Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Strong yellowfin and bluefin bites continue!
Southern California anglers still have some great tuna fishing to target with large and jumbo sized bluefin tuna biting off the back side of San Clemente Island and with a mix of 8- to 30-pound yellowfin tuna and 20- to 100-pound bluefin tuna biting around offshore banks that are within 30 miles of Point Loma. To add more variety to the fishing in the mixed yellowfin and bluefin zone, there have also been some yellowtail, skipjack and dorado in the mix.

The jumbo sized bluefin tuna have been biting by San Clemente Island during the week with Thursday's fishing being hindered by some rough and sloppy weather. The weather has improved today (Friday) and the bluefin bite has once again improved from the fishing that was being found in the rough weather on Thursday.

The bluefin out by San Clemente Island have been ranging from 90 to 300+ pounds. The best areas for the bluefin at San Clemente Island have been in the region of the 100 Fathom Curve outside of Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the area between the 100 fathom curve and 500 curve outside of Lost Point and the area between the 100 fathom curve and the 500 fathom curve outside of Seal Cove. Most of the action originates from stopping and drifting in areas where there are meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish.

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. Recent days have also seen some bluefin bites coming on kite trolled Yummy Flyers.

There have also been some of the 40- to 125-pound class bluefin showing and biting in the region of the 289 Spot. This morning there was bluefin activity reported to the east of the 289 Spot and to the southeast of the 289 Spot. One private boater Skipper reported having caught 1 bluefin out of 3 hookups that had come while slow trolling live baits around spots of breaking and breezing fish. Casting poppers and stick baits to the spots of fish being found in this zone has also been effective.

Much of the San Diego area overnight and full day sportboat fleet has been fishing around offshore banks located below and outside of the Coronado Islands and they have been catching very good numbers of yellowfin tuna with near limit to limit yellowfin catches being reported on the better days of fishing. In addition to the yellowfin action there has been a mix of the 20- to 100-pound bluefin tuna biting along with some kelp paddie yellowtail, dorado and skipjack.

The productive mixed bag yellowfin, bluefin, yellowtail, skipjack and dorado zone has been for boats fishing some of the local offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands with today's best areas being while fishing inside of the 302 Spot, fishing inside of the 371 Bank and fishing around and about the 425 Bank. Recent days have also seen action down by the 475 Knuckle and Upper Hidden Bank but the fish appear to be moving up the line. The past few days have also seen improved fishing for bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna in the area outside of the middle part of the 9 Mile Bank with some fish also being found out to the west of North Island, at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, in the region of the 178 Spot and in the area 5 to 15 miles off La Jolla.

Other areas that from time to time produce a bit of bluefin and yellowfin activity have been the Corner, the 43 Fathom Spot, the 182 Spot, the 138 Spot, the 181 Spot and the 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.

Some of the yellowfin action originates from stopping on breaking fish, kelp paddies or from trolling strikes but the majority of the fish are being caught from stopping on meter marks or sonar marks and drifting with live sardines. Some 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.

Things have been kind of quiet on the marlin fishing front during the week with a lot of boats taking a break after last weekend's Balboa Angling Club's Masters Tournament and in preparing for this weekend's Pesky's Tournament. There has been a bit of marlin activity reported in the Slide area off Catalina and my guess is that a good number of tournament boats will be heading up the Yellow Banks area off the back side of Santa Cruz Island to where there the best action for marlin and deep dropping for swordfish was found last weekend. In the San Diego region, there has been an occasional marlin seen in the region of the 9 Mile Bank but the marlin fishing in the San Diego area remains slow.

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. Last weekend, there was a private boater report from a Skipper who said that the 2 aboard caught their limits of yellowtail while fishing the lee side of South Island. Another private boater report was of good calico bass fishing being found by fishing their baits around the boiler rocks at North Island.

The best areas for the bottom fishing around the Coronados 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 but the calico bass bite has been tapering off some when you compare the current bite to the fishing of a few weeks ago. 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.

The afternoon half day trips on the New Seaforth and the Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing have been posting an occasional yellowtail within their catch on their afternoon half day trips to the upper end of La Jolla. A report from some kayak anglers on the early morning fishing at the upper end of La Jolla was that there were bait balls of small anchovies in the area and that they were catching some small bonito and seeing an occasional spot of yellowtail up on the surface but were having a hard time getting the yellowtail to bite.

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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