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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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976 Bite started out as a telephone recording service some 20 years ago and has since evolved into www.976bite.com. If you are looking to fish offshore for tuna and marlin, the Coronados for yellows, along the coast and beyond Bob Vanian and his 976 Bite service has been leading the way to fish for years. Subscriptions range from one week to one year. For more information please visit
www.976bite.com


Southern California anglers continue to have to fish around a steady series of weather systems
The month of February of 2019 has thus far continued in the pattern of this winter season in having one weather system after the next roll through Southern California. The steady series of weather systems have brought needed rain to Southern California but have also brought strong winds and high seas that when present have made fishing difficult and at times dangerous. There have been some nice weather days between storms and the good news is that there has been good fishing to be found on the good weather days.

The upcoming 3 day holiday weekend of Feb. 16, 17 and 18, 2019 is currently forecasted to be one of poor weather with Small Craft Advisories being posted for the time period starting at 7 p.m. on Friday evening, Feb. 15, 2019 and going through Monday morning, Feb. 18, 2019. An ongoing reminder is that Anglers and Skippers should always check the latest marine weather forecast before going boating or fishing.


There has not been much news from offshore waters lately with few, if any boats out looking around for the bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail that were around a few weeks ago. There was one report from early in the week of a Skipper who was out looking at whales and porpoise saying he was also seeing spots of diving birds and what he thought were breaking tuna under the birds. He was whale watching and not fishing though and I am unable to confirm that what he was looking at were breaking bluefin tuna. The activity in question was reported seen in about 100 fathoms of water while out about 2.5 miles off the coast outside of Ponto Beach at South Carlsbad.


The past weekend saw several sportboats fishing 1.5 day trips down the Mexican coast to Punta Colnett and they once again found very good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod and an assortment of rockfish. Some fish counts from boats fishing on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 start with the Old Glory out of H&M Landing that had 24 anglers catch 120 reds, 79 rockfish, 29 bonito, 7 yellowtail and 2 lingcod. Seaforth Sportfishing had the Tomahawk fish a 1.5 day trip with 25 anglers who caught 90 rockfish, 70 reds, 50 bonito, 24 whitefish, 7 lingcod, 5 yellowtail and 4 sheephead. Seaforth Sportfishing also had the Tribute fishing a 1.5 day trip with 26 anglers who caught 130 rockfish, 100 reds, 12 yellowtail, 11 whitefish and 7 bonito. Fisherman's Landing had a 1.5 day trip aboard the Pacific Queen return with 34 anglers having caught 58 yellowtail, 110 reds, 2 lingcod and 150 rockfish.


The Relentless out of H&M Landing fished a weekend 2 day trip on Feb. 9 and 10, 2019 and had 16 anglers catch 160 reds, 150 rockfish, 5 lingcod, 1 yellowtail and 1 sheephead.


The yellowtail off Punta Colnett have been mostly the 15- to 25-pound class fish. Best bet for the yellowtail has been to try and find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to stop on. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig. The heavy Salas 6X and Salas 7X sized yo-yo jigs in scrambled egg color have been reported to be working best.


The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished the Coronado Islands on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2019 and Captain Bill Wilkerson reported finding very good fishing for a mix of reds, lingcod, whitefish, sheephead and an assortment of rockfish. The surface fishing was scratchy but they did have a single bonito within their catch. The fish count on the Malihini was 25 anglers on a full day trip catching 125 reds, 75 rockfish, 44 whitefish, 3 sculpin, 2 sheephead and 1 bonito.


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. Best area for a chance at finding some surface fishing action has been while fishing along the weather side of North Island.


The Premier out of H&M Landing has been running weekday half-day trips into Mexican waters that usually target rockfish. On these trips they tend to fish the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island. Their last trip targeting rockfish was on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 when they had 33 anglers on a half-day trip catch an assortment of 329 rockfish and 1 lingcod.


Anglers fishing on the United States side of the Mexico border need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. The end of the closure is approaching but Anglers seeking to fish for the rockfish/groundfish species that are covered by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species until the closure comes to an end on March 1, 2019.


Boats fishing coastal trips have been able to do some fishing in decent weather between the weather systems and the fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to provide a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin as well as a few halibut. There is occasional yellowtail activity reported but not much has been biting when the schools of yellows decide to show. The areas where sporadic yellowtail activity has been reported in recent weeks have been at the upper end of La Jolla, the lower end of La Jolla and the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma.


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 Green Tank, 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.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center last reported that they had been finding good fishing that was coming from a few different areas. Cacciola reported that Oceanside Sea Center boats have done well on sculpin while fishing the Box Canyon area but what he reported to often be better is the unseasonably good mixed bag fishing for sand bass, calico bass, sculpin, perch and an occasional halibut, triggerfish or white seabass that they have been finding while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and while fishing the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines.


Fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid has been working well for the bass and sculpin. One of the best techniques has been fishing the squid strip on a bare lead head jig head. Cacciola said that it sometimes helps to fish a sliding sinker above the lead head jig head that is baited with the strip of squid.


With all the recent bad weather during the week, the last trips out of the Oceanside Sea Center were on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 when the Chubasco II and the Pronto combined to have 26 anglers catch 42 perch, 26 sculpin, 19 calico bass, 15 sand bass and 21 sand bass that were released.


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, 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.


On Friday morning, Feb. 8, 2019, private boater, Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn fished at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and reported finding scratchy fishing with just a few sand bass and sculpin biting. Woodard made a move to try for halibut outside of the Imperial Beach Pier and the move paid off when they found good halibut fishing while drifting in 30 to 40 feet of water. Woodard said they caught 3 legal halibut and that they had a big fish of 12.6 pounds and two additional legal sized fish that each weighed in at 8 pounds.


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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.


•   •   •   •   •

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.


Southern California anglers continue to have to fish around weather systems
 The first part of 2019 has seen a steady stream of weather systems move through Southern California which have brought high seas, wind and rain. There have been some good weather days to be had between storm systems and if an angler watches the weather forecasts closely and chooses the good weather days to go out fishing, there has been some good fun wintertime fishing to be found on the good weather days.

Today is Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 and there is once again some rain and increasing wind in the forecast for the upcoming weekend. An ongoing reminder is that Anglers and Skippers should always check the latest marine weather forecast before going boating or fishing.


There has not been much news from offshore waters lately with few, if any boats out looking around for the bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail that were around a couple of weeks ago. There was one report from a private boater this morning who had been out looking around the Ridge between the 182 Spot and 181 Spot several days ago. He reported finding a bunch of the very small throwback sized yellowtail under some of the kelp paddies he found but did not find any keeper sized yellowtail or any bluefin tuna. Maybe some more boats will go out looking around to see what might still be around offshore once we get a stretch of good weather.


There were Gale Warnings posted last weekend and the last reports from the Coronado Islands were when the Malihini out of H&M Landing was fishing around the Coronados the last weekend in January. They found very good fishing for a mix of reds, assorted rockfish, nice sized bonito and a few yellowtail. The Malihini's fish count on Jan. 27, 2019 was 14 anglers on a full day trip catching 70 rockfish (limits of rockfish), 35 reds, 3 yellowtail and 42 bonito. Captain Bill Wilkerson of the Malihini reported that the bonito they were catching were jumbo sized fish that were running from 8 to 12 pounds.


Good areas for rockfish 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. Best area for a chance at finding some surface fishing action has been while fishing along the weather side of North Island.


When the weather allows, the Premier out of H&M Landing has been running weekday half-day trips into Mexican waters that usually target rockfish. On these trips they tend to fish the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island. They have been able to get occasional trips in during the week between weather systems and their fish count for Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 was another good one with 10 anglers on a half-day trip catching an assortment of 100 rockfish.


When the weather allows, sportboats have been running 1.5 day trips to fish Punta Colnett and they have been finding a mix of yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish biting. Most of these trips have been fishing on the weekends and with the Gale Warnings that were posted last weekend, the last trips fishing the area that I know of were from Jan. 26, 2019.


On Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 the Relentless out of H&M Landing fished a 1.5 day trip with 19 anglers who caught 120 rockfish, 35 bonito, 26 yellowtail and 1 lingcod. Fisherman's Landing had the Pacific Queen fishing a 1.5 day trip that same day that had 34 anglers catch 170 rockfish and 67 yellowtail. Seaforth Sportfishing had the Tribute fishing a 1.5 day trip with 21 anglers who caught 120 rockfish, 30 reds, 28 bonito and 19 yellowtail. Seaforth Sportfishing also had the Tomahawk fishing a 1.5 day trip with 25 anglers who caught 125 reds, 65 rockfish, 40 bonito, 10 whitefish, 6 lingcod and 4 yellowtail. Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An fishing a 1.5 day trip with 22 anglers who caught 85 rockfish and 40 yellowtail.


Best bet for the yellowtail has been to try and find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to stop on. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig. The yo-yoed iron has been working best for the yellowtail with the larger heavy Salas 6X and Salas 7X sized yo-yo jigs in scrambled egg color reported to be working best.


Anglers fishing on the United States side of the Mexico border need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Anglers seeking to fish for the rockfish/groundfish species that are covered by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species until the closure comes to an end on March 1, 2019.


Boats fishing coastal trips have been able to do some fishing in decent weather between weather systems and the fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to provide a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin as well as a few halibut. Not much has been happening in the way of yellowtail action lately but the areas where sporadic yellowtail activity has been reported in recent weeks have been at the upper end of La Jolla, the lower end of La Jolla and the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma. There has also been a very occasional white seabass caught incidental to fishing for bass and sculpin.


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 Green Tank, the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure zone 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 the hard bottom areas outside of Box Canyon.


Today, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 and this morning there have been reports of good fishing for sand bass, calico bass and sculpin for boats fishing the structure of the Imperial Beach Pipeline. Captain Fred Huber of the Daily Double out of Point Loma Sportfishing reported that they had a good mid-morning half day trip this morning that included catching approximately 50 sculpin and 30 mixed legal sized sand bass and calico bass.


The last report from Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center was that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have done well on sculpin while fishing the Box Canyon area. In addition to the good sculpin fishing off Box Canyon, what is often better is that they have also been finding unseasonably good fishing for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and an occasional halibut, triggerfish or white seabass while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and while fishing the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines.


Fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid has been working well for the bass and sculpin. One of the best techniques has been fishing the squid strip on a bare lead head jig head. He says that it sometimes helps to fish a sliding sinker above the lead head jig head that is baited with the strip of squid.


As an example of the recent fishing, the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center was able to get out fishing on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 and they had a morning half day trip with 11 anglers catch 16 sand bass, 11 sand bass that were released, 4 calico bass, 7 calico bass that were released, 28 sculpin, and 32 perch.


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, 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.


* * *


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.


•   •   •   •   •

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.


Southern California anglers dodging weather systems
The biggest fishing news is currently all about the weather as the past couple of days have seen poor weather conditions in Southern California that have included thunderstorms, rain, wind and high seas. More bad weather is forecasted to be in store over the next several days with gale warnings currently posted for Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 and with continued poor weather forecasted into the middle of the following week.

Even on the good weather days that we had early in the week there were not many anglers venturing offshore to look for bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail. The bites on those species slowed last weekend and I think a lot of anglers are waiting for better numbers of fish to be relocated before giving it another try. At last report the best chance at finding bluefin activity was on the Ridge about half way between the 181 Spot and the 182 Spot. The most recent good report about kelp paddie yellowtail was from a week ago by a boat fishing the Upper Hidden Bank area below the Coronado Islands. There have not been any boats that I know of that have been fishing down that way since that time. The inside high spot at the Upper Hidden Bank is located at 39 miles 182 degrees from Point Loma.


Most of the bluefin activity has been found in areas where there is a lot of bird life. Bluefin action has come from stopping on meter marks, spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish or foamer spots of fish. The bluefin that have been seen and sometimes caught have been in the 50- to 80-pound range. Sardines and mackerel have been the best baits for the bluefin and the bluefin strikes were coming by drifting or slow trolling with the sardines or mackerel in areas where breaking bluefin were showing or where meter marks were being found. There has also been occasional bluefin action on Flat Fall jigs and surface iron.


There is not much news coming from the Coronado Islands during the week but last weekend there was good fishing for rockfish and there was some improved surface fishing action for bonito and a chance at a yellowtail. The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished full day trips around the Coronado Islands over the weekend and they found very good mixed bag fishing for reds, an assortment of rockfish, large bonito and a few yellowtail. Captain Bill Wilkerson of the Malihini reported that the bonito were jumbo sized fish that were running from 8 to 12 pounds. On Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 the Malihini had a full day trip with 14 anglers catch 70 rockfish (limits of rockfish), 35 reds, 3 yellowtail and 42 bonito.


Good areas for rockfish 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. Best area for a chance at finding some surface fishing action has been while fishing along the weather side of North Island.


The Premier out of H&M Landing has been running weekday half day trips into Mexican waters that usually target rockfish. On these trips they tend to fish the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island. They were able to get in a trip before the poor weather arrived on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 and 7 anglers on a half day trip caught their limits of 70 assorted rockfish.


Sportboats have been running 1.5 day trips to fish Punta Colnett and they have been catching a mix of yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish. Try to find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to locate the yellowtail. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig. The yo-yoed iron has been working best.


Fish count for boats fishing 1.5 day trips to Punta Colnett on Saturday, January 26, 2019 start with the Relentless out of H&M Landing that fished a 1.5 day trip with 19 anglers who caught 120 rockfish, 35 bonito, 26 yellowtail and 1 lingcod.


Fisherman's Landing had the Pacific Queen fishing a 1.5 day trip with 34 anglers who caught 170 rockfish and 67 yellowtail.


Seaforth Sportfishing had the Tribute fishing a 1.5 day trip with 21 anglers who caught 120 rockfish, 30 reds, 28 bonito and 19 yellowtail. They also had the Tomahawk fishing a 1.5 day trip with 25 anglers who caught 125 reds, 65 rockfish, 40 bonito, 10 whitefish, 6 lingcod and 4 yellowtail.


Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An fishing a 1.5 day trip with 22 anglers who caught 85 rockfish and 40 yellowtail.


Private boater Tom Parnakian of the Ambush fished Punta Colnett aboard the Tribute on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 and reported about the trip. He said they spent the first part of the day drifting over meter marks and fishing for yellowtail with yo-yoed iron. The current was running strong and Parnakian said you needed a large heavy yo-yo jig such as a Salas 6X or a Salas 7X to get the jig down to the bottom and fish effectively.


Parnakian reported that the yellowtail they were catching were in the 20- to 25-pound class and that they had one that was considerably larger at 30+ pounds. The scrambled egg color jig seemed to be working best but other colors were also producing some action. Parnakian caught a 20-pound yellowtail out of 3 yellowtail hookups. The yellowtail he caught was on a Salas 6X jig in scrambled egg color and he then lost the jig on the next hookup to a broken line near the jig. The big yellowtail was able to make it to the bottom and rub the line on the rocks.


Parnakian described it as a slow pick yellowtail bite where they would catch a couple of yellows per each 30+ minute drift. The yellowtail bite dropped off around noon and then they switched over to fishing for rockfish. The bottom fishing was good and he caught a big red, a smaller sized red, a good sized whitefish, a few small salmon grouper and two of the jumbo sized 5- to 7-pound salmon grouper. Cut squid and live sardines were working well for the bottom fishing.


Parnakian said he enjoyed his trip aboard the Tribute and that there was a nice group of people aboard for the Pelagic sponsored trip.


Anglers fishing on the United States side of the Mexico border need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect on January 1, 2019. Anglers seeking to fish for the rockfish/groundfish species that are covered by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species until the closure comes to an end on March 1, 2019.


The fishing along the San Diego area coast is providing a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin and has also been producing a few halibut. There has not been very much happening on yellowtail but there are some yellowtail around. There was a yellowtail caught last weekend by a boat fishing the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla and early this week, there was a spot of yellowtail seen up on the surface under working birds by a boat fishing outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma. The white seabass bite has been slow but there has been an occasional white seabass caught incidental to fishing for bass and sculpin.


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 Green Tank, 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.


Captain Mike Hadfield of the 6 pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reported about a recent half day trip where they fished at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and found good fishing for sand bass that included two jumbo sized fish of 5 and 6.5 pounds. They had lots of action and the 4 anglers aboard caught 8 legal sized sand bass and also caught and released additional short sized fish. Hadfield has also been running open party lobster hoop netting trips in the evenings and catching legal sized lobster. On their last trip they had 2 anglers catch 8 legal sized California spiny lobster and catch and release 10 short sized California spiny lobster.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the Oceanside Sea Center boats continue to do well on sculpin while fishing the Box Canyon area. In addition to the good sculpin fishing at Box Canyon, they have also found unseasonably good fishing for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and an occasional halibut, triggerfish or white seabass while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and while fishing the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines.


Fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid has been working well for the bass and sculpin. One of the best techniques has been fishing the squid strip on a bare lead head jig head. He says that it sometimes helps to fish a sliding sinker above the lead head jig head that is baited with the strip of squid.


As an example of the recent fishing, the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center ran a morning half day trip on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 that had 19 anglers catch 23 sand bass, 41 sculpin, 5 calico bass, 10 perch, 1 triggerfish, 11 calico bass that were released and 21 sand bass that were released.


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, 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.


* * *


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.


•   •   •   •   •

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.


Bluefin tuna and yellowtail still holding in local offshore waters!
The pastcouple of days have seen improved weather conditions and there have been private boaters fishing offshore that have been looking around for bluefin tuna and yellowtail. They have covering a large area of ocean ranging from the Upper Hidden Bank that is located 40 miles below Point Loma all the way up to the Oil Rigs in the Catalina Channel.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, there were bluefin tuna found in a few different areas with the region to the south and southeast of the 14 Mile Bank, the region to the southeast of the 312 Spot, the area about 14 miles west of La Jolla and the area 9 miles outside of Mission Bay all being zones where bluefin tuna activity was reported. Not much was biting but there was a report of a 60-pound bluefin being caught by a boat fishing about 9 miles outside of Mission Bay on Thursday. That fish was caught in an area where there were some spots of breezing, foaming and breaking bluefin showing. Today is Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 and it has been a different story today without much being reported in the way of bluefin activity as of the time this report is being written during the middle of the afternoon.


Kelp paddies in the area ranging from the 14 Mile Bank on down to the Upper Hidden Bank below San Diego have a chance at holding yellowtail but most paddies have been either empty or have been holding tiny throwback sized yellowtail. On Thursday, the region of the 181 Spot produced a nice sized yellowtail and today there was a report of a few keeper sized yellowtail being caught in the region of the 267 Spot outside of Dana Point. Today's best yellowtail report came from a Skipper who found a very good kelp paddie yellowtail bite for what I believe to have been limits of yellowtail while fishing at the Upper Hidden Bank. The inside high spot at the Upper Hidden Bank is located at 39 miles 182 degrees from Point Loma.


Most of the bluefin activity has been found in areas where there is a lot of bird life. Bluefin action has come from stopping on meter marks, spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish or foamer spots of fish. Sardines, mackerel, surface iron and Flat Fall jigs have been working for the bluefin. Some action has also come while slow trolling with mackerel or sardines in an area where there is a lot of bird life or where spots of bluefin have been metered or seen.


Not much news coming from the Coronado Islands during the week but last weekend there was good fishing for rockfish and there was some fair surface fishing action for bonito and a chance at a yellowtail. The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished around the Coronado Islands last weekend and on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 they had a full day trip with 19 anglers catch 128 rockfish, 2 sculpin, 1 lingcod, 1 sheephead, 1 calico bass, 1 yellowtail and 10 bonito. On Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 the Malihini had a full day trip with 10 anglers catch 50 rockfish, 37 reds and 1 sheephead.


Good areas for rockfish 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 45 fathoms of water. Best areas for a chance at finding some surface fishing action have been the weather side of North Island and the Middle Grounds.


The Premier out of H&M Landing has been running weekday half-day trips into Mexican waters that usually target rockfish. They tend to fish the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island on these trips. Their fish count for Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 was 13 anglers on a half day trip catching an assortment of 130 rockfish.


Sportboats have been running 1.5 day trips to fish Punta Colnett and they have been finding a mix of yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish biting. Try to find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to locate the yellowtail. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig.


H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing a 1.5 day trip on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 that had 21 anglers catch 12 yellowtail and 155 rockfish. Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An out on Saturday and they were fishing a 1.5 day trip that had 27 anglers catch 100 rockfish, 135 reds and 18 yellowtail. Saturday's fishing also saw Fisherman's Landing have the Pacific Queen fishing a 1.5 day trip with 24 anglers that caught 90 yellowtail, 90 reds and 60 rockfish.


Anglers fishing on the United States side of the Mexico border need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Anglers seeking to fish for the rockfish/groundfish species that are covered by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species until the closure comes to an end on March 1, 2019.


The fishing along the San Diego area coast is providing a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin and has also been producing a few halibut. There has not been much happening on yellowtail and there has been an occasional white seabass caught incidental to fishing for bass and sculpin.


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 Green Tank, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, 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 Oceanside Sea Center boats continue to do well on sculpin while fishing the Box Canyon area. In addition to the good sculpin fishing, they have also found unseasonably good fishing for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and an occasional halibut, triggerfish or white seabass while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines.


Fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid has been working well for the bass and sculpin. One of the best techniques has been fishing the squid strip on a bare lead head jig head. He says that it sometimes helps to fish a sliding sinker above the lead head jig head that is baited with the strip of squid.


Cacciola pointed to a very good fish count that the Chubasco II out of the Oceanside Sea Center had from a half day trip on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. The Chubasco II had 16 anglers post a catch that included limits of mixed calico bass and sand bass. The fish count was 16 anglers catching 61 sand bass, 19 calico bass, 4 triggerfish, 2 sargo and 27 sculpin. He said that they had a good percentage quality sized sand bass and calico bass that went to 4 pounds within their catch.


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, 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.


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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.


•   •   •   •   •

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.


Offshore anglers wonder what will be biting when the weather calms?
Southern California offshore anglers have been pretty much kept off the water this week as the past week has seen a lot of rainy weather from storms that have also brought wind and high seas. It is Friday afternoon, Jan. 18, 2019 as this report is being written and the latest marine weather forecast shows Small Craft Advisories currently in effect that are forecasted to remain in effect through late tonight.

Maybe there will be some boats out looking around offshore once the weather settles down but before the recent streak of bad weather there was still bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail action to be found out on the offshore fishing grounds. The bluefin bite had been scratchy but there were a few being caught and there were quite a few being seen. The best bluefin areas were while fishing to the east and the southeast of the oil rigs in the Catalina Channel, also while fishing 2 to 4 miles off the coast between the Newport Pier and Crystal Cove and also while fishing 2 to 5 miles off the coast between Point San Mateo and the Carlsbad Canyon. Of all those areas, the zone into the east and southeast of the oil rigs was the best.


Bluefin were being found by locating working birds, spots of bait, spots of breaking fish, spots of puddling fish, spots of foaming fish, meter marks and sonar marks. Once located, flylined and slow trolled sardines, flylined and slow trolled mackerel, Flat Fall jigs and surface iron were producing the occasional bluefin. The bluefin were ranging in size from 20 to 70 pounds with most falling within the 50- to 60-pound class.


Kelp paddies over a lot of miles of ocean were producing yellowtail. One of the most productive areas was for boats fishing 3 to 15 miles outside of the stretch of coast between Dana Point and Carlsbad. There was also some kelp paddie yellowtail activity for fish that were being found outside of San Diego in the region of the182 Spot, 224 Spot, 302 Spot and 371 Bank. The Legend out of H&M Landing was out kelp paddie hopping back on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 and they had a fish count of 3 anglers on an overnight trip catching 10 yellowtail.


The kelp paddie yellowtail have ranged in size from throwback sized fish of less than a pound on up to 15 pounds. Some kelp paddies were empty but if you found the right paddie it might produce limits of yellowtail.


There have not been many boats fishing at the Coronado Islands lately but last reports were of good numbers of rockfish biting. The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished the Coronados on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 and had a full day trip with 27 anglers catch 224 rockfish. Good areas for rockfish 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 45 fathoms of water.


The Premier out of H&M Landing has been running weekday half day trips into Mexican waters that usually target rockfish. They tend to fish the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island on these trips. The last report I have was from their trip on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 when 22 anglers on a half day trip caught an assortment of 220 rockfish.


There have also been a few bonito and yellowtail biting around the Coronados in recent weeks. No recent reports about surface fishing but if you want to give it a try, the best chances at finding surface fishing action around the Coronados were while fishing off the weather side of North Island and at the Middle Grounds.


Some sportboats have been running 1.5 day trips to fish Punta Colnett and they have been finding a mix of yellowtail, bonito, reds, lingcod, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish biting. Try to find meter marks, sonar marks or spots of working birds to locate the yellowtail. Once yellows are located, try yo-yoed iron or sardines fished on a dropper loop rig.


Point Loma Sportfishing had the Vagabond fishing a 1.5 day trip on Saturday, Jan.12, 2019 and they had 25 anglers catch 80 rockfish, 125 reds, 41 yellowtail and 4 bonito.


Anglers fishing on the United States side of the Mexico border need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Anglers seeking to fish for the rockfish/groundfish species that are covered by the closure need to go to Mexican waters to fish for those species until March 1, 2019.


The fishing along the San Diego area coast is providing a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin and has also been producing a few halibut and bonito. There has not been much happening on yellowtail and there has been an occasional white seabass caught incidental to fishing for bass and sculpin.


Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin and the best areas for a chance at finding bonito action have been while fishing outside of Imperial Beach, by the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, outside of Point Loma College and outside of the upper end of La Jolla.


As an example of the recent coastal fishing, the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing was able to go out and fish a morning half-day trip on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 and they had 19 anglers catch 11 calico bass, 5 sand bass, 2 sculpin and 1 bonito.


Private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the boat Robalo reported about going fishing on Tuesday morning, Jan. 15, 2019 with his friend Bill Regan aboard. McDonell said they got in a morning of fishing in good weather and reported finding what he called "very, very good" fishing for nice sized calico bass and sand bass. McDonell reported finding the hot action at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and said they caught calico bass to 4+ pounds and some sand bass that were in the 3.5- to 4-pound range. Hookup Bait plastics were reported to be working very well in the 3/8 ounce and the 5/8 ounce sizes. Fishing a rig using 2 Hookup Baits was also mentioned as being effective for the bass.


Tuesday was McDonell's first time using the new launch ramp facility at Shelter Island and he said it was considerably bigger than the prior facility. He was happy about it finally being opened and called it a great and nice looking facility. The only negative comment was that he said it did appear to be open to having a surge come through the entrance to the launch facility caused by wakes from boats that were passing by out in the main channel of the bay.


The most recent report from Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center is that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have been doing well on sculpin while fishing the Box Canyon area and he reports that they have also been finding good fishing for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and an occasional halibut, triggerfish or white seabass while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor. Considering the time of year, Cacciola has been pleasantly surprised about how good the bass fishing has been for both sand bass and calico bass.


Cacciola says the water along the coast has been running 59 to 60 degrees and has remained relatively clean. Fishing with strips of fresh frozen squid has been working well for the bass and sculpin. Cacciola says the sculpin have been feeding on small squid and he has seen what he believes to be squid on the fathometer in the area outside of Carlsbad.


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, 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.


The Dolphin out of Fisherman's Landing has a winter time halibut tournament going where they target halibut on Wednesdays. They were able to get out and fish last Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 and they found some success with the halibut. Their fish count was 21 anglers catching 4 legal sized halibut, 14 halibut that were released, 3 sculpin and 6 sand bass.


* * *


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.


•   •   •   •   •

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.


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