Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Punta Colnett yellowtail highlighting February action!
The Punta Colnett area continues to highlight the winter fishing with most 1.5 day trips out of San Diego Bay and Mission Bay finding good fishing for quality sized yellowtail along with some good numbers of reds, a few nice sized bonito and good numbers of assorted rockfish. There was also a bluefin tuna caught incidental to fishing for yellowtail below Punta Colnett last weekend.

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Private boater Harry Okuda of the Alfresco III went fishing to the Punta Colnett region aboard the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing on Monday, February 6, 2017 and reported about the trip. Okuda reported that they started the day of fishing an area below Punta Colnett at about 130 miles from Point Loma where there had been good yellowtail fishing over the weekend. They found the fishing in that area to be slow on Monday morning and ended up running back up the coast to fish the Punta Colnett area proper. Once back outside of Punta Colnett they found some biting fish and ended up with a catch of 36 yellowtail, 10 bonito, 85 rockfish and 2 lingcod.

Okuda caught 2 of the 36 yellowtail on the trip and also caught several 6 to 8 pound bonito and some rockfish. His biggest yellowtail weighed 20 pounds and he reported that the yellowtail they were catching ranged in size from 14 to 23 pounds. The best bet for the yellowtail was using yo-yoed iron and the hot jig was reported to be the Salas 6X. Top colors were scrambled egg, blue and white as well as a red crab like red.

The bonito were quality 6 to 8 pound fish and were biting on sardines. Okuda also mentioned catching bonito on a trolling feather that would get bit as they slid to a stop on yellowtail sonar marks. Best bet for the lingcod in the area has been live mackerel and live sardines with the reds biting well on live sardines and strips of rockfish fillet from small rockfish.

The fishing in the area below Punta Colnett on Saturday, February 4, 2017 resulted in the catch of a 15 pound bluefin tuna that was caught by Gabe Castanada while fishing aboard the Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing. Castanada caught the fish on a yo-yoed iron incidental to fishing for yellowtail. There were other bluefin sightings by boats fishing the area below Punta Colnett on Saturday but Okuda reported that they did not see any bluefin activity while they were fishing on Monday. The fish count for the Eclipse on Saturday's 1.5 day trip was 25 anglers catching 1 bluefin tuna, 71 yellowtail, 6 whitefish, 4 reds, 32 rockfish and 9 bonito.

The few trips that have been fishing around and about the Coronado Islands have found good fishing for an assortment of bottom fish that usually include some nice sized reds and an occasional lingcod.

The Point Loma out of Point Loma Sportfishing was the last three-quarter day trip that I know of to fish around the Coronados. They fished on Saturday, February 4, 2017 and had 17 anglers catch 2 sheephead, 71 rockfish, 2 sculpin and 32 whitefish. The Premier out of H&M Landing has been fishing weekday half-day trips into Mexican waters to target rockfish and on Thursday, February 8, 2017 they had 9 anglers catch 56 rockfish.

A good zone for the bottom fishing around the Coronados has been at hard bottom spots to the northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40 to 55 fathom depths. Also productive has been fishing the 30 to 45 fathom depths along the outer ridge areas ranging from outside of South Island on down to where you are fishing outside of the South Kelp below South Island. The lower end of the 9 Mile Bank has also been producing some rockfish and an occasional lingcod while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.

An ongoing reminder to anglers is that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure remains in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, 2017. While the rockfish/groundfish closure is in effect anglers fishing Southern California waters are targeting species that remain open to fishing such as calico bass, sand bass, sculpin, halibut, yellowtail and white seabass.

The fishing for yellowtail along the San Diego County coast remains very scratchy but the best zone for a chance at a yellowtail remains in the area between La Jolla and Mission Bay. Within this stretch of coast there have been three zones where sporadic yellowtail activity has been popping up in recent weeks. There has been a chance at finding some yellowtail action in the area below and outside of the Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach. The occasional showings of yellowtail in this zone have been reported at the hard bottom located below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla in 15 to 18 fathoms of water. Also worth a look has been the area outside of the middle part of La Jolla while fishing a short way above the MLPA closure zone that is located at the lower end of La Jolla in 15 to 20 fathoms of water. The third area that has provided a chance at finding some yellowtail activity has been outside of the upper end of La Jolla while fishing in 12 to 20 fathoms of water.

Not much to report on white seabass activity lately. The very occasional white seabass activity of recent weeks has been found incidental to fishing for yellowtail in the areas mentioned in the paragraph above.

Mackerel and sardines have worked for yellowtail and white seabass. Surface iron and yo-yo iron have also been working for the yellows which have been good sized fish that have been up in the 18 to 30 pound class.

Hard bottom and structure spots have been best for the sand bass, calico bass and sculpin and sandy bottom areas adjacent to the hard bottom and structure spots can be good places to try for a halibut. Recent halibut action has been reported while drifting the sandy bottom outside of the Golf Ball above Oceanside Harbor, at the sandy bottom adjacent to the Sunken NEL Tower off Pacific Beach and at the sandy bottom adjacent to the Yukon Shipwreck off Pacific Beach.

Specific productive areas for the bass and sculpin off the San Diego County coast have been Box Canyon, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, Carlsbad, Leucadia, the upper end of La Jolla, the Jetty Kelp in front of Mission Bay, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma and the Imperial Beach Pipeline.

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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 . 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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