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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowfin, yellowtail and marlin bites continue into Thanksgiving!
Today is Thanksgiving and I am 100 percent behind the concept of the traditional Thanksgiving at home with family, loved ones and friends. There is nothing so precious! That said, it is amazing to be able to say that if a Southern California angler was so inclined, he or she would have had the option of making some turkey sandwiches and heading offshore to celebrate Thanksgiving and target what has been good fishing for yellowfin tuna, buefin tuna and striped marlin. Good yellowtail and bonito fishing at the Coronado Islands is another option that is amazing to be able to ponder at this time of year.


Bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna continue to bite well out at the Cortes Bank and some of the better trips have been returning with near limit to limit catches. The amazing thing is the size of both species being caught with the bluefin ranging in size from 20 to 250+ pounds and with most of the yellowfin falling within the 30- to 70-pound range. When factoring in the size and quantity of the yellowfin and bluefin, the past week has provided some of the best tuna fishing of the entire 2018 offshore season.


Private boater Richard Hamilton reported fishing the Cortes Bank on a friend’s 35 foot Cabo on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. Hamilton reported outstanding fishing and said they started off the day by picking up 2 of the 90-pound bluefin tuna on flylined sardines. Their next action was for some of the 20-pound yellowfin tuna and they ended up the day with a wide open yellowfin tuna stop where they were able to catch 10 yellowfin that were in the 50- to 80-pound class. Hamilton said they had caught their fill and that left the yellowfin biting and boiling as they headed for home.


Hamilton reported finding this action in 66 degree water along a temperature break to the south of the Cortes Bank. The best of the recent yellowfin and bluefin fishing has been coming while fishing the region of the 500 fathom curve to the south and southeast of the Cortes Bank. The region of the 267 Spot that is easterly of the Tanner Bank has also produced some catches of bluefin and yellowfin and the 50 to 100 fathom depths to the north and northeast of Bishop Rock at the Cortes Bank continues to produce some bluefin.


The tuna have been found by locating meter marks, sonar marks, porpoise schools and spots of working birds. Sardines, live squid, flying fish and Flat Fall jigs have been working well for bait with cedar plugs also working well for yellowfin while trolling around porpoise.


Some private boats returning home from trips to Mag Bay have been finding good tuna fishing in the area below the Lower 500 Bank while fishing 90 to 100 miles 160 to 165 degrees from Point Loma. Captain Todd Shifflett of the 6 pack charter yacht Predator reported getting a report from a friend who was fishing on their way home to San Diego from Mag Bay who reported finding very good fishing for 20- pound class yellowfin tuna and 30- to 50-pound bluefin tuna.


Striped marlin has been biting well for boats fishing around and about the eastern end of Catalina. The fish have been showing and biting in an area ranging from the Rock Quarry on over to where you are fishing off Church Rock. Most of the action has been coming while fishing in 40 to 100 fathoms of water with the area off Church Rock tending to be the best.


Action has been coming by baiting sleepers, tailers and feeders but most of the action comes from raising fish on the troll and either hooking a jig fish or a baitfish on a dropback mackerel. My estimation was that there were 10 to 12 marlin that were caught and mostly released over the past weekend of Nov. 17 and 18 of 2018.


The yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands has been very good and there have also been good numbers of bonito and rockfish in the mix. The counts were down some yesterday (Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018) but most of the recent sportboat trips to fish the Coronado Islands have been returning with near limit to limit numbers of 12- to 18-pound yellowtail. The best yellowtail action has been coming from the area of the Rockpile with the weather side of North Island and the hard bottom to the northeast of North Island also sometimes being worth a check. Most of the yellowtail have been biting on yo-yoed iron or on sardines that are fished with a dropper loop rig.


Fish counts from yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 were the Grande out of H&M Landing that had a full day trip with 35 anglers catch 33 yellowtail and 39 bonito. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a full day trip with 50 anglers return with 32 bonito, 14 rockfish and 21 yellowtail.


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 the area 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.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that when the bonito are biting in deep water that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have usually been spending some time fishing the deeper water areas to spefircally target the bonito and says that they usually also spend some time fishing the hard bottom and structure areas where they have been catching a mix of bass, bonito sheephead, whitefish and rockfish.


Cacciola says that their best bonito fishing has been found while fishing between the area outside of the Oceanside Pier on down to Ponto Beach at South Carlsbad in the 20 to 40 fathom depths. Bonito action has been originating from trolling strikes and from stopping on sonar marks and meter marks. After getting a trolling strike or after stopping on a meter mark or sonar mark anglers are catching bonito on sardines and Megabait style jigs.


Cacciola says that the water off the Oceanside area coast has been running between 64 degrees and 66 degrees and he reports that the water has been clean and blue. As an example of the fishing, the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center had 17 anglers on a morning half day trip catch 75 bonito, 60 reds and 90 rockfish. On their afternoon trip, 25 anglers caught 50 whitefish, 10 sheephead, 3 triggerfish and 3 sand bass.


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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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