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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, May 03, 2019
Jumbo sized bluefin tuna biting!


Bluefin tuna and yellowtail highlight action!
The past week of fishing has been another good one with bluefin tuna and yellowtail biting offshore and with yellowtail biting well at the Coronado Islands and beginning to bite better out at San Clemente Island. The past week of weather in the San Diego region has been pretty good overall with some days of breeze and chop but without any rain or Small Craft Advisories being posted.

The bluefin tuna fishing was very good early in the week but the past couple of days have seen increasing numbers of kelp paddie yellowtail in the count and lesser numbers of bluefin. The good news about the bluefin fishing is that the area where the fish have been biting has been moving closer to Point Loma since midweek and is now between 45 and 60 miles from Point Loma.


As an example of the bluefin tuna and offshore kelp paddie yellowtail fishing, there were quite a few boats that caught their limits of bluefin tuna on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. The bluefin counts have been slipping some since that time and as an example of the more recent fishing, Fisherman's Landing reports that they had the Shogun and Pegasus out fishing 1.5 day trips on Thursday, April 25, 2019 which returned home this morning, which is Friday morning, April 26, 2019. The fish count on the Shogun was 31 anglers catching 20 yellowtail and 25 of the 25- to 60-pound bluefin tuna. The fish count on the Pegasus was 20 anglers catching 100 yellowtail and 4 bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing also reports having an early update from the Condor that is fishing a 1.5 day trip today and that reported having 150 yellowtail aboard for 37 anglers with lots of fishing time left in the day.


Early in the week, boats were finding action while fishing down by the Lower 500 Bank and 1140 Finger in an area spread from 75 to 90 miles 163 to 165 degrees from Point Loma. The area where most of the fish are being caught has been moving steadily uphill toward Point Loma since that time with the past couple of days seeing the action spread from the area below and outside of the 475 Knuckle on down to the area of the of the 238 Spot to where you are fishing from 45 to 65 miles 165 to 170 degrees from Point Loma.

The bluefin have been ranging from 25 to 130 pounds with most falling within the 25- to 80-pound range. Bluefin action has been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks and spots of breezing fish. Sardines and flat fall jigs have been working for the bluefin with flylined sardines working best. It is nice to be able to carry live bait outfits with fluorocarbon leader sizes ranging from 30- pound test to 100-pound test to be able to use an appropriate leader based on how aggressive the bluefin are and what size fish you are encountering in the school of fish you are working.


As the bluefin action has become more hit or miss, the kelp paddie yellowtail fishing has been picking up with near limit to limit catches of yellowtail being posted over the past few days. Most of the yellowtail are running between 4 and 8 pounds.


There has also been good yellowtail fishing on 10- to 15-pound fish being found around the Coronado Islands with the better recent full day trip sportboat counts being up around the 70 mark on yellowtail to go with a mix of bonito and rockfish. Productive areas for the yellowtail around the Coronado Islands have been the weather side of North Island, the hard bottom to the northeast of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island, the 5 Minute Kelp, the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge. The most consistent of those areas have been the area inside of the Middle Grounds and the area of the South Kelp Ridge below South Island.


Some fish counts from Thursday, April 25, 2019 start with Fisherman's Landing that had the Liberty fishing a full day trip with 46 anglers who caught 60 yellowtail, 7 bonito and 5 calico bass. Seaforth Sportfishing had the San Diego fishing a full day trip with 34 anglers who caught 70 yellowtail, 8 bonito, 1 calico bass and 1 barracuda. H&M Landing had the Grande fishing a full day trip with 32 anglers who caught 29 yellowtail, 10 rockfish and 10 bonito. Point Loma Sportfishing had the Mission Belle fishing a full day trip with 20 anglers who caught 46 yellowtail, 12 calico bass, 5 rockfish and 1 bonito.


Most of the schools of yellowtail are being located by finding sonar marks and meter marks but there have been more and more spots of fish found under working birds. Private boaters have also had some success in locating schools of yellowtail to fish with bait and jigs by getting trolling strikes on trolled X-Rap Rapalas. Once located, yellowtail have been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron, sardines fished on a dropper loop rig and flylined sardines. Fish the yellows on the surface if you can get the flylined bait or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Try the yo-yo iron or the dropper loop fished sardine if the fish are holding deep or have sounded by the time you get to the spot.


Good yo-yo jig choices would include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. Good surface iron jig choices would include Tady 45's and Salas 7X lights in blue and white, mint and sardine colors.


There have also been some pretty good numbers of bonito biting incidental to fishing for yellowtail at the Coronados and some private boat anglers that have come in close to the Islands to fish around boiler rocks have reported very good calico bass fishing. The fishing for an assortment of rockfish has also been very 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.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has shown improved surface fishing activity for calico bass and yellowtail. There has been recent yellowtail activity reported around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma and outside of both the lower end of La Jolla and the upper end of La Jolla. The water has recently warmed to where it is 65 degrees and blue and the increase in yellowtail activity has come along with those improved water conditions. There has not been a whole lot in the way of biting yellowtail but it is hoped that the improved numbers of fish showing in the area will soon lead to improved yellowtail action.


Most of the coastal oriented yellowtail have been the 15- to 25-pound fish and when they do decide to show, they have been located by finding meter marks, sonar marks and spots of working birds. Fish the yellowtail on the surface if you can get the live bait or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Otherwise, fish the yellows deep with yo-yo iron or a dropper loop rig fished sardine or mackerel. There has been a bit of squid to be caught for bait around the upper end of La Jolla and if you can jig up some live squid, that would certainly also be something good to try for the yellowtail.


The recently improved coastal water conditions sparked improved calico bass fishing at La Jolla on Thursday afternoon, April 25, 2019 when the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a very good afternoon half day trip of calico bass fishing. The New Seaforth had a fish count of 31 anglers on an afternoon half-day trip catching 80 calico bass, 4 whitefish, 3 sheephead, 1 rockfish and 160 calico bass that were released.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mixed bag of reds, rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, whitefish and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod and halibut biting along with a very occasional white seabass. A few bonito have also been biting for boats fishing around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma.


Productive rockfish areas remain 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, 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.


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.


San Clemente Island has shown significant improvement in the yellowtail action with some good fishing for 10- to 20-pound yellowtail being reported this morning, Friday morning, April 26, 2019. Boats fishing the ridge areas outside of the Pyramid Cove and the China Point region have found good yellowtail action on yo-yoed iron and live squid. The action is coming from spots of fish that are being located by finding working birds, meter marks and sonar marks. A good depth range to locate the yellowtail has been in 15 to 20 fathoms of water. Another productive area where some yellowtail have been biting has been while fishing along the front side of the Island around Purse Seine Rock and White Rock.


Up at Catalina, there has been some squid to be caught for bait at night off the V's and outside of Ben Weston with the Ben Weston area tending to be the best. The fishing for white seabass and yellowtail remains scratchy though with an occasional flurry of action being reported. Best areas for a chance at scratching out a white seabass or yellowtail at Catalina have been while fishing outside of the V's and Salta Verde as well as off the area between Ribbon Rock and the West End.


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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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