Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Yellowfin, bluefin and yellowtail biting as summer begins!
Are Albacore Going to be Part of the 2019 Southern California Fishing Season?

Today is the first day of summer and why not talk about albacore possibilities for Southern California anglers? There is some news out there that makes one wonder if there might be a bit of a more southerly run of albacore this year that could involve Southern California offshore waters. The Western Fishboat Owners Association published a June 20, 2019 update that the water off Oregon was on the cool side of things at 59 degrees and that a couple of boats went through the area and picked up 5 to 7 albacore while in that zone. My thoughts in reading that report was that there was not much happening up that way so far in this early season.

What really provoked my interest was a report I got from a very reliable source this morning (June 21, 2019) who had information from a friend that a commercial boat had been returning home to San Diego from fishing in the Mid-Pacific and caught 40 albacore jig fish that were in the 15- to 18-pound class while fishing an area approximately 600 miles southwest of San Diego on a latitude that is similar to the latitude of Guadalupe Island. The friend of my source of information is also known to me to be a reliable source of information and he had had been given some fresh albacore from his buddy who was on the boat that made the catch.

I am not ready to predict we will have a run of albacore with reach of overnight trips running from San Diego in 2019 but having some albacore biting 600 miles out to the southwest of San Diego gives me reason to hope for and think that there is a better chance than we have had in recent years.

For the time being, there is good fun fishing to target on the offshore fishing grounds for a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail. The current best bite area has moved closer to Point Loma during the week to where most boats are now fishing areas within 35 to 50 miles of Point Loma while working around banks such as the Upper Hidden Bank, 475 Knuckle, Lower Hidden Bank and Upper 500 Bank. The best fishing of the past couple of days has been in the upper part of that zone for boats fishing the region to the west of the Upper Hidden Bank.

As an example of the recent fishing for some of the boats that were fishing on Thursday, June 20 of 2019 and Wednesday, June 19 of 2019, Seaforth Sportfishing had the San Diego fish full day trip with 30 anglers who caught 33 bluefin tuna and 1 yellowfin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing also had the Pacific Voyager fish an overnight trip with 20 anglers who caught 87 yellowtail and 5 bluefin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing also had the Pride return home from a 1.75 day trip with 14 anglers having caught 28 bluefin tuna, 24 yellowtail, 16 bonito and 3 yellowfin tuna.

Fisherman's Landing had the Liberty fish a full day trip with 37 anglers who caught 35 of the 50- to 130- pound bluefin tuna along with 2 yellowfin tuna and 1 yellowtail. Fisherman's Landing also had the Condor fish a 1.5 day trip with 15 anglers who caught 30 of the 60- to 100-pound bluefin along with 3 yellowfin tuna and 2 yellowtail. Fisherman's Landing also had the Tomahawk out fishing a 1.5 day trip with 27 anglers who caught 25 bluefin tuna, 7 yellowfin tuna and 18 yellowtail. Their biggest bluefin weighed 120 pounds.

Point Loma Sportfishing reports that the New Lo-An returned home from a 1.5 day trip with 18 anglers having caught 30 bluefin tuna. Point Loma Sportfishing also had the Game Changer return home from a 1.5 day trip with 6 anglers having caught 21 yellowtail, an 80-pound bluefin tuna and 4 bonito.

H&M Landing reports that the Daiwa Pacific had 24 anglers fish a full day trip and catch 3 yellowfin tuna, 3 yellowtail and 2 bluefin tuna. They also had the Old Glory fishing an overnight trip with 31 anglers who caught 23 yellowtail. The Relentless returned home from a 1.5 day trip with 20 anglers having caught 11 bluefin tuna and 76 yellowtail. The Sea Adventure 80 returned home from a 1.5 day trip with 16 anglers having caught 1 bluefin tuna and 45 yellowtail. The Top Gun 80 returned home from a 2.5 day trip with 10 anglers having caught 95 yellowtail, 19 bluefin tuna and 15 yellowfin tuna.

The yellowfin tuna, have been running from 12 to 50 pounds with most falling within the 15- to 25-pound range. The bluefin tuna have been running from 25 to 150+ pounds with most falling within the 40- to 80- pound range. Most of the yellowtail being caught offshore have been in the 10- to 15-pound range.

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. There have also been occasional trolling strikes on kite trolled Yummy Flyers. Yellowfin tuna have been biting from spots of breezing fish, blind trolling strikes, sonar marks, meter marks and from trolling around porpoise schools. The yellowtail have been biting around kelp paddies.

Flylined sardines, sinker fished sardines, sardines fished from a kite and flat fall jigs have been working well for the 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 and a 25-pound test outfit would also be good to carry for the kelp paddie yellowtail.

The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands has improved and is providing good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, barracuda and calico bass. Most of the surface fishing is coming from spots around the Islands proper but at times there have also been some bird schools of yellowtail and barracuda showing between the Rockpile and Rosarito Beach.

Around the Islands proper, productive areas have been the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the area inside of the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island, the Ribbon Kelp, the lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and the South Kelp Ridge.

The yellowtail have been mostly 10- to 15-pound fish and they have been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron, sardines and trolled X-Rap Rapalas. Good choices for surface iron have been Tady 45's and Salas 7 X lights. If you locate some bird school yellowtail, smaller sized iron has been the best and you might want to try surface iron such as a Tady C, Tady A1 and Tady AA.

The fishing for rockfish has also been good around the Coronados and the 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.

As an example of the recent fishing around the Coronados, fish counts from Thursday, June 20, 2019 start with the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing that had a full day trip with 22 anglers catch 21 yellowtail, 21 calico bass, 5 barracuda and 3 bonito. Thursday's fishing also saw the Grande out of H&M Landing fishing a full day trip with 28 anglers who caught 29 yellowtail, 26 bonito and 19 barracuda.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of barracuda, sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish and sculpin along with a chance at a bonus lingcod or halibut. The fishing for yellowtail along the San Diego County coast has been slow.

An area that provides a chance at finding some surface fishing action has been the region of the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma that has been producing some barracuda that have been biting while also fishing for rockfish over hard bottom areas. Another nearby zone that has been producing calico bass and barracuda has been while fishing the Point Loma Kelp Beds outside of the Point Loma Lighthouse and the area of the Dropoff which is located a short way above the Point Loma Lighthouse. A third productive surface fishing zone was reported by Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports good calico bass fishing in the kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Leucadia. Cacciola reports that anchovies and Hookup Bait plastics have been working well for the calico bass.

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, Solana Beach, 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 continues to be varied with some days of very good yellowtail action and some days when the yellowtail bite has been just fair.

There has been 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 has been producing some days of good 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 Little Harbor, Orange Rocks, 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 ranging from the Rock Quarry on up to Black Point. Spots along the front side of the middle part of the Island have been the best the past couple of days.

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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