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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin tuna and yellowtail still holding in local offshore waters!
The pastcouple of days have seen improved weather conditions and there have been private boaters fishing offshore that have been looking around for bluefin tuna and yellowtail. They have covering a large area of ocean ranging from the Upper Hidden Bank that is located 40 miles below Point Loma all the way up to the Oil Rigs in the Catalina Channel.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, there were bluefin tuna found in a few different areas with the region to the south and southeast of the 14 Mile Bank, the region to the southeast of the 312 Spot, the area about 14 miles west of La Jolla and the area 9 miles outside of Mission Bay all being zones where bluefin tuna activity was reported. Not much was biting but there was a report of a 60-pound bluefin being caught by a boat fishing about 9 miles outside of Mission Bay on Thursday. That fish was caught in an area where there were some spots of breezing, foaming and breaking bluefin showing. Today is Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 and it has been a different story today without much being reported in the way of bluefin activity as of the time this report is being written during the middle of the afternoon.


Kelp paddies in the area ranging from the 14 Mile Bank on down to the Upper Hidden Bank below San Diego have a chance at holding yellowtail but most paddies have been either empty or have been holding tiny throwback sized yellowtail. On Thursday, the region of the 181 Spot produced a nice sized yellowtail and today there was a report of a few keeper sized yellowtail being caught in the region of the 267 Spot outside of Dana Point. Today's best yellowtail report came from a Skipper who found a very good kelp paddie yellowtail bite for what I believe to have been limits of yellowtail while fishing at the Upper Hidden Bank. The inside high spot at the Upper Hidden Bank is located at 39 miles 182 degrees from Point Loma.


Most of the bluefin activity has been found in areas where there is a lot of bird life. Bluefin action has come from stopping on meter marks, spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish or foamer spots of fish. Sardines, mackerel, surface iron and Flat Fall jigs have been working for the bluefin. Some action has also come while slow trolling with mackerel or sardines in an area where there is a lot of bird life or where spots of bluefin have been metered or seen.


Not much news coming from the Coronado Islands during the week but last weekend there was good fishing for rockfish and there was some fair surface fishing action for bonito and a chance at a yellowtail. The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished around the Coronado Islands last weekend and on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 they had a full day trip with 19 anglers catch 128 rockfish, 2 sculpin, 1 lingcod, 1 sheephead, 1 calico bass, 1 yellowtail and 10 bonito. On Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 the Malihini had a full day trip with 10 anglers catch 50 rockfish, 37 reds and 1 sheephead.


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. Best areas for a chance at finding some surface fishing action have been the weather side of North Island and the Middle Grounds.


The Premier out of H&M Landing has been running weekday half-day trips into Mexican waters that usually target rockfish. They tend to fish the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island on these trips. Their fish count for Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 was 13 anglers on a half day trip catching an assortment of 130 rockfish.


Sportboats have been running 1.5 day trips to fish Punta Colnett and they have been finding a mix of yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish biting. Try to find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to locate the yellowtail. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig.


H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing a 1.5 day trip on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 that had 21 anglers catch 12 yellowtail and 155 rockfish. Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An out on Saturday and they were fishing a 1.5 day trip that had 27 anglers catch 100 rockfish, 135 reds and 18 yellowtail. Saturday's fishing also saw Fisherman's Landing have the Pacific Queen fishing a 1.5 day trip with 24 anglers that caught 90 yellowtail, 90 reds and 60 rockfish.


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 that are covered by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species until the closure comes to an end on March 1, 2019.


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. There has not been much happening on yellowtail and there has been an occasional white seabass caught incidental to fishing for bass and sculpin.


Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the Oceanside Sea Center boats continue to do well on sculpin while fishing the Box Canyon area. In addition to the good sculpin fishing, they have also found unseasonably good fishing for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and an occasional halibut, triggerfish or white seabass while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines.


Fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid has been working well for the bass and sculpin. One of the best techniques has been fishing the squid strip on a bare lead head jig head. He says that it sometimes helps to fish a sliding sinker above the lead head jig head that is baited with the strip of squid.


Cacciola pointed to a very good fish count that the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center had from a half day trip on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. The Chubasco II had 16 anglers post a catch that included limits of mixed calico bass and sand bass. The fish count was 16 anglers catching 61 sand bass, 19 calico bass, 4 triggerfish, 2 sargo and 27 sculpin. He said that they had a good percentage quality sized sand bass and calico bass that went to 4 pounds within their catch.


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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