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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, August 23, 2019
Yellowfin tuna bite very good


Yellowfin tune bite breaks open…
Jumbo bluefin in the picture too!

There have been several consecutive weeks of anglers more often than not being frustrated by seeing spots of yellowfin tuna that were crashing on the surface but were in the habit of not wanting to bite on the baits and lures that anglers were presenting to them. The good news is that this pattern of frustrating yellowfin behavior changed during the week and that the yellowfin have been much more willing to bite the baits and lures anglers are tossing their way.



There have been bluefin tuna, yellowtail, skipjack and dorado in the mix with the yellowfin and the yellowfin bite has been good enough to where some limit catches have been reported. Some of the better sportboat catches have reached the 200-plus yellowfin tuna mark in a day of fishing. On Wednesday, the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing posted a count of 45 anglers catching 208 yellowfin tuna, 12 yellowtail, 2 skipjack and 2 bluefin tuna.


The best zone for the yellowfin is in the area ranging from west of the 371 Bank on up to where you are fishing southwest of the 224 Spot at the upper end of the Kidney Bank. This has you fishing from 25 to 38 miles 220 to 240 degrees from Point Loma.


The yellowfin have been running from 8 to 40 pounds with most in the 12- to 20-pound range. The bluefin being found in the mix where the yellowfin are being caught have been in the 20- to 50-pound range. Most of the kelp paddie yellowtail have been running from 8 to 17 pounds. The yellowfin are being located by finding meter marks, sonar marks, spots of breaking fish, spots of breezing fish, kelp paddies and the occasional trolling strike. The best bet has most often been to stop on a school of fish you have located and drift and chum and fish with sardines. It has often been a situation where the yellowfin are touchy biters and it helps to draw strikes by fishing with 15- to 20-pound test fluorocarbon leaders and small hooks. In addition to sardines, small chrome Megabait style jigs have also been drawing some strikes once you find some yellowfin.


The bluefin in the mix with the yellowfin have been biting on sardines, Flat Fall jigs and the occasional trolling strike. The best jigs on the troll for the 20- to 50-pound bluefin and the yellowfin have been cedar plugs and X-Rap Rapalas. Blue and white has been a good color X-Rap Rapala and good color cedar plugs have been black and purple, blue and white as well as the natural wood color.


There are still some of the jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 300-plus pounds biting out by San Clemente Island but the fish have been more spread out in recent days and have not been as grouped up as they have been in recent weeks. The military has also been conducting some recent training exercises that have forced Skippers to leave some of the more productive fishing areas until the closure comes to an end. The bottom line though is that there are still some jumbo bluefin biting off San Clemente Island.


There have been jumbo sized bluefin found spread out in a lot of areas around San Clemente Island with bluefin being found off both the West End of the Island and off Pyramid Head off the east end of the Island. The area outside of Desperation Reef has also been reported to have been holding some of the 80- to 100-pound grade bluefin. All that said, the best zone for the jumbo sized bluefin has been off the back side of the middle and the upper part of the Island in an area ranging from the 57 Fathom Spot on up to the area above and outside of Seal Cove.


Spots of breaking fish, spots of breezing fish, spots of puddling fish, meter marks, trolling strikes on kite trolled Yummy Flyers and sonar marks have been leading to bluefin tuna action. Once bluefin are located, most of the action has been coming from kite trolled Yummy Flyers, Flat Fall jigs and flying fish that are fished from a kite that is either being drifted or slow trolled. Occasional action has also been coming on poppers and on mackerel that are fished from a floating balloon, a helium filled balloon or which are slow trolled. Of all things mentioned, live flying fish have been working best with frozen flying fish and fresh dead flying fish also being effective.


There have been a few boats out looking for marlin during the week and there has been a bit of marlin activity reported in the Catalina region for boats fishing the Avalon Bank, the 14 Mile Bank and the area 1 to 6 miles off the Slide. There has been an occasional sleeper or tailer seen and an occasional blind trolling strike reported. The bite has been scratchy overall and in my estimation there have been 1 or 2 marlin caught and released over the past several days of fishing. In other areas, there has also been an occasional marlin sighting reported off the lee side of San Clemente Island and there was a report of a couple of tailers being seen during the week by boats fishing along the ridge off the back side of Catalina Island.


The yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands is a bit of an unknown with most all the boats that would otherwise be fishing around the Coronado Islands fishing local offshore waters for tuna. At last report earlier in the week, the surface fishing was scratchy and there was good fishing for rockfish. The surface fishing had been providing a mix of yellowtail, calico bass, bonito and barracuda but at last report the bite for the surface fishing species had turned scratchy.


Best areas for a chance at some surface fishing action around the Coronados have been the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the Ribbon Kelp and the South Kelp. At last report the water temperature around the Coronados ranged from 63 to 67 degrees. Looking for areas where there was the warmer 67 degree water was helpful in locating some surface fishing action.


The fishing for rockfish has 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 remains pretty much unchanged from the fishing of recent weeks and continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, whitefish and sculpin. In addition, there has also been a chance at catching a bonus yellowtail, lingcod or halibut.


The main surface fishing action has been for calico bass which have been biting well at kelp bed spots up and down the coast. Some of the more productive areas have been the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Del Mar and South Carlsbad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp at Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reported about some incredible calico bass fishing on a recent trip to the Barn Kelp and Yellowtail Kelp areas above Oceanside. Cacciola said it was a Boys Club and Girls Club trip that was sponsored by the Oceanside Senior Anglers. Cacciola said it was a 100% catch and release trip and that it was the most calico bass that one of his groups has ever caught in a single day of fishing in his 37-plus years of running trips out of Oceanside. The report was that their catch including catching and releasing 750-plus calico bass that day and Cacciola reported that the kids were tallying individual catch and release totals of numbers such as 83, 52, 49, and 36 calicos per person. It was incredible calico bass fishing!


Cacciola also reported recently catching the biggest halibut they have ever caught aboard the Sea Star. He said the jumbo sized halibut was caught in 70 feet of water off Carlsbad State Park and that it weighed 52 pounds! The fish was 50 inches long and was caught on a live sardine that was fished on the bottom.


On the remainder of the coastal fishing front, hard bottom and structure spots have been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places being the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon. What has also been good at times is the fishing for sand bass at small hard bottom areas located between the Imperial beach Pipeline and the Mexico Border.


Rockfish have also been biting well at spots along the coast and some of the more productive areas have been while fishing hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, off the upper end of La Jolla and while fishing outside of Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


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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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