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Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Weather windows providing beach and kelp yellows

BY BOB VANIAN/976bite.comPublished: Mar 13, 2018

A few offshore bluefin

Recent days off the coast once again features sloppy weather conditions with a series of fronts passing through Southern California. There were some good days though, and those days provided anglers with the best fishing. The big news of the week came from offshore waters as the Legend out of H&M Landing ran an offshore overnight trip and found yellowtail and bluefin tuna biting and had 5 anglers catch their limits of 25 yellowtail along with 2 bluefin tuna.

The bluefin tuna are 30-pound class and the offshore kelp-paddy yellowtail are in the 4- to 8-pound range. Reports suggest these fish were caught while fishing kelp paddies in the area between the Upper Hidden Bank and the 295 Bank.

The fishing around the Coronado Islands continues to produce hit-or-miss action on yellowtail and good numbers of rockfish. The best yellowtail fishing continues to come from the region of the Rockpile with spots of fish being found under working birds. Yo-yo iron tends to work the best for the yellows which have also been biting on surface iron, flylined sardines and ’dines on a dropper loop. These yellows have been running from 6 to 12 pounds.

During the week some of the better sportboat counts were up around the 50 mark on the yellowtail with the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing posting a count of 18 anglers catching 53 yellowtail on Monday. Saturday was a day of unsettled weather, and there were still some yellow­tail biting as the San Diego ran a full day trip with 19 anglers sacking 8 yellows, 50 rockfish and 95 whitefish. Sunday’s weather was still sloppy and that vessel had a full day trip with 8 anglers that caught 40 rockfish and 1 bonito.

The best bottom fishing around the Coronado Islands have been in the region of the Rockpile and at hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island. A good depth range in the areas off North Island has been while fishing in 40 to 50 fathoms of water. Another productive rockfish zone has been at the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.

The San Diego County coast continues to produce a mix of rockfish, calico bass, sand bass and sculpin. There have also been a few halibut biting along with an occasional yellowtail.

Some of the better areas for rockfish fishing in the San Diego region have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the International Reef, hard bottom spots outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, hard bottom areas outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, the 270 out to the west of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.

Some of the better areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the north of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, hard bottom areas to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, hard bottom areas outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma and hard bottom areas outside of La Jolla. Also productive have been hard bottom spots outside of Leucadia and Box Canyon along with the structure of the Anderson Pipeline, Buccaneer Pipeline and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor.

Some of the better areas for a shot at a halibut from south to north have been the sandy-bottom patches outside of the Imperial Beach Pier, the San Diego Bay below the Point Loma Lighthouse on in to the area of the bait receivers, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck outside of Mission Beach, and adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom off Ponto Beach and adjacent to the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor and the sandy bottom off the Golf Ball area above Oceanside Harbor. Going further north also productive have been soft bottom areas off San Onofre and outside of the San Clemente Pier.

Private boater Bob James of the Lynn Marie reported fishing for halibut off Imperial Beach early in the week. He said it was a beautiful day out on the water but that they found nothing doing on the halibut. James thought it might have been too calm that day and thinks they would have benefited from some more breeze creating a faster drift for them.

There are occasional showings of 20- to 30-pound yellowtail in the La Jolla region, but even when they do show, it has been difficult to get them to bite. The yellows have been showing out in the 20 to 35 fathom depths outside of Pacific Beach and outside of La Jolla. Look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breaking fish under working birds.

Under the birds, these yellows usually have been fast moving fish that are hard to get to before they sound. The best bet has been fishing the marks with yo-yo iron. There has also been occasional yellowtail biting on surface iron and on sardines fished on a dropper loop. The best time to try surface iron is when you can get the jig to breaking fish before they sound.

Private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the boat Robalo tried for yellowtail at La Jolla at mid-week and found the fishing slow. He said they spent much of their time working outside of the upper end of La Jolla and out at the area of the 270 to the west of Mission Bay and saw no yellowtail activity. McDonell said there were some scattered spots of bait outside of the upper end of La Jolla but that it was a quiet day on the forkies.

Boats fishing the High Spot area off Punta Colonet have been catching good numbers of reds and assorted rockfish along with a few lingcod. There have also been occasional flurries of surface fishing action on yellowtail and bonito. Best bet for yellowtail has been using yo-yo’d iron that is dropped down to a meter mark or a sonar mark.

H&M Landing had a couple of boats fishing the Punta Colnett area on Saturday, March 10, 2018. The Relentless had a 1.5-day trip with 16 anglers catch 154 rockfish. The Old Glory had a 1.5-day trip with 20 anglers catch 100 rockfish, 57 reds, 23 bonito and 2 yellowtail.

SOLO SKIFF ANGLER Dan Houskamp stopped at Scripps Pier to make mackerel which he slow-trolled at La Jolla for this monster homeguard mossback.

ALEX CADY GUIDES out of The Fly Stop in San Diego, and he caught this San Diego Bay spottie on the long rod.

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