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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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October offshore fishing continues to provide good action!
The month of October is known for having the possibility of providing the best offshore fishing of the season as the warm water fish sometimes group up and go on feeding frenzies ahead of migrating to warmer waters for the winter. This year's month of October has started out with a bang with bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack biting well and with some striped marlin, dorado and yellowtail in the offshore picture as well.


A couple of weeks ago it looked like the bluefin tuna bite out at San Clemente Island was in the process of fading away but the bite has since rallied to where the good days are providing near limit to limit bluefin tuna action. The bluefin have been quality sized fish that have gone to 200+ pounds and with most of the bluefin falling within the 30- to 90-pound range.


Bluefin have been biting from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks and the occasional spot of breaking fish and have been biting well on sardines, mackerel, flying fish and Flat Fall jigs. Bluefin have been biting both day and night and the best fishing has been found off the back side of San Clemente Island while fishing outside of Seal Cove and also above and outside of Seal Cove.


The yellowfin tuna fishing remains good for boats fishing offshore waters between 20 and 60 miles from Point Loma. The yellowfin have been moving around quite a bit with the 9 Mile Bank being a hot spot early in the week and with the bite moving down the coast the past few days to where the best fishing of the past couple of days currently being found by boats fishing from several miles below and inside of the 302 Spot on down to the Inner Bank outside of Ensenada. Productive areas have been in the region of the 302 Spot, 425 Bank, 371 Bank, Upper Hidden Bank, 385 Spot, 400 Spot and 450 Spot.


The yellowfin have been in the 8- to 50-pound range with most falling within the 10- to 20-pound class. Porpoise schools have been producing most of the larger sized yellowfin. The yellowfin have been found by finding kelp paddies, trolling strikes, skipjack trolling strikes, spots of puddling fish, meter marks, sonar marks and porpoise schools. Sardines, Flat Fall jigs, Colt Snipers, poppers and Megabait style jigs have been working well once yellowfin are located.


There are a few dorado and some small yellowtail holding around kelp paddies in areas where yellowfin tuna have been biting. Lots of skipjack are also being found in areas where yellowfin are biting and are also being found in the area around and about the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the 178 Spot. It seems like the big numbers of yellowfin moved from the region of the 9 Mile Bank on Wednesday but skipjack have still been around and biting.


Private boater, Captain Louie Zimm of the Shearwater fished the 9 Mile Bank on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 with his wife and reported finding excellent skipjack fishing. He said they located the skipjack via a double trolling strike and that the trolling stop turned into a 2 hour bait stop. Zimm said they caught 15 skipjack out of the stop and that they kept 5 and released the rest. The skipjack were 5- to 7-pound fish and he said they were getting bites while using 15-pound test line with small sardines. Zimm said he did not see any signs of yellowfin tuna in the area and that they had the 2 hour skipjack stop at 13 miles 247 degrees from Point Loma.


Private boater Tom Zeran of the got fish? was out fishing on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 and reported catching limits of yellowfin tuna. In addition to limits of yellowfin tuna they also caught and released about 50 skipjack. All their yellowfin tuna came from a 3 hour wide open kelp paddie bait stop that produced action on both skipjack and yellowfin tuna.


This hot kelp paddie bite was found while fishing below and inside of the 302 Spot at 20 miles 217 degrees from Point Loma. Once they had caught their limits of yellowfin tuna, Zeran called in some nearby boats to take over the stop. He handed the stop off to the other boats and they started catching skipjack and yellowfin tuna as well. When they left the stop after their 3 hours of drifting and fishing they had drifted to where they were at 19 miles 213 degrees from Point Loma.


Zeran said that they needed to be using 20-pound test or lighter fluorocarbon leaders to get bites from the yellowfin. It was also essential to choose a lively bait and be able to cast the bait to get it away from the boat. He said that when they used heaver leaders that the yellowfin would chase the bait around but not bite it.


Private boater Dave Klimkiewicz of the Don't Trip fished on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 and reported having a great trip where they caught their limits of yellowfin tuna and also caught and released about 45 skipjack. All their yellowfin came from a 3 hour bait stop that originated from stopping on a spot of puddling fish that he found while fishing inside of the 302 Spot at 19 miles 216 degrees from Point Loma.


Klimkiewicz reported that they stopped along side the spot of puddling fish, threw some chum and had the fish come right to the boat and stay with them for three hours until they had caught their limits of yellowfin. They had a total of 15 yellowfin tuna and 3 of the yellowfin were in the 15- to 20-pound range, 10 were in the 10- to 12-pound range and 2 were 8-pound fish.


Private boater, Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn fished on Monday, October 8, 2018 and reported about the trip. Woodard was fishing with private boater Robb Lane of the AJ aboard and said they found excellent yellowfin tuna fishing and ended up being 1 fish short of having their limits of yellowfin tuna. Woodard found this hot yellowfin action by stopping on a meter mark and throwing some chum while fishing outside of the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank at 14 miles 257 degrees from Point Loma. In addition to their yellowfin tuna action they also had a marlin encounter where they had two jigs get bit. He was not certain if it was one fish that bit one jig and then went over and bit the other jig or if they had 2 fish behind the boat hitting the jigs.


Striped marlin are still around and biting. Up in the Catalina area there has been scattered action reported off the East End of Catalina while fishing around and about the 152 Spot and between the 152 Spot and the 277 Spot. Earlier in the week the Church Rock area and Avalon Bank were providing a bit of marlin action as well. In the San Diego region the marlin fishing had been slow but the past several days have seen an increase in marlin activity incidental to fishing for yellowfin tuna and skipjack. Most of the marlin activity has been around the 9 Mile Bank with an occasional marlin encounter also reported out to the west of North Island.


There have not been many boats fishing at the Coronado Islands due to the good fishing for tuna and skipjack in nearby offshore waters. There were a couple of reports from the Coronado Islands during the week and they were of very good fishing for bonito along with a mix of calico bass, an assortment of bottom fish and a chance at scratching out a yellowtail or bluefin tuna. Best areas for the surface fishing have been the weather side of North Island, the lee side of North Island and the Middle Grounds. Other areas that might be worth a check are the lighthouse at the south tip of South Island, the 5 Minute Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to produce some good mixed bag fishing for bonito, calico bass, sand bass and an assortment of bottom fish but the yellowtail action has been scratchy.


The bonito have been attracting much of the attention and are nice sized fish that have been running from 4 to 10 pounds. The bonito along the San Diego County coast have been biting in various areas such as the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Dropoff at Point Loma, the Green Tank, Point Loma College, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Ponto Beach, the Carlsbad Canyon, the Buccaneer Pipeline, the area outside of the Oceanside Pier, the Golf Balls and Camp Pendleton. Some of the bonito have been biting while fishing along the edges of the kelp beds or next to structure and others have been caught by getting trolling strikes out in the deeper 30 to 40 fathom depths. Feathers and Rapalas have been productive on the troll and once bonito are located, flylined sardines and small chrome Megabait style jigs have been working while drifting or anchored.


The best zone for a chance at a yellowtail remains at the upper end of La Jolla. Try flylined sardines and flylined mackerel as well as slow trolled sardines and slow trolled 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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