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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Tuna fishing continues to grab the spotlight!
Bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail continue to produce offshore action with a few dorado and striped marlin in the picture as well. The bluefin and yellowfin are spread out over a large area ranging from the offshore waters below and outside of the Coronado Islands on up to San Clemente Island.


Some productive areas from south to north include the areas around and about the 425 Bank, 371 Bank, 302 Spot, 224 Spot, the 500 fathom curve outside of the Coronado Islands, the area about half way between the 9 Mile Bank and the 224 Spot, the Corner, the 43 Fathom Spot and the area 4 to 8 miles from northeast over to southeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island.


The bluefin have ranged in size from 30 to 250+ pounds with most in the 60- to 100-pound range. The yellowfin tuna have been mixed size fish ranging from 6 to 30 pounds with most in the 8- to 12-pound range. The kelp paddie yellowtail have mostly been up in the 12- to 15-pound range.


Striped marlin are also becoming a part of the offshore picture with a report of one or two marlin being caught and released. There has been an occasional hookup on marlin incidental to tuna fishing at some of the offshore banks outside of the Coronado Islands and there has also been an occasional marlin seen by boats looking for tuna in the area 4 to 8 miles northeast over to southeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island.


As an example of the recent tuna fishing, some of the fish counts for boats fishing on Thursday, July 4, 2019 start with Seaforth Sportfishing that reports having the Tribute fishing an overnight trip with 24 anglers who caught 8 bluefin tuna and 13 yellowtail. Seaforth Sportfishing also got an early update from the Aztec that is out on a 1.5 day trip today, July 5, 2019 and has 2 bluefin tuna aboard that weigh a whopping 256 and 234 pounds!


Point Loma Sportfishing reports that the Mission Belle fished a full day trip with 25 anglers who caught 24 yellowfin tuna, 1 yellowtail and an 80 pound bluefin tuna. Point Loma Sportfishing also had the New Lo-An return home from a 1.5 day trip with 1 yellowtail, 9 bluefin tuna and 4 yellowfin tuna.


Fisherman's Landing reports that the Liberty fished a full day trip with 37 anglers who caught 64 yellowfin tuna and 4 yellowtail. Fisherman's Landing also had the Condor fishing a 1.5 day trip that returned with 15 anglers having caught 2 bluefin tuna and 29 yellowtail.


H&M Landing reports that the Grande fished a full day trip with 25 anglers who caught 42 yellowfin tuna.


Bluefin action has been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of puddling fish, spots of breaking fish, spots of foaming fish and spots of breezing fish. There have also been occasional trolling strikes on kite trolled Yummy Flyers and cedar plugs that are trolled far behind the boat. Yellowfin tuna have been biting from spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish, blind trolling strikes, sonar marks, meter marks and from trolling around porpoise schools. The yellowtail and the occasional dorado have been biting around kelp paddies and there have been some open water spots of breezing fish or shiner spots of yellowtail and dorado being seen as well.


Flylined sardines, sinker fished sardines, sardines fished from a kite, poppers, stick baits, surface iron, Colt Snipers and flat fall jigs have been working 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 and cedar plugs have been working well for yellowfin on the troll with feathers also producing an occasional yellowfin trolling strike. Yellowfin have also been biting on sardines, poppers, surface iron, stick baits, Colt Snipers and small Flat Fall jigs. A sardine fished on a 25-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 yellowtail and dorado.


There has not been much news from the Coronado Islands lately as most boats have been fishing for tuna offshore. Interestingly enough, there were a couple of reports of bluefin tuna being caught by boats fishing at the South Kelp Ridge and the Rockpile. Aside from the couple of recent tuna reports, the last reports about the fishing around the Coronados were that there was a pretty good mix of yellowtail, barracuda and calico bass biting to go with good numbers of rockfish. Productive areas for the yellowtail, barracuda and calico bass included the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island, the Ribbon Kelp, the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge.


The yellowtail around the Coronados 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 7X lights.


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.


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


The primary surface fishing activity has been for calico bass which have been biting well in kelp bed spots at the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the upper end of La Jolla and along the stretch between Solana Beach and Carlsbad. The places that have been providing an occasional flurry of barracuda action have been the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma and the Point Loma Kelp Beds. The best zone for a chance at a yellowtail has been while fishing off the upper end of La Jolla.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center has been focusing on the calico bass fishing and has been doing well while fishing kelp bed spots between South Carlsbad and Solana Beach. Cacciola reports that anchovies and Hookup Bait plastics have been working best for the calicos. When fishing an anchovy, Cacciola suggests using a 1/4 ounce split shot if the current is mild and you need help getting the bait away from the boat.


Some boats fishing coastal areas are focusing on rockfish fishing and 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 spots have been productive for bass and sculpin with productive places 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 for boats fishing sandy bottom areas along the coast. 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 a chance at a 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 outside of Pyramid Cove in the 18 to 25 fathom depths. 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. At the western end of the back side of the Island the Runway and West Cove areas have been producing a chance at a yellowtail, white seabass or calico bass.


Catalina Island has been seeing what is good mixed bag surface fishing action for a mix of calico bass, bonito, barracuda and yellowtail along with 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 have been Orange Rocks, Freddie's Beach, Salta Verde, The V's and Church Rock.


Spots along the middle part of the front side of Catalina Island have been producing some mixed bag surface fishing action for barracuda, calico bass, bonito and yellowtail. The best zone in recent days has been while fishing legal waters ranging from Hen Rock on up to Empire Landing.


Once the squid boats catch their squid at night, some of the squid boats have been running to the area outside off Avalon to anchor and offer squid 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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