Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin bite changes, yellowfin bite remains very good!
The end of September and the first part of October saw three days of windy weather which brought about a change in the bite on jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 300-plus pounds that was going on off the back side of San Clemente Island. The bite on the jumbo sized bluefin slowed after the windy weather backed off and anglers were hoping that a few days of nice weather might see the jumbo sized bluefin regroup and move back onto the spots where they had been biting prior to the days of rough weather. That has not happened as of yet despite having had lots of days of nice weather and now being well into the month of October.

There are still some 40- to 100-pound bluefin tuna showing and biting in offshore waters but so far, the jumbo sized fish to 300-plus pounds that had been biting off the back side of San Clemente Island have not been relocated. Areas where the 40- to 100-pound bluefin have been showing in recent days have been the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina, the Slide at the East End of Catalina, the 14 Mile Bank, the 312 Spot, the 178 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the deep water outside of the Kidney Bank where the 224 Spot and the 302 Spot are located.

Things are always changing as it is Friday afternoon as I am preparing this report and I just got a report of a 120-pound bluefin tuna being caught by a private boater fishing "just west of the 43 Fathom Spot." Who knows, maybe the region of the 43 Fathom Spot will be where the jumbo sized bluefin will pop up and be relocated.

The schools of 40 to 100 bluefin tend to be hard to get to bite but the exception is that the schools of bluefin being found outside of the Kidney Bank have been biting pretty well from stopping on sonar marks and meter marks and fishing with sardines and Flat Fall jigs. The schools of 40- to 100-pound bluefin found in U.S. waters via locating spots of breaking fish tend to not want to bite very well and poppers are usually the best way to try and get a bite from a spot of breaking fish. Things can always change as this afternoon a Skipper reported catching a 40- pound class bluefin while fishing near the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina using a mackerel fished from a floating balloon.

The yellowfin tuna fishing has been very good with the better days seeing near limit to limit fishing being found by boats fishing the region of the 371 Bank and the area below the 302 Spot around the lower end of the Kidney Bank. Thursday's best yellowfin fishing was found in an area ranging from 20 to 28 miles 200 to 218 degrees from Point Loma and fish are biting in that sector again today. The upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot have also seen some spots of bluefin and yellowfin showing today with a very occasional biting fish being found.

What has been nice is that the yellowfin area is close to where the bluefin have been biting outside of the Kidney Bank. Skippers have often been catching a good number of yellowfin in the morning and then working out to the bluefin zone to try to find some bluefin action to finish off the day of fishing.

The yellowfin have been located in a variety of ways with sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish, kelp paddies, skipjack trolling strikes and yellowfin trolling strikes all leading to action. At times the yellowfin are picky biters and in those instances it helps to fish the sardines with light line and small hooks. Dropping down to using a 15- or 20-pound test fluorocarbon leader with a size #4 live bait hook can help draw strikes from the yellowfin when they get picky.

Private boater Tom Parnakian of the Ambush reported about fishing on the Pacifica out of Seaforth Sportfishing on Monday. Parnakian called it very good yellowfin tuna fishing and the fish count for the trip was 22 anglers on an overnight trip catching limits of 110 yellowfin tuna, 36 skipjack and 2 bluefin tuna. Parnakian said they had a few of the smaller 10- to 12-pound yellowfin in the catch but that most of the yellowfin were nicer sized fish that were up around 20 pounds.

Parnakian said that the yellowfin were biting well on sardines and that the crew suggested using 20-pound test line and size #4 hooks for fishing the sardines. Parnakian caught all his yellowfin sardines using the suggested tackle arrangement except for one yellowfin which he caught on a Flat Fall jig fished with 40 pound test line. He said their best yellowfin bait stop came from stopping on a sonar mark and they had caught their limits of yellowfin by 9:30 a.m. The rest of the day was spent looking for bluefin and he said they stopped on some meter marks and were able to catch 2 of the 40-pound class bluefin that bit on Flat Fall jigs.

The marlin fishing has been slow during the week with a few marlin reported seen off the front side of Catalina off Empire Landing, Long Point and Avalon. A Skipper fishing at the Mackerel Bank inside of San Clemente Island also reported seeing a feeder marlin this morning.

A lot of the boats that might otherwise be out looking for marlin have been fishing the deep drop method for swordfish. There seems to be a swordfish or two or three being caught most every day by boats fishing spots around the eastern part of Catalina and in the area of the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot off San Diego. In the Catalina area the region around the 152 Spot off the East End has been the best with the area off the Slide and the area off Avalon also producing some action. Skippers tend to drift in depths of 160 to 210 fathoms of water (960 to 1,260 feet of water) with their baits fished down between 900 and 1,100 feet below the surface.

With all the good tuna fishing offshore, there has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. A report from back on Sunday, October 29 was that there was pretty good surface fishing for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass at the Rockpile. At last reports the fishing for rockfish was 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 bonito, 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 but the yellowtail fishing has been slow. Recent days have also seen a few spots of breaking bonito seen outside of the Point Loma Kelp Beds but very little has been caught.

Calico bass are still biting at kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast but most of the sportboats have been focusing on fishing for rockfish. The calicos are fun to catch but most of the calicos caught have been 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 what most of the sportboats have been focusing on lately and they are becoming more and more of the coastal fishing mainstay as the water temperatures cool. There have been 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.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that most of the recent trips on the Oceanside Sea Canter boats have been fishing for rockfish and says there have been good numbers of rockfish biting at hard bottom spots in 200 to 350 feet of water while fishing areas such as Box Canyon, Ponto Beach, Leucadia, Solana Beach and the upper part of Del Mar. Cacciola reports finding good fishing for a mix of reds, whitefish, salmon grouper and assorted rockfish. Cacciola reports that the salmon grouper have been biting best on sardines and that the reds, whitefish and other assorted rockfish have been biting best on strips of frozen squid.

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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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