Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, January 17, 2020
Good winter fishing!

Holidays and stormy weather have been keeping most anglers off the water in recent days
Christmas has come and gone and the busy holiday season coupled with poor weather conditions have kept most anglers off the water during much of the Christmas week. Today is Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 and the weather is still unsettled with the forecast for Monday calling for another significant chance of rain. The good news is that there are also some good weather days within the current forecast and I stress the importance of always checking the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.

Today is Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 and there are a few boats out fishing offshore that are looking around for bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna. It is still sloppy weather offshore and to this point, I have no news of significant catches of tuna having been made so far today while fishing in today’s sloppy weather.

There was very good fishing for bluefin tuna and a few yellowfin tuna last weekend and there should be several more boats out looking around this upcoming weekend to try and relocate some biting tuna.

Last weekend’s fishing saw the Mustang out of H&M Landing fish overnight trips on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the Mustang had 30 anglers catch 23 of the 50- to 80-pound sized bluefin tuna and two of the 25- to 40-pound yellowfin tuna. On Sunday, the Mustang caught limits of 25- to 40-pound bluefin tuna and had a total catch of 30 anglers catching 60 bluefin tuna and 6 yellowfin tuna.

Sunday’s fishing also saw the Tomahawk out of Fisherman’s Landing out fishing a 1.5 day trip and they posted a fish count of 28 bluefin tuna which ranged in size from 70 to 90 pounds. Fisherman’s Landing reported that the bluefin caught on the Tomahawk were biting on flylined sardines that were fished on live bait outfits with 50 and 60 pound test fluorocarbon leaders.

Hopefully some more bluefin and yellowfin will be relocated by the boats out trying today or the boats out giving it a look over the weekend. Additional boat coverage should be helpful in relocating some biting bluefin or yellowfin. Areas being looked at today include the Butterfly Bank, 60 Mile Bank, 390 Bank, 213 Bank, 1010 Trench and the Airplane Trench.

Prior to the recent bad weather there was fair action for swordfish for boats using the deep drop technique. There have been two main areas of swordfish activity with the best zone being for boats fishing the drop off shelf off Newport Beach and with the other productive region being while fishing around the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot. Last reports were that the bite had slowed from the good action of a few weeks ago but that there were still some swordfish bites being found and an occasional swordfish being caught. Skippers have been drifting areas in 150 to 300 fathoms of water and have been fishing their baits at around 900 feet below the surface. Large frozen squid have been the best bait with live mackerel also producing occasional action.

There have been no boats fishing at the Coronados that I know of since Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 when there was good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and an assortment of bottom fish species. There have been several weather systems that have passed through since December 14 that have likely changed the water conditions, but for your reference, the fish counts from December 14 were the Vendetta out of H&M Landing that had a full day trip with 21 anglers catch 65 bonito, 20 sheephead, 20 rockfish, 10 calico bass and 5 sculpin. The Grande out of H&M Landing fished a full day trip with 21 anglers that same day who caught 39 yellowtail, 55 bonito and 80 rockfish.

The last reports were that there were some smaller bonito biting around North Island as well as some larger bonito and calico bass biting at spots around South Island. There were also some bonito and yellowtail biting in the region of the Rockpile and below. Good areas for rockfish have been while fishing hard bottom areas to the northwest, north and northeast of North Island in the 25 to 45 fathom depths as well as along the ridges ranging from the South Kelp Ridge to the Rockpile in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.

For those fishing along the San Diego County coast, the past few weeks have seen occasional flurries of yellowtail action found off the stretch of coast between the upper end of La Jolla and the Green Tank at Point Loma while fishing in 18 to 25 fathoms of water. The bite has been erratic from day to day but yellowtail have been popping up from time to time. The recent yellowtail fishing has been slow with the last significant sportboat yellowtail catch coming from the fishing on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 when the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a morning half day trip with 14 anglers catch 7 yellowtail, 2 whitefish and 5 rockfish. Most of the yellowtail found biting along the coast have been good sized fish that have been running from 18 to 25 pounds.

The yellowtail off the coast have shown a pattern of showing and biting best during the early morning hours. Look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish up under working birds to try and locate yellowtail. Specific productive areas where yellowtail have been popping up from time to time over the past few weeks have been while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla, the lower end of La Jolla, Mission Bay, Point Loma College and the Green Tank.

If you are fortunate enough to be at the right spot at the right time and locate some yellowtail, best bets have been yo-yo iron and surface iron with sardines and mackerel also producing some action.

Anglers need to keep in mind is that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure in California waters goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. During the 2 month closure period, anglers will need to fish in Mexican waters to target the rockfish/groundfish that are covered by the closure.

Aside from the occasional yellowtail action, the remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass, sheephead and whitefish. Hard bottom and structure spots have been the best with productive areas being 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.

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

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