CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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It's getting close to November and bluefin and yellowfin are still providing good offshore fishing!
The recent warm and sunny Santa Ana wind weather conditions remind one of the sunny days of summer but the reality is that it is less than a week until the calendar rolls over to November. The great news is that both the weather and the fishing are in summer like form with air temperatures along the Southern California Coast in the 80s and with bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna continuing to bite well offshore.

The best of the tuna fishing has been found within 35 miles or so of Point Loma with a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack biting around offshore banks such as the 9 Mile Bank, the 425 Bank, the 224 Spot, the 182 Spot, the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot and the Corner. The better days of fishing during the past week have produced near limit to limit numbers of yellowfin tuna but the bite has slipped a bit the past two days including today which is Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. There have been some 40- to 100-pound bluefin tuna in the mix with the yellowfin and the best of the bluefin activity has been found at the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot and in the area ranging from outside of the 224 Spot on out to the Corner and on out to the area of the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy.


The yellowfin tuna have been running from 10 to 45 pounds with most falling within the 12- to 25-pound range. Yellowfin stops 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 productive 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 Lee Fleming of the Jawbreaker reported fishing a recent trip to the area of the 425 Bank and catching 15 yellowfin tuna and a skipjack. He described the action as a "slow pick" bite while drifting and soaking live baits. Their yellowfin were running from 15 to 30 pounds and all their fish were caught on sardines.


Bill Fleming had the most action and caught 5 of their 16 fish while using a live bait outfit rigged with a 15-pound test fluorocarbon leader and a size 4 circle hook. He was meticulous in retying his hook after every fish to do away with any leader material that might have suffered abrasion from catching the prior fish. The other tuna on the trip were caught on live bait outfits rigged with 20- to 30-pound test fluorocarbon leaders with size 4 circle hooks and J hooks. Fleming said they kept the fish going by chumming a combination of live sardines and sardine chunks. They had caught their fish by 1 p.m. and were headed home after giving their extra bait to their friend Eddie Torres on the private boat Searcher.


The jumbo sized bluefin tuna that had been biting off the back side of San Clemente Island pretty much disappeared for about a 10 day period but the past two days have seen a bit of jumbo sized bluefin activity relocated in the region of the 81 Fathom Spot, 86 Fathom Spot and the 57 Fathom Spot. Not much has been caught but there have been some meter marks to be found. When the jumbo sized bluefin were biting better a few weeks ago, the best bet was to drift areas where meter marks were being found and fish with kite fished flying fish or helium balloon fished flying fish. Kite trolled Yummy Flyers were also effective at times. Maybe the upcoming weekend will see some more boats out looking around trying to locate better numbers of the jumbo sized bluefin tuna.


The Catalina region has improved for both bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna with a report of a 220-plus pound yellowfin tuna being caught at mid-week. The early part of the week saw good action on 40- to 80-pound bluefin tuna for boats fishing 1.5 miles to 2.5 miles off the coast between Dana Point and the Balboa Pier. The bluefin were in a biting mood on Monday and Tuesday and were biting well on mackerel that were slow trolled or dropped into the wake as the boat was coming to a stop alongside of some breaking fish.


There have also been some bluefin showings at the 267 Spot, the area 5 to 8 miles off the coast between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, the 14 Mile Bank, the 152 Spot and the 277 Spot. The best bet for yellowfin has been at the Avalon Bank, the 152 Spot and the 277 Spot with the ridge that runs outside of the 277 Spot and outside of the 152 Spot being the best. Mackerel, sardines, poppers and cedar plugs have been working for the yellowfin. One of the best ways to find biting yellowfin has been to locate porpoise and to fish sardines and mackerel over meter marks found with the porpoise.


There have been a few marlin around in both the Catalina and the San Diego area. There is an occasional marlin hookup reported in the San Diego region incidental to tuna fishing for boats working the region of the 224 Spot and the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot. The past several days have seen one marlin caught and released from this zone and another hookup reported on a fish that had bit on a trolled cedar plug. In the Catalina region there are occasional marlin encounters reported around the eastern part of the Island in the region of the 152 Spot, the Slide, Avalon and the Avalon Bank. I do not know of any marlin being caught and released from this area during the past several days.


Boats continue to deep drop fish for swordfish and there continues to be some action. The best areas in the Catalina region have been at the 152 Spot off the East End and while fishing in 160 to 250 fathoms off the Slide. The best zones in the San Diego region have been while fishing up above the 9 Mile Bank around the 178 Spot and while fishing the outside edges of the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank. There have been some bites reported by private boats deep drop fishing in recent days and some swordfish have been caught by commercial boats that have been deep drop fishing. I do not have a report of a sport caught swordfish being caught since early in the week.


There are hardly any boats fishing at the Coronado Islands because of the good tuna fishing offshore. Last report from the Coronado Islands was late last week when there were some yellowtail found biting along the weather side of North Island in the Pukey Point region. In addition to a chance at yellowtail there has also been good fishing around the Coronados 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.


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 a lot of the coastal fishing trip sportboats have been focusing on lately. There have been recent reports of good rockfish catches coming from hard bottom areas around the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, 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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