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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowfin, yellowtail and marlin bites continue in summer like fashion!
Thanksgiving is next week and instead of Southern California anglers thinking about traditional middle of November issues such as turkey on the table and fishing for rockfish, they currently have turkey on the table, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, striped marlin and yellowtail to contemplate. It is amazing how these warm water fish have held so well in our local offshore waters and have been providing some of the best fishing of the year during the month of November.

Bluefin tuna continue to bite out at the Cortes Bank and some of the better trips have been returning with limits of bluefin tuna. The bluefin have been running from 20 to 300+ pounds with most falling within the 20- to 70-pound range. Best baits and lures for the bluefin have been sardines, live squid, flying fish and Flat Fall jigs.


The bluefin have been located by finding meter marks, sonar marks and the occasional spot of breaking fish. The good bite areas around the Cortes Bank have been moving all around and about the bank in recent weeks. In recent days the best fishing has been found around the northwestern edges of the bank as well as to the north and the northeast of the Cortes Bank's 9 Fathom Spot.


Private boater, Captain Ron Bowers of the Salt Fever fished an extended long weekend trip to the Cortes Bank the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11 of 2018 and reported finding excellent fishing and catching 30 bluefin tuna. Their bluefin were mixed size fish that went from 20 to 63 pounds with the majority of the fish being in the 50- to 63-pound range. All their fish were caught on drifted flylined sardines.


Bowers reported that their best stop of the trip was on Saturday and that it came from stopping on a sonar mark that he found in the dark. Those fish came under the boat and stayed with them all day long. On Sunday, their best stop came courtesy of the Captain of the sportboat Tomahawk out of Seaforth Sportfishing. Bowers said that the Tomahawk had limited out on bluefin tuna and that the Captain of the Tomahawk offered to turn the stop over to them as the Tomahawk was getting ready to leave. Bowers gratefully accepted the invitation and that handed over stop ended up producing 7 bluefin for the Salt Fever. Bowers was very much appreciated that the Captain of the Tomahawk invited them to take over their bluefin stop.


Private boater, Tom Golding of the Last Buck fished for bluefin at the Cortes Bank on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 and reported a fantastic trip in having the 4 anglers aboard catch their limits of bluefin tuna as well as catch and release an additional 5 bluefin. Golding said that 4 of their bluefin were in the 60- to 70-pound range and that the remainder were in the 2-5 to 30-pound class. He said they caught their bluefin by drifting in an area where they were getting meter marks and would see spots of breaking fish.


After catching bluefin, Golding went over to fish the Bishop Rock region of the Cortes Bank for yellowtail but could only find whitefish and assorted rockfish biting. They left the Cortes Bank and ran to the Tanner Bank where they drifted with sardines and caught a yellowtail and lost another yellowtail. In addition to the yellowtail action they also caught and released a bluefin tuna and some bonito. The yellowtail were 15- to 20-pound fish and were hooked on sardines. The bluefin caught at the Tanner Bank was caught on a sardine but all the bluefin they caught at the Cortes Bank were caught while using live squid for bait that was fished a bit below the surface with a glow in the dark sliding sinker.


In addition to the bluefin action at the Cortes Bank, there has also been some yellowfin tuna action to be found in other areas. In the areas where yellowfin have been found there has also been a chance at catching skipjack, dorado and yellowtail. Not many boats have been fishing the yellowfin because of the good bluefin bite at the Cortes Bank but at last word there were yellowfin biting in the 1000 fathom trench below and inside of the 60 Mile Bank while fishing 50 to 55 miles 215 to 218 degrees from Point Loma.


A new area of 20 to 70 pound yellowfin was found on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 and this same area is producing some yellowfin action again today. This new zone is in the of 267 Spot that is easterly of the Tanner Bank. This morning, Friday morning, Nov. 16, 2018 a private boater Skipper reported catching 2 of the 60- to 70-pound yellowfin while fishing in porpoise school he found outside of the 267 Spot at 80 miles 249 degrees from Point Loma. Another productive yellowfin zone in the region of the 267 Spot has been inside of the 267 Spot while fishing 76 miles 255 degrees from Point Loma. The yellowfin in this sector have been biting from porpoise schools and from stopping on spots of breezing fish.


Striped marlin continue to bite well off the eastern part of Catalina. Very few boats have been fishing but most days during the week have seen 1 or 2 marlin being caught and released. There are a few more boats out working the area today, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 and I would estimate that 4 marlin have been caught and released as of noon.


Action has been coming while fishing between the 40 fathom curve and the 100 fathom curve in an area ranging from the Can Dump on over to where you are fishing off Church Rock. Action has been coming from blind jig strikes as well as from dropback baits and baiting feeders, tailers and sleepers. This is as good of a marlin bite as the Catalina region has seen this season.


There have also been some marlin sightings reported by whale watch boats in an area spread from 3 to 5 miles off the coast between the City of San Clemente and Newport Harbor. Last week there was a marlin released by a boat fishing outside of Fashion Island and also by a boat fishing off Dana Point and it appears that there are still marlin to be found in this coastal sector.


The fishing at the Coronados has been good for a mix of bonito, yellowtail and an assortment of rockfish. Seaforth Sportfishing had an early update from the San Diego from this morning's fishing of having 20+ yellowtail aboard with lots of fishing time left in the day. Seaforth Sportfishing reported that the yellowtail were averaging 15 pounds and were biting on yo-yoed iron and sardines that were being fished on a dropper loop rig.


The bonito around the Coronados have been running 4 to 8 pounds and productive surface fishing areas 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 3- 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 outside of the Oceanside Pier.


Some of the bonito have been biting while fishing hard bottom or kelp bed areas and some 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.


On Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 I received a private boater report of good bonito fishing at the Whistler Buoy area off Point Loma. They were getting blind trolling strikes and were also getting trolling strikes in spots where they were seeing bird life and finding meter marks. After trolling strikes, they were throwing some chum and hooking bonito on sardines. They bonito they were catching were 3- to 7- pound fish. The down side to their report was that they were the only boat in the area and that they got swarmed by seals that would quite often steal their hooked bonito before they could get the fish to the boat.


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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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