California Boating Card


CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

Bluefin, yellowtail, dorado and yellowfin biting offshore
Yellowtail and bluefin biting at the Coronados!

The offshore fishing continues to provide good action on a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin. Some changes have occurred during the past week with the most noteworthy being that the numbers of kelp paddie dorado and yellowtail biting under kelp paddies found on the United States side of the Mexico border has been declining. One positive change is that better numbers of yellowfin tuna have been biting for boats fishing the region between the 182 Spot and the Inner Bank area outside of Ensenada. There were yellowfin biting with porpoise off of Church Rock and the V's at Catalina this morning as well. Other improved news on the tuna fishing front is that big bluefin tuna have moved into the offshore waters outside of the stretch of coast between Oceanside and La Jolla.



Click on the image to get the best saltwater reports daily at www.976bite.com


The bluefin tuna remain in the spotlight with large fish that have reached the 300-pound class being caught by anglers fishing up and down the back side of San Clemente Island. Bluefin can be found up and down the entire back side of San Clemente Island from the area outside of Pyramid Head on up to the area outside of West Cove with the majority of the fish being found in 100 to 300 fathoms of water.


Some specific productive areas for the bluefin at San Clemente Island are Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the 86 Fathom Spot, the 381 Spot and the area to the northwest and west of the 86 Fathom Spot all the way up to where you are fishing outside of West Cove.


Navy closures can effect the ability to fish some of these areas and one should research the Navy's San Clemente Island web site to see if the area they want to fish and spend the night will be open before heading out to fish the San Clemente Island area. The Navy's San Clemente Island web site also has some newly posted information on kite flying regulations involved with kite fishing. The Navy's San Clemente Island web site address is: http://www.scisland.org


Another productive bluefin zone is 8 to 15 miles off the coast between La Jolla and Oceanside. There have been jumbo sized bluefin biting outside of this stretch of coast with the area between Carlsbad and La Jolla being the best. These are the jumbo sized bluefin and on Thursday an angler battled a big bluefin that he hooked on a sardine for about 7 hours before the fish won it's freedom.


The bluefin have been running from 40 to 300+ pounds with most in the 100- to 200-pound range. The bluefin are being caught in a variety of ways with most of the action being found on kite trolled Yummy Flyers, mackerel, live squid and Flat Fall jigs. Bluefin are being found by locating meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breaking fish.


Dorado and yellowtail have been biting in areas ranging from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada and below but the kelp paddie bite in the Catalina region has slowed down considerably during the week. The best kelp paddie zone seems to start in the region of the 182 Spot outside of San Diego and goes down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada. Productive areas have been the 182 Spot, 224 Spot, 302 Spot, 230 Spot, 371 Bank, 475 Knuckle, the 480 Spot and the 385 Spot. There has also been a chance at finding some yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna activity incidental to fishing the kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado. The yellowfin have been biting best from trolling in porpoise schools and cedar plugs have been working best on the troll.


In the Catalina region, this morning there was a report of a few dorado biting from a kelp paddie found near the 277 Spot and another productive kelp paddie zone in more northern offshore waters has been between the 181 Spot and the 289 Spot. This morning also saw some yellowfin tuna biting at Catalina for a few boats that were trolling with porpoise in an area ranging from 2 miles outside of Church Rock to 2 miles outside of the V's. Earlier in the week there were also some bluefin and yellowfin biting 2 to 4 miles outside of Ben Weston and the Farnsworth Bank.


The kelp paddie yellowtail have been mixed size fish that run from 4 to 20 pounds with a lot of 4 to 8 pound fish in the mix. The dorado have been running from small throwback sized fish up to 30 pounds. Most of the yellowfin tuna have been running from 15 to 40 pounds.


Private boater Eric Noyes of the Reel Noyes reported about fishing kelp paddies in the area of the 385 Spot outside of Ensenada on Thursday. He said they found very good dorado fishing with action to be had on every kelp paddie that they found while fishing between the area of the 385 Spot outside of Ensenada and while working their way from the 385 Spot back up toward San Diego until they got to the 3200 latitude line outside of the 475 Knuckle (located outside of the tip of the Upper Finger Bank.)


Striped marlin fishing is providing a bit of action but overall the bite has been scratchy during the week. There have been a few marlin biting between the 172 Spot and the 175 Spot above the West End of Catalina and there have also been a few marlin seen around the Avalon Bank and the 152 Spot around the eastern part of Catalina. In the San Diego region there has been a bit of marlin activity outside of the Coronado Islands while fishing around the 224 Spot, 302 Spot and 371 Bank.


Ray Millman of the Go the Distance reported catching and releasing a marlin while fishing a short way below the 371 Bank on Monday. He said the fish bit a Coggins blue and pink color jig with a pearl head. The fish was caught and released by 18 year old Austin Wakefield who was on his first offshore fishing trip. Congratulations Austin!


The fishing at the Coronado Islands has been fantastic with lots of yellowtail and good numbers of bluefin tuna biting to go with a mix of bonito and calico bass. Many of the three-quarter day sportboat trips have been returning with catches that include limits of yellowtail.


The best yellowtail and bluefin areas have been while fishing near the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and at the 5 Minute Kelp that is located within a mile or so of the south tip of South Island. The South Kelp Ridge has also been a productive area while fishing 2 to 3 miles below the south tip of South Island. The Rockpile has also been very good for yellowtail and the weather side of North Island has also been producing some yellowtail action as well.


Most of the yellowtail and bluefin action has been had by stopping and drifting on trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish. While drifting, anglers have been using sardines and surface iron for the yellowtail and sardines for the bluefin tuna. Some action has been found while sitting on the anchor as well. The yellowtail are mostly 5- to 10-pound fish with fish to 20 pounds also in the mix and the bluefin have been running from 8 to 40 pounds.


Private boater, Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn reported about fishing the Coronados on Thursday. He said they had a fun day of fishing in catching and keeping 15 of the 10- to 12-pound yellowtail and catching and releasing about 25 of the 5- to 6-pound yellowtail. In addition to the yellowtail action they also caught a halibut and a bluefin tuna. They had 4 bluefin tuna hookups but that 3 of the 4 bluefin hookups were lost to the seals. The bluefin they caught was an 8-pound fish and one of the bluefin that was lost to a seal was a considerably larger 40-pound fish.


Woodard reported that they found their best fishing was found while fishing the Lighthouse area and the 5 Minute Kelp which both have you fishing within a mile or so of the south tip of South Island.


The fishing along the San Diego County Coast has been good for calico bass, bonito and rockfish and has also been producing occasional action for barracuda and yellowtail. Productive kelp bed areas for calico bass include the Point Loma Kelp Beds, La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and San Onofre. A lot of the calico bass being caught continue to be short sized fish that must be released but there have also been some pretty good numbers of keeper sized fish in the mix.


The current hot bite area is not kelp bed related as there have been good numbers of bonito and some improving numbers of yellowtail biting for boats fishing the 20 to 40 fathom depths ranging from outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma on down to the Mexico border. Boats have been finding action from trolling strikes, spots of breaking or breezing fish, sonar marks and meter marks. After finding some fish, the boats have been drifting while anglers fish with sardines and iron. The bonito include a good percentage of 4- to 10-pound fish and the yellowtail have been running from 5 to 15 pounds.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports good calico bass fishing while working kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Del Mar. There are lots of short sized calicos in the mix for every keeper sized fish but they continue to catch some good numbers of keeper sized calico bass. In addition to calico bass, they see occasional action on bonito and large yellowtail and have been catching a few sand bass and sheephead.


Smaller sized sardines have been good baits for the calico bass. When they have the big sardines and mackerel for bait Cacciola says that they do better on the calicos when fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid. Also productive for the calicos have been anchovy color or chartreuse color 3/8 ounce Hookup Bait plastics and the sardine color Berkley Gulp 5" Jerk Shads that are rigged on a 3/8 ounce dart head.


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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.


Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament

Yummy Flyer joins as 2017 sponsor
ONLY THE BEST, THE ORIGINAL

 

Yummee Flyers by Carolina Lures joins sponsors of Tuna Tourney, slated Nov. 1-4: It's time to sign up! 


BY PAT McDONELL

Director

CABO SAN LUCAS -- A new sponsor and one that fits perfectly into the big tuna tournament slot for Nov. 1 is Yummee Lures, which was originated in 2001 by Jim McKeral and his wife Judy who have owned Carolina Lures for 25 years and are based in Hiawassee, Georgia.


McKeral wanted to come up with a lure that would attract surface bites on heavy tackle, and through trial and error over years, perfected the Yummee Flyer that imitates a flying fish and now comes in six sizes and styles. Most Yummees skitter across the surface under a kite, but McKeral says he also has one that is a diver that can be used with a downrigger and high speed Z-Wing planers. He says they also work great in combo with marlin lures, the Yummee being clipped on at the marlin lure’s snap swivel so it looks like a gamefish is chasing a flying fish. And, multiple small Yummees are killer in daily chains.


Yummees are wildly popular for the new SoCal bluefin bite but they have been used for big game all over the world, especially off Cabo, and particularly in tournaments that have time limits and heavy line is critical. Last year, the Reel Quest swept the Day Two tuna optionals last year and won over $300,000 last year and that team caught at least five tuna over 150 pounds over the two days. That includes their second place 274 pounder, on the Yummee.


The most popular size is the 9-inch, he says, but the 8-inch is new and has great surface action on the wings that is even more desirable for tuna and other big game on the troll. McKeral is providing a set of Yummees for the drawing at the first night’s Welcome Party, plus other promotional items.


Check out Yumeelures.com for the newest products that he ships all over the world. And the website also shows the various rigging methods. Keep in mind, knockoffs with similar names are not the same, he said. The rubber-type material in knock-off Chinese products degrades, stiffens, often melts and do not have the same skipping characteristic, which guarantee the Yummee will flip back upright. The devil is in the details, years of design and the plastic formula. 


One Texas angler, disgusted with cheaper knockoffs, ordered an overnight pallet of Yummees. The shipping order alone was $5,000. The pros know the difference, or find out quickly enough.


JIM McKERAL of Carolina Lures and originator of the Yummee Flyer with the 9-inch model.  








  

 

Blake Warren – ON THE HOOK

June in August
It didn’t take too long to pull the trigger. I’ve always been into the blues, I dig myself some good craft brews — not exactly a huge CIA secret there — and I’ve never not thoroughly enjoyed myself while in Mammoth. Then mix in the fact that I hadn’t yet made my (at least one) annual pilgrimage to the Eastern Sierra this year, and go ahead put the idea of a little creek fishing in less-than-sweltering summer weather in my head... well, I guess that’s about all it takes. Not a tough sell for this fella. The decision was quickly made, and a pretty damned easy one at that actually: it was onward to Mammoth this past weekend for the 22nd Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza. Okay then...

As it has been well documented, this is a bit of a different year for the Highway 395 Corridor. The immense snowmelt from this most recent winter’s powder dump­ing dramatically altered the Sierra landscape, even moreso now that the majority of us who truck it up 395 a couple times a year had gotten used to and dialed into the seemingly perennial drought conditions of the past few seasons. For whatever reasons, I have rarely made my way up during the month of August, so that would be a little different too, at least for me.


theowensriveris
THE OWENS RIVER is settling into nice shape and should fish well through August and into the fall months. PHOTO BY BLAKE WARREN


But before any fishing was to be executed, there were the issues of blues and beer to tend to. Strolling over to the concert grounds about a third of the way through Friday’s scheduled set provided ample time to sample a few of the over-200 craft brews that were welcomed on-site. Russian River Brewing Co.’s Dribble Belt, June Lake Brew­ing’s 8140 Black IPA and Mammoth Brewing Co.’s classic Epic IPA were among a few of the standouts as scattered rain showers and thick clouds began to add a bit of a Sherwood Forest feel to the scene.


The festival crowd’s rumbling hum between acts tapered off as an eclectic and attention-grabbing Valerie June took the stage, and shortly thereafter, utterly took the stage — and the entire venue for that matter — completely over. Having never seen her unique and wildly fun act in person before, I’ll just say that if you enjoy authentic music with legitimate soul threaded through the entirety of it, you’d be doing yourself a favor in checking out her upcoming tour dates. An undoubtedly epic performance in a heck of a setting. This festival will likely find its way into my 2018 itinerary somehow, someway, I imagine. How I’d made it this long without attending the damn thing before has been a mystery to me since hitting the 203 to the 395 and making my way back down south.


Saturday morning it was time to dabble in some creek fishing. A first stop at a favorite honey hole on Lee Vining Creek revealed noticeably faster water than in recent years past, but nothing like some of the earlier iterations of raging flows that have described much of the high country so far this season. Fewer pockets of fishable water, sure, but a few trout were within reach and catchable, and so a few were caught. But it definitely jumped out that the familiar spot looked more like it usually does in late June, rather than the first days of August, though it was sure certainly good to be back, even if just for a moment. A brief quick-hitter of a stop just a ways up Tioga Pass at Ellery Lake yielded a few more rainbows amid snowy peaks at 9,500 feet, and at least the itch had been scratched, for the time being anyway.


valeriejuneowned
VALERIE JUNE OWNED Friday night at the Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza, putting on an epic performance amid scattered showers in an awesome setting. PHOTO BY BLAKE WARREN


Before reluctantly leaving the Sierra, it was a quick stop on the Upper Owens — one that generally has to be made at least once on every trip, regardless of the circumstances. Pulling up next to the familiar, meandering twists and turns of the meadow stream for the first time in a while truly never gets old. With a couple of first-time Owens fisherfolk along this go-round, I dialed back my inner Tom Sawyer a tad and just focused on a small stretch of moving water with a few slow and crooked bends in it that looked inherently fishy.


At the tail end of my cast just past an undercut bank, a loud scream followed by the telltale sight of a thoroughly bent rod stole my attention. What looked to be a solid 2- to 3-pound brown broke the water coming up maybe a foot from the bank and quickly broke it again going back down, and in a matter of seconds, the rod was no longer bent — it’s a feeling you’re never truly able to shake off quickly, and it’s not a very good one. This would have been a first-ever Sierra trout catch for this friend of mine — a damned nice one at that — but it was apparently just not meant to be this go-round.


However, it was not long thereafter that I got to watch a 13-year-old complete the process of hooking, fighting and pulling a Sierra rainbow up onto the bank for the first time, and that at least sufficiently soothed the burn of the barely-lost brown. Getting to be present for a youngster pulling off any first-time feat as it relates to fishing is another thing that just never gets old.


On back down the mountain and back to reality. It was a quick-turnaround trip that packed quite a bit into it. Great music, great beer, great company and almost-great trout fishing — but trout fishing nonetheless. A first-time rainbow trout catch, a what-if brown, an epic showing by Miss Valerie June and a different look of the Eastern Sierra in August that felt a whole lot more like the first few days of summer.


And while it may read August on the calendar, the month’s first week somehow belonged to June.


Merit McCrea – WHEELHOUSE SCOOP

Pacific bluefin tuna not to be listed
On Aug. 8, the National Marine Fisheries Service published its 12-month finding on the Society for Conservation Biology’s petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna as threatened or endangered. And the short story is, NMFS did extensive research and review and found listing was not warranted. The exact words were, “We conclude that the Pacific bluefin tuna is not an endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of its range, nor likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

The slightly longer version is, the NMFS received a petition from the SCB to list bluefin under the Endangered Species Act, or ESA, a little more than a year ago. This occurred after scientists published population model results suggesting the entire “spawning stock biomass” was somewhere near just 4 percent of what they estimate it would be without fishing pressure.


Such a listing would have had a drastic impact on our recreational fishery, potentially shutting offshore fishing down, along with any other fishery or activity which could be construed to negatively impact bluefin tuna off our shores. Yet, the total estimated catch of bluefin our recreational anglers take averages perhaps 4 percent of the total global catch. I recall it calculated under 2 percent for 2016. Our commercial fleet now takes just 2.4 percent on average. Thus the conservation value of completely shutting down all U.S. take would be at best a symbolic token of our commitment, one that would come at virtually no cost to proponents.


This finding was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 8, last week. The entire notice is extensive, heavily founded in scientific terminology and reads like what one would find in a peer reviewed scientific journal. And if you are interested in that kind of thing, it’s so comprehensive in extent, covering topics from Fukushima to fisheries, including oceanography, climate change and bluefin biology, it’s a great source of that information in general.


Getting fully into the weeds, first, the ESA “the pit bull of environmental laws.” The way this law is drafted, there are 5 basic sections that need be addressed in the consideration of listing, ESA section 4(a)(1)(A)-(E). Plus, though SCB didn’t invoke it, there can be consideration of breaking the species into “distinct population sections,” DPS. And here NMFS did make that consideration too, with regard to whether blues in our area might actually be distinctly different than others, and justify listing as a DPS.


So now, there’s no need for SCB to repetition for consideration of a DPS of bluefin as threatened or endangered, because it’s already been done!


After 47 pages of science, addressing ESA sections A through E it concludes, “Based on our consideration of the best available scientific and commercial information, as summarized here and in the status review report, we conclude that no population segments of the Pacific bluefin tuna meet the DPS policy criteria and that the Pacific bluefin tuna faces an overall low risk of extinction. Therefore, we conclude that the species is not currently in danger of extinction throughout its range nor is it likely to become so within the foreseeable future. Additionally, we did not identify any portions of the species’ range that were likely to be of heightened biological significance (relative to other areas) or likely to be either endangered or threatened themselves.


Accordingly, the Pacific bluefin tuna does not meet the definition of a threatened or endangered species, and thus, the Pacific bluefin tuna does not warrant listing as threatened or endangered at this time.”


Who does hammer bluefin hardest? Here are the numbers. “Japanese fisheries are responsible for the majority of landings, followed by Mexico, the United States, Korea and Taiwan. In 2014, the United States reported commercial landings of 408 mt, Taiwan reported 525 mt, Korea reported 1,311 mt, Mexico reported 4,862 mt, and Japan reported 9,573 mt. These represent 2.4 percent, 3 percent, 7.7 percent, 28.4 percent, and 56 percent of the total landings, respectively.”


That’s just one example of the information included within the notice. When I gathered similar numbers for last season’s catch, it required several sources and some math, and resulted in rough estimates. It’s all here, and much, much more, complete with citations for sources, and all packaged neatly in one document, an awesome bit of work by NMFS.


For those readers who feel fishers are being besieged by big bullies hammering everything from trout stocking to sinkers, I’m sure this is not the last of it. Somehow Silicon Valley will find and finance other ways to try to bleed recreational fisheries advocacy weak and diminish public participation. Then they might warp the laws that protect the public’s access for fishing and “monetize” away the freedom of the seas — in the name of conservation, aquaculture and green energy.


But since the time of Justinian in 530 AD, “Marine Spatial Management” has always been, and continues to be, public access for fishing and freedom to travel the waters first, everything else second. Let us manage our public resources well and preserve and pass on the freedom we inherited.


* * *


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.


Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

Bluefin, yellowtail, dorado and improving numbers of yellowfin providing offshore action!
The offshore fishing continues to provide good action on a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin. The great thing is that the fishing continues to improve with better numbers of biting yellowfin tuna now being caught by boats on multi-day trips fishing the area out to the west of San Martin Island and below. Those cooperative yellowfin have been moving up the coast and anglers are hopeful they will continue to push up the line and be within one day range of Point Loma sometime soon.


Click on the image to get the best saltwater reports daily at www.976bite.com

The bluefin tuna continue to grab the headlines with large fish that have reached the 300-pound class being caught by anglers fishing up and down the back side of San Clemente Island. Bluefin can be found up and down the entire back side of San Clemente Island and the area of bluefin even extends out to the west of the West End of San Clemente Island.


Some productive areas for the bluefin at San Clemente Island are Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the 86 Fathom Spot and the area to the northwest and west of the 86 Fathom Spot to where you are fishing outside of Lost Point and Eel Point. Also productive has been the area along the 500 fathom curve out to the west of the West End of San Clemente Island. Boats have also found a mix of yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna while fishing to the east and the northeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island. Navy closures can effect the ability to fish some of these areas and one should research the Navy's San Clemente Island web site to see if the areas they want to fish will be open before heading out to fish the San Clemente Island area.


In a new development, another area where the big bluefin have been showing over the past couple of days has been much closer to Point Loma for boats fishing the area inside of the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot.


The bluefin have been running from 40 to 300+ pounds with most in the 100- to 225-pound range. The bluefin are being caught in a variety of ways with action being found on kite trolled Yummy Flyers, trolled cedar plugs, poppers, mackerel, live squid and Flat Fall jigs. Bluefin are being found by locating meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breaking fish.


Dorado and yellowtail have been biting in areas ranging from the Catalina Channel all the way down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada and below. There has also been a chance at finding some yellowfin tuna incidental to fishing the kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado. The yellowfin have been biting from trolling in porpoise schools, kelp paddies and the occasional blind trolling strike. Cedar plugs have been working best on the troll.


In U.S. waters, kelp paddies found 5 to 15 miles off the coast between Laguna Beach and San Diego have been producing yellowtail and dorado. Also productive have been paddies found around some of the offshore banks such as the 14 Mile Bank, the 267 Spot, the Avalon Bank, 152 Spot, 209 Spot, 312 Spot, 181 Spot, 182 Spot and 9 Mile Bank.


Offshore banks ranging from the waters outside of the Coronado Islands on down to the waters outside of Ensenada have also been producing kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado and scattered action on yellowfin tuna. The best zone has been in the more northern part of this region for boats fishing the areas of the 224 Spot, 302 Spot, 425 Bank, 371 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank.


The kelp paddie yellowtail have been mixed size fish that run from 4 to 20 pounds with a lot of 4- to 8-pound fish in the mix. The dorado have been running from small throwback sized fish up to 30 pounds. Most of the yellowfin tuna have been running from 15 to 30 pounds.


There is a body of yellowfin tuna that is being fished by boats on multi-day trips and these fish have been moving up the coast. The upper edge of this area of yellowfin tuna has now moved up to where it is about 15 miles to the west of San Martin Island with fish being found from that area on down to 40+ miles below San Martin Island. These have been mostly 10 to 15 pound yellowfin but have been running to 20+ pounds. There have been some limit catches of yellowfin tuna coming from this zone and Southern California anglers are hoping that the yellowfin keep working up the line to more local offshore waters.


Striped marlin fishing is also on the upswing with what I would estimate to be 10 striped marlin caught and released last weekend which was the weekend of Aug. 5 & 6 of 2017. Marlin action has continued during the week with a marlin or two being caught and released most every day including today, Aug. 11, 2017. The area of the 267 Spot off Dana Point has been the best the past couple of days with the ridge between the 152 Spot and the 277 Spot off the East End of Catalina also producing action most every day. Other productive marlin areas have been the 14 Mile Bank, 5 to 10 miles off the coast between San Onofre and Oceanside, the 182 Spot, 224 Spot, 371 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank.


The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands has been fantastic with recent sportboat trips often returning with catches that include limits of yellowtail. In addition to the yellowtail there are bonito, barracuda and calico bass biting along with a chance at a yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna or dorado.


The best yellowtail bite has been around the Rockpile with trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish leading to action while drifting and using sardines and surface iron. The yellowtail are mostly 5- to 10-pound fish with fish to 20 pounds also in the mix.


In addition to the bite at the Rockpile, there has been some action to be found in other areas such as the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island, the north end of South Island, the Middle Grounds and the weather side of North Island.


The fishing along the San Diego County Coast has been good for calico bass, bonito and rockfish and has also been producing occasional action for barracuda and yellowtail. Productive kelp bed areas for calico bass include the Point Loma Kelp Beds, La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and San Onofre. A lot of the calico bass being caught continue to be short sized fish that must be released but there have also been some pretty good numbers of keeper sized fish in the mix.


The current bonito hot spot area has been for boats fishing in 20 to 30 fathoms of water in an area ranging from the Point Loma Lighthouse on down to the Mexico Border. There have been a few yellowtail in the mix with the bonito as well. The bonito include a good percentage of 4- to 10-pound fish and have been biting from trolling stops and finding working birds, meter marks, sonar marks or shiner spots of fish just under the surface. Once located, the bonito have been biting on sardines and Megabait/Laser Minnow style iron jigs. Also look for occasional flurries of action on yellowtail, bonito and barracuda at the upper end of La Jolla.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reports very good calico bass fishing while working kelp bed areas between Carlsbad and Del Mar. There are lots of short sized calicos in the mix for every keeper sized fish but they continue to catch some good numbers of keeper sized calico bass. In addition to calico bass, they see occasional action on bonito and yellowtail.


Smaller sized sardines have been good baits for the calico bass. Also productive for the calicos have been anchovy color or chartreuse color 3/8 ounce Hookup Bait plastics and the sardine color Berkley Gulp 5" Jerk Shads that are rigged on a 3/8 ounce dart head.


* * *


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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