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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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What are the effects of the first cold weather rain storm of the season?
The middle part of the past week delivered the first northern/western weather system of the 2019 Southern California offshore fishing season to local offshore waters. Anglers were and are still anxious to find out what kind of effect that the 2 days of windy weather that were coupled with rain and high seas may have had on the offshore fishing. Prior to the stormy weather, some of the best yellowfin tuna fishing of the season was going on and there was also a mix of bluefin tuna, skipjack and 3- to 5-pound kelp paddie yellowtail biting.

Today is Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 and it is the first day of good weather after the storm. There are a good number of private boats out fishing local offshore waters within 25 miles of San Diego today and what has been reported so far is that there are some skipjack and kelp paddie yellowtail biting but nothing much doing on yellowfin or bluefin. The region of the 178 Spot, 9 Mile Bank, the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot, the 224 Spot and the 302 Spot were all producing lots of yellowfin tuna prior to the arrival of the 2 days of bad weather but the yellowfin and bluefin have been playing hard to locate so far today.


As I am preparing this report early Friday afternoon, a private boater Skipper just came on the radio and reported catching a yellowfin tuna at the 9 Mile Bank. That is the first yellowfin tuna or bluefin tuna that I have heard reported caught so far today and it is good to know there are still yellowfin around and biting. There is still a lot of fishing time left in the day so hopefully some more biting bluefin or yellowfin will be located. Water temperatures in the areas talked about in the paragraph above are being reported to be in the 64 to 65 degree range. Maybe the yellowfin and bluefin are just down, time will tell.


A report from Monday’s fishing provides an example of how good the yellowfin tuna fishing was prior to the arrival of the midweek storm. Private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the private boat Robalo reported about fishing with a friend aboard on Monday. They found excellent yellowfin tuna fishing and McDonell reported that they caught their limits of yellowfin tuna from a single stop.


This action was found while fishing near the high spot at the 302 Spot which is located at 22 miles 224 degrees from Point Loma. Their stop originated by finding a fishy looking area with a good amount of bird life that was in the vicinity of a couple of drifting boats that were catching yellowfin. They stopped the boat around working birds and started chumming and the yellowfin responded to the chum, came around the boat and stayed with the boat until they limited out. These were nice sized yellowfin that were up in the 18- to 25-pound range. They caught their limits early in the day and were back in Mission Bay, with their fish cleaned and their boat on the trailer shortly after noon.


Private boater Michael Schneemann fished on Tuesday and got in his day of fishing just barely ahead of the arriving storm. He reported excellent fishing and that they limited out on yellowfin tuna that were in the 18- to 25-pound range. The action started when they found an excellent early morning yellowfin tuna bite while fishing a short way to the northwest of the 302 Spot. That yellowfin bait stop lasted for 1.5 hours and was located at 22 miles 226 degrees from Point Loma.


At the end of the 1.5 hour stop they were 4 fish short of their limits and they ended up working up to the area between the 9 Mile Bank and the 178 Spot where they found a fleet of boats drifting and catching tuna while fishing at 12 miles 265 degrees from Point Loma. Schneemann said they were able to catch their limits of yellowfin tuna but that they had to deal with some rough and sloppy weather on the way home as the storm was approaching.


Prior to the arrival of the bad weather there were also some yellowfin and bluefin biting around the Butterfly Bank and the San Salvador Knoll for boats fishing from 35 to 55 miles 225 to 245 degrees from Point Loma. As the midweek storm was approaching the yellowfin seemed to be moving northeasterly each day to where the best zone before the storm arrived was in the area of the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot. There have also been some bluefin biting for boats fishing from the area inside of the Tanner Bank on down to the 267 Spot that is easterly of the Tanner Bank. Most of these bluefin have been in the 40 to 150 pound range. Who knows, maybe some bluefin are getting ready to settle in at the Tanner and Cortes Banks to provide more late season action.


What has responded with a bang after the passing of the storm is the deep drop fishing for swordfish. This morning there was a boat that was deep drop fishing on the coastal shelf in the Newport Beach area that caught 2 swordfish via the deep drop method and there is another swordfish that has been boated in the same zone early this afternoon. Popular areas that have been producing some swordfish action via the deep drop method have been Newport Beach, Abalone Point, Dana Point, the Golf Ball off Oceanside, the 178 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, the Slide at Catalina and the 152 Spot located off the East End of Catalina.


Because of the good tuna fishing in local offshore waters, there have not been any boats that I know of fishing around the Coronado Islands during the past couple of weeks. The last reports from the Coronados were of good fishing for rockfish and that there were some bonito biting. The best areas for rockfish have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at hard bottom areas to the north, the northwest and the northeast of North Island while fishing in the 20 to 45 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast is into what is mostly a bottom fishing mode with reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass and whitefish making up the bulk of the catch. There have also been occasional flurries of bonito action off Imperial Beach while fishing the region of the International Reef. Locating bonito activity at the International Reef has been hit or miss and a report from the International Reef this morning was of no bonito activity despite finding clean 64.5 degree water in the area.


There are still some calico bass biting at kelp bed areas along the San Diego County Coast but more and more of the coastal fishing for bass, sculpin, reds, rockfish and whitefish is being done at hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas have been at the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside 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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


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