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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowtail, bass, rockfish and halibut are on February menu!
The great weather we have been having for much of this winter has allowed anglers to go pick good weather days and go fishing in unseasonably nice conditions. The lack of winter storms has allowed the water temperature to remain relatively warm and the warmer than normal water has meant that bluefin tuna have remained in offshore waters that are within 1.5 day range of Point Loma.


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Last weekend, 2 boats caught bluefin tuna while fishing the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett and some more boats should be out on 1.5 day trips looking around for bluefin again this weekend. The fishing on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 saw the New Lo-Ann out of Point Loma Sportfishing fishing both Punta Colnett and the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett and they had a 1.5 day trip with 24 anglers catch 25 bluefin tuna, 120 rockfish and 8 lingcod. Fisherman's Landing had the Pacific Queen fishing a 1.5 day trip to the Punta Colnett region and offshore that same day and they caught 2 bluefin tuna and limits of reds.


Bluefin have also been found in more local offshore waters as Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 also saw the Legend out of H&M Landing fish an offshore three-quarter day trip with 22 anglers that caught 1 bluefin tuna. The information I have is that they were fishing offshore waters outside of the Coronado Islands in the region of the 371 Bank.


Most of the bluefin have been in the 20- to 30-pound class with some bigger fish to 50 pounds also reported in the mix. The bluefin have been biting from stopping on kelp paddies, spots of breaking fish, meter marks, sonar marks and the occasional trolling strike.


Boats fishing in closer to the Mexican coast on 1.5 day trips to Punta Colnett have been doing well on a mix of reds, rockfish, lingcod and bonito and have also had some hit or miss action on yellowtail. The most recent 1.5 day trips fishing the area have found yellowtail hard to locate. When schools of yellowtail are located there has been good action on 15- to 20-pound fish that have been biting best on yo-yoed iron that is dropped down to meter marks or sonar marks.


As an example of the fishing, the Old Glory out of H&M Landing fished the Punta Colnett High Spot region last Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 and had 22 anglers catch 1 lingcod, 110 reds, 88 rockfish and 21 bonito. A more recent1.5 day trip aboard the Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 and had 13 anglers catch 65 reds and 65 rockfish.


Boats fishing around the Coronado Islands continue to find good fishing for an assortment of reds and rockfish. Not much is being reported in the way of yellowtail activity but there has been some surface fishing action for a few bonito for boats fishing around the Pukey Point area of North Island.


The best bottom fishing areas have been the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40 to 50 fathom depths. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border. The most recent sportboat trip I know of was aboard the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing that had 39 anglers on a three-quarter day trip catch 150 rockfish and 2 bonito.


Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast continue to primarily focus on fishing for sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and halibut. Anglers need to remember that the seasonal 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure remains in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, 2018.


Boats fishing off Imperial Beach have been doing well on sand bass and sculpin and have been catching an occasional halibut. Productive areas have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the cobblestone bottom above the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the sandy bottom and kelp areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to the patches of kelp outside of the Imperial Beach Pier has been a likely spot to catch a halibut.


As an example of the fishing the Dolphin out of Fisherman's Landing had two half day trips that fished on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 that had 32 anglers combine to catch 50 sand bass, 18 sculpin and 3 calico bass.


In the Point Loma region, look for some bass and sculpin to be biting at the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 and to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy. The Point Loma Pipeline and the hard bottom outside of the Dropoff would also be spots to try for bass and sculpin as well.


The upper end of La Jolla and Del Mar are areas that have provided a chance at some bass and sculpin and also produce an occasional halibut. Going further north, look for bass and sculpin biting at hard bottom spots outside of Leucadia and Carlsbad as well as while fishing the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines. The structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor has been producing some bass and sculpin as well. Bass and sculpin have also been biting at hard bottom areas outside of Box Canon, the Barn and San Onofre.


As an example of the fishing, the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center had a half day trip that fished on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 which had 9 anglers catch 35 sand bass, 28 sculpin and 10 calico bass.


The sandy bottom adjacent to some of the structure spots talked about above would be good spots to try for halibut and also look for halibut at the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower and the Yukon shipwreck outside of Mission Beach. Sandy bottom areas off Ponto Beach, the Golf Ball, San Onofre and the San Clemente Pier are also areas likely to produce a halibut.


There have been reports of hit or miss fishing for squid for bait at night while fishing outside of the Scripps Pier and at other areas between La Jolla and Oceanside.


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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.


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