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Privater Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Best bluefin zone moves to below and outside Coronados

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: May 16, 2018

The past week saw more days of rough and sloppy weather, but there were some days with better conditions, and there was some progress to report on the offshore fishing front. Bluefin tuna and yellowtail continued to bite in local offshore waters, and there were some larger bluefin to 180 pounds in the mix over the weekend. Additionally, the early part of the week brought very good yellowtail fishing to the Coronado Islands and thresher sharks were biting at Carlsbad Canyon.

Fishing for bluefin tuna and yellowtail has been attracting most of the attention, and the weekend saw bluefin and yellows biting for boats fishing the region between the 371 Bank and the 390 Bank down between 30 and 38 miles 205 to 210 degrees from Point Loma. Some good news to add to the fishing around the 371 Bank was the kelp paddy fishing for yellowtail has spread further north with a few biting under kelp paddies found outside of the 9 Mile Bank and out to the west of North Island.


Most of the bluefin have been biting from stops on sonar marks and spots of breaking fish. Sardines, mackerel and Flat-Fall jigs have been working well for the bluefin. Most of the kelp-paddy yellowtail action comes from fishing with sardines. The bluefin have been running from 25 to 180 pounds with most of them caught over the weekend in the 50- to 60-pound range, and an estimated 180-pound bluefin topped the catches over the weekend.


The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing had one of the better days of bluefin action on Saturday with 18 anglers on an overnight trip catching 20 bluefin. Fisherman’s Landing reported most of them were in the 50- to 60-pound range, and the Pacific Queen had a big tuna aboard that was estimated at 180 pounds. The Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing also got into the bluefin on Saturday with 6 anglers on a 1.5-day trip catching 6 bluefin and 35 yellowtail. Fisherman’s Landing said the bluefin caught aboard the Condor were in the 40- to 60-pound class. The Pacific Queen was back into the bluefin again Monday morning, and Fisherman’s Landing had an early update of the Pacific Queen having 12 of the 25- to 35-pound bluefin aboard by 8 a.m.


The yellowtail fishing around the Coronado Islands was very good during the early part of the week, but the bite started to fade later in the week and turned slow over the weekend.


Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the boat Robalo fished the Coronado Islands on Tuesday and got in on some of the red-hot yellowtail fishing. McDonell was fishing with Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna, and they each easily caught their limit of yellows and released a bunch more. McDonell reported catching all their yellowtail on surface iron cast to spots of breaking fish under working terns. He said it helped to vary the speed of the surface iron and to give the jig some jerks on the retrieve.


The hot yellowtail bite area has been along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island with the inside part of the ridge being the best. In addition to yellows, the spots of working terns have also been producing a bit of action on legal barracuda and bonito. Over the past 10 days or so, yellowtail have been biting from spots of working birds found from the South Kelp Ridge down to the Finger Bank, and locating the working birds has been a key to locating the yellowtail.


The rockfish fishing remains good around the Coronado Islands. Productive areas for reds and an assortment of rockfish have been the South Kelp Ridge, hard-bottom areas to the north and the northwest of North Island and the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to produce an occasional nice-sized yellowtail or white seabass at the upper end of La Jolla, but the water continues to be cool and off-color, and on most days, the bite on these species has been scratchy. The rest of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and rockfish along with an occasional halibut. Hard-bottom and structure spots have been best for the bass, sculpin and rockfish, and fishing the sandy-bottom adjacent to hard-bottom and structure has been best for halibut.


If you want to give the La Jolla area yellowtail a try, the best bet has been fishing with a live mackerel, surface iron or yo-yo iron outside of the upper end of La Jolla in the 18 to 30 fathom depths. Looking for meter marks or spots of breaking fish has been the best way to locate yellowtail in the area. The best bet for a white seabass has been fishing along the edges of the kelp beds at the upper end of La Jolla with a live mackerel.


The weekend saw some pretty good numbers of thresher sharks biting for boats fishing outside of the Carlsbad Power Plant at the Carlsbad Canyon. A few thresher sharks were also biting as boats were working outside of the stretch of coast between Oceanside and Carlsbad. The thresher sharks have been biting on Bait-O-Matics that are baited with mackerel and on trolled Rapalas.


commercialbreakCOMMERCIAL BREAK — Ron and Kevin Hester, along with Stacy Richardson, were commercial fishing aboard the panga Primo at Catalina where they hauled in 15-legal and 13 short halibut, a yellowtail, a short white seabass and 15 calicos. The Primo (SoCalHaliCharters.com) will soon be available for sportfishing charters.


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