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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
www.976bite.com


It’s almost spring!
This week will see spring arrive on March 19, 2020 but the recent late winter weather has not been very spring like with several recent days of rain and sloppy seas. When you look a bit deeper though, the signs of the spring fishing season that lies ahead are already in place. Recent weeks have brought significant signs of the spring season ahead with occasional flurries of yellowtail action found around the Coronado Islands and with bluefin tuna in the picture for boats fishing at some of the local offshore banks outside of the Coronado Islands and at the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett. Additional “spring like” activity has been found around kelp paddies located in offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett which have been producing good numbers of yellowtail.

The best and most consistent bite has been for the sportboats fishing 1.5 day trips to the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett. There has been good fishing for a mix of bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail and the bluefin have ranged in size from 30 to 100-plus pounds with most in the 40- to 50-pound range.


As an example of the fishing outside of Punta Colnett, Fisherman’s Landing reports that the Pacific Queen fished a 1.5 day trip last Saturday and had 27 anglers catch 66 yellowtail and 31 bluefin tuna. Their bluefin were reported to be quality sized fish that were in the 40- to 50-pound class. H&M Landing reports that the Old Glory was out fishing a 1.5 day trip last Saturday and had 13 anglers catch 23 yellowtail and 10 bluefin tuna.


In addition to the bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail being found outside of Punta Colnett, boats fishing the high spot area in closer to the coast off Punta Colnett have been doing well on reds, rockfish and lingcod along with an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


The yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands has been scratchy but there have been a few yellowtail biting. There have been reports of good sized schools of yellowtail being metered with scanning sonar but more often than not, it has been difficult to get the yellowtail to bite. The Rockpile has been the best zone for yellowtail around the Coronados and the best bet once yellowtail are located has been to fish with yo-yoed iron.


In addition to a chance at yellowtail, there have been a few bonito biting around the Coronados and the fishing for an assortment of bottom fish remains good. Productive areas for the bottom fishing include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


There have been occasional showings of bluefin tuna reported in local offshore waters off San Diego but it has been difficult to get the bluefin to bite. Areas where there have been bluefin sightings reported include the 425 Bank, 302 Spot, 224 Spot, 182 Spot, the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the area to the west of North Island. Flat Fall jigs and surface iron have produced occasional bluefin bites.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of reds, rockfish, sculpin, sand bass, calico bass and whitefish. There have also been a few lingcod and halibut biting. Recent weeks have seen occasional showings of yellowtail off Imperial Beach and below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla but there has not been much in the way of coastal yellowtail activity reported lately.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


Productive areas for rockfish have been the International Reef that is located a short way above the Mexico border, hard bottom areas to the west, southwest and southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the hard bottom outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the area outside of the lower and the upper ends of La Jolla, the ridge outside of Del Mar, the hard bottom outside of Leucadia, and Box Canyon.


Areas producing some halibut action along the San Diego County coast are the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside, fishing in 180 to 220 feet of water at the sandy bottom outside of the Oceanside Pier, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, fishing the sandy bottom areas adjacent to the structure of the Yukon shipwreck and adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower that are located off Mission Beach and fishing the area between the Imperial Beach Pier and the Tijuana River. San Diego Bay is another place where some biting halibut have been reported.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


• • • • •

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.


Yellowtail are biting at the Coronados!
Spring does not officially start until March 19, 2020 but yesterday (Feb. 27, 2020) there was a major spring like yellowtail bite out at the Coronado Islands. The good yellowtail bite was found by the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing that fished a full day trip to the Rockpile and had 14 anglers catch 63 of the 14- to 20-pound yellowtail, 10 reds and a bonito.


Private boater Bob Fletcher of the Fletch was on Thursday’s trip aboard the San Diego and reported action throughout much of the day. He said that once they started fishing that it did not take long to locate a school of yellowtail with their scanning sonar. He said that when they stopped on a yellowtail school that the yellowtail often reacted to the chum they were throwing and would come up and boil around the boat. Fletcher reported that the yellowtail were biting best on yo-yoed iron and that the majority of their bites were coming while fishing the yo-yo jig right near the bottom. Seaforth Sportfishing also reported that there were a few yellowtail that were caught on surface iron on Thursday’s trip aboard the San Diego.


Fletcher said they were fishing in nice looking blue-green water that was running 60.5 degrees. His report was that once a bite died out from one school of fish that it usually did not take long to locate another school of yellowtail to stop on via the scanning sonar.


The fishing for reds, rockfish, whitefish and an occasional lingcod also remains very good for boats fishing in the region of the Coronado Islands. Productive areas include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running daily trips to fish for reds, rockfish and other assorted bottom fish species around the Coronado Islands. The most recent count on the New Seaforth is from Thursday’s fishing when 10 anglers caught their limits of 85 assorted rockfish and 15 reds.


There have been some boats out looking for bluefin in local offshore areas ranging from the waters off Newport Beach on down to some of the offshore banks below the Coronado Islands and the bluefin fishing has been slow. This morning there was a report from a Skipper who had looked at the 182 Spot, the Corner, the San Salvador Knoll and the 371 Bank and had seen no action. There was one report from a Skipper who had seen some breezing fish that he could not identify while fishing the area inside of the Kidney Bank out to the west of North Island. There was also a recent report of some bluefin being seen in the region of some tuna pen boats outside of South Island.


Last weekend there was some bluefin action found by boats that were out on 1.5 and 2 day Punta Colnett trips. The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing had 33 anglers on a 1.5 day trip catch 2 bluefin tuna that weighed 100 pounds and 60 pounds along with 200 rockfish, 111 reds and 10 lingcod. The Tomahawk out of Fisherman’s Landing fished a 2 day trip had 24 anglers catch 2 bluefin tuna that weighed 120 pounds and 70 pounds along with 270 rockfish and 12 lingcod. During the past several weeks, the trips to fish Punta Colnett have had good success in catching a very good mix of reds, rockfish, lingcod, yellowtail and bonito and you can now add to that list the possibility of finding bluefin tuna.


Good news for anglers fishing on the U.S. side of the Mexico border is that the annual rockfish/groundfish closure comes to an end on Sunday, March 1, 2020. Since Jan. 1, 2020 Southern California anglers fishing in US waters have been focusing their efforts on species that have been open to fishing and there has been good action for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin along with a few halibut and an occasional flurry of yellowtail action. A lot of anglers are anxious to once again fish rockfish spots that have not been fished during the 2 month closure period.


The yellowtail fishing along the San Diego County coast has been slow but there are occasional showings of yellowtail reported and there is an occasional biting yellowtail to be found.


The occasional showings of yellowtail have been reported in the area outside of Imperial Beach and in an area ranging from outside of Mission Bay on up to the lower part of the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla. A good depth range to try and locate yellowtail has been in 18 to 30 fathoms of water. Locating areas where there is a lot of bait has been a good way to try and find a school of yellowtail


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and fish that are up working on the surface under spots of working birds. Once located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all been working for yellowtail. Of these methods, surface iron that is cast to a spot of breaking fish before they sound has been working the best.


Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There are reports of mackerel being caught for bait in about 40-50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


Areas producing some halibut action along the San Diego County coast are the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, fishing in 180 to 220 feet of water at the sandy bottom outside of the Oceanside Pier, fishing the sandy bottom areas adjacent to the structure of the Yukon shipwreck and adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower off Mission Beach and fishing the area between the Imperial Beach Pier and the Tijuana River. San Diego Bay is another place where some biting halibut have been found.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


• • • • •

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 playing hide and seek!
The past week has seen days of good showings of bluefin tuna which have produced action in areas ranging from outside of Newport Beach on down to the Coronado Canyon outside of San Diego. Last weekend and the early part of the week provided the best showings of bluefin with things tapering down to where there has not been much seen during the past couple of days.

The bluefin have mostly been in the 20- to 80-pound class with some bigger fish to 100-plus pounds in the mix and with a report of a 225-pound bluefin being caught last weekend. Most of the bluefin have been biting from spots of breaking fish with slow trolled mackerel, poppers and surface iron working best. The area ranging from 2 to 6 miles off Newport Beach has been the best with the 14 Mile Bank, the area 2 to 5 miles off the coast outside of Dana Point, the City of San Clemente, San Onofre and Oceanside also producing some action. In the San Diego region, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the Coronado Canyon have been productive areas with some kelp paddie yellowtail also being scratched out around the 9 Mile Bank.


Things were rather quiet with regard to bluefin activity on Thursday and this morning is Friday morning and there has been a report by 2 Skippers of seeing a few small spots of breaking bluefin while fishing around the upper and middle parts of the 9 Mile Bank. A morning report from 2 boats fishing at the 14 Mile Bank was that the fishing was slow.


The recent weather has been nice except for some fog. Saturday’s NOAA weather forecast calls for a change with a significant chance of rain and increased wind in the forecast with the chance of rain beginning this evening which is Friday evening. As always, be sure to check the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.


Sportboats continue to fish the Mexican coast off Punta Colnett on Saturday 1.5 day and 2 day trips. The high spot area outside of Punta Colnett continues to be productive and continues to provide very good mixed bag fishing for reds, assorted rockfish, lingcod and yellowtail.


Last Saturday’s fishing saw the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing fish a 1.5 day trip with 33 anglers who caught 72 reds, 7 lingcod, 15 yellowtail and 165 rockfish.


The Punta Colnett area ling cod have included nice sized fish that have gone up over 30 pounds. When yellowtail have been biting they have also been quality sized fish which have included a good percentage that have been up in the 18- to 25-pound range. When yellowtail are located, yo-yo iron is most often the best way to go and a sardine or mackerel fished on a dropper loop rig can also be effective. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X or 7X jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, dorado and sardine colors.


The fishing for reds, rockfish, whitefish and an occasional lingcod remains very good for boats fishing in the region of the Coronado Islands. Productive areas include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running daily three-quarter day trips to fish for reds, rockfish and other assorted bottom fish species around the Coronado Islands. The most recent count on the New Seaforth is from Thursday’s fishing when 22 anglers caught their limits of 220 assorted rockfish.


An ongoing reminder to anglers is that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure on the U.S. side of the Mexico border will remain in effect until March 1, 2020. With the rockfish/groundfish closure currently in effect, Southern California anglers fishing in US waters continue to focus their efforts on species that remain open to fishing and there has been good action for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin along with a few halibut and an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


The yellowtail fishing along the San Diego County coast has been slow but there are occasional showings of yellowtail reported and there is an occasional biting yellowtail to be found.


The occasional showings of yellowtail have been reported in an area ranging from outside of Imperial Beach on up to the ridge outside of Del Mar but most recent showings of yellowtail have been found in an area ranging from outside of Mission Bay on up to the lower part of the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla. A good depth range to try and locate yellowtail has been in 18 to 30 fathoms of water. Locating areas where there is a lot of bait has been a good way to try and find a school of yellowtail


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and fish that are up working on the surface under spots of working birds. Once located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all been working for yellowtail. Of these methods, surface iron that is cast to a spot of breaking fish before they sound has been working the best.


Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There are reports of mackerel being caught for bait in about 40 to 50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, 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 have been finding very good fishing on a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin while fishing the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines and the structure of artificial reefs outside of Oceanside. He says there has also been very good sculpin fishing and some pretty good numbers of bass biting off Box Canyon.


Cacciola also mentioned that there have also been a few halibut biting around the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines as well as at the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the artificial reefs off Oceanside.


Other areas producing some halibut action along the San Diego County coast are fishing in 180 to 220 feet of water outside of the Oceanside Pier, fishing the sandy bottom areas adjacent to the structure of the Yukon shipwreck and adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower off Mission Beach and fishing the area between the Imperial Beach Pier and the Tijuana River. San Diego Bay is another place where some halibut have been biting as well.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


• • • • •

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.



Good weather days provide good fishing!
The past week saw a couple of days of not so good weather with some rain wind and choppy seas but overall, it was a week of mostly good weather with lots of sunshine and good fishable ocean conditions. Anglers who took advantage of the good weather days and got out on the water to do some fishing often found that there was fun winter time fishing to be had on a variety of good eating fish for the dinner table.


I have no specific news from offshore on the tuna fishing front but my curiosity was perked this morning by a radio transmission from a Skipper who was asking if anyone had found any bluefin tuna out at the 9 Mile Bank. He got no reply to his inquiry but my inference from his radio call was that someone may have seen bluefin out at the 9 Mile Bank in recent days. It was just a couple of weeks ago when bluefin were being reported around the 138 Spot and 181 Spot at the Ridge so there have been some bluefin around in Southern California waters during the winter months.


Sportboats continue to fish the Mexican coast off Punta Colnett on Saturday 1.5 day trips. The high spot area outside of Punta Colnett continues to be productive and continues to provide very good mixed bag fishing for reds, assorted rockfish and lingcod. Recent weeks have also seen good numbers of yellowtail and some bonito biting but last Saturday’s fishing for yellowtail and bonito was slow.


Saturday’s fishing saw the Relentless out of H&M Landing fish a 1.5 day trip with 12 anglers who caught 50 reds, 48 rockfish and 12 lingcod. Point Loma Sportfishing had the Vagabond fish a 1.5 day trip with 28 anglers who caught 123 rockfish, 97 reds and 36 lingcod. Fisherman’s Landing had the Pacific Queen fish a 1.5 day trip with 32 anglers who caught 95 reds, 5 lingcod and limits of rockfish.


The Punta Colnett area ling cod have included nice sized fish that have gone up over 30 pounds. When yellowtail have been biting they have also been quality sized fish which have included a good percentage that have been up in the 18- to 25-pound range. When yellowtail are located, yo-yo iron is most often the best way to go and a sardine or mackerel fished on a dropper loop rig can also be effective. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X or 7X jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, dorado and sardine colors.


The fishing for reds, rockfish, whitefish and an occasional lingcod remains very good for boats fishing in the region of the Coronado Islands. Productive areas include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running daily three-quarter day trips to fish for reds, rockfish and other assorted bottom fish species around the Coronado Islands. The count on the New Seaforth from yesterday’s fishing (Thursday) was 18 anglers catching 134 assorted rockfish, 45 reds and 1 lingcod.


An ongoing reminder to anglers is that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure on the U.S. side of the Mexico border went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. This closure will remain in effect until March 1, 2020. With the rockfish/groundfish closure currently in effect, Southern California anglers fishing in US waters continue to focus their efforts on species that remain open to fishing and there has been good action for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin along with an occasional bonus halibut and an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


The showings of yellowtail along the San Diego County coast remain inconsistent and unpredictable as to where and when yellowtail might be found. Locating areas where there is a lot of bait has been a good way to try and find a school of yellowtail.


There have been occasional showings of yellowtail reported ranging from the area outside of Imperial Beach on up to the ridge outside of Del Mar but most recent showings of yellowtail have been found in an area ranging from outside of Mission Bay on up to the lower part of the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla. A good depth range to try and locate yellowtail has been in 18 to 30 fathoms of water.


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and fish that are up working on the surface under spots of working birds. Once located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all been working for yellowtail. Of these methods, surface iron that is cast to a spot of breaking fish before they sound has been working the best.


Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There are reports of mackerel being caught for bait in about 40-50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the area a short way above the Imperial Beach Pier while fishing in 7 to 8 fathoms of water, hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


There have been a few halibut biting at sandy bottom areas adjacent to the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach as well as at sandy bottom areas adjacent to the sunken NEL Tower outside of Mission Beach. San Diego Bay is another place where occasional catches of halibut have been reported in recent weeks. In a new development, this week has also seen an additional area of halibut activity develop with a few halibut caught by boats fishing outside of Imperial Beach.


* * *


It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


Southern California anglers enjoying good winter fishing!
Recent weeks have provided Southern California anglers a lot of days of nice weather and anglers that have been selective about choosing the good weather days to go out on the ocean and do some fishing have often been returning with good numbers of some tasty fish for the dinner table. The upcoming weekend does have some bad weather in the forecast with a chance of rain currently within the forecast for Sunday and Monday. It is good practice to always check the latest marine weather forecast before going boating or fishing.

The weeks leading up to the end of the month of January saw some drift net commercial boats catching a mix of 60 to 90-plus pound bluefin tuna, a few thresher sharks and an occasional swordfish or mako shark while fishing their nets in areas between 32 miles and 50 miles from Point Loma. These fish were being found out in the area of the Ridge while working the area between the 138 Spot and the area above the end of the Ridge above the 181 Spot. There were also some kelp paddie yellowtail being seen in that same zone. The commercial boats that were fishing that area had their drift net commercial season come to an end at midnight on Jan. 31, 2020 and there have not been any reports one way or the other from that zone since the commercial drift net season came to a close. If someone wanted to give it a look to try to do some sportfishing, a key to locating the tuna was to find meter marks in 61.3 to 61.8 degree water.


Sportboats continue to fish Punta Colnett on 1.5 day trips that are mostly fishing on Saturdays. The high spot area outside of Punta Colnett continues to be productive and continues to provide very good mixed bag fishing for reds and assorted rockfish that is complimented by a mix of lingcod, whitefish, bonito and yellowtail. Some good news from the Punta Colnett area from the fishing last Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 was that the numbers of biting yellowtail had improved when compared to the yellowtail action of the prior couple of weeks.


As an example of the fishing last Saturday, the Vagabond out of Point Loma Sportfishing fished a 1.5 day trip and had 26 anglers catch 12 lingcod, 90 reds, 96 rockfish and 35 yellowtail. Fisherman’s Landing had both the Tomahawk and the Pacific Queen fishing 1.5 day trips and the Pacific Queen had 33 anglers catch 150 rockfish, 120 reds, 23 yellowtail and 11 lingcod. The Tomahawk had 13 anglers catch 65 rockfish 19 lingcod (to 35 pounds) and 6 bonito.


The yellowtail being caught on the Punta Colnett area trips have been going up into the 20-plus pound class. Best bet for yellowtail off Punta Colnett has been to look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of working birds. Yo-yo iron is usually the best way to go once yellowtail are located and a sardine or mackerel fished on a dropper loop rig can also be effective. Good choices for yo-yo iron included Salas 6X or 7X jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, dorado and sardine colors.


The fishing for reds, rockfish and an occasional lingcod continues to be very good around the Coronado Islands. Productive zones include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running three-quarter day trips to target the bottom fishing around the Coronado Islands and as an example of the recent fishing, on Thursday, they had 10 anglers on a three-quarter day trip catch 25 reds and 75 rockfish.


Anglers need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure on the U.S. side of the Mexico border went into effect on New Year’s Day and that it will remain in effect until March 1, 2020. With the rockfish/groundfish closure currently in effect, Southern California anglers fishing in US waters have been targeting species that are still open to fishing. The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin and there has also been an occasional halibut biting along with an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


As an example of the recent fishing, on Thursday, the Premier out of H&M Landing had 18 anglers on a half day trip catch 99 perch, 42 sand bass, 33 sculpin, 4 calico bass and 1 halibut. The Dolphin out of Fisherman’s Landing ran two half day trips with 23 anglers who caught 64 perch, 51 sand bass, 13 sculpin and 12 calico bass. The Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished a half day trip with 6 anglers who caught 4 calico bass, 10 sand bass, 4 sculpin and 6 calico bass that were released. The Oceanside Sea Center had the Chubasco II fish a half day trip with 15 anglers who caught 13 sand bass, 60 sculpin, 1 triggerfish, 16 sand bass that were released and 18 calico bass that were released.


There have been a few halibut biting at sandy bottom areas adjacent to the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach and adjacent to the sunken NEL Tower outside of Mission Beach. There have also been some halibut biting in San Diego Bay.


The showings of yellowtail along the San Diego County coast continue to be erratic from day to day and it has been kind of quiet with regards to reports about yellowtail activity during the past week. The main area of yellowtail activity has been spread from the area outside of Mission Bay on up to the area below the MLPA closure zone below the lower end of La Jolla. There have also been occasional showings of yellowtail outside of the upper end of La Jolla and outside of Torrey Pines. A good depth range to locate yellowtail has been while fishing in 18 to 30 fathoms of water.


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and spots of working birds. Locating areas where there is a lot of bait has been a key factor in successfully locating yellowtail. This morning, boats fishing the area outside of Mission Bay and Mission Beach were finding a lot of bait while fishing in the 24 to 30 fathom depths but were not reporting much in the way of yellowtail activity in the area.


Once yellowtail are located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all worked for the yellowtail. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There have been mackerel to catch for bait in 40-50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


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