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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Yellowfin and bluefin providing days of very good late summer offshore action!
The offshore fishing season continues to impress with bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, dorado and striped marlin providing some good overall action. Today is Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 and it is the first day of the Balboa Angling Club's Master Billfish Tournament. The 3 p.m. update for the first day of the 2 day tournament is that there have been 41 boats that have caught and released 6 striped marlin, caught a swordfish and had 9 additional lost hookups.

The jumbo sized bluefin tuna have been biting well by San Clemente Island during the week and are biting well once again today. The bluefin out by San Clemente Island have been ranging from 40 to 300+ pounds but the past few days has seen mostly the 150- pound to 300-plus pound bluefin biting with one of the 300-plus pound sized bluefin being caught this morning. The fishing has been good enough in recent days that some private boaters have been reporting catching 5 or 6 of the 100 to 300-plus pound bluefin during a day of fishing.


The best areas for the jumbo sized bluefin at San Clemente Island have been in the region of the 86 Fathom Spot, the 81 Fathom Spot, the 100 fathom curve outside of Desperation Reef and the area 2 to 8 miles southeast of Pyramid Head. Most of the action originates from stopping and drifting in areas where there are meter marks or sonar marks.


The bluefin at San Clemente Island have been biting best on flying fish that are fished from a kite or from a helium balloon rig. Some Skippers have been deploying rigs that are utilizing both a kite and a helium balloon. Frozen flying fish, fresh dead flying fish and live flying fish have all been effective baits for the jumbo sized bluefin.


The other main tuna zone has been producing good to sometimes very good numbers of 12- to 40-pound yellowfin tuna along with what have been fair to pretty good numbers of 20- to 90-pound bluefin tuna. This productive zone has been for boats fishing some of the local offshore banks outside of the Coronado Islands with the best areas being region around and about the 302 Spot and the area below the 425 Bank. The 9 Mile Bank has also had some showings of breaking bluefin and yellowfin but the bite in the 9 Mile Bank area has been inconsistent from one day to the next.


The better days of fishing at the banks below and outside of the Coronados have been producing near limit to limit catches of yellowfin and near limit to limit catches of bluefin but for most boats the bite has slipped some from that near limit to limit level during the past couple of days. Some of the action originates from stopping on breaking fish, kelp paddies or trolling strikes but the majority of the fish are being caught from stopping on meter marks or sonar marks and drifting with live sardines.


A lot of the long stops are of the "plunker" variety where anglers need to drop down to light fluorocarbon leaders and small hooks and be choosy in selecting a lively bait to put on the hook. Using fluorocarbon leaders of 15- and 20-pound test helps draw strikes when the tuna are being picky and some private boaters have also been dropping down further and using 12 pound test fluorocarbon leaders.


Other areas that have produced a bit of bluefin and yellowfin activity during the past week or so have been the Corner, the 43 Fathom Spot, the 182 Spot, 138 Spot, 181 Spot, 289 Spot and 312 Spot. The showings of fish in these areas have been inconsistent and more often than not the fishing in these areas has been slow.


The Catalina region has been providing some fair striped marlin action with occasional sleepers, tailers, feeders and jumpers showing and with an occasional strike on the troll. Areas where there has been occasional marlin action have been around the eastern part of the Island for boats fishing areas such as the 125 Spot, 152 Spot, the Slide, the Can Dump, the area 1 to 2 miles off Avalon, Long Point, the Avalon Bank, the 14 Mile Bank, the area between the 14 Mile Bank and the oil rigs, the area about 5 miles off Newport Beach and the area 4 to 5 miles south of Point Fermin. All that said, in today's Balboa Angling Club's Master Billfish Tournament, the best action of the day so far has been has been coming from a grid that contains the area off the back side of Santa Cruz Island for boats fishing outside of Yellow Banks.


There has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. There has been such good tuna fishing offshore that most boats that might otherwise be fishing around the Coronado Islands have been fishing for tuna offshore. The last sportboat trip that I know of to fish the Coronado Islands was 2 weeks ago and they found good fishing for an assortment of bottom fish species along with some pretty good fishing for calico bass. I also have an unconfirmed report from mid-week about a private boater that caught some yellowtail while fishing around the Coronados but have been unable to confirm that report.


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, the Ribbon Kelp and the South Kelp. 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, small bonito, rockfish, reds, sheephead and whitefish. There has also been an occasional yellowtail caught at the upper end of La Jolla.


The main surface fishing activity continues to be the fishing for calico bass in the kelp beds. Productive areas have been 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 also been some pretty good to sometimes good sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach while fishing at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and at hard bottom areas both above and below the Imperial Beach Pipeline.


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.


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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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