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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin and yellowfin producing good offshore action!
We are not far from the end of October and I am happy to report that there is still good offshore fishing going on for a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack. The yellowfin tuna fishing has been the best and has provided near limit to limit paced action on the better days of fishing.


The yellowfin tuna have been running from 10- to 45-pounds with most falling within the 12- to 25-pound range. The best area for yellowfin has been for boats fishing the offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands in the region of the 371 Bank and the 425 Bank. This has you fishing from 20 to 30 miles 182 to 205 degrees from Point Loma. The best of the fishing within that zone has been in the region of the 425 Bank during the past couple of days.


In addition to the 371 Bank and 425 Bank there have been some yellowfin found at the 9 Mile Bank, the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy, the 209 Spot, the 267 Spot and the 14 Mile Bank. The yellowfin are most often located by finding spots of breaking fish and it has generally been difficult to get them to bite. Casting poppers to the spots of breaking fish has produced some action and finding yellowfin with porpoise has been another good way to find some biting yellowfin. Occasional trolling strikes have also produced some yellowfin action in the region of the 9 Mile Bank and sonar marks have produced most of the yellowfin action out by the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy.


Yellowfin stops at the 425 Bank and 371 Bank have come from meter marks, sonar marks, spots of breaking fish, yellowfin trolling strikes, skipjack trolling strikes, kelp paddies and porpoise schools. It has also been possible to set up a drift and catch yellowfin in an area where there are boats drifting and catching tuna. The yellowfin seem to come up in a general area and it has been possible to stay clear of the stopped boats and set up a drift without disturbing the boats that are already drifting and catching fish. Throwing some chum is often all it takes to bring some yellowfin to the boat and get a bite going.


Private boater Bill Parker of the Cabo reported about fishing around the 371 Bank and the 425 Bank on Thursday. Parker was fishing with his friend Justin Krumb and his son-in-law Jeremiah Marrujo aboard.


Parker said he only found skipjack biting while at the 371 Bank and that he then worked in toward the 425 Bank where he found a stop where they drifted and had some fish come around the boat but not bite very well. He said that Justin Krumb hooked a yellowfin in that stop and passed the hookup to Jeremiah Marrujo who caught his first ever yellowfin tuna! Nice going and congratulations go out to Jeremiah!


Their first yellowfin stop fizzled out but not before they had used up a lot of bait in chumming and trying to get the fish to bite better. Their next stop was much better and the stop was had when they started drifting in the region where some boats were stopped and catching fish. That group of yellowfin were more anxious to bite than the first group and they caught 5 yellowfin out of that stop before running out of bait. Parker said that by the end of the stop that every frisky bait they could find in the bait tank would get bit. Parker said the good bite started at around 11 a.m. and said that he wished he would not have used up so much of their bait at the first stop.


Parker said that the yellowfin they were catching were mixed sized fish that ranged from 11 to 23 pounds and that they were getting bites while using 20- and 25-pound test fluorocarbon leaders. They ended up with 6 yellowfin tuna and also caught some skipjack on the troll on the way home.


Private boater Sam Minervini of the Sailfish reported about fishing for yellowfin tuna at the 9 Mile Bank on Monday. The Sailfish is a sailboat and Minervini does a lot of fishing on his sailboat. On Monday he reported finding an area of breaking fish while fishing the outer corner of the 9 Mile Bank at 10 miles 211 degrees from Point Loma. He trolled the area and got a double trolling strike on yellowfin and boated both fish. They were good sized yellowfin that were in the 30- to 35-pound range and they bit on daisy chain rigs using black and purple cedar plugs.


Private boater Tom Golding of the Last Buck fished on Saturday and reported about fishing the region of the 425 Bank and the 371 Bank. Golding's report was that the 3 aboard caught 9 yellowfin tuna and 1 skipjack. He said they had 3 stops that each produced 3 yellowfin with the last stop also producing a skipjack. They found their yellowfin action while fishing between 23 and 26 miles 189 to 205 degrees from Point Loma.


Private boater Robert Serdoz of the Lucky Charm reported about fishing solo on Saturday. It was just Serdoz fishing with his dog and he said they found very good yellowfin tuna fishing while working the region of the 371 Bank. Serdoz found "one stop shopping" on the yellowfin and limited out in catching 5 of what were 25-pound average fish with a big fish of 30 pounds.


Serdoz got his good bait stop by setting up a drift in an area where he found 3 private boaters drifting and catching fish. He said that he set up a drift so as to not disturb the fishing for the boats that were already stopped and threw a bit of chum and had tuna come to the boat and stay with him until he limited out.


Serdoz described it as a steady pick kind of a bite where the fish would come and go. Throwing some extra chum was usually all it took to get the yellowfin going again. He was using 20-pound test fluorocarbon leader and a size #4 light weight circle hook to provide enough stealth to get bites. Serdoz had his limits of yellowfin aboard by 11 a.m. and he said this action was found in 69 degree water while fishing to the north-northeast of the 371 Bank at 22 miles 203 degrees from Point Loma.


Last weekend saw some jumbo sized bluefin tuna relocated off the back side of San Clemente Island and there were several bluefin to 250-plus pounds caught from the region of Desperation Reef and the 81 Fathom Spot. The early part of the week saw a bit of action continue but there has not been much news from the area since early in the week. The wind blew hard off the back side of San Clemente Island on Thursday and it will be interesting to see what effect the windy weather might have had on the jumbo sized bluefin action. The fish that were biting last weekend were being found by locating meter marks and were biting on kite trolled Yummy Flyers and on kite or helium balloon fished drifted flying fish.


There has been some hit or miss action on 40- to 100-pound bluefin for boats working the area of the deep water to the southwest of the 224 Spot on out to the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy. There has been some action to be found while fishing this area ranging from 30 to 40 miles 230 to 245 degrees from Point Loma. What some boats have been doing has been to fish for yellowfin tuna at the 425 Bank and 371 Bank in the morning and then work outside to the bluefin area to try and top off the day with some bluefin during the afternoon and evening hours. Most of the bluefin out this way have been in the 40- to 50-pound range and have been located by finding sonar marks. There have also been some yellowfin tuna in the mix with the bluefin.


There has also been scattered bluefin activity in the Catalina region with occasional 40- to 60-pound bluefin found biting around the 152 Spot off the East End, at the 14 Mile Bank, in an area 5 to 8 miles outside of the stretch between Newport Beach and San Onofre, around the 267 Spot and in the region of the 209 Spot. The afternoon and evening hours have been the best for those trying to scratch out a bluefin or two from these areas.


The marlin fishing has been spotty but the bite has picked up today with a boat fishing outside of Avalon reporting one hookup lost at the boat and another hookup currently going while I am writing this report. There has not been much marlin activity in the San Diego region but earlier in the week there was a marlin hooked and lost by a boat fishing for tuna in the area of the 371 Bank and another report about a marlin being hooked by a boat fishing for tuna at the 425 Bank.


Boats continue to deep drop fish for swordfish and there continues to be some action. The best area in the Catalina region has been at the 152 Spot off the East End and the best zone in the San Diego region has been up above the 9 Mile Bank while fishing around the 178 Spot. A commercial boat Captain who has been deep drop fishing for swordfish recently reported that he has been doing better while using mackerel for bait than he has been doing while using large squid for bait.


Last report from the Coronado Islands was of slow surface fishing but good fishing for an assortment of reds, salmon grouper, whitefish and other assorted rockfish. Productive bottom fishing 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.


Calico bass are still biting at kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast but a lot of the sportboats have been focusing on fishing for rockfish. 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.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing has still been fishing the kelp beds between South Carlsbad and Solana Beach on quite a few of his trips and he reports good mixed bag fishing for calico bass, sand bass, sheephead, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish. He says the water is still warm and has been running from 66 to 70 degrees. The calicos are not biting in as large of numbers as they were a month or so ago but Cacciola says they are seeing a higher percentage of keeper sized calicos in the mix. He mentioned that they caught, photographed and released a 20-inch calico bass on a recent trip to fish kelp bed areas below Oceanside. He says the calicos are now suspended in the mid water depths and suggests using a half ounce split shot to fish your sardine about 25 feet below the surface.


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.


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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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