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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna continue to provide offshore action
The transition of September to October of 2019 brought with it some rough and sloppy weather as there were 3 days of windy weather and high seas that made fishing off the back side of San Clemente Island for the jumbo sized bluefin pretty much of an un-fishable blowout and which made fishing the yellowfin grounds outside of the Coronado Islands rather uncomfortable.

The question to be answered after the 3 days of windy weather was what effect the bad weather may have had on the water conditions that have been holding the tuna in these areas. The water cooled a bit in both primary tuna zones and there are some changes to report. The fishing for the jumbo sized bluefin off the back side of San Clemente Island has been just fair since the bad weather moved through and the bite on the yellowfin tuna at the banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands is still good overall but has become more hit or miss since the bad weather came through.


The jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 300-plus pounds continue to be found off the back side of San Clemente Island but instead of seeing massive schools of the jumbo sized fish, it has been mostly smaller sized spots of fish and single fish meter marks and sonar marks that are being reported. There are still jumbo sized bluefin holding in the area but anglers are hoping that some more good weather will cause the fish to group up again, get back on the spots and start biting better.


The best areas since the period of bad weather have been the waters outside of West Cove, outside of Seal Cove and outside of Lost Point with a bit of activity also being reported in the region of the 81 Fathom Spot, 86 Fathom Spot and the 57 Fathom Spot.


The best bait for the jumbo sized bluefin are kite fished or helium filled balloon fished flying fish. Live, fresh dead and frozen flying fish have all been effective. Prior to the windy weather, there were also occasional jumbo sized bluefin bites coming on kite trolled Yummy Flyers. Most of the action on the jumbo sized bluefin off the back side of San Clemente Island comes from drifting around meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish.


There has been a mix of 50- to 125-pound bluefin and some yellowfin that have been showing inside of San Clemente Island in the areas of the 289 Spot and to the southeast of the Mackerel Bank. It has been hard to get these fish to bite but the best bet has been using poppers, Colt Snipers, sardines or mackerel. Of those choices, poppers tend to work the best if you can get them to the breaking fish before they sound. Most of the action in the areas that have been producing the 50- to 125-pound bluefin comes from fishing spots of breaking or foaming fish.


Some of the offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands are producing good yellowfin tuna action. There are still good yellowfin bait stops to be found but after the recent windy weather, finding one of those good stops has become more of a hit or miss proposition. In addition to the yellowfin tuna and skipjack there is also a mix of some kelp paddie yellowtail and a few bluefin tuna biting in the yellowfin areas.


The best yellowfin areas have been working the region of the 302 Spot, 425 Bank and 371 Bank with the region of the 371 Bank tending to be the best. The past couple of days have seen the 9 Mile Bank and 178 Spot regions produce showings of breaking bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna with the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank producing a few of the large 40- to 60-pound yellowfin tuna this morning which is Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.


Most of the yellowfin have been in the 12- to 30-pound range. The yellowfin action originates from stopping on breaking fish, kelp paddies, skipjack trolling strikes, yellowfin trolling strikes and from stopping on meter marks or sonar marks. Sardines have been the best bait once yellowfin are located and poppers produce some action when cast to breaking fish. Choosing a lively sardine, using a small hook and using fluorocarbon leaders of 15- and 20-pound test helps to draw strikes when the tuna are being picky.


The marlin fishing has been scratchy with a few marlin being reported seen and an occasional marlin caught. The marlin fishing in the Catalina region has been slow but this morning there were some signs of life with a feeder being seen 7 miles outside of Dana Point and with another feeder being seen in the region of the Avalon Bank.


A lot of the boats that might otherwise be fishing for marlin in the Catalina have been deep drop fishing for swordfish. The deep drop fishing for swordfish has been producing some action with a report of their being 4 hookups for 4 boats that were deep dropping on Thursday and with a couple of additional hookups being reported this morning. I believe there was one swordfish boated out of the 4 hookups on Thursday. Boats have been deep drop fishing for the swordfish at areas around the eastern part of Catalina such as in the region of the 152 Spot, in the area outside of the Slide and in the area outside of Avalon. They tend to fish in depths of 160 to 210 fathoms of water.


In the San Diego region there has been an occasional marlin encounter incidental to fishing for tuna. I believe there have been 3 marlin caught during the past week incidental to tuna fishing for boats that were fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank, the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot and the area to the east and southeast of the 302 Spot. Captain Mike Hadfield of the 6 pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reports that every day or two he hears of marlin encounters incidental to tuna fishing for boats working the area to the southeast of the 302 Spot and in the region of the 371 Bank.


San Diego area anglers have also been deep drop fishing for swordfish in the region of the 178 Spot that is located above the 9 Mile Bank. There are reports that several have been caught over the past week of fishing with one being caught on Thursday.


With all the good tuna fishing offshore, there has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. A report from last Sunday's fishing was that there was pretty good surface fishing for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass in the area of the Rockpile. The fishing for rockfish has also been good around the Coronados and productive areas 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, the northwest and the northeast of North Island while fishing in 20 to 45 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, whitefish and sculpin and there has also been a chance at catching a bonus lingcod, halibut or yellowtail.


The best zone for a chance at scratching out a yellowtail along the coast has been at the upper end of La Jolla. There have been some bait balls of small anchovies in the area and there has been occasional yellowtail activity. Private boater Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna was fishing off the upper end of La Jolla early in the week and reported seeing occasional spots of good sized yellowtail that were up working bait on the surface. There were yellowtail around but they were up and down quickly and the report was that it was hard to get a jig or bait to them before they would sound.


Calico bass are providing good surface fishing action in kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast but most of the calicos are short sized fish that must be released. Some of the more productive areas for calicos have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp off Box Canyon.


In addition to the kelp bed areas, hard bottom and structure spots have also been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom spots between the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Mexico border, 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.


Rockfish are becoming more and more of the coastal fishing mainstay as the water temperatures cool with recent reports of good rockfish catches coming from hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar 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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