Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Offshore tuna and Coronado Islands yellowtail are providing action!
Bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail continue to produce some offshore action while at the same time the yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands has been red hot. The offshore fishing also provides a chance at a few dorado and there is an occasional striped marlin encounter being reported as well.

The bluefin and yellowfin are spread out over a large area ranging from the region of the 302 Spot outside of the Coronado Islands on up to San Clemente Island. Productive areas have been in the region of the 302 Spot, the 224 Spot, the Coronado Canyon, the area 2 to 6 miles west of North Island, the Corner, the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot, the area between the 43 Fathom Spot and the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy and the San Clemente Canyon.

The tuna fishing can be frustrating at times with there often being lots and lots of spots of breaking, puddling or foaming fish showing and with it often being difficult to get the tuna to bite. The tuna have been focused on feeding on tiny sized anchovies and it has often been hard to get them interested in the baits and lures anglers have been presenting them. There is a tremendous volume of tuna in local offshore waters and there could be some epic fishing if they change their habits and start biting better.

The best bet to try and hook a bluefin or yellowfin has been to cast poppers to the school of tuna that is up on the surface before they sound. In addition to poppers, the tuna have also been biting pretty well on Colt Snipers and surface iron. Skippers that are skilled at approaching a school of fish as to try and not spook them and anglers that are skilled at making a good cast to the breaking fish when first approaching the school have been having the best chance at hooking a bluefin or yellowfin. There are also occasional tuna caught on flylined and kite fished sardines. Trolled black and purple as well as natural color cedar plugs have also caught an occasional tuna when trolled far behind the boat. A blue and white Rapala is also reported to produce and occasional tuna strike on the troll.

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.

Most of the striped marlin encounters have come incidental to tuna fishing on the weekends when there are a lot of boats out on the water. The 302 Spot and the area into the north and northeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island have been areas where there has been an occasional marlin encounter.

As an example of the recent tuna fishing, some of the recent fish counts start with Fisherman's Landing has the Pacific Queen out fishing offshore today, July 12, 2019. The Pacific Queen had an early update of having 5 of the 25- to 40-pound bluefin and 15 yellowtail aboard. They were still fishing at the time of that report.

Seaforth Sportfishing reports that the Aztec is coming home from an overnight trip that fished today, Friday, July 12, 2019 with 19 anglers having caught 21 bluefin tuna and 2 yellowfin tuna. That fish count is very encouraging and is one of the best if not the best sportboat tuna count that has been posted in several days! Maybe the tuna are starting to go into a mode where they will start biting better. Seaforth also has an early update from the Pacifica that is out fishing today and had an early update of having 3 bluefin tuna and 13 yellowtail aboard. They were still fishing at the time of that report.

The yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands has been very good. There have been near limit to limit catches of yellowtail reported in recent days along with a mix of barracuda, calico bass and bonito. The yellowtail bite has been so good that some of the boats on overnight and 1.5 day trips have been spending time fishing at the Coronado Islands instead of offshore.

There has been good surface fishing at several areas around the Coronados with the South Kelp Ridge region being the hot spot for the yellowtail. Other productive surface fishing areas have been the Ribbon Kelp, the north end of South Island, the Middle Grounds and Pukey Point.

The yellowtail have been mostly 10- to 16-pound fish and have been biting best on flylined sardines and surface iron. Tady 45's and Salas 7X lights would be good choices for surface iron in the mint, sardine or blue and white colors. Some of the yellowtail action comes from stopping and drifting on meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish seen on the surface but most of the action has been coming while sitting on the anchor.

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.

Some counts from boats fishing full day trips to the Coronados from Thursday, July 11, 2019 start with Seaforth Sportfishing that reports that the San Diego fished a full day trip with 34 anglers who caught 140 yellowtail and 33 bonito. Fisherman's Landing reports that the Liberty fished a full day trip with 40 anglers and caught 176 yellowtail and 3 barracuda. Point Loma Sportfishing reports that the Mission Belle had a full day trip with 33 anglers who caught 100 yellowtail, 9 bonito, 5 barracuda and 4 calico bass. H&M Landing reports having the Grande fish a full day trip with 31 anglers who caught their limits of 155 yellowtail.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be 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, at 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 along the edges of 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

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 producing some 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.

A highlight mid-week report from Catalina Island was that there was good fishing for yellowtail to 30+ pounds while fishing spots around the East End. Try areas such as Church Rock, the East End Light and Seal Rocks. At times, squid boats have been offering squid for sale while anchored in front of Avalon. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 11 or 72.

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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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