Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Mixed bags available from Coronado Islands to Colonet

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Jan 07, 2020

The past week offshore was made up of multiple days with fishable conditions followed by large swells entering the picture heading into the weekend. No strong weather systems passed through Southern California, so the ocean had a good chance to recover from the storms that came prior to the Christmas holiday.

Sportboats fishing down the Mexican coast at the high spot region outside of Punta Colonet found some very good mixed-bag fishing for reds, an assortment of rockfish, lingcod and yellowtail.

ON HIS FIRST ocean-fishing trip, Dave Hooper of New Mexico connected to this sandy when he dropped a jighead-and-plastic with a squid trailer on Izor's Reef. He was fishing aboard Pelagic Pleasures with his friend, Kevin Jamison, on New Year's Day. PHOTO COURTESY KEVIN JAMISON

On Saturday, Fisherman’s Landing had the Pacific Queen fish a 1.5-day trip to Colonet with 34 anglers who caught 140 reds, 135 rockfish, 21 yellowtail and 9 lingcod. They also had the Tomahawk on a 1.5-day that returned with 150 rockfish, 11 lingcod and 1 bonito. H&M Landing had the Old Glory fish a Saturday 1.5-day trip with 13 anglers who caught 99 rockfish, 17 lingcod and 14 yellowtail.

Punta Colonet is known for producing quality reds and rockfish, and Fisherman’s Land­ing reports the yellowtail caught on the Pacific Queen were in the 12- to 22-pound class. Fisher­man’s Landing also noted that the lingcod caught on the Tomahawk were quality fish to 22 pounds.

The fishing for reds and rockfish around the Coronado Islands has also been outstanding. Productive areas include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathoms. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronados has been along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathoms.

Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn fished for rockfish around the Coronado Islands on Friday and scored limits, half of which were reds. He found the spot in depths ranging between 50 and 55 fathoms in the area below Coronado Canyon.

The New Seaforth has been running three-quarter day trips to target bottom biters around the Coronados, and as an example of the recent fishing, on Sunday she had 20 anglers return with 145 rockfish, 50 reds, 4 whitefish and 1 lingcod. The Premier out of H&M Landing has also been fishing half-day trips targeting the bottom fishing around the Coronados on weekday mornings and their last trip was on Thursday when 22 anglers caught their limits of 220 rockfish.

There are still boats fishing for swordfish, but the fishing has slowed from where it was several weeks ago but there are still occasional hook-ups. The main areas being targeted are the shelf outside of Newport Beach, the drop-off below and outside of the oil rigs in the Catalina Channel, the Avalon Bank, the Rock Quarry at Catalina, the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot.

Skippers have been deep-drop drifting those areas in 150 to 300 fathoms of water and have been fishing their baits at around 900 feet below the surface. Large, frozen squid have been the best bait with live mackerel also producing.

pairoffirstsSWORD ON THE FIRST — Brandon Hayward of Bight Sportfishing rang in the New Year in a big way, putting angler Marc Levine on a 189-pound swordfish that ate live squid on the drift at 1,000 feet on Jan. 1 off Catalina.

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

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.

There have been a few halibut biting out in 30 fathoms of water outside of the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach and in the area of the sunken NEL Tower outside of Mission Beach. There was also a recent report of some halibut biting in San Diego Bay.

The showings of yellowtail along the San Diego County coast have been erratic from but there have been occasional showings in the area ranging from the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma on up to the upper end of La Jolla. A good depth range has been in 18 to 30 fathoms. Specific areas where there has been occasional yellowtail activity over the past couple of weeks are the upper end of La Jolla, the area below the MLPA closure zone off the lower end of La Jolla, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Point Loma College, the Green Tank and the region of the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma.

On Saturday, a private boater found an area of yellowtail meter marks while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla and ended up catching three yellows. At one point they came up crashing on the surface and they were able to get three hookups using surface iron.

The forkies have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located on meter marks and spots of working birds. Once 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 45s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep on a dropper loop.

There are recent reports of mackerel being caught for bait in about 40-50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.

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