Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Best bluefin zone within 35 miles of Point Loma

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Jun 04, 2019

Fishing offshore saw some significant changes in the weather which turned much more “spring like” and remained so into this week. This allowed more anglers to get out on the water, and fishing continued to be highlighted by bluefin tuna as well as some days of good surface fishing at San Clemente and Catalina islands for a mix of yellowtail, calico bass, bonito and barra­cuda.

The bluefin fishing continues to draw a lot of attention, and there were some days that produced near-limit to limit action on them. The majority of the sportboat counts from the weekend ranged from the single digits up into the high teens. The bite continues to be hit-or-miss overall.

Tom Golding of the Last Buck chased bluefin on Saturday and caught a 68-pound model that ate a flylined sardine off a kelp paddy found below the Upper Hidden Bank at 48 miles, 182 degrees from Point Loma. Golding said they stopped on a lot of empty paddies and a few had some bait around them, but that this was the only one holding tuna. He said it was a large paddy with birds sitting on it. The only other bluefin activity they saw was a few spots of breaking fish during the afternoon hours above the Upper Hidden Bank.

The best zone on Sunday proved to be the area below the 371 Bank and below and outside of the 371, 30 to 35 miles, 199 to 207 degrees from Point Loma. Sunday’s fishing also saw some bluefin activity below the 425 Bank in an area spread from 25 to 30 miles, 188 to 191 degrees from Point Loma. Recent days have also seen some bluefin biting for boats fishing below the Upper Hidden Bank in an area ranging from 40 to 48 miles, 170 to 182 degrees from Point Loma.

The bluefin have been ranging from 25 to 275 pounds, but I have not heard of anything over 150 lately. Most of the tuna have been falling within the 50- to 100-pound class. Once located, they’ve been biting fly-lined and kite-fished sardines, ’dines fished with torpedo sinkers and Flat-Fall jigs.

The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands continues to be slow and it has yet to recover from when four-consecutive days of Small Craft Advisories and Gale Warnings were posted a couple of weeks ago. The area is very good for bottom fishing with an assortment of reds, rockfish and whitefish biting along with an occasional lingcod. The surface fishing at the Coronados is scratchy with an occasional yellowtail biting to go with some pretty good numbers of calico bass and a few barra­­cuda.

A productive zone for the rockfish has been at hard-bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island in 35 to 50 fathoms of water. Another productive rockfish zone has been while fishing the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in 25 to 40 fathoms.

Look for a shot at yellowtail along the weather side of North Island, at the Middle Grounds, at the north end of South Island and at the lighthouse at the south tip of South Island. Best bet for calico bass and barracuda have been at the Ribbon Kelp, 5-Minute Kelp and South Kelp with the boiler rocks at the Middle Grounds and the north end of South Island also producing some calicos.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of bass, reds, rockfish, sculpin and whitefish along with an occasional halibut or lingcod. There is also a chance at scratching out a yellowtail while fishing outside of Point Loma College, Hill Street, the upper end of La Jolla or Torrey Pines.

Look for sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breaking fish and trolling strikes on Rapalas to locate yellowtail. A good depth range has been 10 to 18 fathoms. Once yellows are located, try fly-lined sardines, ’dines fished on a dropper-loop, surface iron, yo-yo iron or slow-trolled sardines or mackerel. The yellowtail fishing seems to be improving. As I am preparing this report on Monday morning, a private boater reported catching two while fishing off the upper end of La Jolla and another private boater caught one off Hill Street at Point Loma.

Productive rockfish areas off the San Diego County coast include the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad and Box Canyon.

Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin with Beach Pipeline, the hard-bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, 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, and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside all standing out in this department.

The fishing at San Clemente Island has been good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, barracuda, calico bass and an occasional white seabass. There has been some squid to catch for bait at night off Pyramid Cove, and the squid area has also produced an occasional seabass and some of the larger 20- to 30-pound yellowtail. Also look for those larger yellowtail in the ridge areas outside of Pyramid Cove. The front side of the Island has been producing a mix of yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and barracuda while fishing areas between Gold Bluff and White Rock. Some of the yellowtail have been biting while sitting on the anchor and chumming.

Catalina has seen improved surface fishing for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and white seabass. The best zone is the Eagle Reef area located above the Isthmus, and there has also been some action at spots such as Salta Verde, Orange Rocks, the V’s and Church Rock. SoCal guide Gerry Mahieu recently piled up double-limits of yellowtail while throwing surface iron along the front side of the island.

There has been a bit of squid to catch at night off Ben Weston at Catalina, but over the weekend, boats were catching it at San Clemente Island and bringing it over to Catalina where they would anchor off Avalon to sell to private boaters.

coastghostCOAST GHOST — Scott Bixler stuck this 47-pound white seabass while fly-lining a sardine off the San Diego coast. This is his son, Noah, holding it up for the photo.

FIRST HALIBUT FOR Carlos Fernandez, who was working a ¼-ounce Chovy Hookup Bait from his kayak in Anaheim Bay at the PCH bridge at Sunset Beach.

doublelimitsDOUBLE LIMITS OF Catalina yellowtail for Gerry Mahieu. All fell for surface iron worked on the front side of the island.

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