per hour."


Most of the sportboats that might otherwise be fishing around the Coronados have been fishing offshore for yellowfin tuna and skipjack. Prior to that switchover there was pretty good mixed bag fishing being found for yellowtail, bonito and calico bass along and some boats were also scratching out an occasional bluefin tuna.


Over the past 10 days or so there have been several productive areas for yellowtail around the Coronados with the best bites being reported from the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the Ribbon Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge. As mentioned above, the weather side of North Island was good for yellowtail. The best areas for a chance at a bluefin tuna around the Coronados have been the South Kelp Ridge, the lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and the 5 Minute Kelp area located below and inside of South Island. The yellowtail have been mostly 9- to 12-pound fish and most of the bluefin have been in the 15- to 25-pound range.


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


Kelp bed areas have been producing most of the calico bass action with good fishing being found at areas such as the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, Carlsbad, the Barn and San Onofre. The upper end of La Jolla has been the best place to try and catch a yellowtail with yellowtail activity also reported at the Point Loma Kelp Beds and at kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and San Onofre.


The yellowtail at La Jolla have been mostly 8- to 12-pound fish and have gone to 30 pounds. The occasional yellowtail caught off the stretch of coast between Solana Beach and San Onofre tends to be up in the 20- to 25-pound class. Much of the yellowtail fishing at La Jolla is being done while sitting on the anchor. Private boaters have also been catching some yellowtail while trolling with Rapalas and while slow trolling with either live sardines or live mackerel.


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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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