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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Weather systems easing some as spring approaches!
The 2019 winter season has brought Southern California a lot of days of wind, rain, cold temperatures and high seas and those weather conditions have kept anglers home and doing something other than fishing on a lot of days. On the nice weather days between storms anglers have been able to get out and fish in reasonable conditions but have had to watch the weather forecasts closely to be able to pick the good weather days. The first day of spring is fast approaching and is on March 20, 2019 and anglers are hoping that the arrival of spring will bring some milder weather conditions. An ongoing reminder is to always be sure to check the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.

When boats have been able to get out fishing in decent weather there has been some good fishing to be found. There is not much in the way of surface fishing action to report but there are some emerging signs of what one would think of as spring time fishing. An interesting second hand report from offshore was from private boater Marshall Madruga who said that he talked to a friend who was out fishing early in the week and saw some bluefin tuna activity while fishing the area of the 9 Mile Bank and the area about half way between the 9 Mile Bank and Mission Bay. The report from the 9 Mile Bank region was that they saw a few spots of breaking 60-pound grade bluefin tuna that were up and down very quickly and would not bite. They also stopped to bait a couple of blue sharks in an effort to have a young angler aboard the boat have something to hook and fight. When they stopped the boat to bait the blue sharks the report was that they saw several free swimming 20-pound class bluefin swimming around the boat in the region where the blue sharks were holding.


The fishing around the Coronado Islands has been very good for a mix of reds, rockfish, whitefish and lingcod but the surface fishing has been scratchy. Some good news about surface fishing around the Coronado Islands is that were some yellowtail spotted at mid-week. The yellowtail were seen by a boat that was targeting rockfish but saw a spot of breaking yellowtail showing in an area where there were lots of birds and bait at 4 miles north of the Middle Grounds.


The last sportboat trip to fish the Coronados that I know of was on Sunday, March 10, 2019 when the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing had a full day trip with 21 anglers catch 1 sheephead, 105 reds, 60 rockfish, 2 lingcod and 1 salmon grouper.


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. Aside from the yellowtail seen into the north of the Middle Grounds at mid-week as talked about above, the best areas for a chance at finding some surface fishing action during the winter season have been while fishing along the weather side of North Island and at the Middle Grounds.


Boats fishing down the Mexican coast on what are usually Saturday 1.5 day trips to the Punta Colnett area have been finding good mixed bag fishing for reds, rockfish, lingcod, bonito and yellowtail. This pattern could be changing though as the one trip that I know of from last weekend found excellent bottom fishing but found the surface fishing to be slow. The Old Glory out of H&M Landing was the boat that fished a 1.5 day trip on Saturday, catch 120 rockfish and 120 reds.


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. When yellowtail are located, the heavy Salas 6X and Salas 7X sized yo-yo jigs in scrambled egg color have been reported to be working best.


The fishing along the San Diego area coast has been good for a mix of rockfish, reds, sculpin, bass and a few halibut. Not much has been happening with yellowtail lately but in recent weeks there have been occasional showings of yellowtail in the La Jolla and Pacific Beach region.


Productive rockfish areas have been the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


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 Point Loma Pipeline, 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. Additionally, this morning (Friday morning, March 15, 2019) there was a private boater who reported doing well on calico bass while fishing with Hookup Bait plastics at the Jetty Kelp area outside of Mission Bay.


As an example of the fishing on Thursday, March 14, 2019, H&M Landing had 2 half day trips aboard the Fisherman III fishing with 29 anglers who caught 107 rockfish, 6 sculpin and 1 sand bass. Point Loma Sportfishing had the Daily Double fishing a half-day trip with 13 anglers who caught 61 whitefish, 32 rockfish, 5 sculpin, 2 sand bass and 1 calico bass.


Fisherman's Landing had the Dolphin fishing two half day trips with 46 anglers catch 121 rockfish, 8 sheephead, 1 halibut, 1 lingcod, 14 sculpin and 1 calico bass. Seaforth Sportfishing had a half day trip aboard the New Seaforth fishing 2 half day trips with 45 anglers that caught 107 rockfish, 65 reds and 4 lingcod. The Oceanside Sea Center had a half day trip aboard the Chubasco II that was fishing with 16 anglers who caught 160 rockfish, 8 whitefish and 2 sheephead.


There have been a few halibut biting in coastal areas and from the reports I am getting it appears that halibut have been becoming more active during the past week or for the boats that have been fishing on the good weather days. Some productive halibut areas include the sandy bottom near the Aliso Pipeline off South Laguna Beach, Box Canyon, the area outside of the Oceanside Pier, 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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