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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Wow! bluefin, skipjack and yellowtail biting offshore in January!
The year 2018's run of bluefin tuna and offshore kelp paddie yellowtail has rolled right into year 2019 as there are bluefin tuna being seen and biting in spots in an area ranging from the oil rigs in the Catalina Channel on down to the area of Carlsbad Canyon. You can now add skipjack to the list of what is biting in the new year as it is Friday morning, Jan. 4, 2019 and a couple of Skippers have reported catching skipjack to 12 pounds while trolling the offshore waters off Camp Pendleton.


The region of the oil rigs in the Catalina Channel has produced some bluefin action and there has also been bluefin action reported from the offshore waters outside of Newport Harbor and Crystal Cove. Further south, an area where some bluefin have been biting has been while fishing offshore waters between Oceanside and the Carlsbad Canyon. Other areas where bluefin have been reported seen during the past week or so have been the offshore waters off Solana Beach, the 9 Mile Bank and around the Ridge below the 181 Spot.


Kelp paddie yellowtail have been biting in an area ranging from Box Canyon on down to the offshore waters outside of Leucadia. Most of the bluefin action along the coast has been found within 3 to 7 miles of the coastline and the kelp paddie yellowtail activity has been coming from paddies found between 3 and 12 miles off the coast.


This morning, a private boater Skipper reported catching a 55-pound bluefin while drifting a sardine over some meter marks found outside of south Oceanside and there has been some other bluefin action found in an area ranging from this same area on down to the Carlsbad Canyon. On Thursday, the upper edge of the Carlsbad Canyon was a hotspot with several bluefin being caught by stopping on spots of foaming fish, breaking fish and puddling fish and drifting with sardines.


The kelp paddie yellowtail have ranged in size from very small throwback sized fish up to around 12 pounds. This morning a private boater Skipper who was fishing outside of Box Canyon reported catching 7 of the "keeper" sized yellowtail from a large kelp paddie that he found while fishing about 10 miles off the coast.


No reports about marlin lately, but with the 62 to 63+ degree water that is still around in some offshore areas it would not surprise if there were still a few marlin around.


There has not been much news coming from the Coronado Islands lately but the few reports have been of a mix of bonito, yellowtail, reds and assorted rockfish biting. The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished the Coronados on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018 and had a fish count of 25 anglers on a full day trip catching 200 rockfish, 35 reds, 5 calico bass, 1 sand bass, 1 sheephead, 3 lingcod, 18 bonito and 1 yellowtail. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished the Coronados on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 and had a fish count of 27 anglers catching 100 reds, 33 bonito and 34 yellowtail.


The best chances at finding surface fishing action around the Coronados have been while fishing off the weather side of North Island and at the Middle Grounds. Good areas for rockfish have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in 35 to 45 fathoms of water.


Anglers fishing on the United States side of the Mexico border need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Anglers seeking to fish for the rockfish/groundfish species effected by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species during the closure period.


The fishing along the San Diego area coast is providing a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin and has also been producing a few halibut and bonito. There are occasional sightings of yellowtail and anglers are hopeful that a winter time yellowtail bite might develop some time soon.


Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin and the best areas for a chance at finding bonito action have been while fishing outside of Imperial Beach, by the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, outside of Point Loma College and outside of the upper end of La Jolla.


On Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, there was a private boater who found good fishing for 6- to 10-pound bonito while fishing a short way above the Mexico border off Imperial Beach. At the time of his report he had caught 7 of the large bonito and was still fishing. He was finding the bonito action on trolled Rapalas.


There have been a few halibut biting in coastal areas. Some productive halibut areas include the sandy bottom near the Aliso Pipeline off South Laguna Beach, the sandy bottom off South Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower located outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck located outside of Mission Beach, San Diego Bay and while fishing sandy bottom areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier.


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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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