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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, yellowtail and marlin bites continue strong!
We are now well into the month of November and the offshore fishing is holding up very well with bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, skipjack, yellowtail, striped marlin and an occasional dorado still on the menu for offshore anglers. In a lot of offshore areas water temperatures remain up in the 66.5 to 68.5 degree range. With no northern weather systems showing up in the current Southern California 10 day weather forecast, one has reason to think that the water temperatures might remain warm enough to keep some if not all of these species in our local offshore waters a while longer.

Bluefin tuna continue to bite well for boats fishing out by the Cortes Bank. The bluefin have been running from 25 to 300+ pounds and have been biting while drifting on sonar marks, meter marks and spots of breaking fish. Best baits and lures for the bluefin have been sardines, fresh or frozen flying fish and Flat Fall jigs. During much of the week, the best fishing has been found while fishing areas ranging from the southwestern edges of the Cortes Bank on down to fishing the eastern edges of the Cortes Bank. One change from today's fishing (Friday, Nov. 9, 2018) is that some of today's best fishing is being found in an area out to the west of the 9 Fathom Spot at the Cortes Bank.


Private boater, Captain Ron Bowers of the Salt Fever fished out at the Cortes Bank on a 2.5 day weekend trip on Nov. 3 and 4, 2018 and reported good bluefin action with 12 bluefin for the 2.5 day trip. Their bluefin were 50- to 70-pound fish and they were all caught on flylined sardines. Bowers said that long drifts on meter marks and sonar marks worked well for them and that the fish would come and go as they patiently stayed in their drift. They were using bait outfits with 20-pound or 30-pound test fluorocarbon leaders and size 2/0 circle hooks. Bowers said the 20 pound test outfits were bringing a lot more strikes than the 30-pound test outfits. He reported that their best fishing was found while drifting spots of fish found 1 to 5 miles southwest of the 9 Fathom Spot at the Cortes Bank.


Private boater, Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn returned home on Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018 from fishing a multi-day trip aboard the Spirit of Adventure out of H&M Landing. Woodard reported it to be a great trip and said he started out the trip by catching his limits of wahoo and lots of 20-pound class yellowfin tuna while they were fishing The Ridge above the Thetis Bank.


Woodard said there were no big yellowfin tuna biting along the Ridge and that Captain Brian of the Spirit of Adventure decided to run all the way up to the Cortes Bank to finish the trip with a shot at getting into some large bluefin tuna. Woodard said that it was a great move to go to the Cortes Bank to finish off the trip as they got into some epic fishing on jumbo sized bluefin tuna.


Woodard caught the biggest bluefin on the trip which weighed 272 pounds back at the dock after being bled, gilled and gutted. The fish was thought to have been up over 300 pounds before it was bled, gilled and gutted. Woodard said that most all of the jumbo sized bluefin, including the one he caught, were hooked on frozen and defrosted rigged flying fish that were fished from a kite or with balloons. Ann Marie from The Spirit of Adventure Office reported that there were 17 bluefin over 200 pounds caught on the trip and said that most of those fell within the 220- to 240-pound range.


In addition to the great bluefin action at the Cortes Bank, there has also been a mix of yellowfin tuna, skipjack, yellowtail and an occasional dorado biting for boats fishing above the 1010 Trench while between 45 and 55 miles 195 to 205 degrees from Point Loma.


Kelp paddies, trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks and porpoise schools have been ways to locate yellowfin tuna. Most of the yellowfin are in the 8- to 20-pound range with occasional fish to 30 pounds also in the mix. As an example of the recent fishing, the Old Glory out of H&M Landing fished for yellowfin on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 and had a fish count 31 anglers catching 43 yellowfin tuna, 1 yellowtail and 66 skipjack.


Closer to Point Loma, there has been hit or miss action on skipjack out at the 9 Mile Bank. The 6 pack charter yacht Josie Lynn out of Point Loma Sportfishing fished a morning half day trip on Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018 and found excellent skipjack fishing and had 5 anglers catch 30 skipjack. This morning, Friday morning, Nov. 9, 2018 the skipjack were around out at the 9 Mile Bank but were not biting very well. The report from this morning's fishing was there were spots of breaking skipjack showing that were focused on feeding on tiny anchovies. These fish wanted the tiny anchovies and did not show much interest in the sardines anglers were presenting to them and did also not show much interest in trolling feathers.


Striped marlin are still biting around the eastern part of Catalina. There are very few boats out fishing during the week but there seems to have been a marlin or two caught and released most days since last weekend. Most of the action has been coming from fishing the 40 to 100 fathom depths in an area ranging from being off the Slide over to being off Church Rock. Action has been coming on the troll and by presenting dropback mackerel or baiting sleepers and tailers. Good color jigs during this late season have been reported to be the bleeding mackerel color combination jigs and pink jigs.


There has been very little marlin activity to report in the San Diego region but on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, private boater Marshall Madruga was fishing for rockfish in 240 feet of water off the Green Tank at Point Loma and reported seeing a jumper that put on quite a show and jumped around 10 times within 100 yards of the boat.


There has been good mixed bag fishing for bonito, yellowtail and an assortment of bottom fish out at the Coronado Islands. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished a full day trip at the Coronado Islands on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 and had a fish count of 32 anglers catching 18 yellowtail and 4 bonito. Thursday's fishing also saw the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing fish a full day trip to the Coronado Islands with 17 anglers who caught 27 bonito, 22 yellowtail, 22 rockfish, 8 calico bass, 6 sheephead and 1 barracuda.


Seaforth Sportfishing reports that the yellowtail have mostly been 12 to 20 pound fish that have been biting on yo-yoed iron, sardines fished with a dropper loop rig and flylined sardines. They have been suggesting 40- to 50-pound line for fishing with the yo-yoed iron and 25- to 30-pound test for fishing with the sardines.


The best surface fishing areas at the Coronado Islands have been the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds and the hard bottom to the northeast of North Island.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to produce good mixed bag fishing for bonito, calico bass, sand bass and an assortment of bottom fish.


The bonito have been mostly 4- to 7-pound fish and 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.


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.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have been doing well on bonito while fishing outside of the stretch of coast between the Oceanside Pier and Ponto Beach at South Carlsbad. Most of the bonito have been found in the 20 to 40 fathom depths and action has been originating from trolling strikes and from stopping on sonar marks and meter marks. After getting a trolling strike or a stop on a meter mark or sonar mark anglers are catching bonito on sardines and Megabait style jigs. Most of the bonito have been 5- to 7-pound fish.


Cacciola says that the water off the Oceanside area coast is running between 66 degrees and 68 degrees and the water has been clean and blue. In addition to the deeper water bonito action, he says that hard bottom, structure and kelp bed areas below Oceanside Harbor have also been productive for a mix of calico bass, sheephead, whitefish and some flurries of bonito action.


As an example of the recent bonito action, on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center had 21 anglers on a morning half day trip catch 89 bonito.


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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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