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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin tuna and yellowtail spice early spring fishing!
Southern California anglers have had to stay off the water during much of the week due to the weather. There were Gale Warnings posted for a couple of days early in the week and there are currently Small Craft Advisories posted that are forecasted to remain in effect through late tonight. Today is Friday, April 12, 2019.


Last weekend's fishing saw a few boats catch bluefin tuna while fishing in an area ranging from the waters a short way below the 425 Bank that is located below and outside of the Coronado Islands on down to the offshore waters outside of Ensenada while working the area inside of the 238 Spot and also below and inside of the 450 Spot.


The catches made last weekend were highlighted by the Old Glory out of H&M Landing fishing on Saturday, April 6, 2019 and having 30 anglers on a 1.5 day trip catch 60 bluefin tuna and 27 yellowtail. H&M Landing reported that the bluefin were running from 20 to 60 pounds and had a 40-pound average. Not much has been happening on bluefin during the week with the poor weather keeping most boats tied to the dock. The Condor out of Fisherman's Landing fished on Thursday, April 11, 2019 and had a 1.5 day trip find offshore action on bonito and yellowtail and return with 11 anglers catching 55 bonito and 45 yellowtail.


The bluefin have been found in water temperatures ranging from 62 to 63 degrees. Most of the bluefin action has originated from stopping and drifting on sonar marks and meter marks and some of the best action has come from stops that have started by stopping on a sonar mark or meter mark that is found in the dark. The meter marks and sonar marks are likely to be found in areas where there is a good amount of bird life. Sardines and glow in the dark flat fall jigs have been working for the bluefin tuna. I am thinking that some more bluefin might be located and found biting this weekend with improving weather and with better coverage with more boats out looking.


The yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands has been very good when the weather has allowed fishing. Sportboats on full day trips were able to fish in somewhat of a break in the weather on Thursday, April 11, 2019 and they had excellent fishing for yellowtail and bonito. Thursday's fishing saw the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing have a full day trip with 41 anglers catch 205 yellowtail. The Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing had a full day trip with 30 anglers catch 77 yellowtail and 45 bonito. H&M Landing had a full day trip aboard the Grande fishing with 33 anglers who caught 129 yellowtail, 38 bonito and 25 rockfish. The Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing had a full day trip with 41 anglers catch 167 yellowtail and 14 bonito.


Most of the yellowtail have been found biting in the region of the Rockpile and the schools of yellows are moving around and need to be located each day. The zones where yellowtail have been found in recent days are in the region to the west of the Rockpile, the region to the southwest of the Rockpile, the region to the southeast of the Rockpile and the region to the east of the Rockpile.


Most of the schools of yellowtail are being located by finding sonar marks and meter marks but there are occasional spots of yellowtail found under working birds as well. Most of the yellowtail have been in the 10- to 15-pound range and they have been going to 20 pounds. The yellowtail have been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron, sardines fished on a dropper loop rig and flylined sardines.


Good yo-yo jig choices would include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. Good surface iron jig choices would include Tady 45's and Salas 7X lights in blue and white, mint and sardine colors.


Fish the yellows on the surface if you can get the flylined bait or surface jig to them before they sound. Try the yo-yo iron or a dropper loop fished sardine if the fish are holding deep or have sounded by the time you get to the spot.


There have been some bonito to 10+ pounds biting incidental to fishing for yellowtail and the fishing for an assortment of rockfish has been very good. Good areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in 35 to 50 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has also provided a chance at finding some yellowtail action but the coastal oriented yellowtail fishing has been inconsistent. The water conditions have been unstable with the strong winds that we have had during a good part of this week. A stretch of good weather should go a long way toward stabilizing the water conditions and getting more consistency to the showings of coastal oriented yellowtail.


Areas where yellowtail activity has been reported over the past week or so have been outside of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, and the stretch between Solana Beach and Carlsbad. Look for areas of bait and working birds out in the 14 to 25 fathom depths as the yellows tend to pop up around the spots of bait.


Most of the coastal oriented yellowtail have been the 15- to 25-pound fish and when they do decide to show, they have been located by finding meter marks, sonar marks and spots of diving birds. A good depth range to be looking in is 14 to 25 fathoms of water. Similar to the yellowtail fishing around the Coronados, fish the yellowtail on the surface if you can get the live bait or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Otherwise, fish the yellows deep with yo-yo iron or a sardine or a mackerel that is fished on a dropper loop rig. There has been a bit of squid to be caught for bait around La Jolla and if you can get some live squid, that would certainly be something good to try for the yellowtail as well.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of reds, rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, whitefish and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod and halibut biting.


Productive rockfish areas remain the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure area at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


There have been a few halibut biting in coastal areas. Some productive halibut areas include the sandy bottom near the Aliso Pipeline off South Laguna Beach, Box Canyon, the area outside of the Oceanside Pier, the sandy bottom off South Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower located outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck located outside of Mission Beach, San Diego Bay and while fishing sandy bottom areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier.


Private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section reported about fishing along the coast for a few hours on a trip out of San Diego Bay on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Seymour reported that it was easy to catch mackerel for bait at the bait receivers in San Diego Bay. He reported that tipping the bait catcher rig's hooks with a strip of frozen anchovy or strip of sardine helped a lot in getting bites from the mackerel.


After catching some mackerel for the bait tank, Seymour said they went outside of the harbor and found some schools of short sized barracuda. They caught and released some short sized barracuda but found nothing doing on legal sized barries. They next went down to make some drifts for halibut outside of the Imperial Beach Pier. He said they made several drifts in the area but were only able to catch and release 2 short sized halibut.


A stretch of nice weather would also likely improve the fishing for white seabass and yellowtail at Catalina. There has been some squid to be caught for bait at night off the V's and outside of Ben Weston with the Ben Weston area tending to be the best. The fishing for white seabass and yellowtail remains picky though with an occasional flurry of action being reported. Areas where the occasional white seabass or yellowtail activity has been reported have been while fishing outside of the V's and Salta Verde as well as off the area between Ribbon Rock and the West End.


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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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