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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, February 14, 2020
Good weather days provide good fishing!
Friday, February 28, 2020
Yellowtail are biting at the Coronados!


Bluefin playing hide and seek!
The past week has seen days of good showings of bluefin tuna which have produced action in areas ranging from outside of Newport Beach on down to the Coronado Canyon outside of San Diego. Last weekend and the early part of the week provided the best showings of bluefin with things tapering down to where there has not been much seen during the past couple of days.

The bluefin have mostly been in the 20- to 80-pound class with some bigger fish to 100-plus pounds in the mix and with a report of a 225-pound bluefin being caught last weekend. Most of the bluefin have been biting from spots of breaking fish with slow trolled mackerel, poppers and surface iron working best. The area ranging from 2 to 6 miles off Newport Beach has been the best with the 14 Mile Bank, the area 2 to 5 miles off the coast outside of Dana Point, the City of San Clemente, San Onofre and Oceanside also producing some action. In the San Diego region, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the Coronado Canyon have been productive areas with some kelp paddie yellowtail also being scratched out around the 9 Mile Bank.


Things were rather quiet with regard to bluefin activity on Thursday and this morning is Friday morning and there has been a report by 2 Skippers of seeing a few small spots of breaking bluefin while fishing around the upper and middle parts of the 9 Mile Bank. A morning report from 2 boats fishing at the 14 Mile Bank was that the fishing was slow.


The recent weather has been nice except for some fog. Saturday’s NOAA weather forecast calls for a change with a significant chance of rain and increased wind in the forecast with the chance of rain beginning this evening which is Friday evening. As always, be sure to check the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.


Sportboats continue to fish the Mexican coast off Punta Colnett on Saturday 1.5 day and 2 day trips. The high spot area outside of Punta Colnett continues to be productive and continues to provide very good mixed bag fishing for reds, assorted rockfish, lingcod and yellowtail.


Last Saturday’s fishing saw the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing fish a 1.5 day trip with 33 anglers who caught 72 reds, 7 lingcod, 15 yellowtail and 165 rockfish.


The Punta Colnett area ling cod have included nice sized fish that have gone up over 30 pounds. When yellowtail have been biting they have also been quality sized fish which have included a good percentage that have been up in the 18- to 25-pound range. When yellowtail are located, yo-yo iron is most often the best way to go and a sardine or mackerel fished on a dropper loop rig can also be effective. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X or 7X jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, dorado and sardine colors.


The fishing for reds, rockfish, whitefish and an occasional lingcod remains very good for boats fishing in the region of the Coronado Islands. Productive areas include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running daily three-quarter day trips to fish for reds, rockfish and other assorted bottom fish species around the Coronado Islands. The most recent count on the New Seaforth is from Thursday’s fishing when 22 anglers caught their limits of 220 assorted rockfish.


An ongoing reminder to anglers is that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure on the U.S. side of the Mexico border will remain in effect until March 1, 2020. With the rockfish/groundfish closure currently in effect, Southern California anglers fishing in US waters continue to focus their efforts on species that remain open to fishing and there has been good action for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin along with a few halibut and an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


The yellowtail fishing along the San Diego County coast has been slow but there are occasional showings of yellowtail reported and there is an occasional biting yellowtail to be found.


The occasional showings of yellowtail have been reported in an area ranging from outside of Imperial Beach on up to the ridge outside of Del Mar but most recent showings of yellowtail have been found in an area ranging from outside of Mission Bay on up to the lower part of the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla. A good depth range to try and locate yellowtail has been in 18 to 30 fathoms of water. Locating areas where there is a lot of bait has been a good way to try and find a school of yellowtail


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and fish that are up working on the surface under spots of working birds. Once located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all been working for yellowtail. Of these methods, surface iron that is cast to a spot of breaking fish before they sound has been working the best.


Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There are reports of mackerel being caught for bait in about 40 to 50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the southeast of 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 Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have been finding very good fishing on a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin while fishing the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines and the structure of artificial reefs outside of Oceanside. He says there has also been very good sculpin fishing and some pretty good numbers of bass biting off Box Canyon.


Cacciola also mentioned that there have also been a few halibut biting around the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines as well as at the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the artificial reefs off Oceanside.


Other areas producing some halibut action along the San Diego County coast are fishing in 180 to 220 feet of water outside of the Oceanside Pier, fishing the sandy bottom areas adjacent to the structure of the Yukon shipwreck and adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower off Mission Beach and fishing the area between the Imperial Beach Pier and the Tijuana River. San Diego Bay is another place where some halibut have been biting as well.


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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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