CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite Hot Bite

Bluefin Tuna Bite Improves!
The early season run of bluefin tuna started back in early March and has provided a anglers a chance at catching an early season bluefin for nearly 2 months. The bluefin counts have been erratic through that stretch but there was good bluefin fishing during the early part of this week when the counts surged and some trips returned home with their 2 fish limits of bluefin tuna.


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This week has seen the bluefin have been biting in a slightly different area that what has been being fished in recent weeks with most of the recent bluefin action being found in the region of the 390 Bank and in the 1000 fathom trench that is above the 390 Bank. This zone has had boats fishing from 38 to 50 miles 200 to 225 degrees from Point Loma. There have not been many of the small kelp paddie yellowtail biting under the kelp paddies out this way with the better yellowtail fishing having been in a bit closer to the coast for boats fishing the region of the Upper Hidden Bank.


The bluefin have been mixed size fish that have gone from 15 to 200+ pounds with most falling within the 20 to 25 pound range. This morning (Friday morning, April 21, 2017) Skippers are reporting looking at some better numbers of 40 to 80 pound bluefin but have had a hard time getting them to bite. One Skipper did report loosing an estimated 150 pound bluefin at gaff this morning that had bit on a surface iron that was cast to breaking fish. The kelp paddie yellowtail have been mostly 3- to 5-pound fish with a few bigger fish to 12 pounds sometimes found in the mix.


A pattern to the bluefin bite has been that the fish seem to be up and biting better on the nice weather days. The counts have tended to drop on the days of windy and sloppy weather. Yesterday was Thursday, April 20, 2017 and it was a rough and sloppy weather day and the bluefin counts were down in the rough weather conditions.


Some counts from Thursday's fishing begin with Seaforth Sportfishing that had an overnight trip on the Tribute with 25 anglers catch 6 bluefin tuna, 12 bonito and 7 yellowtail.


Fisherman's Landing had the Prowler on an overnight trip with 16 anglers that caught 3 yellowtail. The Pacific Queen was out on an overnight trip with 34 anglers that caught 8 bluefin tuna.


Point Loma Sportfishing had the Mission Belle out fishing on a 3/4 day trip with 9 anglers that caught 13 bonito.


The yellowtail have been biting from kelp paddies and the bluefin have been biting from kelp paddies, sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breaking fish, areas where you find shearwater birds, spots of working tern birds, spots of puddling fish and an occasional trolling strike. Some days have seen the best bluefin action come during the grey light of the early morning after having stopped on a meter mark or sonar mark that is found in the dark.


The bluefin have been biting on sardines, Flat Fall jigs, Colt Snipers and surface iron. There has also been an occasional bluefin trolling strike reported. Productive jigs on the troll have been cedar plugs and the Halco 130 jig in the purple tiger stripe color pattern. Most of the yellowtail are being caught on sardines.


With the yellowtail and bluefin biting offshore, the Coronado Islands have not seen much fishing pressure with off color water being reported in the area.


The fishing along the San Diego County Coast remains unchanged with a mix of mostly calico bass, sand bass, sculpin and rockfish biting. Hard bottom and structure spots tend to be the best with occasional flurries of bass action also reported while fishing kelp bed areas. The halibut fishing remains spotty with anglers still on the lookout for the development of a good spring time halibut bite.


There is occasional yellowtail activity reported at La Jolla but the bite has been scratchy with off color water continuing to be reported. The best chance scratching out at a yellowtail or white seabass at La Jolla has been while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla in the 14 to 25 fathom depths. Live mackerel has been the best bait and there have been reports of occasional squid being jigged by kayak anglers fishing for bait outside of the Scripps Pier.


The La Jolla area has been providing a bit of thresher shark action. Most of the thresher shark action has come while fishing around the 100 fathom curve outside of the lower end of La Jolla in the weather buoy area. Private boater Captain Billy of the E Fish N Sea also runs the 6 pack charter yacht Tailblazen and the yacht All Paid and reported going out fishing on the All Paid on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 and catching an estimated 180 pound thresher shark that bit on a trolled Rapala. The action came while fishing the 100 fathom curve outside of the lower end of La Jolla in the region of the weather buoy. Captain Billy reported that the water in the weather buoy area was slightly cleaner than elsewhere in the region and that the threshers seemed to be in the cleaner water.


San Clemente Island has produced some flurries of yellowtail action and some good numbers of rockfish. The yellowtail bite can be hit or miss but when the bite it has been worth it as the yellows have been quality sized 15 to 20+ pound fish. Live squid that is imported from Catalina has been the best bait with yo-yoed iron also producing some action. Try working the ridge areas outside of Pyramid Cove and China Point in the 15 to 23 fathom depth range.


Catalina Island has also been producing some flurries of yellowtail action with a mixed grade of fish biting for boats working spots outside of the stretch between the V's and Ben Weston. The bite here has been hit or miss but there have been some days where the yellowtail are biting pretty well. The yellowtail have been mixed size fish that go from 5 to 25 pounds with most in the 15 to 20 pound range. There has also been some yellowtail activity along the front side of Catalina and the area outside of the MLPA closure zone in the Bird Rock region by the Isthmus has been producing a few yellowtail along with some bonito and calico bass. Live squid has been the best bait for the yellowtail. Live squid has also produced an occasional white seabass at Catalina. Take a look at areas such as Church Rock, the V's, Orange Rocks and Salta Verde.


The best squid zone at Catalina has been in the area ranging from the V's to Ben Weston and the squid have been hard to locate at times. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 72 and 11.


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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.


Blake Warren's Blog

Rallying around the cause, 'en base'
My best plans had obviously been laid to waste. Here I was, thinking I was being Mr. Foresight by showing up 30 minutes after the official start of this past Thursday's San Diego City Council meeting, hoping to strategically avoid the inevitable chunk of time that was inescapably going to be chewed up by your standard local bureaucratic protocol. While my goal was at least partially accomplished in missing some of the blah-blah start to the proceedings, there was no doubt I had seriously underestimated this foul protocol's obvious hatred for brevity and efficiency, and I paid the steep price of enduring over an hour and a half's time focused solely on the fascinating topic of “mass-scale recycling” jargon and its accompanying procedures. It all has to be about at least as effective as Ambien.

Finally, once all the highly excitable chatter about “zero-waste goals” was in the rear-view mirror, it came time for what I was here for: Agenda Item #9: Status update of the Pure Water San Diego Project and Miramar Reservoir — otherwise known as the often referred to, the “Toilet to Tap” project. I surmised that the topic of potentially losing one of the world’s best historic big bass reservoirs fell into the category of my particular job responsibilities as a 'fishing newspaperman' and somehow found myself in an uncomfortable chair on the twelfth floor of an old San Diego administration building at 2:30 in the afternoon.


An uber-brief summary of the Pure Water project for the sake of clarity: Essentially, the project is designed to purify reclaimed water to a significant enough degree to make it potable, with the intention of eventually delivering 1/3 of San Diego’s total drinking water — or 30 million gallons a day — to Miramar Reservoir through this effort by 2021. At issue for us anglers is the fear that Miramar’s highly nutrient-rich ecosystem — which has reared 5 of the world’s 25 largest officially recorded bass — will become diluted as a result of such a high volume of purified water being regularly pumped into the reservoir, affecting the ecosystem’s microorganisms, forage supply and potentially even making Miramar’s bass sterile. Thus, potentially jeopardizing the future of one of the most historic big-bass fisheries on the planet.


After hearing the status update from the folks leading the charge in the Pure Water efforts — efforts that are apparently ahead of schedule — it was time for public comment. Despite it being mid-afternoon on a Thursday, there were three fishermen who made sure the City Council heard what they had to say on the issue at hand: Duane Patenaude of San Diego Anglers fishing club, and big-bass anglers Michael Nute and Joe Ahrens. All three of these local anglers stressed the importance of Miramar to the area as a unique and historically significant big-bass fishery, and urged the council to ensure every possible measure was taken to protect the reservoir’s fish and to make every effort to alter its ecosystem as little as possible. The passion for Miramar and the sport of bass fishing from these three anglers was on clear display.


“I’m also a bass fisherman,” Ahrens told the council, “and I wasn’t about to be sitting at home while this meeting was going on, so here I am.” This coming on the heels of both Patenaude and Nute having just offered up their strong opinions on the topic and explaining the importance Miramar has within the context of San Diego bass fishing. Here these guys were — along with a handful of other anglers in attendance — making sure the fishing community was well represented on a Thursday afternoon, missing work, and fishing, and having just sat through nearly two hours of mind-drumming “recycling talk” while waiting for their chance to speak. If nothing else, the City Council is aware that there are plenty of anglers out there who take this issue to heart, and I eventually left the proceedings feeling like angler presence had made an impact.


I would still like to see the project swayed in the direction of San Vicente Reservoir, where as Mike Nute pointed out to the council, there is 37 times more water capacity than at Miramar. But knowing how these types of things work — especially in San Diego — I’m not so sure that is in the cards of our current reality. But wouldn’t it really make more sense from all sides in the long-term?


And it wouldn't merely be to the benefit of San Diego anglers and Miramar's fish population alone. I'm no Nostradamic visionary, nor do I fancy myself an amateur city planner, but I would have to believe that designating San V as the primary reservoir for the Pure Water project would very likely have plenty of its own merits, advantages and positive long-term benefits on the whole. After all, it would stand to reason that if the Pure Water project ends up being even half of the success that the proponents who've been lobbying behind it for years now have claimed all along, that we would most certainly eventually want that added capacity of 37 times the water capacity San V offers over Miramar as the primary reservoir of the project... Would we not? Wouldn't we want to plan accordingly, assuming the premise that Pure Water will be the huge success it has so often been talked up to be in recent years and taking measures to allow for that success to develop further and build upon it, allowing future room for the massive and costly project to expand and grow? I don't know, I'm just trying to make a little sense of things here – just brainstorming a bit... Don't shoot the messenger, okay?


So, redirecting the meat of the Pure Water project toward San Vicente Reservoir would require an additional 20 miles of piping? Massive projects are being both undertaken and completed successfully around the globe each and every day. Phenomenal things. Mind-blowing feats of engineering, imagination and intellectual creativity... and we balk because of an additional 20 miles of water piping in one of the country's most beautiful, dynamic and innovative cities?


In spite of my up-front admission to not having any sort of background in civil engineering, surely the construction of a 28-mile water pipeline can be accomplished in the City of San Diego in 2017. Especially in order to preserve the integrity of something that is incredibly rare and one of just a select few things like it on the planet, exactly as Miramar is within the context of the sport of bass fishing.


At this stage of the process, construction of the Pure Water facilities is in the process of being bid on and approved, some of which is already further along than many expected at this point. An initial overall Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been delivered and deemed worthy of the project moving forward, which has already been approved by the city council and is well in the works.


But until the project-specific EIR reveals its findings this summer, for now, all we can do in the best interest of Miramar and its fishery is remain vocal and continue to express to the powers that be the reservoir's value and its historical importance to our sport. Passion most often comes out in force when something beloved to someone or a group of people comes under threat of some sort. And if nothing else, the Pure Water San Diego Project and its potential threat to one of the world's most prolific big-bass fisheries has at the very least served to prove that there is no shortage of passion within the San Diego – and Southern California, for that matter – fishing community, who has already rallied around the small, world-class reservoir en masse, signing over 400 petitions on the topic thus far. Local bassers are going to have to continue schooling up and wolf packing around the coves of this issue for months to come if the rich history and integrity of Miramar is to win out in the end. But it most certainly seems, and feels, worthwhile in doing so in the meantime...


Upon settling into the City of Administration building's well-used elevator upon conclusion of the City Council meeting late last week, a relatively simple idea suddenly dawned on me: Why not lobby for Miramar to be preserved as it is as an historical landmark of sorts? It's a notion going back over a century to the days of Teddy Roosevelt – natural conservation for the benefit of future generations to experience and enjoy.


Why can’t San Diego's – and one of the planet's – most unique and historically significant freshwater fisheries be deemed a historic landmark or reserve and protected as such? Surely, that might at least be an idea worth kicking around a bit, and perhaps it’s already too late for that. But I for one feel it is an idea that's a long cast away from being bathed in absurdity or a notion with one foot already inside the loony bin... But what do I know? I'm just a messenger... don't shoot.


Grady Istre's Blog

The fine art of training a dog
Dog training is comprised of two things: repetition and correction. Repeti­tion is involved when teaching commands to get a certain desired behavior. Correction involves the discipline part of training and is used when a dog insists on a wrong action after he understands what the right action is.

Understanding the difference between defiance and confusion is something that takes experience working with many dogs. But, there are people who seem to know dog behavior better than others, and those people are just plain lucky. Most dog owners don’t really know whether their dog is faking bad behavior to get attention or when the dog simply doesn’t understand what the right action is.


Over the years, I have observed a big variety of dog owners with both hunting dogs and field trial dogs. In both categories, they have had lots of success. Those owners/trainers who have little natural understanding of the nature of dog have worked harder than the natural trainers but they have arrived at their goals anyway. They have learned how to succeed, through hard work and lots of repetition.


Dogs like to work. They will respond to the trainer regardless of the training method used because they want the feeling of success that comes through praise and proper actions is a huge reward. They are open to communication with their owner or trainer and study that person almost as much as the human seeks to understand them.


That’s the beauty of these animals and what keeps old trainers like me out in the field every day. I tell my clients that most any sensible training method they choose will work if they persist and are consistent. More knowledge is gained through working the dog than through watching videos and reading books. A good dog will try mightily to please his human even when the human goes about training in an unorthodox way.


Here’s an example. In teaching a young dog to heel on leash, one owner may keep his dog on a tight rein and another may allow a loose leash. The first owner won’t know when his dog is actually accepting the “heel” command and walking obediently at his side. The second owner will allow the dog to surge ahead, then give him a jerk on the leash to have him return to his side; now the dog must walk obediently out of his own choice. The latter is a better way to train because it gives the dog options and makes the proper action come from the dog; the dog submits and the lesson is better retained because it was learned from the dog’s own decision. Still, both teams of dog and owner will be successful and reach their goals. Again, dogs want to learn, and that means that repetition of any sort will bring reward.


So, fellow trainers, never worry unnecessarily about your own training expertise. You will be successful no matter how you train, as long as you are fair and persistent. Through work, the team of man and dog will bring rewards. Not only in getting the birds in the field, but also in everyday life. Remember that dogs can’t read books, nor can they watch training videos.


Have fun training!


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Grady’s articles appear in WON every other week and he can be reached at reibar.com.


Gary Graham's Blog

Moon Baja: Tijuana to Los Cabos
I first met the Kramers . . . Hugh and Carol and their children, Jen and David . . . as they explored the Baja peninsula in a VW camper. Our paths would cross over the years as I also traveled those same roads and beaches.

Hugh’s first trip to Baja was in the mid-sixties. After he and Carol were married in the early 70s, their shared fascination for Baja became the foundation for a lifetime of adventure exploring the deserts, mountains and pristine beaches found there.


fortifiedbyher
FORTIFIED BY HER knowledge and based on her many years of travel throughout the land, Jennifer’s passion for Baja is apparent in this extraordinary guidebook.

They established “Discover Baja,” a family-owned and operated club in 1991, allowing them to share their knowledge of the Baja Peninsula, its people, culture and nature wonders with their growing membership.


Fast forward to a few weeks ago … I received a copy of “Moon Baja: Tijuana to Los Cabos” by Jennifer Kramer – yes, the same Jen, daughter of Carol and Hugh. Not only was I impressed with the way Jennifer shared her perspective on Baja, steering the reader from the border to the tip on a remarkably detailed and memorable experience, but she also provided expertly crafted maps, gorgeous photos, and her trustworthy advice, providing the tools necessary for planning an exciting tailor-made Baja adventure.


Whether you want to taste your way through wine country, are looking for info about the most productive fishing hot spots or the region’s premier surfing spots, this 400-page, up-to-date guidebook covers activities and must-have information for every Baja adventurer all in a travel-sized handbook to carry for easy reference (also available in Kindle format).


Jen is a “Baja Babe” through and through, getting an early start before she was out of grammar school. Sending out membership renewal mailings, helping out at club events, and, of course, traveling all over Baja with her parents, she even wrote the “Jenny’s Jaunts” column for the newsletter more than 20 years ago, chronicling the Baja peninsula from a child’s perspective.


At 18, she headed to the Big Apple to study journalism at NYU … about as far removed within the U.S. from the Baja of her childhood as she could be. She became immersed in the fashion industry, working for a variety of magazines such as Marie Claire, W, Vanity Fair and InStyle. During the next decade, she fine-tuned her writing and editing skills while still longing for her family and her beloved Baja. Ultimately, she discovered she could take the girl out of Baja, but she could not take Baja out of the girl.


Joyfully, she returned to the West Coast in 2013. She is now the marketing director for Discover Baja, where she edits and writes the monthly newsletter and coordinates special events.


She met her husband Chris Mejia while still in New York and discovered that he was also a child of Baja; they were brought together by that common thread. He was introduced to Baja at an early age by his family as well, and their passion for the peninsula runs so deep that they chose to exchange wedding vows in the heart of the Valle de Guadalupe in 2015. They now call northern Baja home.


Their company, Baja Test Kitchen, leads custom wine, beer and culinary tours of the Valle de Guadalupe region. Jen continues to write about her beloved Baja; stories that have appeared in Yahoo News, San Diego Reader, San Diego Red, and Discover Baja. Additionally, she writes a blog, “The Other California,” where she recommends Baja restaurants, wineries, breweries, hotels and other interesting places.


As for her book, Jennifer writes, “My promise to you with the Baja Moon handbook is to bring you the most up-to-date information possible with the best places and hidden gems along the peninsula; to enhance your travel experience and bring you closer to Baja’s beautiful culture and people; to tear down walls, prejudices, and discrimination. The more we travel, the more we open our eyes to the outside world and to humanity in general.


“I hope that this book gives you useful information to use on your journey, and, more importantly, I hope it inspires you to get out and explore more of Baja. I grew up traveling and loving the peninsula and wanted to share that enthusiasm with everyone by presenting some of Baja’s best treasures in this book. As it is an on-going project with updated editions that I’ll be working on in the future, I welcome your feedback and suggestions for subsequent editions,” she concluded.


Fortified by her knowledge and based on her many years of travel throughout the land, Jennifer’s passion for Baja is apparent in this extraordinary guidebook.


Carrie Wilson's Blog

Collecting moon jellyfish for home aquarium?
Question: I would love to introduce moon jellies into my home saltwater aquarium. Can I collect them myself or do I need to try to buy them? I would not sell or trade them afterwards for something else. If this would be legal, can I collect them under a basic fishing license or would I be required to have a marine collector’s permit? (Tucker M.)

moonjellies
MOON JELLIES. PHOTO BY MICHAEL GIL – CREATIVE COMMONS

Answer: Moon jellyfish occurring outside the tide pool zone (1,000 ft. seaward from mean high tide) may be legally taken with a fishing license, and the bag limit is 35 (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.05(a)). Anything taken under a sport fishing license in California may never be offered or possessed for sale, barter, exchange or trade.


Steelhead cards when fishing for salmon in anadromous waters?


Question: Do you have to fill out a steelhead card when fishing for salmon in anadromous waters? There’s a debate going on so I need a straight answer. If I am fishing in the American River in Sacramento when steelhead are also present, and I am targeting salmon only, but in a manner in which steelhead are also often taken (like throwing spinners from the bank), do I have to possess and fill out a steelhead report card before fishing even if my intent is only to catch salmon? (James D.)


Answer: No, as long as you do not retain any steelhead caught incidental to your salmon fishing. If you do catch a steelhead by mistake while fishing for salmon, just be sure to immediately release it.


GoPro mounted to my shotgun/rifle while hunting?


Question: Is it legal to mount a GoPro to my shotgun when turkey hunting or rifle while deer or pig hunting? How about when I’m just out shooting? (Derek M.)


Answer: Yes, this is legal when hunting as long as no light is cast out from the camera (even though I know that’s unlikely). There are no restrictions when just target shooting.


Transporting Dungeness crabs


Question: What is required before transporting my Dungeness crabs home? Once crab is caught, measured and brought to shore, how must the crab be transported home? For instance, can it be cooked at a campground, cleaned (i.e. remove bottom shell, gills and viscera) then transported? Or must the crab remain in one piece for transport? (Anonymous)


Answer: “It is unlawful to possess on any boat or to bring ashore any fish (including crabs and lobster) upon which a size or weight limit is prescribed in such a condition that its size or weight cannot be determined” (Fish and Game Code, section 5508). Nothing prohibits you from cooking or cleaning crabs at your campsite before taking them home.


Carrying a holstered pistol for personal protection?


Question: While hiking in our local wilderness areas, is it legal for me to carry a holstered pistol for protection? This could help to protect my family from any threat of dangerous wildlife – either to scare it away or defend ourselves, if needed. (Louis M.)


Answer: While I can understand your safety concerns, the Fish and Game Code and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) generally don’t regulate firearm possession. Instead, we recommend that you consult the Department of Justice’s 2016 Firearms Laws Summary available online. In addition, attacks from wild animals are uncommon.


Boat-based net regulation?


Question: I have been searching for the regulation that requires all boat-based anglers to have a net. I use a kayak to fish in the Monterey Bay and just found out I am supposed to have a net when fishing. I’ve bought a net to take on my fishing adventures since I learned of my error. (Steve L.)


Answer: The regulation you are looking for is CCR Title 14, section 28.65(d), which can be found in the current Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, Gear Restrictions section on page 45:


“No gaff hook shall be used to take or assist in landing any finfish shorter than the minimum size limit. For the purpose of this section a gaff hook is any hook with or without a handle used to assist in landing fish or to take fish in such a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily in its mouth. No person shall take finfish from any boat or other floating device in ocean waters without having a landing net in possession or available for immediate use to assist in landing undersize fish of species having minimum size limits; the opening of any such landing net shall be not less than 18 inches in diameter.”


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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Carrie.Wilson@wildlife.ca.gov.


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