Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, August 23, 2019
Yellowfin tuna bite very good

Yellowfin tuna bite breaks wide open!
The past several days of fishing have seen what had already been good yellowfin tuna fishing break wide open with much of the week seeing near limit to limit catches being reported for boats fishing at offshore banks within 30 miles of Point Loma. The better days of fishing are producing great action on 12- to 25-pound yellowfin tuna that are being complimented by a mix of fair numbers of 20- to 60-pound bluefin tuna, kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado.

Productive areas for the yellowfin are while fishing in the region 10 to 15 miles off La Jolla, the 178 Spot, the 9 Mile Bank, the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot, the 224 Spot and the 302 Spot. The area of the 9 Mile Bank, the 178 Spot and 10 to 15 miles off La Jolla are currently best for yellowfin and the area of the 224 Spot and the area around the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot have been providing the best chance at finding some bluefin tuna in the mix.

The yellowfin have been biting from stopping on spots of breaking fish, breezing fish, foaming fish, puddling fish, meter marks, sonar marks and kelp paddies. The best bet has been fishing with flylined sardines, chunks of sardines, Colt Sniper and Megabait style jigs.

Flylined sardines have been working best for the yellowfin. At times the yellowfin have been eager biters but most of the time they are touchy and anglers need to drop down to using 15- to 20-pound test fluorocarbon leaders and small hooks to help draw strikes. The dorado and yellowtail in the area have been biting from kelp paddies and the bluefin have been found in the mix with the yellowfin and have been found by locating spots of breaking fish, or by getting bluefin meter marks or sonar marks. The bluefin in the mix with the yellowfin have been biting on sardines, Flat Fall jigs and the occasional trolling strike.

There has not been much yellowfin action or bluefin action coming by way of the traditional troll but jigs that draw an occasional strike on the 20- to 40-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

Private boater Louie Zimm of the Shearwater fished on Thursday and reported that the two aboard caught 10 of the 17- to 21-pound yellowfin tuna by 10 a.m. and left biting fish to head for home. This action originated from slowly circling around a spot of jumper tuna while laying out a chum line. The fish responded to the chum and stayed with the boat until they had caught all they wanted and left to head for home. When they decided to head for home they idled away from the school of fish and had the fish follow the boat as they chummed out the rest of their bait. They got to watch them come up and boil as they ate every one of the chummed sardines. This red hot action was found while fishing above the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank at 12 miles 267 degrees from Point Loma.

The bite off the back side of San Clemente Island for the 60 to 300-plus pound bluefin tuna has been providing a bit of action but it has not been an easy zone to fish or to keep track of because of a lot of recent closures for military training purposes. The information I have heading into the Labor Day weekend from San Clemente Island is that there has been a bit of bluefin tuna activity to be found while fishing off West Cove and off the West End. Most of the bluefin activity is being found in these areas while fishing in 50 to 250 fathoms of water. Be sure to check the Navy's San Clemente Island web site for the latest closure information before heading over to fish at or around San Clemente Island. The website address is: www.scisland.org

During the week there have been some good showings of the 60 to 100-plus pound bluefin in the area below the 289 Spot into the northeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island but these fish tend to be up and down quickly and hard to get to before they sound. Today (Friday) there have also been spots of breaking bluefin reported in an area about 7 miles to the northwest and to the north-northwest of the 43 Fathom Spot.

The large and jumbo sized bluefin tuna have ranged from 60 to 300-plus pounds and they have been located by finding spots of breaking fish, spots of breezing fish, spots of puddling fish, meter marks, trolling strikes on kite trolled Yummy Flyers and sonar marks. Once these large and jumbo sized 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 or from a helium filled balloon which are slow trolled. Of all the things mentioned, live flying fish have been working best with frozen flying fish and fresh dead flying fish also being effective. Some of the "mid-grade" 60- to 120-pound sized bluefin have also bit on sardines.

The marlin fishing around the eastern part of Catalina has been erratic from one day to the next. Thursday's marlin fishing was good with what I would estimate to be 2 or 3 marlin caught and released. There were some sleepers, tailers and feeders showing and there were reports of Skippers seeing 5 or 6 fish during their day of fishing. This action was being found inside of the 250 fathom curve off Long Point, at the Avalon Bank and about 2 miles above the Avalon Bank. Today is Friday and reports coming from these same areas have been that things look very much different from Thursday in the way of the amount of surface bait and fish showing in the area. So far today, the marlin fishing has been rather quiet.

The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands is 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 there were pretty good numbers of barracuda and bass biting to go with good numbers of rockfish and a chance at scratching out a yellowtail.

At last report, the best areas for a chance at some surface fishing action around the Coronados were the weather side of North Island, the north end of South Island and the Ribbon Kelp. 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 has been good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, rockfish, reds, sheephead and whitefish. The main surface fishing activity has been for calico bass in the kelp beds with productive areas being the kelp beds at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, the stretch between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad and the kelp off the Barn, Box Canyon and the Yellowtail Kelp. There has been some pretty good sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and at hard bottom areas between the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Mexico Border.

Rockfish have 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.

Private boater Bill Parker of the Cabo had a chance to fish on an MLPA research trip on Wednesday aboard the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center. Bill said it was a catch, measure, tag and release trip to provide data for work with the MLPA closure areas. He said they caught, measured, tagged and released a lot of calico bass, sand bass and rockfish while fishing at and around MLPA closure areas in the Oceanside region. Parker enjoyed the special opportunity to fish on such a research trip and had nothing but good things to say about the Sea Star, Captain Joe Cacciola and his crew.

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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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