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Private Boaters

Private Boater’s Report: Rockfish filling coolers, first signs of spring appearing

BY BOB VANIAN/ Published: Mar 12, 2019

Southern California anglers continue to dodge weather systems that bring wind, rain and high seas, but there have been some days with better conditions that have allowed boats to go out and sample the fishing.

There is no news specific to bluefin tuna or kelp paddy yellowtail in local offshore waters. At the Long Beach Fred Hall Show, there was some talk about some bluefin seen offshore, but there was nothing dependable to go on. Spring is coming, and if the weather settles down, it might not be too long before a reliable area of bluefin tuna is located.

The weekend report from down the Mexican coast around Punta Colonet was of very good fishing for a mix of reds and rockfish. In recent weeks, there have also been some yellowtail, bonito and lingcod in the mix.

The yellowtail off Punta Colonet have been mostly the 15- to 25-pound fish. Your best bet for the yellows has been locating meter marks or spots of working birds to stop on. Once yellows are located, try yo-yo iron or sardines on a dropper loop rig. The heavy Salas 6X and Salas 7X sized jigs in scrambled egg are always worth a try.

The Old Glory out of H&M Landing returned home from a 1.5-day trip on Sunday morning and had a fish count of 24 anglers bagging 120 reds and 120 assorted rockfish.

The fishing around the Coronado Islands has been good for a mix of reds, lingcod and an assortment of rockfish. Some sportboats were fishing at the Coronados over the weekend and on Sunday, the Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sport­fishing had 21 anglers fishing on a full-day trip catching 105 reds, 60 rockfish, 1 salmon grouper, 2 lingcod and 1 sheephead. The Grande out of H&M Landing also fished a full-day to the Coronados over the weekend and had 23 anglers sack limits, 230 rockfish.

Good areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island in 35 to 50 fathoms. There have been a few bonito biting around the Coronados in recent weeks, and the best areas for a shot at surface action have been along the weather side of North Island and at the Middle Grounds.

Fishing along the San Diego County coast remains good for a mix of rockfish, sand bass, calico bass and sculpin along with a few bonus lingcod or halibut. The nicer weather tends to produce the best fishing. Water temperatures along the coast remain on the cool side at 58 to 60 degrees, and all it might take is a few degrees of warming water to spark some white seabass or yellowtail activity.

Some of the best rockfish areas in the San Diego region on the U.S. side of the border include the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the west and northwest of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.

In addition to the rockfish along the San Diego County coast, there are also some sand bass, sculpin and calico bass biting along with a few bonus halibut. Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure area at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.

There have been a few halibut biting in various coastal areas. Some productive halibut zones include the sandy bottoms near the Aliso Pipeline off South Laguna Beach, outside of the Oceanside Pier, off South Ponto Beach, next to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower located outside of Mission Beach, next to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck located outside of Mission Beach, San Diego Bay and areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier.



NEXT-LEVEL FREEZER filling aboard the Pacific Mistress charter boat operating out of Dana Point. PACIFIC MISTRESS PHOTO

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