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Pat McDonell's Blog

395 Big Fish Sierra Trout Opener derby hotly contested
Inaugural event attracts hundreds of anglers with big fish weighed in at four Sierra locations opening weekend; Allan Cole wins with a 9-pound, 9½-ounce brown

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ALLAN COLE HOLDS his 9-pound, 9½-ounce brown from Lower Twin Lake at the Bishop Visitors Park. He is shown with his son Eric Cole and 395 Derby Director Billy Egan and the first-place prizes, topped by a Gregor/Mercury package worth $10,000 WON PHOTO BY PAT McDONELL

BISHOP — Well-known Brownbagger and lure designer Allan Cole of Henderson, Nev., won the first annual WON 395 Big Fish Sierra Trout Opener derby, catching a 9-pound, 9½-ounce brown trout at Lower Twin Lake Saturday on a A.C. Plug to claim the top prize of a 15-foot Gregor/9.9 hp Mercury outboard package on top of an EZ Loader trailer worth $10,000. The derby areas eligible were all Lone Pine to waters north of Bridgeport.


Cole weighed it on Sunday afternoon at Rick’s Sports Center in Mammoth, driving south from Bridgeport to weigh it on the same scale as second place finisher John Montgomery’s 9-pound, 9-ounce rainbow from Convict Lake the previous day. Cole had weighed the brown trout Saturday at the Lower Twin marina, unofficially at 9 pounds, 9.7 ounces after he caught it Saturday.


“Knowing Montgomery’s fish held the lead at 9 pounds, 9 ounces, he wisely drove south on Sunday to get the fish on the same scale,” said derby director Billy Egan. “It was a smart move because the fish didn’t lose much weight, and got him first place by half an ounce.“


Cole, 74, was fishing with his 40-year-old son Eric and caught it at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the middle of snow flurries and wind.


It was cold and snowing, he remembered, and when the rod went off in the holder he grabbed it and immediately knew it was a good fish. The AC Plug he designed with Owner treble hooks (“I love Owner hooks,” he said) was trolled 25 feet down on the lead core line.


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ALLAN COLE HAS made the heavyweight brown trout scene for decades. This opener, the Henderson, Nev. angler took the No. 2 opening day big fish spot, weighing in this 9-pound, 9½-ounce Lower Twin Lake catch that went for a trolled A.C. Plug lure in a kokanee pattern. ERIC COLE PHOTO

“The fish chase the schools of kokanee,” said Cole. “You target the kokanee and the big browns are with them.”


Cole knows big browns’ habits. He has 42 browns over 10 pounds, and had a 26 pounder from Paulina Lake in Oregon back in ’03, and in 1978, he got the biggest trout in Sierra opening day history, a 20 pounder on Lower Twin Lake. This fish that won the derby, narrowly missed becoming his 11th brown trout over 10 pounds at Lower Twin, although he admits he has not caught a 10-plus pound brown from Lower Twin in a decade. The drought continues, but he won the derby.


Besides the Gregor/Mercury package, the big brown also earned Cole a $200 Flambeau Warming Kit and a $200 Sierra Slammer plastics package. It was part a $15,000 total of prizes given away over the weekend by WON to five of the top derby anglers who competed Saturday and Sunday. All top-five anglers also earned a Cousins FSP703 7-foot spinning rod and an ­Owner hook package.


“Where do you guys get all this stuff?” asked Cole. Indeed, it was a mountain of high-end tackle that went to the top teams — the top-5 anglers overall, and the top-5 anglers at each weigh-in location.


The weigh-ins were conducted at four weigh centers both days, with Derby Central being Bishop City Park. The other three weigh areas were Rick’s Sports Center in Mammoth Lakes, Ernie’s Ski & Sports in June Lake, and Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport.


As anglers weighed in, the weigh stations recorded the catches and relayed them to Billy Egan in Bishop. Egan is the Freshwater Events Director at WON and is also the WON BASS Director.


“The derby was a big success for the first-time effort, and with a few adjustments can be bigger and easier for anglers to sign up on-site at the weigh stations as well as through WON and also the Internet,” said Egan. “We learned a lot and were thrilled with 250 entrants. I think we can have 1,000 people entering this next year, especially with the continued support of Sierra retailers.”


The second-place finisher by the narrowest of margins was John Montgomery of Bishop with a 9-pound, 9-ounce rainbow from Convict Lake, who won a $1,000 Sea Eagle Stealth Stalker inflatable package, a Cousins rod, Owner hook pack, plus a $500 Panther Martin lure pack, and $200 Flambeau Warming Kit. He could have used that Warmer Kit. The weather at Convict opening morning was frigid with snow flurries. He said he started fishing at 4 a.m. and just before dawn, on his friend Mike Alvarado’s boat at the lake inlet, his outfit was slammed. He was using PowerBait, a No. 16 treble and straight 6-pound line.


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JOHN MONTGOMERY OF Bishop with his 9-pound, 9-ounce rainbow caught at Convict Lake Saturday and weighed in at Rick’s Sports Center in Mammoth Lakes. He won a $1,000-value Sea Eagle Stealth Stalker inflatable boat, a Cousins rod and much more sponsors prizes seen in the photo with derby director Billy Egan. His 9-pound. 9-ounce rainbow from Convict took second place in the first annual 395 Big Fish Derby.

“It was a screamer,” he said. “He made at least four big runs. “It was a tough fish.” He credited his buddy, also an ex-Marine, with a great net job on a crazy fish.


Third place was taken by Glen McKenzie with a 7.3-pound rainbow from June Lake, who took home a $500 Rapala Lure Package, Cousins rod, Owner hook packs and a $200 Flambeau Warming kit.


Fourth Place was claimed by Vulfrano Perez of Petaluma, who caught a 6-14 rainbow on a Rapala from Lower Twin Lake, Bridgeport. He won a $500 Rooster Tail package from Yakima Baits and a $200 Warming Kit from Flambeau, plus the Cousins rod and Owner hook pack.


Fifth place was won by Mike Moniz of Discovery Bay with a 6-pound, 2-ounce rainbow from Upper Twin. He caught it on a Lucky Craft Lure, reported Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods, where he weighed it Saturday morning. That fish won him a $200 Flambeau Warming Kit and a $200 Thomas Bouyant lure package.


There were other ways to win, with special weigh station prizes. Of course, the champion, Allan Cole took the big-fish weigh station prize at Rick’s in Mammoth with his 9-pound, 9½-ounce brown taking a $200 Sierra Slammer plastics box, and a $250 Rick’s Sports Center Gift Card.


At Ken’s Sporting Goods, it was Vufrano Perez with a 6-pound, 14-ounce rainbow from Lower Twin Lake on a Rapala who grabbed the weigh-station prize of a $250 gift certificate from Ken’s, as well as a Bridgeport Vacation Rentals certificate for $550 for spot camping in the Sierra.


Ernie’s Ski & Sport weigh station at June Lake on the June Lake Loop saw Glenn McKenzie’s rainbow of 7 pounds, 3 ounces take a nice $200 Sierra Slammers Package.


Bishop’s biggest fish brought to its Visitor’s Park site was a 4.95-pound rainbow from the Lower Owens River Sunday on a Rapala by Ryan Nealon of Thousand Oaks, who won a $200 Sierra Slammer plastics package and a dream stay at Parcher’s Resort and a free boat rental at South Lake.


WON would to thank all the anglers who participate, all the national and local sponsors, and the weigh stations who helped over an extremely busy weekend, said Egan, the 395 derby director.


“I really think this a great idea, being a derby for all the Sierra, and it will really grow if it continues each year and especially if anglers can sign up and pay at the shop,” said Rick Flamson, owner of Rick’s in Mammoth Lakes. “I had three dozen people come to the shop who wanted to sign up Friday with cash, do it quickly. They just didn’t want to go online. It has a chance to be a huge event here opening day.”


Gary Graham's Blog

Sportfishing Association of California revisits Mazatlán
Captain Ken Franke, Sportfishing Association of California along with Kenia Zamarripa, SAC’s Director of Marketing and International Affairs and the “Let’s Talk Hook-Up” crew which included Pete Gray and his sound engineer, Rick Cutler, (Hookup1090.com) was met by Juan Acereto - President of Sinaloa's Sport Fishing Association in Mazatlán on what would be a whirlwind trip leaving on Thursday, April 21 at 5 p.m. and returning Saturday, April 23 around 9:30 p.m. I was fortunate to be included in that group. Encouraged by the results of last year’s efforts, the goal of the SAC team was to promote sportfishing and other recreational opportunities available in the region using the same techniques as they had the previous year, when they successfully encouraged the return of the cruise ships and visiting yachts to Mazatlan.

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WE MET AND then crossed at Cross Border Xpress (CBX) at Otay Mesa.

We met and then crossed at Cross Border Xpress (CBX) at Otay Mesa. I had heard many favorable reports about the facility and was eager to check it out for myself. I was impressed!


Since opening to serve the public on December 9, 2015, an average of 2,000 passengers per day have utilized the facility on a typical day, while approximately 5,000 passengers per day have used the crossing during peak holiday travel periods, according to Elizabeth Brown, spokesperson for CBX.


Traveling together in Franke’s truck, which he parked in the adjoining parking lot for $15 per day, we were soon unloaded and headed for the entrance.


It was a simple check-in process. After filling out an FMM, (no charge since we were gone less than a week), our boarding pass was verified, baggage was inspected, and we had a brisk walk across the enclosed pedestrian bridge -- approximately 390 feet long and 33 feet wide. Soon we were in the lobby of the Tijuana Airport and standing at the Volaris Ticket Counter -- the first line we had encountered since entering the building on the U.S. side. After checking our luggage we headed to the Boarding Gate with nearly a half-hour to spare before boarding our flight. All of this took about the same amount of time it would have taken to go to San Diego Airport, go through the TSA line and arrive at the gate for departure. Pretty remarkable!


We checked into the Pueblo Bonito, Emerald Bay later that evening and Friday morning held our first meeting/press conference. With Kenia Zamarripa translating, Captain Ken Franke, Pete Gray, Juan Acereto and Esteban Balderrama – Undersecretary of Tourism Promotion & Operation for the State of Sinaloa, all welcoming the local press and other guests.


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ESTEBAN BALDERRAMA LEFT, Mario Aguilar, Captain Ken Franke and Pete Gray

Franke briefly described the goals and successes of the team’s prior visit in 2015, which had been to confirm with “Let’s Talk Hook-Up” radio show broadcast throughout the United States and beyond, that the Port of Mazatlán and surrounding areas had been renewed and revitalized. The beaches, restaurants and hotels are immaculate, and the Malecón has a lively atmosphere with artwork, fountains and palm trees. In addition, the Port of Mazatlán has all the facilities needed to serve cruise ships and visiting yachts but most importantly, the Mazatlán people were eager for them to return.


According to Alfonso Gil, General Director, Port of Mazatlán, there are currently over 90 cruise ships scheduled to stop in the Port, which is a remarkable improvement over the one cruise ship that visited Mazatlán in 2012."


On Saturday morning there would be a similar two-hour broadcast hosting guests Mario Aguilar – Commissioner of CONAPESCA, Alfonso Gil – General Director, Port of Mazatlán, Esteban Balderrama – Undersecretary of Tourism, Sinaloa, Juan Acereto – President, Sportfishing Association of Sinaloa , Jose Gamez – General Manager, Pueblo Bonito Hotels and Geronimo Cevallos – El Cid Marina Manager.


All described the many exciting and diversified sportfishing, recreational and tourism related activities found throughout the city and the surrounding areas and all added their view on the importance of the program, concluding with a robust question and answer session before closing. The attendees were invited to attend the broadcast on Saturday morning at the Pueblo Bonito, Emerald Bay.


The following morning the SAC group and special guests along with spectators and members of the press gathered on the sun bathed Pueblo Bonito, Emerald Bay terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean.


During the first hour of the live call in “Let’s Talk Hook-Up” show, hosts Pete Gray and Captain Ken Franke welcomed Alfonso Gil, Juan Acereto and Geronimo who discussed sportfishing, tournaments, marinas, charter fleets, weather and the freshwater bass fishing available in surrounding area.


They were followed by Jose Gamez and Esteban Balderrama, who expanded on the number of airline flights available and the convenience of the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) at Otay Mesa.


The second hour was devoted to Mario Aguilar – Commissioner of CONAPESCA, discussing the importance of cooperation between his agency, SAC and National Marine Fisheries. He fielded many caller’s questions and comments, including a call from Scott Sherman, San Diego City Council, representing District 7 on behalf of the Honorable Mayor Kevin Falconer, San Diego. Sherman praised the Commissioner’s ongoing cooperation on behalf of the San Diego Unified Port District and U.S anglers visiting Mexico. As the program came to a close, Aguilar commented, “Twenty-nine- million visitors who come to Mexico every year can be assured that ‘Sportfishing’ is one of Mexico’s most treasured industries that we intend to protect and improve.”


Captain Ken Franke added, “Mazatlán is an important hub of sportfishing in Mexico and simply stated, SAC wants to ensure that U.S. anglers visiting the country have a memorable trip.”


In closing, Pete Gray observed that SAC has developed its website into an important resource for anglers and boat owners planning to visit Mexico in the future.


Merit McCrea's Blog

What colors do rockfish see?
Technical advances make it possible to video fish at depth and see what kinds and how many are there. This is huge, because rockfishes live deep and in rocky terrain, too rocky to survey by trawl net.

We at the Love Lab surveyed deeper reefs using a small manned submersibles for years, specifically to discover what kinds of critters lived on oil platforms and how they compared to what lived on natural reefs. Until very recently, no video resolution could nearly compare with being there and seeing the fish directly.


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ROCKFISH SEE ONLY blue and green it turns out. This graph is for humans. We see three colors, and based on the proportions of each, our brains fill in the gaps.


With new video capabilities, surveying deep reefs is now much less costly using drones and remotely operated vehicles. But it still requires lighting a dark environment.


What if we could find a color that deepwater fish just couldn’t see? We don’t see infrared. Critters that can, see us in the dark.


That was the question Dr. Mary Yoklavich of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s South­west Fisheries Science Center wanted an answer to. She arranged for a two-man team of scientists, Dr. Lyle Britt of NMFS and Dr. Ellis Loew of Cornell, both vision specialists, to come to our lab. We would assist them in collecting several species of rockfish and such. Having these two experts around was watershed regarding learning how fish see.


The deep suspicion was rockfish, and most other deepwater fish, don’t see red. No red light gets to depth, only making it down the first 30 feet or so in the very clearest of water. Deep down, it’s blues and greens that make it through.


Only when we had the very cleanest waters overhead could we see anything at all in just 300 feet once the lights were turned off. But when we had epic conditions, the 50-fathom reefs were bathed in the deepest purple-blue, an eerie deep world of blues and black silhouettes.


In fact, it was likely red pigment in rockfish was just a physiologically cheap way for fish to be black, or dark gray. Black pigments take more work to make.


Without getting too deep into the weeds of the kinds of science that is the reason biologists are required to master math, chemistry and physics before they are trusted any topic on actual living things, here are a few basics of the workings of vision.


Eyes make and re-build light sensitive compounds that break when light of a specific color hits them. Individual retina cells that have these are sensitive to, and specific to a given compound and color. Most folks have heard of low-light sensitive rods and color sensitive cones. But the cones themselves are each tuned to specific colors. The rods also see one color.


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THE MICROSPECTROPHOTOMETER reading. This rockfish cone cell outer segment was sensitive to green.


In order to tell what colors the eye can see, outer segments of individual cells are spotted in a microscope, a beam of light shown on them and the color that is most absorbed is recorded. This is microspectrophotometry.


But what we think we see and what we are actually seeing are two different things. We think we see the entire spectrum, no gaps. What human eyes actually see are just 3 colors, 4 including the rod color. Our brains, which actually extend into our eyes, patch in the rest based largely on the ratio of one color to another.


The secret code on how to make at least two of these visual pigments are on the X chromo­some, which women have two of and men, only one. Sometimes a gene, a chunk of code on a chromosome is jacked. It makes garbage instead. Some X chromosomes have a non-functional code for the red photo-pigment. This is fine if you are a woman, you’ve got a spare! But men, if your one copy is bad, no red for you!


But when you ask a guy who is red-green colorblind if they can see color, the answer is sure! They just puzzle why others seem to have so many different names for the same darned color.


In fact, there is increasing evidence that women often have much better color discrimination than men in general. No wonder so much trouble with all those silly color names, — just pick one and let’s get ’er done.


So rockfish, It turned out, indeed did not seem to have a red sensitive photo-pigment, just as we suspected. Because red is off the edge of the greens and blues they can see, the chances are they can’t see anything by red light. Using it to spot them would be like using an infra-red game camera on us. We just don’t see it, except for that faint little red dot like the TV remote has.


But with an infra-red camera you can use the TV remote like a flash-light to light up the whole room. And using a red light on a red fish, well, it should light up like a red neon sign down there, and the fish will be non-the-wiser that it was being spied on by our UFO from the surface.


But there’s more. It turns out that the organization of the cells of the fish’s retina tell and additional story. A mosaic pattern shows a critter is more sensitive to motion and less able to discriminate shapes and edges. Regular rows of cells indicate the ability to analyze shape and edge.


For example, you can tell one letter from another only in the very center of your field of view. Out at the edges we see motion much better. To test this, hold a finger out to one side while looking straight ahead. After a few seconds you probably can’t see it. Now wiggle it, and boom! There it is!


Bottom fish notice movement mostly. Mid-water fish see shape and size better. They have a much better idea when stuff is getting closer or getting away.


* * *


Merit McCrea is saltwater editor for Western Outdoor News. A veteran Southern California party boat captain, he also works as a marine research scientist with the Love Lab at the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute. He can be reached at: merit@wonews.com.


Cousins Surf Fishing Round-Up

Legal halibut just outside the surf line
The perch bite has been good up and down the coast, reported Hook, Line, and Sinker in Santa Barbara. A few days of high winds slowed the bite mid-week. The water temp dropped 7 degrees to 51 degrees, the first legitimate roll over in the past several seasons. The fish have been quality ranging from 1 to 2 pounds. Gulp! Sandworms in bloody, Root beer and motor oil grubs and mussel have been working best. Goleta, Graveyards, East Beach, Gaviota and Jalama have all been holding schools. The temperature drop slowed the halibut and bass bites.

MALIBU — More and more quality perch are showing on Oxnard and Ventura beaches, according to Wylie’s. Anglers are reporting an improving bite on quality spawners in the 1- to 2-pound range. Mussel and lugworms have been working best. The bite on the rocky spots has been good for a mix of calico bass, grass rockfish and sargo. Shrimp and Gulp! Sandworms have been working well. Big Rock, Pescador and Matador have been good places to look. Kayakers are reporting catching some legal halibut just outside the surf line. The mid-week wind cooled the water.


REDONDO BEACH — The perch bite continued strong off Manhattan and El Segundo beaches, reported Just Fishing. Grubs, Gulp! Sandworms and sandcrabs have been taking ½- to 1½-pound fish. More spawners have been in the mix. Cooler water slowed the bite mid-week but the bite was back on track by week-end. Torrance Beach has been the best bet for a legal halibut. The stretch kicked out several legal fish on Krocodiles and Kastmasters. A few corbina have also been showing with sandcrabs along this same stretch.


SEAL BEACH — The good halibut bite off Belmont Shores continued this week, reported Big Fish. The stretch from the pier to 72nd place has been best holding lots of bait and the short to just legal halibut are shingled outside the surf line. Anglers are scoring several fish in a session. The largest fish have been pushing 30 inches. Krocodiles and Flash Minnows have been working best. The night bite has been good for quality spotted bay bass and sand bass in Alamitos Bay. Flipping Reebs Jigs off the jetty rock has been the ticket. Macks are thick off the Seal Beach Pier.


COSTA MESA — The Balboa Peninsula has been good for a mix of perch, croaker and the occasional corbina, reported Ketcham Bait and Tackle. Anglers digging sandcrabs near the piers or jetties have been scoring perch to1 ½ pounds, smaller croaker and a few early season corbina. The halibut bite has been spotty with a few fish showing off the street jetties and River Jetties.


DANA POINT — The beaches above of the harbor have been holding the better quality perch, reported Hogan’s Bait and Tackle. Salt Creek, Strands, Aliso and Main Beach Laguna have been holding good schools. Clear/red flake and motor oil/ gold flake grubs have been red hot. A few fish have been pushing the 2-pound mark. A few spotfin croaker are showing in and around the harbor. Lugworms and bloodworms fished on the high tide has been the ticket.


OCEANSIDE — The halibut bite in the lagoons and harbor has been “phenomenal” reported Pacific Coast Bait and Tackle. Anglers are reporting several fish a session with 1 or 2 legal fish. Two anglers on Saturday reported 4 legal fish ranging from 4½ to 7½ pounds, to go with several shorts all taken on cut anchovy. More and more corbina have been showing off south Oceanside, the Army/Navy Academy and South Carlsbad. The sandcrabs are showing with the corbina right behind. A few more orangemouth were reported taken at the lagoon mouths on swimbaits.


SOLANA BEACH — The halibut bite has been improving off Carlsbad, Del Mar and Torrey Pines, reported Blue Water. Anglers throwing Lucky Craft Flash Minnows in smelt and grunion patterns are reporting more and more quality fish in the surf line. The lugworm bite off Tabletops has been good for a mix of yellowfin and spotfin croaker. Big sandcrab colonies have drawn lots of corbina in to the surf line.


Compiled by Gundy Gunderson


Bob Vanian's 976-Bite Hot Bite

Winds Hamper YELLOWTAIL & BLUEFIN bite

Friday, April 29, 2016:


Fishing is Good When Weather Conditions Ease


     Southern California offshore anglers have had a lot to be happy about during the late winter and early spring fishing season with yellowtail and bluefin tuna biting in unseasonably good fashion.  We are well into the spring season now but the weather continues to remind us that it is not yet summer by sending us recent weather systems that have brought wind, big swells and a bit of rain.  This week saw several days of rough weather conditions with both Small Craft Advisories and Gale Warnings being posted at times.  Those unfavorable weather conditions kept a lot of boats tied to the dock for much of the week.


    There is some fishable weather today (Friday, April 29, 2016) but it looks like the weather includes a chance of rain with increasing wind and seas in the Saturday forecast as another weather system is forecasted to move through Southern California.  The best advice I can give is to err on the side of caution and to always check the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.


    There have been a few boats out fishing in the poor weather during the week and there are some boats out fishing in what is reported to be some pretty nice weather today.  There is a bit of news to work with on the offshore fishing front with overall scratchy bluefin fishing being reported but with a chance at scratching out a bluefin being reported by boats fishing within an area ranging from the 500 fathom curve outside of the stretch between the Rockpile and the Finger Bank on out to the 425 Bank, the 371 Bank and the Upper Hidden Bank.  There are bluefin being seen within that zone again today but it has been hard to get them to bite.  Most of the bluefin action has come from stopping alongside of a school of breaking bluefin and being able to present surface iron to them before they sound.  If you get lucky and connect it can be a nice payoff as the few bluefin that have been caught have been up in the 50 to 60 pound range.  There has also been a chance at scratching out a yellowfin tuna in this sector as well.


     Boats fishing the region of the Coronado Islands have been finding some yellowtail and bonito biting below the Rockpile while fishing at the Finger Bank and have also seen some yellowtail and bonito biting up around the Islands proper while fishing off the weather side of North Island and at the area inside of the northern and the middle part of South Island.  The yellowtail fishing at the Finger Bank has been the best with a few boats fishing the Finger Bank this morning picking up good numbers of yellowtail.  Most of the yellowtail at the Finger Bank have been 15 to 20 pound fish and the best bet has been casting surface iron to spots of fish found up on the surface under working birds.


     A 12:01 PM report from today's fishing from Seaforth Sportfishing is that the San Diego is out on a three quarter day trip and has 20+ of the 15 to 20 pound yellowtail and a few bonito aboard for 17 anglers and is still fishing.  Their fish are reported to be biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron and live bait.


    The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands proper has been more hit or miss than the bite at the Finger Bank and this morning a Skipper fishing around the Islands proper was reporting nice looking 64.5 degree blue water but was not finding anything but rockfish biting while fishing off the weather side of North Island.  Look for meter marks, sonar marks and occasional spots of breezing fish to try and locate yellowtail off the weather side of North Island and while fishing inside of the upper half of the lee side of South Island.


     Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast continue to pick up a mix of calico bass, sand bass, sculpin and rockfish and are also scratching out a few halibut and an occasional yellowtail.  The best overall fishing for the bass, sculpin and rockfish has been found by working hard bottom and structure spots but one recent change to a more spring like pattern is that some calico bass are starting to bite in the kelp beds.  The Point Loma Kelp Beds have seen an increase in calico bass activity while fishing along the edges of the kelp in recent days.  Captain Fred Huber of the Daily Double out of Point Loma Sportfishing is reporting having a catch that includes19 or 20 legal sized calicos within his catch this afternoon and he was still fishing at the time of his report.


     Look for an occasional large yellowtail biting at La Jolla.  The upper end of La Jolla has been the best while fishing the area of Northwest or while fishing a short way outside of the MLPA closure zone that is located off the Cove.  Live mackerel have been the best live bait for a yellowtail which also have been biting on surface iron or yo-yo iron.  The yellowtail bite has been scratchy but if you get lucky and connect, the payoff is usually a nice big 20 to 30 pound class fish.


     Imperial Beach has provided the best chance at a halibut and has been producing a few legal sized fish.  The best bet has been drifting in the area below the Imperial Beach Pier in 10 to 15 fathoms of water.  The sandy bottom areas between the patches of kelp stringers are usually the best areas to be drifting for the halibut.


     Hard bottom and structure spots continue to produce most of the rockfish and sculpin and are also producing some calico bass and sand bass.  Productive hard bottom and structure spots up and down the San Diego County coast have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the hard bottom outside of the Green Tank, the 270 outside of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.  Some of the better rockfish fishing in recent days has been found while fishing the within the stretch between Torrey Pines and Solana Beach.


     Before the recent poor weather there was good mixed bag fishing at San Clemente Island for yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and rockfish.  The recent stormy weather has effected the water conditions and has slowed the surface fishing a bit but I would look for the surface bite to pick back up in short order once the weather settles down to allow the water conditions a chance to recover. 


     There have been some yellowtail biting along the ridges outside of Pyramid Cove and China Point while fishing in 18 to 25 fathoms of water and some calico bass and bonito have been biting around the boiler rocks in Pyramid Cove.  Also look for bonito and yellowtail found from bird schools, meter marks and sonar marks while fishing the front side of the Island between White Rock and Purse Seine Rock.  The rockfish fishing has been good outside of Pyramid Cove and China Point while fishing in 25 to 45 fathoms of water.


    The yellowtail have been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron and sardines that are either flylined or fished on a dropper loop rig.  Anglers should adjust their lure selection and method of bait presentation depending on where the particular school of fish they are working is holding in the water column.


     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 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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