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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Coronado Islands yellowtail on the bite
Bluefin tuna continuing to bite offshore!

The past week of fishing has seen some changes with good yellowtail fishing to be had at the Coronado Islands and with bluefin tuna biting in a new offshore area. The main change in the bluefin fishing is in the area where bluefin are being caught with the best fishing being found in the waters out to the southwest of San Martin Island for boats fishing 150 to 160 miles from Point Loma. What is interesting about the bluefin bite area to the southwest of San Martin Island is that there has also been an occasional yellowfin tuna in the mix with the bluefin.



The bluefin biting off San Martin Island have been mostly the 25- to 35-pound fish. The Condor out of Fisherman's Landing fished this area on a 1.5 day trip that fished on Tuesday and caught limits of 25 to 35 pound bluefin tuna. On Wednesday, the New Lo-An out of Point Loma Sportfishing fished a 1.5 day trip and had 19 anglers catch 6 bluefin tuna.


In more local offshore waters there have not been many boats fishing the bluefin during the week as the bluefin bite has been scratchy and there has been good yellowtail fishing as an alternative for boats to target at the Coronado Islands. The region of the 371 Bank has been the best bet for those trying to catch a bluefin in waters within 35 miles or so of Point Loma.


This morning, which is Friday morning, June 8, 2018, there was a report from a private boater who was seeing a few spots of breaking bluefin tuna while fishing several miles westerly of the 371 Bank. At the time of his mid-morning report he had not had any luck in getting the bluefin to bite and all the kelp paddies he had stopped on did not produce any action. There are local bluefin to be found but getting them to settle down and bite has been a challenge.


In United States waters, last weekend saw an occasional bluefin encounter by a few private boats that were fishing the 43 Fathom Spot and the area between the 312 Spot and the 181 Spot. The only bluefin I know of that was caught in U.S. waters was by a private boater fishing with a flat fall jig at the 43 Fathom Spot. There have also been a few scattered yellowtail seen under kelp paddies in the Catalina region and outside of the stretch of coast between Dana Point and Camp Pendleton but it has been tough to get them to bite.


There has been good yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands and to add to the surface fishing action, there has also been a mix of calico bass, bonito and barracuda biting. The bird school yellowtail found in the Flats or out away from the Islands tend to be the 6- to 12- pound fish and those yellows found in close to the Islands via locating sonar marks or meter marks tend to be the larger fish that are in the 12 to 20 pound range.


Yellowtail have been found in several areas with the Flats outside of the Bull Ring, the area about 1 mile north of North Island, the Ribbon Kelp, the South Kelp Ridge, the Middle Grounds and the weather side of South Island being productive zones. Of those areas listed, the weather side of South Island has been the best during the week with the Middle Grounds producing a good amount of action so far today (Friday, June 8, 2018). Once yellowtail are located, action has been coming while sitting on the anchor and while drifting.


For the yellowtail, try flylined sardines, sardines fished on a dropper loop rig, surface iron and yo-yo iron. Surface iron and flylined sardines have been productive for the barracuda. Calico bass have been biting on sardines, anchovies and plastics. Try small chrome jigs, sardines and anchovies for the bonito.


In addition to the surface fishing action at the Coronado Islands, halibut fishing has been improving with some halibut reported to be biting for boats drifting sandy bottom areas in the lee of South Island.


As an example of the recent fishing at the Coronado Islands, Thursday, June 7, 2018 saw the Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing fish a full day trip with 16 anglers that caught 80 yellowtail, 6 barracuda and 16 calico bass. The Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing also fished on Thursday and had a full day trip out fishing with 15 anglers that caught 60 yellowtail. Seaforth Sportfishing had a full day trip aboard the San Diego fishing a full day trip on Thursday and 31 anglers caught 95 yellowtail, 24 barracuda, 11 calico bass and 5 bonito.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been highlighted by an occasional nice sized yellowtail or white seabass being caught at the upper end of La Jolla and an occasional nice sized white seabass has also being caught from kelp bed areas in the View Point and the Barn areas above Oceanside. The rest of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and rockfish along with a few halibut.


Hard bottom and structure spots have been good for the bass, sculpin and rockfish and fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to hard bottom and structure spots has been best for a chance at a halibut. Kelp bed areas are also seeing improved calico bass activity.


If you want to give the La Jolla yellowtail a try, the best bet has been fishing with a live mackerel, surface iron or yo-yo iron outside of the upper end of La Jolla in the 18 to 30 fathom depths. The best bet for a chance at a white seabass has been fishing along the edges of the kelp beds with a live mackerel at the upper end of La Jolla, View Point or Barn Kelp regions.


Halibut fishing has been improving with some legal sized halibut reported to be biting for boats fishing outside of the Imperial Beach Pier, inside of San Diego Bay, outside of Mission Beach, off Solana Beach and off Leucadia. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to structure and the sandy bottom adjacent to kelp and hard bottom has been the best bet. Private boater Rex Finney reported a recent catch of 2 legal sized halibut while fishing in San Diego Bay and Finney's experience is that the halibut start getting active once the water temperature gets up to around 65 degrees.


There have been some yellowtail biting at San Clemente Island and at Catalina Island. Over at San Clemente Island, when the Island has been open, there have been some yellowtail biting for boats fishing off West Cove and off Pyramid Cove.


At Catalina Island there have been some yellowtail biting for boats fishing spots around the middle part of the front side of the Island and also for boats fishing the back side of the Island at spots ranging from the V's on up to Ben Weston. The spots on the back side of Catalina have been the best and reports are that the kelp beds have grown back well on the back side of Catalina. Calico bass, yellowtail and an occasional white seabass have been biting for boats fishing around these kelp bed areas. Live squid is the best bait.


Squid has not been easy to catch and squid boats have been offering squid for sale while anchored up outside of Avalon. There could also be a possibility of squid boats offering squid for sale up by the Isthmus this weekend. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 11 or 72.


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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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