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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Mid-October is providing good action on bluefin and yellowfin!
The 2018 offshore fishing season keeps marching right along with it getting toward the late part of October and with anglers still finding good fishing on a variety of species that included bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail, skipjack and marlin. The offshore water temperatures are still holding in the 68 to 70 degree range and the absence of northern weather systems remains a good indicator that the warm water that is helping to hold the offshore pelagic fish in our local offshore waters might stay around for a while.

Bluefin tuna are biting to the east and the northeast of the 267 Spot that is easterly of the Tanner Bank. A good central area of bluefin activity is out at 71 miles 251 degrees from Point Loma. Most of the bluefin are in the 40 to 80 pound range and the bluefin have been running from 20 to 200+ pounds. I talked with private boater, Captain Ron Bowers of the Salt Fever who is out in the bluefin area today (Friday, Oct. 19, 2018) and is on day 2 of a 3 day trip. Bowers reported having 3 of the 60-pound bluefin aboard from today's fishing as of around noon and was still fishing. Bowers fished the same area on Thursday (day one of the three day trip) and caught 3 of the 60-pound bluefin for Thursday's fishing.


The bluefin are being found by finding meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breezing fish. Once located, sardines, small mackerel and Flat Fall jigs have been working well for bait with sardines working the best. Using a circle hook tied to a 30- to 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader has been a good way to go for the fish that are 65 pounds or less.


Yellowfin tuna are also biting and are often being found in areas that provide a mix of skipjack, dorado and yellowtail. Some of the better trips have been returning with limits of yellowfin tuna. The best zone early in the week was while fishing around the 450 Spot located below the 238 Spot at the Inner Bank outside of Ensenada but that changed on Thursday when the best area was found below and outside of the 295 Bank for boats fishing 75 miles 180 to 185 degrees from Point Loma. Things continue to change though as boats returning to the area below and outside of the 295 Bank this morning caught a mix of yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and skipjack but did not find the wide open easy limit type of yellowfin action today like they had on Thursday.


Other areas that have been producing some yellowfin tuna are the Double 220 Bank, the Upper 500 Bank, the area between the Upper Hidden Bank and the Lower Hidden Bank, the Upper Hidden Bank, the 371 Bank and the 302 Spot. Of these areas, the area between the Upper Hidden Bank and the Lower Hidden Bank and the region of the Double 220 Bank have been the best. The 9 Mile Bank has been producing skipjack but just an occasional yellowfin tuna.


The yellowfin tuna have been running from 6 to 30 pounds with the 20+ pound fish generally being found holding with porpoise. Yellowfin have also been located by finding kelp paddies, trolling strikes, skipjack trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks and spots of puddling fish.


Private boater, Tom Parnakian of the Ambush went out fishing on an overnight trip aboard the sportboat Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 and reported about the trip. They had good fishing and had a fish count of 34 anglers catching 170 yellowfin tuna, 18 dorado and 15 yellowtail.


Parnakian said they found the action while fishing below and outside of Ensenada and were down around 75 miles from Point Loma. He said they had an early morning yellowfin trolling strike that led to wide open yellowfin tuna action and that they limited out on yellowfin from that single stop. Parnakian said most of the yellowfin were under 10 pounds and that they were readily biting on sardines and small chrome Megabait style jigs. Parnakian caught his limit of yellowfin tuna out of that stop and said he had action on sardines and on Megabait jigs.


After catching their limits of yellowfin they looked around for kelp paddies and found some paddies that were holding dorado. He said that most of the dorado were nice sized fish that were in the 15- to 20+ pound class. Parnakian said he hooked a good sized dorado on a sardine but eventually had the hook pull out. Some of the kelp paddies were also producing some small yellowtail. Parnakian said he caught and released a couple of the small yellowtail. Parnakian commented that the Captain and the crew of the Tribute provided very good service.


Striped marlin are biting off the East End of Catalina and there has also been some action in the region of the 14 Mile Bank. Most of the activity is being reported in close to the East End of Catalina but there was a marlin caught and released into the northeast of the 14 Mile Bank at mid-week and another marlin was hooked and lost at the 14 Mile Bank today (Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.)


Boats fishing in close to the East End of Catalina have been finding action in as close as the 100 fathom curve. There have been one or two marlin caught and released so far today and there have been some other bites and raised fish on the jigs. There were also some quick feeders showing this morning and early this afternoon. The marlin off the East End have been found in areas where there has been an abundance of bird life, bait and bonito. Skippers say they often find the marlin action on the inside edge of the life that has you fishing the edge of the life that is closest to the Island.


In the San Diego region there is an occasional jumper being seen at the 9 Mile Bank but overall, the marlin fishing has been slow.


There has not been much news coming from the Coronado Islands as most all the boats that would otherwise be fishing around the Coronado Islands have been fishing offshore for tuna, skipjack, dorado and yellowtail. At last word, there was very good bonito fishing around the Coronados along with a good mix of calico bass and assorted bottom fish. There was also a chance at scratching out a yellowtail or bluefin tuna. Best areas for surface fishing were the weather side of North Island and the Middle Grounds.


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 and remains scratchy.


The bonito have been a main attraction and have been mostly 4- to 7-pound fish. Productive areas have been 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 and the area outside of the Oceanside Pier. Going further north there has also been good bonito fishing found between Dana Point and South Laguna Beach and between Abalone Point and Newport Beach.


Some of the bonito have been biting while fishing along the edges of the kelp beds or next to structure but the majority have been caught by getting trolling strikes out in the deeper 18 to 50 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 scratching out 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.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that they and other boats from the Oceanside Sea Center have been doing well on bonito while fishing in 115 to 150 feet of water in an area ranging from the Oceanside Pier on down to Ponto Beach at South Carlsbad. Cacciola says that they have been getting bonito trolling strikes and then drifting and fishing with sardines, Megabait style jigs and chrome Crocodile jigs. He says the smaller sized sardines have been working a lot better than the big sardines.


Cacciola reports that they have also been catching a few bonito while fishing on the anchor at hard bottom, structure and kelp bed areas and have been catching a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sheephead and whitefish as well. On the day of his report Cacciola said they had also caught a 25-pound halibut while fishing in 70 feet of water. When fishing hard bottom, structure and kelp bed areas they have been working spots such as the Anderson Pipeline, Carlsbad State Park, Leucadia and Solana Beach.


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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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