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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Yellowtail bite off stretch between Mission Bay and the Green Tank at Point Loma!
There have been no boats looking around offshore for tuna that I know of since last weekend when there were a few yellowfin tuna scratched out along with a few skipjack and what were some pretty good numbers of what were mostly the small 3- to 5-pound kelp paddie yellowtail. The best zone for this activity was below and outside of the Coronado Islands for boats working 28 to 40 miles from Point Loma to the southwest and to south of the 371 Bank. The numbers of tuna that were biting were not good enough to get other boats out there looking around during the week. Who knows, maybe someone will go out offshore and do some looking around for tuna over the weekend?


What was good on a couple of days during the week was the fishing for 18- to 25-pound yellowtail for boats fishing the 18 to 25 fathom depths in an area spread from outside of Mission Bay on down to being outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma. There was a good yellowtail bite off the lower end of La Jolla last Friday, December 6, 2019 but the yellows played hard to find for a few days until the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing relocated good numbers of yellows again on Wednesday and had a morning half day trip with 16 anglers catch 25 yellowtail, 2 calico bass and 1 sand bass. The good yellowtail bite carried over to Thursday when the New Seaforth had a morning half day trip with 48 anglers catch 63 yellowtail. Today is Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 and the yellowtail bite was on the scratchy side of things for most boats this morning.


The yellows have been biting from stopping on meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish found up working on the surface which are usually marked by diving birds. Yo-yo iron, surface iron, sardines and mackerel have all been working for the yellowtail with both types of iron working best. The water temperature in the area has been running 62 to 63 degrees.


Private boater Bill Parker of the Cabo fished the coastal yellowtail on Thursday morning and reported very good fishing with the 3 aboard catching 7 of the 18- to 25-pound yellows. Parker said they found their fish under spots of working birds and were working in an area ranging from outside of the Ocean Beach Pier on up to the Green Tank at Point Loma. He called it “run and gun” style fishing and said that 6 of their yellowtail were caught on surface iron and that they got one yellowtail on yo-yo iron.


Parker said that the mint color Salas 7X light was the hot surface iron for them. Parker was fishing with his friend Justin Krumb and son-in-law Jeremiah Marrujo aboard and an exciting thing was that Jeremiah caught his first ever yellowtail! To make it even more special, Marrujo caught the fish on a brand new Phenix Rods fishing rod that Parker had got him for his birthday.


An interesting note from Parker’s trip was about the one yellowtail they caught on a yo-yo iron. When they boated the fish it thrashed and flopped on the deck and broke the yo-yo iron jig in half.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass, sheephead and whitefish. There have also been a few halibut biting out in 30 fathoms of water outside of the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach.


Most of the coastal fishing for bass, sculpin, reds, rockfish, sheephead 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.


Boats that are deep drop fishing for swordfish continue to find action while fishing the drop-off shelf outside of Newport Beach and in the region of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot off San Diego. There have also been a few boats fishing the coastal drop-off shelf off Oceanside that have seen occasional action as well.


The area off Newport Beach has been the best and when there are 8 or 10 boats out fishing on a given day, there seems to be a swordfish or two being caught. This morning there was a boat reporting a lost swordfish hookup off Newport Beach and there was another report of a swordfish being caught.


Captain Maurice Smith of the private boat Dos Hermanos reported about deep drop fishing for swordfish at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank / 178 Spot region on Tuesday and said that they did not have any luck. There was another boat doing commercial deep drop fishing nearby and Smith said that the commercial boat did not have any luck on Tuesday either. Smith reported 63.8 degree water in the area and said there was a lot of life around.


The most recent report from the Coronado Islands proper was from last Friday, December 6, 2019 when private boater, Captain Bob Fletcher of the Fletch fished at the Coronados with private boater, Captain Louie Zimm aboard Zimm’s boat Shearwater.


Fletcher reported having a great trip and said that they started the day by fishing along the weather side of North Island in 62.8 degree water in what were beautiful and calm weather conditions. Fletcher said they found steady action on 3 to 5 pound bonito that were biting on small Rapalas that they were trolling up and down the weather side of North Island. They ended up catching 6 bonito out of that bite that included one larger fish that was up between 7 and 8 pounds. They kept some of their bonito and released the rest.


Fletcher said their next move was to try the Middle Grounds and when they got there they found that the water was cold and at 61.75 degrees. Nothing was happening in the cooler water and they did not spend much time at the Middle Grounds before heading out to the west-southwest of North Island to try some rock cod fishing.


While they were drifting and catching rock cod, they had a big school of jumbo sized bonito show up and they threw some chum and got the fish boiling around the boat. The bonito were biting well and they were hooking bonito on yo-yo iron and sardines. They were mostly 8 to 9 pound bonito except for one bonito that Zimm caught on a Colt Sniper yo-yo jig. The bonito that bit on the Colt Sniper was a considerably larger 11 pound fish when it was weighed back at the dock. Fletcher said that the water in the zone to the west-southwest of North Island was clean green in color and was at 63.4 degrees. They ended up catching 5 bonito and 10 rockfish from this zone and once again kept some of their bonito and released the rest.


After the great bonito bite, the weather began to change and a southwest wind started to blow ahead of an approaching storm. They headed for home and were back at the dock by 1:15 PM. They ended up keeping 6 of their bonito and 10 rockfish and Fletcher said they never saw another boat fishing around the Coronados except for a couple of commercial Mexican lobster pangas.


On Tuesday Zimm went fishing on the Shearwater once again and fished at the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank. He said they caught one big bonito on a trolled X-Rap Rapala and saw some others. He said they chased some bird schools around but could not get any more action on bonito. They tried some rock cod fishing in the 80 to 90 fathom depths at the 9 Mile Bank on the Mexico side of the border and found what he described as “fair” fishing for rockcod on 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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


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