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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Yellowfin join bluefin on the offshore fishing grounds!
The past week of offshore fishing has seen hit or miss but overall improving fishing for bluefin tuna on the offshore fishing grounds and the offshore fishing got a nice boost when yellowfin tuna showed up and started biting at mid-week.

The bluefin tuna have been ranging from 25 to 150+ pounds with most falling within the 50- to 100-pound class. Yellowfin tuna have been larger than football sized fish and have been falling within the 15- to 30-pound range.



There are a few productive areas that have been producing both bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna. The first zone is in an area spread between the 371 Bank and the Upper Hidden Bank for boats fishing from 30 to 40 miles 190 to 210 degrees from Point Loma. The second zone is for boats fishing around and above the 385 Spot in an area that is spread from 45 to 58 miles 162 to 172 degrees from Point Loma. A third area of tuna activity is for boats fishing around and about the 450 Spot for boats fishing down between 65 and 70 miles 161 to 164 degrees from Point Loma. Yet another productive zone is down in the region of the Lower 500 Bank which is located at 87 miles 163 degrees from Point Loma.


Bluefin action has been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of puddling fish, spots of breaking fish and spots of breezing fish. Some days see the best bluefin action come from stops that are found in the dark or during the twilight hours of the morning or the evening. Yellowfin tuna have been biting from spots of breezing fish, blind trolling strikes and trolling around porpoise schools.


Kelp paddie yellowtail action has been hit or miss with a lot of empty kelp paddies around. Most of the yellowtail have been running between 8 and 15 pounds. A 25-pound test live bait outfit works well for the kelp paddie yellowtail.


Flylined sardines, sinker fished sardines, sardines fished from a kite and flat fall jigs have been working well for the bluefin. Using flying fish or mackerel can also be effective in targeting the larger bluefin. When fishing bluefin, if you have the tackle and the room for the tackle aboard the boat, it is nice to be able to carry live bait outfits with fluorocarbon leader sizes ranging from 30-pound test to 100-pound test. This allows you to be able to quickly switch to an appropriate leader size based on how aggressive the bluefin are biting and what size fish you are encountering in the school of fish you are working.


Rapalas have been working well for yellowfin on the troll. A sardine fished on a 25- to 30-pound test outfit would be a good way to go for fishing the yellowfin with live bait.


As an example of the fishing, fish counts from the fishing on Thursday, June 6, 2019 start at Fisherman's Landing start with the Liberty that was out fishing a full day trip that returned with 4 bluefin tuna. They were nice sized fish that included an 80 pounder and 3 bluefin that were up around 130 pounds. Fisherman's Landing also reported that the Tomahawk fished a 1.5 day trip and had 28 anglers catch 19 yellowfin tuna, 26 of the 50- to 80-pound bluefin tuna and 12 of the 15-pound yellowtail. They also had the Condor return home from a 1.5 day trip with 16 anglers having caught 13 of the 60 to 140 pound bluefin tuna, 2 yellowtail and 1 bonito. Fisherman's Landing also had the Royal Star return home from a 1.5 day trip with 26 of the 60 to 80 pound bluefin tuna and one 130 pound bluefin tuna.


Seaforth Sportfishing reports having San Diego return home from a full day trip with 19 anglers having caught 19 of the 50- to 100-pound bluefin tuna and 2 yellowfin tuna. They also had the Cortez fishing a full day trip with 15 anglers return with 8 yellowfin tuna and 1 bluefin tuna. The El Gato Dos out of Seaforth Sportfishing also ad a full day trip with 3 anglers who caught 2 bluefin tuna.


Point Loma Sportfishing reported that the New Lo-An returned home from a 1.5 day trip on Thursday morning with 32 anglers having caught 18 of the 15- to 25-pound yellowfin tuna.


The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands continues to be on the scratchy side of things but has shown some recent improvement. There have also been a few calico bass and barracuda biting along with very good fishing for an assortment of bottom fish.


Private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section reported about fishing at the Coronados on Thursday, June 6, 2019 and Seymour reported catching limits of an assortment of bottom fish and 5 yellowtail. He said their catch of bottom fish were made up of quality 3- to 8-pound fish that included lingcod and that their yellowtail were in the 12- to 15-pound range.


Seymour found the good rockfish action while fishing hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island. After catching limits of bottom fish, Seymour gave the yellowtail a try and found success in catching 5 yellowtail. The yellows were biting on trolled X-Rap Rapalas that were trolled at 5.5 knots of speed and 4 of the 5 yellowtail were caught on a hot pink color X-Rap.


The yellowtail were found biting while trolling in 100 feet of water in an area ranging from outside of the Middle Grounds rocks on down to about half way down the back side of South Island. Seymour reported that a sportboat came through the area, stopped on a sonar mark and started chumming and hooking yellowtail.


As an example of the fishing around the Coronados, Thursday, June 6, 2019 saw H&M Landing have the Grande fishing a full day trip with 14 anglers who caught 6 yellowtail, 98 rockfish and 36 reds.


Best 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 best areas for locating yellowtail have been along the weather side of North Island, the weather side of South Island, the Middle Grounds and the north end of South Island. Yellowtail have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks, trolling strikes with X-Rap Rapalas and the occasional spot of fish found up on the surface under working birds.


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 a 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.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, sculpin and an occasional bonus lingcod, yellowtail or halibut. The yellowtail bite occasionally shows some promise and produces some action but the bite tends to be scratchy most days and has been lacking in consistency.


The best chance at finding yellowtail has been while fishing off the stretch of coast between the upper end of La Jolla and Torrey Pines and there have also been occasional showings of yellowtail outside of the stretch of coast between Point Loma College and Hill Street at Sunset Cliffs.


To try and locate yellowtail, look for sonar marks, meter marks and spots of fish that are up working on the surface. A good depth range has been in 10 to 18 fathoms of water. Fish the yellowtail on the surface if you can get a mackerel, sardine 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. Private boaters might also want to try slow trolling with live sardines or live mackerel. Trolled Rapalas have also produced some yellowtail action for private boaters.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been mostly hard bottom and structure fishing for a good mixed bag of reds, rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, whitefish and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod and halibut biting.


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, 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 Green Tank, 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 Box Canyon, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the artificial reefs off Oceanside, 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.


The fishing at San Clemente Island has seen a good mix of yellowtail, calico bass, barracuda and assorted bottom fish biting. The yellowtail bite has been varied with some days of very good yellowtail action and some days when the yellowtail bite has been just fair.


There is a lot of squid around San Clemente Island and Pyramid Cove has been an area that has produced squid for bait at night and which is also producing an occasional white seabass and some nice sized yellowtail. Try for seabass and yellowtail at the squid area in Pyramid Cove and some yellowtail have also been biting along the ridges in the 18 to 25 fathom depths outside of Pyramid Cove. The front side of the Island has also seen some yellowtail, calico bass and a few barracuda biting at spots between Purse Seine Rock and Gold Bluff.


Catalina Island had been producing some mixed bag surface fishing action for a mix of calico bass and barracuda along with some flurries of yellowtail action and an occasional white seabass. Areas that have been providing a chance at finding some surface fishing action have been while fishing along the back side of the Island off Orange Rock, Salta Verde, The V's and Church Rock. Spots along much of the front side of the Island have also been producing some surface fishing action while fishing legal waters from Long Point on up to Black Point with spots up toward the western part of the front side of the Island between Ship Rock and Black Point tending to be the best.


There has been a bit of squid to catch for bait at night off Ben Weston but most of the squid boats are currently fishing for squid at Pyramid Cove at San Clemente Island. Once they catch squid at night, some of the squid boats have been running over to Catalina Island to offer it for sale to private boaters. Try to raise squid boats on VHF channels 72 and 11.


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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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