Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Today's rockfish opener comes just ahead of forecasted weekend wind and rain
Southern California anglers finally saw several days of decent weather during the week but that break in the weather appears to be coming to an end on Saturday with rain wind winds to 20 knots in the forecast and with a "slight chance of showers" part of the forecast for Sunday. Today is Friday, March 1, 2019 and it is the Southern California rockfish/groundfish opener following the annual 2 month closure that began on Jan. 1, 2019. The weather is decent today and hopefully anglers out looking to fish the opener are finding lots of quality reds and assorted rockfish biting for them ahead of the storm.

Counts have yet to come in to most of the landing offices as this report is being written but one fish count from the morning half-day trip aboard the Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing was 33 anglers on the half day trip catching 86 reds and 60 rockfish. Sean at Point Loma Sportfishing reported that the Point Loma had a half-day trip with 20 anglers return with 93 rockfish and 4 sculpin.

One nice thing is that anglers are now allowed to fish for rockfish in deeper water and can legally fish in depths up to 75 fathoms in non-Cow Cod Preservation Areas. Anglers can now also fish for certain species within Cow Cod Preservation areas in depths of less than 40 fathoms of water. These changes allow fishing deeper depths that have been off limits in recent years and will hopefully result in some good fishing. Some of the specifics of the rockfish regulations can be found on the DFW website at:

The last sportboats I know of fishing Punta Colnett were on Saturday, Feb.23, 2019 and they found good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod and assorted rockfish.

The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing had 32 anglers on a 1.5 day trip catch 158 rockfish, 92 reds, 58 yellowtail and 2 lingcod. H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing a 1.5 day trip with 18 anglers that caught 90 reds, 57 yellowtail and 33 rockfish. Point Loma Sportfishing had the Vagabond fishing a 1.5 day trip with 26 anglers that caught 130 reds, 25 rockfish, 21 yellowtail and 8 lingcod. Seaforth Sportfishing had the Tribute fishing a 1.5 day trip with 32 anglers who caught 170 rockfish, 85 reds, 25 bonito, 20 yellowtail, 3 whitefish, 1 sheephead and 1 lingcod.

The yellowtail off Punta Colnett have been mostly the 15- to 25-pound class fish. Best bet for the yellowtail has been to try and find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to stop on. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig. The heavy Salas 6X and Salas 7X sized yo-yo jigs in scrambled egg color have been reported to be working best.

The last trip that I know of to fish at the Coronado Islands was on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 when the Malihini out of H&M Landing fished the Islands and found good mixed bag fishing and posted a count of 19 anglers catching 183 rockfish, 3 bonito, 2 sheephead, 1 calico bass and 2 sand bass.

Good areas for the bottom fishing 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 50 fathoms of water. Best area for a chance at finding some surface fishing action has been while fishing along the weather side of North Island and at the Middle Grounds.

With today's rockfish opener as talked about above, a lot of the half-day trips will likely start to focus on fishing for reds, lingcod and assorted rockfish but there has also been recent good local fishing to be found for a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin while fishing hard bottom and structure spots. A few bonus halibut and an occasional yellowtail have been in the picture as well.

The best zone for a chance at a yellowtail has been in the La Jolla and Pacific Beach region but there has not been any consistency to where and when the yellows might show. It has been several days since I have news of there being any yellowtail activity in the area but it is a good idea to be alert to finding meter marks or spots of working birds while in the La Jolla and Pacific Beach region.

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 Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure area at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.

As an example of the fishing, Fisherman's Landing had the Dolphin fishing a half day trip on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 and they had 32 anglers catch 20 sand bass, 18 sculpin and 6 calico bass. Seaforth Sportfishing had a half day trip aboard the New Seaforth fishing with 11 anglers that same day and they caught 46 sculpin, 6 sand bass and 4 calico bass.

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. This morning there was a private boater who reported having caught a 14 pound halibut while fishing outside of Mission Beach.

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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 . 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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