CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

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
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Bluefin and yellowfin producing good offshore action!
We are not far from the end of October and I am happy to report that there is still good offshore fishing going on for a mix of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack. The yellowfin tuna fishing has been the best and has provided near limit to limit paced action on the better days of fishing.


The yellowfin tuna have been running from 10- to 45-pounds with most falling within the 12- to 25-pound range. The best area for yellowfin has been for boats fishing the offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands in the region of the 371 Bank and the 425 Bank. This has you fishing from 20 to 30 miles 182 to 205 degrees from Point Loma. The best of the fishing within that zone has been in the region of the 425 Bank during the past couple of days.


In addition to the 371 Bank and 425 Bank there have been some yellowfin found at the 9 Mile Bank, the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy, the 209 Spot, the 267 Spot and the 14 Mile Bank. The yellowfin are most often located by finding spots of breaking fish and it has generally been difficult to get them to bite. Casting poppers to the spots of breaking fish has produced some action and finding yellowfin with porpoise has been another good way to find some biting yellowfin. Occasional trolling strikes have also produced some yellowfin action in the region of the 9 Mile Bank and sonar marks have produced most of the yellowfin action out by the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy.


Yellowfin stops at the 425 Bank and 371 Bank have come from meter marks, sonar marks, spots of breaking fish, yellowfin trolling strikes, skipjack trolling strikes, kelp paddies and porpoise schools. It has also been possible to set up a drift and catch yellowfin in an area where there are boats drifting and catching tuna. The yellowfin seem to come up in a general area and it has been possible to stay clear of the stopped boats and set up a drift without disturbing the boats that are already drifting and catching fish. Throwing some chum is often all it takes to bring some yellowfin to the boat and get a bite going.


Private boater Bill Parker of the Cabo reported about fishing around the 371 Bank and the 425 Bank on Thursday. Parker was fishing with his friend Justin Krumb and his son-in-law Jeremiah Marrujo aboard.


Parker said he only found skipjack biting while at the 371 Bank and that he then worked in toward the 425 Bank where he found a stop where they drifted and had some fish come around the boat but not bite very well. He said that Justin Krumb hooked a yellowfin in that stop and passed the hookup to Jeremiah Marrujo who caught his first ever yellowfin tuna! Nice going and congratulations go out to Jeremiah!


Their first yellowfin stop fizzled out but not before they had used up a lot of bait in chumming and trying to get the fish to bite better. Their next stop was much better and the stop was had when they started drifting in the region where some boats were stopped and catching fish. That group of yellowfin were more anxious to bite than the first group and they caught 5 yellowfin out of that stop before running out of bait. Parker said that by the end of the stop that every frisky bait they could find in the bait tank would get bit. Parker said the good bite started at around 11 a.m. and said that he wished he would not have used up so much of their bait at the first stop.


Parker said that the yellowfin they were catching were mixed sized fish that ranged from 11 to 23 pounds and that they were getting bites while using 20- and 25-pound test fluorocarbon leaders. They ended up with 6 yellowfin tuna and also caught some skipjack on the troll on the way home.


Private boater Sam Minervini of the Sailfish reported about fishing for yellowfin tuna at the 9 Mile Bank on Monday. The Sailfish is a sailboat and Minervini does a lot of fishing on his sailboat. On Monday he reported finding an area of breaking fish while fishing the outer corner of the 9 Mile Bank at 10 miles 211 degrees from Point Loma. He trolled the area and got a double trolling strike on yellowfin and boated both fish. They were good sized yellowfin that were in the 30- to 35-pound range and they bit on daisy chain rigs using black and purple cedar plugs.


Private boater Tom Golding of the Last Buck fished on Saturday and reported about fishing the region of the 425 Bank and the 371 Bank. Golding's report was that the 3 aboard caught 9 yellowfin tuna and 1 skipjack. He said they had 3 stops that each produced 3 yellowfin with the last stop also producing a skipjack. They found their yellowfin action while fishing between 23 and 26 miles 189 to 205 degrees from Point Loma.


Private boater Robert Serdoz of the Lucky Charm reported about fishing solo on Saturday. It was just Serdoz fishing with his dog and he said they found very good yellowfin tuna fishing while working the region of the 371 Bank. Serdoz found "one stop shopping" on the yellowfin and limited out in catching 5 of what were 25-pound average fish with a big fish of 30 pounds.


Serdoz got his good bait stop by setting up a drift in an area where he found 3 private boaters drifting and catching fish. He said that he set up a drift so as to not disturb the fishing for the boats that were already stopped and threw a bit of chum and had tuna come to the boat and stay with him until he limited out.


Serdoz described it as a steady pick kind of a bite where the fish would come and go. Throwing some extra chum was usually all it took to get the yellowfin going again. He was using 20-pound test fluorocarbon leader and a size #4 light weight circle hook to provide enough stealth to get bites. Serdoz had his limits of yellowfin aboard by 11 a.m. and he said this action was found in 69 degree water while fishing to the north-northeast of the 371 Bank at 22 miles 203 degrees from Point Loma.


Last weekend saw some jumbo sized bluefin tuna relocated off the back side of San Clemente Island and there were several bluefin to 250-plus pounds caught from the region of Desperation Reef and the 81 Fathom Spot. The early part of the week saw a bit of action continue but there has not been much news from the area since early in the week. The wind blew hard off the back side of San Clemente Island on Thursday and it will be interesting to see what effect the windy weather might have had on the jumbo sized bluefin action. The fish that were biting last weekend were being found by locating meter marks and were biting on kite trolled Yummy Flyers and on kite or helium balloon fished drifted flying fish.


There has been some hit or miss action on 40- to 100-pound bluefin for boats working the area of the deep water to the southwest of the 224 Spot on out to the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy. There has been some action to be found while fishing this area ranging from 30 to 40 miles 230 to 245 degrees from Point Loma. What some boats have been doing has been to fish for yellowfin tuna at the 425 Bank and 371 Bank in the morning and then work outside to the bluefin area to try and top off the day with some bluefin during the afternoon and evening hours. Most of the bluefin out this way have been in the 40- to 50-pound range and have been located by finding sonar marks. There have also been some yellowfin tuna in the mix with the bluefin.


There has also been scattered bluefin activity in the Catalina region with occasional 40- to 60-pound bluefin found biting around the 152 Spot off the East End, at the 14 Mile Bank, in an area 5 to 8 miles outside of the stretch between Newport Beach and San Onofre, around the 267 Spot and in the region of the 209 Spot. The afternoon and evening hours have been the best for those trying to scratch out a bluefin or two from these areas.


The marlin fishing has been spotty but the bite has picked up today with a boat fishing outside of Avalon reporting one hookup lost at the boat and another hookup currently going while I am writing this report. There has not been much marlin activity in the San Diego region but earlier in the week there was a marlin hooked and lost by a boat fishing for tuna in the area of the 371 Bank and another report about a marlin being hooked by a boat fishing for tuna at the 425 Bank.


Boats continue to deep drop fish for swordfish and there continues to be some action. The best area in the Catalina region has been at the 152 Spot off the East End and the best zone in the San Diego region has been up above the 9 Mile Bank while fishing around the 178 Spot. A commercial boat Captain who has been deep drop fishing for swordfish recently reported that he has been doing better while using mackerel for bait than he has been doing while using large squid for bait.


Last report from the Coronado Islands was of slow surface fishing but good fishing for an assortment of reds, salmon grouper, whitefish and other assorted rockfish. Productive bottom fishing areas 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, the northwest and the northeast of North Island while fishing in 20 to 45 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, whitefish and sculpin and there has also been a chance at catching a bonus bonito, lingcod, halibut or yellowtail. The best zone for a chance at scratching out a yellowtail along the coast has been at the upper end of La Jolla but the yellowtail fishing has been slow.


Calico bass are still biting at kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast but a lot of the sportboats have been focusing on fishing for rockfish. Some of the more productive areas for calicos have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp off Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing has still been fishing the kelp beds between South Carlsbad and Solana Beach on quite a few of his trips and he reports good mixed bag fishing for calico bass, sand bass, sheephead, whitefish and an assortment of rockfish. He says the water is still warm and has been running from 66 to 70 degrees. The calicos are not biting in as large of numbers as they were a month or so ago but Cacciola says they are seeing a higher percentage of keeper sized calicos in the mix. He mentioned that they caught, photographed and released a 20-inch calico bass on a recent trip to fish kelp bed areas below Oceanside. He says the calicos are now suspended in the mid water depths and suggests using a half ounce split shot to fish your sardine about 25 feet below the surface.


In addition to the kelp bed areas, hard bottom and structure spots have also been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom spots between the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Mexico border, 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.


Rockfish are what most of the sportboats have been focusing on lately and they are becoming more and more of the coastal fishing mainstay as the water temperatures cool. There have been recent reports of good rockfish catches coming from hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar 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 timely and accurate information.


Bluefin bite changes, yellowfin bite remains very good!
The end of September and the first part of October saw three days of windy weather which brought about a change in the bite on jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 300-plus pounds that was going on off the back side of San Clemente Island. The bite on the jumbo sized bluefin slowed after the windy weather backed off and anglers were hoping that a few days of nice weather might see the jumbo sized bluefin regroup and move back onto the spots where they had been biting prior to the days of rough weather. That has not happened as of yet despite having had lots of days of nice weather and now being well into the month of October.

There are still some 40- to 100-pound bluefin tuna showing and biting in offshore waters but so far, the jumbo sized fish to 300-plus pounds that had been biting off the back side of San Clemente Island have not been relocated. Areas where the 40- to 100-pound bluefin have been showing in recent days have been the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina, the Slide at the East End of Catalina, the 14 Mile Bank, the 312 Spot, the 178 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the deep water outside of the Kidney Bank where the 224 Spot and the 302 Spot are located.


Things are always changing as it is Friday afternoon as I am preparing this report and I just got a report of a 120-pound bluefin tuna being caught by a private boater fishing "just west of the 43 Fathom Spot." Who knows, maybe the region of the 43 Fathom Spot will be where the jumbo sized bluefin will pop up and be relocated.


The schools of 40 to 100 bluefin tend to be hard to get to bite but the exception is that the schools of bluefin being found outside of the Kidney Bank have been biting pretty well from stopping on sonar marks and meter marks and fishing with sardines and Flat Fall jigs. The schools of 40- to 100-pound bluefin found in U.S. waters via locating spots of breaking fish tend to not want to bite very well and poppers are usually the best way to try and get a bite from a spot of breaking fish. Things can always change as this afternoon a Skipper reported catching a 40- pound class bluefin while fishing near the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina using a mackerel fished from a floating balloon.


The yellowfin tuna fishing has been very good with the better days seeing near limit to limit fishing being found by boats fishing the region of the 371 Bank and the area below the 302 Spot around the lower end of the Kidney Bank. Thursday's best yellowfin fishing was found in an area ranging from 20 to 28 miles 200 to 218 degrees from Point Loma and fish are biting in that sector again today. The upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot have also seen some spots of bluefin and yellowfin showing today with a very occasional biting fish being found.


What has been nice is that the yellowfin area is close to where the bluefin have been biting outside of the Kidney Bank. Skippers have often been catching a good number of yellowfin in the morning and then working out to the bluefin zone to try to find some bluefin action to finish off the day of fishing.


The yellowfin have been located in a variety of ways with sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish, kelp paddies, skipjack trolling strikes and yellowfin trolling strikes all leading to action. At times the yellowfin are picky biters and in those instances it helps to fish the sardines with light line and small hooks. Dropping down to using a 15- or 20-pound test fluorocarbon leader with a size #4 live bait hook can help draw strikes from the yellowfin when they get picky.


Private boater Tom Parnakian of the Ambush reported about fishing on the Pacifica out of Seaforth Sportfishing on Monday. Parnakian called it very good yellowfin tuna fishing and the fish count for the trip was 22 anglers on an overnight trip catching limits of 110 yellowfin tuna, 36 skipjack and 2 bluefin tuna. Parnakian said they had a few of the smaller 10- to 12-pound yellowfin in the catch but that most of the yellowfin were nicer sized fish that were up around 20 pounds.


Parnakian said that the yellowfin were biting well on sardines and that the crew suggested using 20-pound test line and size #4 hooks for fishing the sardines. Parnakian caught all his yellowfin sardines using the suggested tackle arrangement except for one yellowfin which he caught on a Flat Fall jig fished with 40 pound test line. He said their best yellowfin bait stop came from stopping on a sonar mark and they had caught their limits of yellowfin by 9:30 a.m. The rest of the day was spent looking for bluefin and he said they stopped on some meter marks and were able to catch 2 of the 40-pound class bluefin that bit on Flat Fall jigs.


The marlin fishing has been slow during the week with a few marlin reported seen off the front side of Catalina off Empire Landing, Long Point and Avalon. A Skipper fishing at the Mackerel Bank inside of San Clemente Island also reported seeing a feeder marlin this morning.


A lot of the boats that might otherwise be out looking for marlin have been fishing the deep drop method for swordfish. There seems to be a swordfish or two or three being caught most every day by boats fishing spots around the eastern part of Catalina and in the area of the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot off San Diego. In the Catalina area the region around the 152 Spot off the East End has been the best with the area off the Slide and the area off Avalon also producing some action. Skippers tend to drift in depths of 160 to 210 fathoms of water (960 to 1,260 feet of water) with their baits fished down between 900 and 1,100 feet below the surface.


With all the good tuna fishing offshore, there has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. A report from back on Sunday, October 29 was that there was pretty good surface fishing for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass at the Rockpile. At last reports the fishing for rockfish was good around the Coronados and productive areas 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, the northwest and the northeast of North Island while fishing in 20 to 45 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, whitefish and sculpin and there has also been a chance at catching a bonus bonito, lingcod, halibut or yellowtail.


The best zone for a chance at scratching out a yellowtail along the coast has been at the upper end of La Jolla but the yellowtail fishing has been slow. Recent days have also seen a few spots of breaking bonito seen outside of the Point Loma Kelp Beds but very little has been caught.


Calico bass are still biting at kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast but most of the sportboats have been focusing on fishing for rockfish. The calicos are fun to catch but most of the calicos caught have been short sized fish that must be released. Some of the more productive areas for calicos have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp off Box Canyon.


In addition to the kelp bed areas, hard bottom and structure spots have also been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom spots between the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Mexico border, 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.


Rockfish are what most of the sportboats have been focusing on lately and they are becoming more and more of the coastal fishing mainstay as the water temperatures cool. There have been recent reports of good rockfish catches coming from hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar and Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that most of the recent trips on the Oceanside Sea Canter boats have been fishing for rockfish and says there have been good numbers of rockfish biting at hard bottom spots in 200 to 350 feet of water while fishing areas such as Box Canyon, Ponto Beach, Leucadia, Solana Beach and the upper part of Del Mar. Cacciola reports finding good fishing for a mix of reds, whitefish, salmon grouper and assorted rockfish. Cacciola reports that the salmon grouper have been biting best on sardines and that the reds, whitefish and other assorted rockfish have been biting best on strips of frozen squid.


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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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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 yellowfin tuna continue to provide offshore action
The transition of September to October of 2019 brought with it some rough and sloppy weather as there were 3 days of windy weather and high seas that made fishing off the back side of San Clemente Island for the jumbo sized bluefin pretty much of an un-fishable blowout and which made fishing the yellowfin grounds outside of the Coronado Islands rather uncomfortable.

The question to be answered after the 3 days of windy weather was what effect the bad weather may have had on the water conditions that have been holding the tuna in these areas. The water cooled a bit in both primary tuna zones and there are some changes to report. The fishing for the jumbo sized bluefin off the back side of San Clemente Island has been just fair since the bad weather moved through and the bite on the yellowfin tuna at the banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands is still good overall but has become more hit or miss since the bad weather came through.


The jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 300-plus pounds continue to be found off the back side of San Clemente Island but instead of seeing massive schools of the jumbo sized fish, it has been mostly smaller sized spots of fish and single fish meter marks and sonar marks that are being reported. There are still jumbo sized bluefin holding in the area but anglers are hoping that some more good weather will cause the fish to group up again, get back on the spots and start biting better.


The best areas since the period of bad weather have been the waters outside of West Cove, outside of Seal Cove and outside of Lost Point with a bit of activity also being reported in the region of the 81 Fathom Spot, 86 Fathom Spot and the 57 Fathom Spot.


The best bait for the jumbo sized bluefin are kite fished or helium filled balloon fished flying fish. Live, fresh dead and frozen flying fish have all been effective. Prior to the windy weather, there were also occasional jumbo sized bluefin bites coming on kite trolled Yummy Flyers. Most of the action on the jumbo sized bluefin off the back side of San Clemente Island comes from drifting around meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish.


There has been a mix of 50- to 125-pound bluefin and some yellowfin that have been showing inside of San Clemente Island in the areas of the 289 Spot and to the southeast of the Mackerel Bank. It has been hard to get these fish to bite but the best bet has been using poppers, Colt Snipers, sardines or mackerel. Of those choices, poppers tend to work the best if you can get them to the breaking fish before they sound. Most of the action in the areas that have been producing the 50- to 125-pound bluefin comes from fishing spots of breaking or foaming fish.


Some of the offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands are producing good yellowfin tuna action. There are still good yellowfin bait stops to be found but after the recent windy weather, finding one of those good stops has become more of a hit or miss proposition. In addition to the yellowfin tuna and skipjack there is also a mix of some kelp paddie yellowtail and a few bluefin tuna biting in the yellowfin areas.


The best yellowfin areas have been working the region of the 302 Spot, 425 Bank and 371 Bank with the region of the 371 Bank tending to be the best. The past couple of days have seen the 9 Mile Bank and 178 Spot regions produce showings of breaking bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna with the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank producing a few of the large 40- to 60-pound yellowfin tuna this morning which is Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.


Most of the yellowfin have been in the 12- to 30-pound range. The yellowfin action originates from stopping on breaking fish, kelp paddies, skipjack trolling strikes, yellowfin trolling strikes and from stopping on meter marks or sonar marks. Sardines have been the best bait once yellowfin are located and poppers produce some action when cast to breaking fish. Choosing a lively sardine, using a small hook and using fluorocarbon leaders of 15- and 20-pound test helps to draw strikes when the tuna are being picky.


The marlin fishing has been scratchy with a few marlin being reported seen and an occasional marlin caught. The marlin fishing in the Catalina region has been slow but this morning there were some signs of life with a feeder being seen 7 miles outside of Dana Point and with another feeder being seen in the region of the Avalon Bank.


A lot of the boats that might otherwise be fishing for marlin in the Catalina have been deep drop fishing for swordfish. The deep drop fishing for swordfish has been producing some action with a report of their being 4 hookups for 4 boats that were deep dropping on Thursday and with a couple of additional hookups being reported this morning. I believe there was one swordfish boated out of the 4 hookups on Thursday. Boats have been deep drop fishing for the swordfish at areas around the eastern part of Catalina such as in the region of the 152 Spot, in the area outside of the Slide and in the area outside of Avalon. They tend to fish in depths of 160 to 210 fathoms of water.


In the San Diego region there has been an occasional marlin encounter incidental to fishing for tuna. I believe there have been 3 marlin caught during the past week incidental to tuna fishing for boats that were fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank, the end of the Ridge below the 182 Spot and the area to the east and southeast of the 302 Spot. Captain Mike Hadfield of the 6 pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reports that every day or two he hears of marlin encounters incidental to tuna fishing for boats working the area to the southeast of the 302 Spot and in the region of the 371 Bank.


San Diego area anglers have also been deep drop fishing for swordfish in the region of the 178 Spot that is located above the 9 Mile Bank. There are reports that several have been caught over the past week of fishing with one being caught on Thursday.


With all the good tuna fishing offshore, there has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. A report from last Sunday's fishing was that there was pretty good surface fishing for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass in the area of the Rockpile. The fishing for rockfish has also been good around the Coronados and productive areas 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, the northwest and the northeast of North Island while fishing in 20 to 45 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, whitefish and sculpin and there has also been a chance at catching a bonus lingcod, halibut or yellowtail.


The best zone for a chance at scratching out a yellowtail along the coast has been at the upper end of La Jolla. There have been some bait balls of small anchovies in the area and there has been occasional yellowtail activity. Private boater Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna was fishing off the upper end of La Jolla early in the week and reported seeing occasional spots of good sized yellowtail that were up working bait on the surface. There were yellowtail around but they were up and down quickly and the report was that it was hard to get a jig or bait to them before they would sound.


Calico bass are providing good surface fishing action in kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast but most of the calicos are short sized fish that must be released. Some of the more productive areas for calicos have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp off Box Canyon.


In addition to the kelp bed areas, hard bottom and structure spots have also been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom spots between the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Mexico border, 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.


Rockfish are becoming more and more of the coastal fishing mainstay as the water temperatures cool with recent reports of good rockfish catches coming from hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar and Box Canyon.


* * *


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.


Fall offshore fishing season continues to produce summer like action!
The first day of fall was on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 and Southern California anglers are still enjoying fine tuna fishing with yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna continuing strong bites in local offshore waters. The early fall months can produce some of the best offshore action of the year as tuna will sometimes group up in warm water pockets and go on feeding sprees in anticipation of migrating to warmer waters for the late fall and winter months.


The jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 300-plus pounds continue to bite well off the back side of San Clemente Island. Productive areas for the jumbo sized bluefin off the back side of San Clemente Island have been Desperation Reef, the 86 Fathom Spot, the 57 Fathom Spot and the waters outside of Lost Point and Seal Cove. There are also sporadic showings of the 50- to 125-pound bluefin in the San Clemente Island region while fishing areas such as the Mackerel Bank, 3 to 8 miles northeast of Pyramid Head and the 289 Spot. There was also a recent report about some bluefin showing in the region of the 181 Spot.


On Tuesday, I had a chance to talk with private boater Doug Augustine of the Double Trouble who was returning home to San Diego from the Desperation Reef area with an estimated 250-plus pound bluefin tuna. Augustine had the action while fishing with flying fish from a helium filled balloon and said they also hooked and lost another big bluefin and had a couple of additional blowups and bites while fishing with flying fish from helium filled balloons.


The best bait for the jumbo sized bluefin are kite fished or helium filled balloon fished flying fish. Live, fresh dead and frozen flying fish have all been effective. There have also been occasional jumbo sized bluefin bites coming on kite trolled Yummy Flyers. Best bet for the 50- to 125- pound class bluefin has been using poppers, Colt Snipers, sardines or mackerel. Of those choices, poppers tend to work the best.


Most of the action on the jumbo sized bluefin off the back side of San Clemente Island comes from drifting around meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish. Most of the action in the areas that have been producing the 50- to 125-pound bluefin comes from fishing spots of breaking or foaming fish.


Most boats fishing for yellowfin tuna are currently finding action on yellowfin and skipjack while fishing the region ranging from the deep water outside of the 9 Mile Bank on out to the area outside of the Ridge. This morning boats are finding action within this zone in an area ranging from 15 to 30 miles 245 to 265 degrees from Point Loma. The bite outside of the 9 Mile Bank was very good on Thursday and the bite this morning (Friday morning) is off a bit from the near limit to limit fishing that was being found in the area on Thursday. Boats are still catching yellowfin and skipjack but so far, not in the numbers that were biting on Thursday. The yellowfin continue to work up the line as a whale watch boat Captain reported seeing spots of breaking yellowfin outside of La Jolla this morning.


As I was preparing this report, I got a report from a private boater Skipper who was fishing inside of the 302 Spot which is located at 22 miles 224 degrees from Point Loma. He reported getting a quadruple jig strike on skipjack that turned into a wide open bite on 15- to 25-pound yellowfin tuna on the bait! He said that the yellowfin bite was so good that he and his wife caught all the yellowfin they wanted. It sounded to me like it was limit fishing and he said they were exhausted from catching yellowfin and were heading for home.


The yellowfin action originates from stopping on breaking fish, kelp paddies, skipjack trolling strikes, yellowfin trolling strikes and from stopping on meter marks or sonar marks. Sardines have been the best bait once yellowfin are located. Choosing a lively sardine, using a small hook and using fluorocarbon leaders of 15- and 20-pound test helps to draw strikes when the tuna are being picky.


Things have been kind of quiet on the marlin fishing front during much of the week. There have not been many boats out looking for marlin since the Avalon Billfish Challenge was held on Monday and Tuesday. There were 6 boats participating in the tournament and they accounted for 3 marlin caught and released, 5 swordfish caught and another swordfish that was a non-qualifying fish being caught and released. The Ruckus had a great day of fishing on Tuesday in catching 2 swordfish and catching and releasing a marlin. Most of the action in the tournament came from fishing off the back side of Santa Cruz Island off the Yellow Banks region. Most if not all of the swordfish action came while using the deep drop method.


The marlin fishing in the San Diego region has been slow but as luck would have it, I just now talked to a private boat Skipper who had just caught a marlin from a trolling strike found while fishing around the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank. The timing of getting that report was incredible in being in conjunction with writing this marlin report update! There looks to be a bit of an influx of marlin activity in the San Diego region today as there were also a couple of marlin hookups and a marlin sighting by boats within the tuna fleet that were working the Ridge area in the region of the 182 Spot and the Ridge area below the 182 Spot.


With all the good tuna fishing offshore, there has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. Last report was from last Sunday when there were some barracuda and bass biting around the Rockpile and when there was good fishing for rockfish. The best areas for the bottom fishing around the Coronados 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 been good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, rockfish, reds, sheephead and whitefish. There has also been an occasional yellowtail caught at the upper end of La Jolla.


The main surface fishing activity continues to be the fishing for calico bass in the kelp beds but the calico bass bite has been tapering off a bit when compared to the fishing of a few weeks ago. Productive areas have been the kelp beds at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, the stretch between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad and the kelp off the Barn, Box Canyon and the Yellowtail Kelp. There has also been some pretty good to sometimes good sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach while fishing at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and at hard bottom areas both above and below the Imperial Beach Pipeline.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that there are good numbers of calico bass biting at kelp bed areas between South Carlsbad and Solana Beach. He said the water temperature remains warm at 72 to 73.5 degrees. Cacciola's report is that most of the calicos are short sized fish that must be released but says that there are usually also some keeper sized fish within their catch. In addition to the calico bass, the kelp bed areas are also producing some nice sized sheephead and some whitefish, sculpin and rockfish.


Cacciola reports that some of the Oceanside Sea Center boats have been fishing hard bottom areas for rockfish instead of fishing the kelp beds. He said there has been good rockfish fishing to be found at hard bottom areas both above and below Oceanside Harbor and noted that the Box Canyon area has been producing well.


Rockfish have been biting well at spots up and down the San Diego County coast and some of the more productive areas have been while fishing hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, off the upper end of La Jolla and while fishing outside of Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia 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 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.


Strong yellowfin and bluefin bites continue!
Southern California anglers still have some great tuna fishing to target with large and jumbo sized bluefin tuna biting off the back side of San Clemente Island and with a mix of 8- to 30-pound yellowfin tuna and 20- to 100-pound bluefin tuna biting around offshore banks that are within 30 miles of Point Loma. To add more variety to the fishing in the mixed yellowfin and bluefin zone, there have also been some yellowtail, skipjack and dorado in the mix.

The jumbo sized bluefin tuna have been biting by San Clemente Island during the week with Thursday's fishing being hindered by some rough and sloppy weather. The weather has improved today (Friday) and the bluefin bite has once again improved from the fishing that was being found in the rough weather on Thursday.


The bluefin out by San Clemente Island have been ranging from 90 to 300+ pounds. The best areas for the bluefin at San Clemente Island have been in the region of the 100 Fathom Curve outside of Desperation Reef, the 81 Fathom Spot, the area between the 100 fathom curve and 500 curve outside of Lost Point and the area between the 100 fathom curve and the 500 fathom curve outside of Seal Cove. Most of the action originates from stopping and drifting in areas where there are meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish.


The bluefin at San Clemente Island have been biting best on flying fish that are fished from a kite or from a helium balloon rig. Some Skippers have been deploying rigs that are utilizing both a kite and a helium balloon. Frozen flying fish, fresh dead flying fish and live flying fish have all been effective baits for the jumbo sized bluefin. Recent days have also seen some bluefin bites coming on kite trolled Yummy Flyers.


There have also been some of the 40- to 125-pound class bluefin showing and biting in the region of the 289 Spot. This morning there was bluefin activity reported to the east of the 289 Spot and to the southeast of the 289 Spot. One private boater Skipper reported having caught 1 bluefin out of 3 hookups that had come while slow trolling live baits around spots of breaking and breezing fish. Casting poppers and stick baits to the spots of fish being found in this zone has also been effective.


Much of the San Diego area overnight and full day sportboat fleet has been fishing around offshore banks located below and outside of the Coronado Islands and they have been catching very good numbers of yellowfin tuna with near limit to limit yellowfin catches being reported on the better days of fishing. In addition to the yellowfin action there has been a mix of the 20- to 100-pound bluefin tuna biting along with some kelp paddie yellowtail, dorado and skipjack.


The productive mixed bag yellowfin, bluefin, yellowtail, skipjack and dorado zone has been for boats fishing some of the local offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands with today's best areas being while fishing inside of the 302 Spot, fishing inside of the 371 Bank and fishing around and about the 425 Bank. Recent days have also seen action down by the 475 Knuckle and Upper Hidden Bank but the fish appear to be moving up the line. The past few days have also seen improved fishing for bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna in the area outside of the middle part of the 9 Mile Bank with some fish also being found out to the west of North Island, at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, in the region of the 178 Spot and in the area 5 to 15 miles off La Jolla.


Other areas that from time to time produce a bit of bluefin and yellowfin activity have been the Corner, the 43 Fathom Spot, the 182 Spot, the 138 Spot, the 181 Spot and the 312 Spot. The showings of fish in these areas have been inconsistent and more often than not the fishing in these areas has been slow.


Some of the yellowfin action originates from stopping on breaking fish, kelp paddies or from trolling strikes but the majority of the fish are being caught from stopping on meter marks or sonar marks and drifting with live sardines. Some of the long stops are of the "plunker" variety where anglers need to drop down to light fluorocarbon leaders and small hooks and be choosy in selecting a lively bait to put on the hook. Using fluorocarbon leaders of 15- and 20-pound test helps draw strikes when the tuna are being picky.


Things have been kind of quiet on the marlin fishing front during the week with a lot of boats taking a break after last weekend's Balboa Angling Club's Masters Tournament and in preparing for this weekend's Pesky's Tournament. There has been a bit of marlin activity reported in the Slide area off Catalina and my guess is that a good number of tournament boats will be heading up the Yellow Banks area off the back side of Santa Cruz Island to where there the best action for marlin and deep dropping for swordfish was found last weekend. In the San Diego region, there has been an occasional marlin seen in the region of the 9 Mile Bank but the marlin fishing in the San Diego area remains slow.


There has been very little news coming from the Coronado Islands lately. There has been such good tuna fishing offshore that most boats that might otherwise be fishing around the Coronado Islands have been fishing for tuna offshore. Last weekend, there was a private boater report from a Skipper who said that the 2 aboard caught their limits of yellowtail while fishing the lee side of South Island. Another private boater report was of good calico bass fishing being found by fishing their baits around the boiler rocks at North Island.


The best areas for the bottom fishing around the Coronados 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 been good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, small bonito, rockfish, reds, sheephead and whitefish. There has also been an occasional yellowtail caught at the upper end of La Jolla.


The main surface fishing activity continues to be the fishing for calico bass in the kelp beds but the calico bass bite has been tapering off some when you compare the current bite to the fishing of a few weeks ago. Productive areas have been the kelp beds at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, the stretch between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad and the kelp off the Barn, Box Canyon and the Yellowtail Kelp. There has also been some pretty good to sometimes good sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach while fishing at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and at hard bottom areas both above and below the Imperial Beach Pipeline.


The afternoon half day trips on the New Seaforth and the Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing have been posting an occasional yellowtail within their catch on their afternoon half day trips to the upper end of La Jolla. A report from some kayak anglers on the early morning fishing at the upper end of La Jolla was that there were bait balls of small anchovies in the area and that they were catching some small bonito and seeing an occasional spot of yellowtail up on the surface but were having a hard time getting the yellowtail to bite.


Rockfish have been biting well at spots along the coast and some of the more productive areas have been while fishing hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, off the upper end of La Jolla and while fishing outside of Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


* * *


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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