Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

Click here for Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

Will the second cold weather storm of the season knock out the tuna bite?
It is Thanksgiving Eve as I am preparing this report and it has been a wet and windy day for Southern California as the second northern weather system of the season has arrived. There are currently Small Craft Advisories posted through Friday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2019 and Southern California offshore anglers are curious as to what effect these 3 days of bad weather will have on the good fishing that has been going on for bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna.

The result of the first northern weather system of the season that passed through Southern California last week was that there was some cooling of the water and the that the tuna bite moved further offshore. Offshore water temperatures were running from 62.5 to 64.5 degrees in areas where there has been tuna activity. With Small Craft Advisories currently in effect until Friday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2019, there will likely not be any boats out looking for tuna until the weather improves on the post Thanksgiving day weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens to the water temperature and what becomes of the tuna bite after the passing of the current storm.

The best tuna bite area heading into the current storm was in the area of the deep water basin to the southwest of the 43 Fathom Spot for boats fishing between 49 and 54 miles 252 to 254 degrees from Point Loma. Some of the more local offshore banks within 25 miles or so of San Diego such as the 182 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the 178 Spot were producing some 3 to 10 pound kelp paddie yellowtail and some skipjack prior to the arrival of the current storm.

An interesting bluefin report was provided by Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center. Cacciola says that some of the boats that have been fishing for rockfish at hard bottom areas off Box Canyon have been seeing occasional spots of breaking bluefin tuna incidental to their bottom fishing. He also reported that whale watch boats have been seeing occasional spots of breaking bluefin tuna incidental to looking for whales between Dana Point and San Onofre.

Most of the yellowfin tuna have been in the 20- to 40-pound class and most of the bluefin have been running from 15 to 60 pounds with some of the larger bluefin going up over the 100-pound mark. Stops have been coming from kelp paddies, spots of working birds, sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breezing fish, skipjack trolling strikes and yellowfin trolling strikes. Sardines have worked well for bait with mackerel also working for some of the larger sized bluefin. Flat Fall jigs and Colt Snipers have also been producing some action.

Some fish counts prior to the arrival of the current storm are the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing that had 40 anglers on a full day trip catch 99 yellowtail and 5 skipjack. Seaforth Sportfishing also had the Tribute return home from a 1.5 day trip which had 27 anglers catch 36 yellowfin tuna and 31 bluefin tuna. The Pacifica returned home to Seaforth Sportfishing from a 1.75 day trip where 24 anglers caught 10 yellowfin tuna.

H&M Landing reported that the Grande fished a full day trip with 21 anglers who caught 11 yellowtail, 1 yellowfin tuna and 5 skipjack. They also had the Old Glory fishing an overnight trip with 36 anglers who caught 28 bluefin tuna, 1 bigeye tuna and 2 yellowfin tuna.

Fisherman's Landing had the Liberty fish a full day trip where 34 anglers caught 34 yellowtail and 34 skipjack. They also had the Tomahawk fish a 1.5 day trip with 19 anglers who caught 38 bluefin tuna and 3 yellowfin tuna.

Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An return from a 2.5 day trip with 15 anglers catching 115 yellowfin tuna that went to 60 pounds, 6 bluefin tuna that went to 100 pounds and 51 yellowtail.

The past weekend also saw good fishing for yellowfin tuna and some bluefin tuna at the Corner and the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy but those areas have quieted down since last weekend. Marcus Hale of the Cabrilla fished below and outside of the Corner at 33 miles 251 degrees from Point Loma on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 and reported finding a very good yellowfin bait stop. Hale said they found the hot yellowfin stop in 64.5 degree water and reported that their stop started by getting a double yellowfin trolling strike where the 2 troll fish bit on a cedar plug and a Rapala.

They caught 12 yellowfin out of that stop and the yellowfin were quality sized 25 to 40 pound fish that filled their fish bag. Hale said that in the early morning they also found a kelp paddie that produced limits of small yellowtail while fishing 2 miles outside of the 224 Spot which puts you out at 24 miles 236 degrees from Point Loma.

Tom Golding of the Last Buck fished to the southwest of the 43 Fathom Spot at 44 miles 252 degrees from Point Loma on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 and reported finding a great yellowfin bait stop where they drifted and caught yellowfin from 10 a.m. until they left to head for home at sunset. They caught 27 yellowfin out of the stop and they were nice sized fish that went from 30 to 35-plus pounds. Golding said that by the time they headed for home that they had filled all their ice chests, hatches and fish hold space with yellowfin tuna!

The water temperature where Golding found the great yellowfin stop was at 63.63 degrees and he said that the yellowfin were biting well on sardines. He added that even though they had fish boiling around the boat during the entirety of the stop that they needed to be using 30-pound test line with a 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader and a size 2 hook to readily get strikes. He said that you could eventually get bit while using heavier 40-pound test line with a 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader but that it took a long time to get a bite when using the 40-pound test.

There has been good fishing for swordfish for boats using the deep drop method. The best area has been the coastal drop off shelf outside of Newport Beach. Some of the better days of fishing have seen 3 or 4 swordfish caught from this zone. Popular areas that have been producing some swordfish action via the deep drop method have been off Newport Beach, Abalone Point, Dana Point, the Golf Ball off Oceanside, the 178 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, the Slide at Catalina and the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina. Large squid and mackerel have been effective baits while being fished 800 to 900 feet below the surface with the large squid reported to be working best.

There has not been much news coming from the Coronado Islands lately with most boats continuing to fish the good tuna bite offshore. There was a private boater report from Saturday from a Skipper who had spent some time fishing Pukey Point and the area along the weather side of North Island who had found the surface fishing to be slow. The last sportboat reports from the Coronados are now about 3 weeks old and at that time there was good bottom fishing and a chance at finding some bonito action. Good areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while fishing in 25 to 50 fathoms of water.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast is into what is mostly a bottom fishing mode with reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass and whitefish making up the bulk of the catch. There have also been occasional flurries of bonito action by the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma and off Imperial Beach while fishing the region of the International Reef. Locating bonito activity has been hit or miss but there have been occasional showings of bonito in these areas.

Most of the coastal fishing for bass, sculpin, reds, rockfish and whitefish is now being done at hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas have been at the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the Sea Center boats have been doing well on a mixed bag catch of rockfish, reds, whitefish and sculpin while fishing hard bottom areas off Box Canyon. Cacciola says that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have also been fishing occasional trips to the south of Oceanside and that hard bottom areas off Leucadia and Solana Beach have been producing good mixed bag catches of bottom fish. Sculpin have been making up a good percentage of the recent catch and he says that the sculpin fishing tends to be better off Box Canyon than at the spots off Leucadia and Solana Beach. Cacciola reports that the water in these coastal areas has been running around 63 degrees and says that the water has been a clean green color.

* * *

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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .

•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Reader Comments
Be the first to comment!
Leave a Comment
* Name:
* Email:
Website (optional):
* Comment:

Advertise with Western Outdoor News