CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953


Bob Vanian's 976-Bite Hot Bite

Lots of good offshore fishing to talk about
The offshore fishing continues to produce some great action on a mix of yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, dorado and yellowtail. The one change during the week is that the bite around some of the more northern offshore banks has cooled off, with the better fishing now being found around some of the more southerly banks located outside of the San Diego County coast such as the 182 Spot, the 224 Spot, the Corner, the 302 Spot, the area 5 to 8 miles to the west of North Island, the 9 Mile Bank and the stretch that is 6 to 12 miles off the coast between La Jolla and Oceanside. There has been good enough fishing in some of these areas to where some of the sportboats on multi-day trips have been spending a good amount of time fishing areas that are within 40 miles or so of Point Loma.




There are still some fish around some of the more northern offshore banks but the bite has been pretty scratchy in recent days. Some areas that have been producing a few fish have been the 14 Mile Bank, the 267 Spot, the 277 Spot, the 209 Spot and the 181 Spot. Today there were also some spots of breaking tuna reported 5 to 7 miles off the coast between Oceanside and the Barn.


As a side note, some may not know what "the Corner" refers to. It is a name for the area where the Exclusive Economic Zone international border line makes a turn from running in an easterly and westerly direction to running in a southerly and northerly direction. Where the border line makes that turn it looks like a corner on the chart. That turn is out at about 31 miles 256 degrees from Point Loma.


Most of the yellowfin tuna have been falling within the 15 to 35 pound range and there has been an occasional 25 to 40 pound bigeye tuna reported in the mix as well. The bluefin tuna have been mixed size fish that for the most part have ranged from 15 to 40 pounds with an occasional bigger bluefin to 100 pounds also being reported. Most of the yellowtail falling within the 5 to 18 pound range with some bigger fish to around 25 pound also in the mix. The numbers of dorado continue to increase and the dorado have been running from 10 to 30 pounds.


Most of the action has been found on live bait while fishing around kelp paddies or spots of fish found under working tern birds. There have also been scattered trolling strikes, fish caught around porpoise schools and fish caught from stopping on meter marks and using live bait


Some reports from Thursday's fishing start with a report from Captain Scott Meisel of the Condor out of Fisherman's Landing. Meisel fished a 1.5 day trip working local offshore areas within 40 miles or so of Point Loma and reported a count of 175 yellowfin tuna, 20 bluefin tuna, 10 yellowtail and 2 dorado. Meisel reported lots of fish to be holding in local offshore waters with good fishing that was spread out over a big area ranging from the 9 Mile Bank on out to the area inside of the 43 Fathom Spot.


Private boater Allan Lewis of the Lewis Change reported getting into some large yellowfin tuna while fishing the area out by the Corner. Lewis had a nice day of fishing with 9 large yellowfin tuna and 3 yellowtail. Aboard for the trip were his son Sheldon, Sheldon's friend Collin, Ian who is a lacrosse player at NCS School and Allan's Make a Wish Tuna Challenge fishing partner Marty.


They started the day with a triple jig strike on 12 pound yellowtail while fishing a short way south of the 182 Spot and they caught their 9 yellowfin tuna from a long bait stop found in the area of the Corner at about 26 miles 255 degrees from Point Loma. Their catch included 3 of the 40 pound class yellowfin, 3 of the 35 pound class yellowfin and 2 yellowfin that were up around 25 pounds.


Captain Russ Ito of the company boat Southern Cross reported catching limits of yellowfin tuna and 6 yellowtail from a long bait stop found outside of the 302 Spot. Ito said they got the stop from a kelp paddie and that the first drift produced yellowtail and that the second drift saw tuna come around the boat and start to bite. The tuna stayed with them for hours until they were limited out. They were done fishing and on their way home by 10 a.m. Ito found this hot fishing out at 25 miles 227 degrees from Point Loma.


Private boater Ron Legere of the Fansea Nansea reported having the 3 anglers aboard catch a 27 pound bluefin tuna, 13 yellowfin tuna and a 25 pound bigeye tuna. Their "yellowfin" were running around 25 pounds and he confirmed that one of the fish that they originally thought to be a yellowfin was a bigeye. Legere reported that they caught their fish from a long drift that started next to a kelp paddie while fishing to the south of the 182 Spot at 26 miles 259 degrees from Point Loma.


With all the good fishing has been going on offshore, there have not been many boats fishing at the Coronado Islands. Last reports were of very good yellowtail fishing at the South Kelp and South Kelp Ridge. Yellows were also reported to be biting at the Middle Grounds and at the north end of South Island. Most of the fishing has been done while drifting as the seals have been a big issue and you need to keep making moves to get away from the seals that gather around the boat. Sardines and small mackerel have been preferred baits for the yellowtail which have for the most part been falling within the 8 to 15 pound range.


The fishing up and down the San Diego County coast and beyond has been producing good fishing for a mix of calico bass, barracuda and bonito along with an occasional flurry of yellowtail action. Kelp bed areas have been most productive with the kelp at Point Loma, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, Carlsbad, the Barn, San Onofre and San Mateo producing action. The upper end of La Jolla has been one of the better areas for a chance at a yellowtail and there was excellent barracuda fishing at La Jolla this morning.


There is some outstanding fishing going on. I hope you get a chance to get out and sample the action


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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 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.




Big Bear TROUTFEST

Big Bear TroutfesT, Oct. 4-5, 2014
It’ll be here sooner than you think

If this summer is akin to most others, the time will be flying by over the next couple of months, and the tenth annual Big Bear Lake TroutfesT will be upon us in what is seemingly no time at all. And what better way to transition from summer to fall than with perhaps what is the most fun-filled, family-oriented fishing tournament of the year in Southern California?


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THE GRAND RAFFLE PRIZE, to be raffled off to one lucky angler, will be a Klamath 16 EXW. Boat package, which includes trailer and 40 hp Mercury FourStroke, is valued at $19,500.


Western Outdoor News’ annual Big Bear TroutfesT turns 10 years old this year, marking a terrific run of a decade’s worth of fun and successful trout tournaments that have provided countless smiles and good times for anglers of all ages in the scenic San Bernadino Mountains. The beauty of the TroutfesT is that it simply isn’t your typical true fishing “tournament,” but rather, an opportunity for a few days of family fun, light-hearted competition and a chance to enjoy the many unique things Big Bear has to offer.


Now is the time to ensure you and your friends and family jump on board for this year’s Troutfest by signing up early and locking up your spot in the tourney – and making sure that you’re among the first 600 anglers to sign up in order to secure your free goodie bag stuffed with some great giveaways from many of the event’s sponsors. The maximum number of anglers for the tournament is 1,000, and the event has sold out in the past, so be sure to get in early.


Keeping in tradition with every previous TroutfesT, this year’s event is loaded with droves of great divisional prizes, raffle prizes and blind bogey awards that regular participants of the annual tournament have come to expect. From great divisional prizes, blind bogey prizes and tagged and big fish awards, on up to the always-coveted grand raffle prize of the Klamath boat/Mercury motor package valued at $19,500, there are quite a few ways to end the weekend as a winner at the 2014 Big Bear TroutfesT.


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PANTHER MARTIN AND SEA EAGLE is raffling off a new 285 Frameless Pontoon Boat with MinnKota trolling motor!


As always with the event, Troutfest has proved to be a fantastic event for families and kids. Year after year, countless youngsters have an absolute blast catching trout and being a legitimate part of the friendly competition.


Last year, two elated young anglers emerged victorious in their respective Junior Male and Junior Female divisions. Isaiah Wersky, 6, was impressively able to crack the double-digit mark with his two-day total weight of 10.05 pounds to take first place for the males, while 8-year-old Taylor Donahue of Norco amassed a 7.12-pound bag of six fish over the two days to take top Junior Female honors.


On the adult side, it was Chris Henke taking the male division with a 15.3-pound total weight, while Maureen Treacy’s two full limits of trout added up to 14.5 pounds, conquering her fellow female competitors by a margin of nearly 5 pounds!


Tons of trout are on tap to be stocked in Big Bear Lake prior to the TroutfesT to ensure there will be plenty of heavy-hitting action, whether you choose to soak bait, troll or toss lures. And another great aspect of the event is that you don’t even need a boat to score both plenty of fish and swag at TroutfesT. Anglers fishing the event can fish from shore or nearly any other type of floating vessel – so long as it’s legally permissible according the official TroutfesT rules.


So scrap any tentative plans you may have for the first weekend of October, get the family or friends together, and get in on the loads of fun sure to be had at the 10th annual Big Bear TroutfesT.


Aside from the free goodies, great chances to win big and a good ol’ fashioned trout fishing weekend, the 2014 TroutfesT is sure provide great moments and memories that will last a lifetime.


For more information or to register for this year’s event, contact Tournament Director Bill Egan at (949) 366-0030, ext. 40, enter online CLICK HERE, or fill out and submit the entry form in the pages of this week’s edition of WON.


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SPORT CHALET WILL be giving away up to $4,250 in gift cards at the TroutfesT! Every angler (up to 1,000) will get a $5 Sport Chalet gift card just for entering the event!


Chris Dunn - The Fishing Weatherman

The Fishing Weatherman Report for July 31, 2014
…and the bite rolls on. Light weekend wind again and it looks like the storms will stay over the mountains and deserts.

Jim Niemiec's Blog

Prospects just fair for Zone A rifle deer season
As most big game and upland game birds hunters are aware of the extreme drought conditions afield, it's no surprise that the forecast for the upcoming opening of the Zone A rifle deer season on Aug. 9 are just fair at best. The deer herd along the coastal range has been affected by a combination of a lack of reliable water sources, little succulent browse, not much in the way of any kind of acorn crop and pretty poor habitat conditions over all. While conditions have not turned hot to date, that could all change for the worse come late August and into the closing week of the Zone A season.


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ARROWED A FINE ZONE A BUCK — Charles Harris from Coulterville shot this dandy 3x3 blacktail buck while on a guided hunt with Oak Stone Outfitters with master-guide Chad Wiebe. PHOTO COURTESY OF CENTRAL COAST TAXIDERMY


Western Outdoor News checked in with local Department of Fish and Wildlife warden, Lt. Todd Tognazzini to get his take on conditions in the Paso Robles area.


"We are looking at best to just a fair deer season for this region. The population is down and deer are having to move farther to find water. This drought has really depressed the herd and deer are not as concentrated. I would think that deer hunters are not going to see as many deer and they will be widely spread out. There could be some bigger racks out there to be harvested. This part of the coastal range did get some rain this past week from those monsoonal fronts that passed through and daytime temperatures were comfortable in the mid-eighties. The impact from back to back years of little rainfall has greatly impacted deer and other wild game in this region," stated Tognazzini.


A call was then made to Jim Lopez, Information Specialist for the Las Padres National Forest.


"The Los Padres National Forest is still at a Level 3 alert stage and due to cooler weather in early July it doesn't appear that a Level 4 alert will be in place at least for the next few weeks. We are seeing extremely dry conditions in the forest and adjoining foothills that doesn't bode well for hunters. Our staff is reporting that there aren't a lot of rodents out there and they are seeing some die off occur in the smaller critters. We haven't heard much from deer hunters yet, but I would assume that deer hunting is going to be tough and that many hunters will likely get skunked when hunting public land," said Lopez.


Chad Wiebe, owner of Oak Stone Outfitters hunting ranches around Paso Robles, reported the following to WON.


"Jim, we have had three years of drought and right now are in one of the driest years on record. Hunters can expect to find deer close to good water sources and within bedding distance of quality feed. The farm fields we hunt are more productive on years like this and the opposite in a wet year where there is still feed in the hills," said Wiebe.


Clayton Grant, of Bitterwater Outfitters based out of Bitterwater Valley, reported that due to the vast acreage that this outfitter hunts on private ranches from Bitterwater Valley on up into the coastal range, they are seeing some fine bucks while guiding hog hunters.


"It is going to be a fair to good year for bucks during the Zone A rifle season. Bucks have been shedding velvet for the past couple of weeks and there are some nice racks showing up. Most of deer are scattered on our ranches, but tend to stick around some of the thicker stands of oaks that are near water sources, available food and protected areas on the shady sides of hills to bed down during the daytime heat. I think that hunters might see deer on the move during the middle of the day towards water, IF, the temperatures start climbing up into three digits. We manage deer on the properties hunted to ensure that there are huntable bucks for our clients," reported Grant.


WON called Bridge Sportsmen's Center in Paso Robles to find out about success thus far during the archery season. Seems that there haven't been any bucks brought into the store to be measured and entered in the Big Buck Contest that's an annual event. One salesperson mentioned hunting has been tough and the talk around town is there have not been a lot of deer taken to date. There are two Big Buck Contests for this retail store, archery and rifle. For more information, getting last minute lead-free ammo or hunting conditions afield call (805) 239-4867.


There is likely to be less pressure on the Las Padres National Forest during the Zone A rifle deer season due to the drought and fewer bucks to be harvested. In addition to forest property, that will likely have restrictions in place prior to the end of this early California deer season, both military bases in this zone will be open to deer hunting. Fort Hunter Leggett will be open to hunting with the number of hunters limited on any given weekend and registration is on a first come first served basis. For hunt information by way of recorded information call (831) 386-3310. Camp Roberts has reopened for deer hunting and other game animals but it's going to be a little more difficult to get a permit to hunt. Best to check with Camp Roberts by way of their web site to get the latest in hunting opportunities by logging on at camprobertshunting.com.


Cousins Surf Fishing Round-Up

Bite has been wide open
Tiffany at Hook Line and Sinker, in Santa Barbara, reported very good halibut fishing with a big influx of bait inside. Anglers are scoring 3 and 4 fish a day throwing Flash Minnows in and around the bait aggregations. Goleta, Haskell’s and East Beach have been kicking out fish. There are lots of shorts also in the mix. The bait has also drawn in lots of calico bass. Anglers are scoring fish to five pounds throwing 3- and 4-inch Big Hammers in anchovy patterns around the rocks and kelp stringers. Good perch action on most beaches. Gulp! Sand worms have been the ticket.

MALIBU — Wylie’s reported “great” fishing. Just about every inshore species is on the bite. In the rock and kelp, the bite has been wide open for calico bass and cabazon. Scott Sweet of Pacific Palisades scored a 5-pound, 2-ounce calico bass on cut squid at Coral Beach. Sargo, opaleye, yellowfin croaker and buttermouth have also been on the bite. A 40-pound halibut was reported taken below the Malibu Pier. Pier anglers seeing the water turn black with schools of anchovy.


REDONDO — Pete at Just Fishing reported corbina fishing as very good from Hermosa Beach to Marina Del Rey. The fish are taking softshells or fresh cracked mussel. Bait has drawn some halibut inside. A 39-inch 20-pound fish was reported to the shop. leopard shark bite as good as it gets of El Segundo jetty.


SEAL BEACH — Big Fish reported wide open bonito fishing off the Seal Beach Pier and the 72nd pl. jetty. The fish are running one to two with an occasional three pounder. Krocodiles,Kastmasters and splasher rigs are getting it done. Look for these fish to beef up as the summer progresses. Lots of bait inside has kicked up the halibut bite. One angler reported five legal fish and a 5-pound calico bass taken on Lucky Craft hard baits. The fish were taken off Belmont Shores. Good spotfin bite on bloodworms and mussel.


COSTA MESA — Jimmy’s Bait and Tackle reported bonito off the piers, River Jetties and at the Wedge. Anchovy schools have drawn in the fish from the canyon along with a handful of firecracker yellowtail. River jetties has been a best bet for corbina. Fishing early and late to avoid crowds and finding softshells has been the key. Spotted bay bass bite good in the harbor on grubs.


DANA POINT — Hogan’s reported the bite has been red hot off Doheny, a mix of spotfin, yellowfin, perch, corbina and halibut have been on the bite. Lots of bait in the water has kicked up the action. Berkley jerk shad fished on a ¼ ounce head in and around the bait has been a key for the halibut. Pier anglers are scoring small yellowtail and bonito on spoons and small anchovy-colored swimbaits.


OCEANSIDE — An influx of bait and with it halibut has kept anglers busy off the beach and in the lagoons, according to Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle. No big fish but plenty of keepers were reported to the shop. Beach crowds have put a damper on the corbina bite. The sandcrabs are getting bigger and working well when fished early or late. A 5-pound, 13-ounce corbina still leads the derby. Leopard shark action very good.


SOLANO BEACH — With beach traffic up, stealth has been the approach according to Blue Water Tackle. Corbina anglers are dropping down to #8 hooks fished on a 6-pound fluorocarbon leader and a 3/8-ounce bullet sinker to get bites from the wary fish. Torrey Pines, Blacks and South Carlsbad beaches are just loaded with fish.


Compiled by Gundy Gunderson



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