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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Anglers still dodging weather systems During the first days of spring
Spring has officially arrived and there are still weather systems passing through Southern California that are bringing wind, rain and high seas. The good weather days have been providing good fishing on a variety of bottom fishing species and the surface fishing has also shown some sparks with sporadic yellowtail and bonito activity being reported.


The first signs of the spring surface fishing were some yellowtail and bonito that were biting at the Coronado Islands late last week and over the weekend. Boats were fishing meter marks and sonar marks that were found to the southwest, the east and the southeast of the Rockpile and were catching yellowtail on yo-yoed iron and sardines that were fished on dropper loop rigs. The yo-yo iron was working best and the Salas 6X and Salas 6X Jr. sized heavy jigs were working well. The yellowtail were running from 10 to 15 pounds and there were a few bonito to 10 pounds found biting in the area as well.


There has not been much news from the Coronado Islands since Tuesday, March 19, 2019 when the yellowtail bite slowed and there were no yellowtail caught aboard the 3 sportboats that were fishing the area. The weather has been poor since Wednesday and no one has been fishing the Coronados that I know of in the unsettled weather conditions of the past few days.


Private boater, Captain Bob Fletcher of the Fletch went out fishing aboard the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing on Monday, March 18, 2019 and reported about the trip. He said they were fishing to the southeast of the Rockpile and were finding yellowtail and bonito action from stopping on meter marks and sonar marks. The San Diego's count for the day was 20 anglers on a full day trip catching 16 yellowtail, 46 bonito and 100 rockfish. Fletcher said they found some schools of yellowtail that wanted to bite a little bit and some schools of yellowtail that did not want to bite at all. He said the Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing was the boat that found a school of eager biting yellowtail that day and the Liberty ended up with a fish count of 22 anglers on a full day trip catching 41 yellowtail, 110 rockfish, 3 lingcod and 2 bonito.


In addition to the yellowtail and bonito biting in the region of the Rockpile, there has also been some surface fishing action around the Coronado Islands in the way of bonito that have been found biting while fishing along the weather side of North Island.


The bottom fishing around the Coronados has also been good. 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.


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. The Old Glory out of H&M Landing fished a 1.5 day trip on Saturday, March 16, 2019 and they had very good fishing with17 anglers catching 69 yellowtail, 27 rockfish, 4 bonito and 85 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.


There have also been some schools of yellowtail located off the San Diego County Coast in the La Jolla and Point Loma regions. Similar to the yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands there has not been much news the past several days due to the unsettled weather conditions. On Monday, March, 18, 2019 there was some yellowtail activity in the way of schools of breezing fish that were found under working birds outside of La Jolla. There was not much in the way of biting yellowtail reported from the schools of breezing fish but these were the first significant showings of yellowtail outside of La Jolla in some time.


On Tuesday, March 19, 2019 there were schools of breezing yellowtail found by a private boater fishing outside of the Green Tank region at Point Loma. The schools of yellowtail were found under spots of working birds and were biting. The Skipper reporting said they had 5 nice sized yellowtail aboard and that the yellows were biting on iron. Try surface iron if you can get the jig to the breezing fish before they sound. Try yo-yo iron if the fish have sounded before you reach them. Look for the yellowtail outside of La Jolla and Point Loma in the 15 to 25 fathom depths.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of reds, rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, whitefish and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod and halibut biting as well.


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 Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, 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.

The weather was pretty good this morning (Friday morning, March 22, 2019) and the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing got out fishing on a morning half-day trip and had good bottom fishing with a fish count of 25 anglers catching 140 reds, 34 rockfish and 3 whitefish.


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, 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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