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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, yellowtail and marlin are a November reality!
One might tend to think of November as a month when Southern California anglers start fishing for rockfish, halibut and other bottom dwelling cool and cold water species but that is not the case in the first part of November of 2018 as the water has remained unseasonably warm with a lot of 67 to 69 degree water offshore. The result is that Southern California anglers still have a variety of warm water pelagic species to target in offshore waters that include bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, skipjack and striped marlin with the possibility for a November Southern California dorado still existing as well.

The areas to go for a chance at bluefin tuna have been the Cortes Bank and the Tanner Bank. Productive zones around those banks have been the western and northwestern edges of the Cortes Bank and the area to the southwest and the south of the high spot at the Tanner Bank.


Bluefin action has been coming during the daylight hours and during the hours of dark. Action has been originating from stopping on meter marks, sonar marks and the occasional spot of breaking fish. Sardines and Flat Fall jigs have been working best with mackerel and flying fish also producing some action. The bluefin have been ranging in size from 20 to 200+ pounds with most falling within the 40- to 80-pound range.


Yellowfin tuna catches remain good but boats are having to travel to the offshore banks below and outside of Ensenada for the yellowfin. Productive areas have been the 238 Spot, 475 Spot and 450 Spot that are in the region of the Inner Bank outside of Ensenada. Also productive have been some of the banks and trenches further offshore while fishing the region of the Double 220 Bank, 1010 Trench and 1067 Trench. Down below the Inner Bank, also take a look in the area around and below the Lower 500 Bank and 1140 Finger.


Kelp paddies, trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks and porpoise schools have been ways to locate yellowfin tuna. Most of the yellowfin are in the 6- to 15-pound range with occasional fish to 30 pounds also in the mix.


Captain Brandon Killian of the 6 pack charter yacht Prime Time with Prime Time Sportfishing was out fishing on the private boat Habanero on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 and reported catching easy limits of yellowfin tuna while fishing inside of the 238 Spot in the region of the 475 Spot at 64 miles 162 degrees from Point Loma.


Killian said that all their yellowfin came from fishing around porpoise and that their yellowfin were quality sized 20-pound class fish. He said they found a few small kelp paddies on the day but that all they were finding biting from the kelp paddies were a few small throwback sized yellowtail.


Closer to Point Loma, there are lots of skipjack biting at the 9 Mile Bank with trolling stops leading to action on the sardines. The skipjack bite at the 9 Mile Bank took a dip early in the week but has since bounced back strong.


Private boater, Louie Zimm of the Shearwater was out fishing the 9 Mile Bank on Wednesday and Thursday with some members and staff of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council aboard and said they had excellent skipjack fishing at the 9 Mile Bank. Zimm said that they were fishing on top of the bank and a short way inside of the bank while on the U.S. side of the Mexico border. The water was 66.5 to 67.2 degrees and was clear and blue. Zimm said they were finding skipjack around groups of seagulls and shearwaters and that the skipjack they caught were filled with pinhead anchovies. They were locating the schools of fish by getting trolling strikes and by slow trolling with sardines.


The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished at the Coronado Islands on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 and found good fishing for yellowtail and bonito. They had a fish count of 15 anglers on a full day trip catching 27 yellowtail and 75 bonito. Seaforth Sportfishing reported that the yellowtail were 12- to 20-pound fish that were biting on yo-yoed iron and flylined sardines. They were suggesting 40- to 50-pound line for fishing with the yo-yoed iron and 25- to 30-pound test for fishing with the sardines.


The best surface fishing at the Coronados has been found while fishing along the weather side of North Island and the Middle Grounds. Another productive zone is the hard bottom to the northeast of North Island.


There is still quite a bit of striped marlin activity in the Catalina region with boats fishing the area from the 40 fathom curve off the East End on out to the 152 Spot and also fishing the area inside of the 100 fathom curve off the Slide reporting finding quite a bit of marlin activity the past couple of days.


On Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 there were 2 marlin caught and released for just two boats fishing the area and today, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, there has been a good amount of action going on with sleepers and tailers being seen. I believe there have been 4 or 5 marlin caught and released so far today (Friday, Nov. 2, 2018) with a report of one boat having 2 or 3 releases on the day. What is exciting about today's fishing is that Skippers are reporting seeing groups of 3 to 5 marlin that are either sleepers or slowly tailing fish. Birds, bait, seals and porpoise are good indicators of where you might locate marlin activity. It is good marlin fishing that is going on the past 2 days!


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to produce some good mixed bag fishing for bonito, calico bass, sand bass and an assortment of bottom fish.


The bonito have been mostly 4- to 7-pound fish and productive areas have been the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Dropoff at Point Loma, the Green Tank, Point Loma College, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Ponto Beach, the Carlsbad Canyon, the Buccaneer Pipeline and the area outside of the Oceanside Pier.


Some of the bonito have been biting while fishing along the edges of the kelp beds or next to structure but the majority have been caught by getting trolling strikes out in the deeper 18 to 50 fathom depths. Feathers and Rapalas have been productive on the troll and once bonito are located, flylined sardines and small chrome Megabait style jigs have been working while drifting or anchored.


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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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