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Private boaters making most of weather windows

BY BOB VANIAN/976BITE.comPublished: Mar 20, 2018

Unsettled weather in the form of a late-winter series of storm systems once again kept a lot of boats at the dock. There were some better between the weather systems, and these windows allowed anglers to go out and enjoy good fishing for a variety of species that included yellowtail, rockfish, calico bass, sand bass, sculpin and halibut.

The last offshore report I received came from the Legend out of H&M Landing that fished an overnight trip back on March 10, and it had five anglers catch 25 yellowtail and 2 bluefin tuna while fishing the region of the 295 Bank.


Boats fishing the High Spot area off Punta Colonet have been doing well on reds and rockfish. There has also been a chance at finding some bonus lingcod, yellowtail or bonito biting. The one trip I know of that fished the Punta Colonet High Spot area during the week was the Old Glory out of H&M Landing that fished a 1.5-day trip on Saturday and had 20 anglers catch 100 reds and 100 rockcod. Meter marks and sonar marks have been the best way to locate yellowtail and once located, they have been biting best on yo-yo iron.


The fishing around the Coronado Islands has been good for an assortment of reds and rockfish and there has also been a chance at finding some yellowtail action. The yellowtail action has been getting harder to find during the past couple of weeks but they are out there.


The unsettled conditions kept some boats that might have been out fishing at the Coronados at the dock during the week but the Liberty out of Fisherman’s Landing did fish the Coronados on Saturday and had 18 anglers on a full day trip catch 90 rockfish, 70 reds and 1 yellow.


The best bet for finding forkies has been looking for meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish around the Rockpile. Once located, yo-yo iron has worked the best, but some have also been biting on surface iron, flylined sardines and sardines that are fished on a dropper loop.


The best bottom-fishing areas 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 off North Island has been 40 to 50 fathoms. Another one of the more productive rockfish zones has been at the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank on the Mexico side of the border.


Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast have also had to deal with the weather but have been able to take advantage of some of the breaks via morning or afternoon half-day trips. It has been mostly calico bass, sand bass, rockfish and sculpin that have been biting to go with a bonus halibut or yellowtail.


Some of the better areas for rockfish 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 and 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.


The better areas for the bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard-bottom areas to the north of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma and outside of La Jolla. Also producing well 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.


Best areas for a chance at a halibut in the Imperial Beach and Point Loma region has been at the sandy-bottom patches outside of the Imperial Beach Pier and at the Point Loma Buoyline area. At the Buoyline, take a look in the area ranging from inside of the Point Loma Lighthouse on in to where you are fishing around the bait receivers inside of Ballast Point. Going further north also try the sandy bottom adjacent to the Yukon Shipwreck outside of Mission Beach, 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. Further above Oceanside, also productive have been those types of areas off San Onofre and outside of the San Clemente Pier.


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


When seen under the birds, the spots of yellows usually have been fast moving fish that are hard to get to before they sound. The best bet in that situation has been fishing the meter marks and sonar marks with yo-yo iron. There has also been occasional yellowtail action found on surface iron and on sardines that are fished deep with dropper loop rigs. The best time to try surface iron is when you can get the jig to breaking fish before they sound.


spottiesuccessSPOTTIE SUCCESS — Eric Hallimore shows off some fat and healthy spotted bay bass that were caught and released during the past weekend’s SBS tournament in San Diego Bay.

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