Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Water warms, firing up the bite

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Jun 12, 2018

The past week of fishing saw some days of nice weather and there was a marked warming of the water. For instance, boats on the offshore fishing grounds were reporting water temperatures that were in the 66- to 68-degree range and boats fishing along the San Diego County coast were reporting that water temperatures have warmed into the 65- to 70-degree range. These temperatures are up 2 to 5 degrees over what they were 10 days ago.

In more distant offshore waters, boats are fishing an area of bluefin that is also producing an occasional yellowfin tuna and a few yellowtail in the waters to the southwest of San Martin Island. The bluefin in this sector have been mostly 25- to 35-pound fish. The best fishing in this area has been found while working from 154 to 159 miles, 166 to 167 degrees from Point Loma.

In more local offshore waters, boats have been finding action on a mix of bluefin tuna and yellowtail while fishing the area to the west of the 371 Bank. This has you fishing outside of the lower part of the Kidney Bank in an area that is spread from 30 to 38 miles, 220 to 228 degrees from Point Loma.

The bluefin in this zone have been mostly 25 to 40 pounds but there are fish to 200 pounds in this sector with a 173-pound bluefin caught aboard the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing on Sunday, June 10. As an example, the Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing fished a 1.5-day trip on Saturday, June 9, and had 23 anglers catch 7 bluefin tuna. The Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished an overnight trip on Sunday, June 10, and they had 16 anglers catch 4 bluefin tuna and 1 yellow­tail.

The fishing at the Coronado Islands has been good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, barracuda and calico bass. The best reports have been coming from the weather side of South Island and the Middle Grounds. Recent days have seen some of the yellowtail counts go up over the 100 mark. Halibut have also been more active in recent days and on Friday there was a report from a private boater who had caught 4 legal halibut while drifting sandy bottom areas inside of South Island.

The yellowtail have been found on meter marks, sonar marks, spots of fish under working birds, and on trolled Rapalas and sardines. Once located, the yellowtail have been biting well on flylined sardines, surface iron and yo-yo iron. The yellowtail have been running from 6 to 20 pounds with the majority of the fish in the 8- to 16-pound range.

Private boater Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna fished the Coronado Islands with private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News on Friday, June 8. Sparks said that they were fishing aboard McDonell’s boat Robalo and that they caught limits of yellowtail. They found yellowtail action on slow trolled live baits as well as on surface iron. Sparks said that in addition to limits of yellowtail, they also caught and released several nice sized calico bass, bonito and barracuda. One of the barracuda was reported to be a log sized 10-pound fish.

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 and there is also a chance at scratching out a nice white seabass while fishing with live mackerel at the Barn Kelp and View Point areas above Oceanside. The rest of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin, rockfish, white­fish and an occasional halibut.

If you want to give La Jolla a try for yellowtail, 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. The best bet for a white seabass at La Jolla has been fishing along the edges of the kelp beds at the upper end of La Jolla with a live mackerel.

Halibut fishing has been improving along the coast with some legal halibut reported for boats fishing outside of the Imperial Beach Pier, inside of San Diego Bay, outside of Mission Beach, off Solana Beach and off Leucadia. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to structure and to kelp and hard bottom has been the best bet. Private boater Rex Finney reported a recent catch of 2 legal sized halibut while fishing in San Diego Bay and Finney’s experience is that the halibut start getting active once the water temperature gets up to 65 degrees.

There have been good numbers of yellowtail and calico bass biting at San Clemente Island. The best areas have been while fishing off West Cove, Pyramid Cove, White Rock and Purse Seine Rock and live squid has been the best bait. Squid has been hard to catch but at times skippers report being able to jig a bit at West Cove and Pyramid Cove.

At Catalina Island there have been good numbers of yellowtail biting for boats fishing spots around the middle part of the front side of the island as well as for boats fishing the back side at spots ranging from the V’s on up to Ben Weston. The kelp bed spots on the back side of Catalina have also been good for calico bass and reports are that the kelp beds have grown back well. Calico bass, yellowtail and an occasional white seabass have been biting for boats fishing around these kelp bed areas.

Live squid is the best bait for fishing at Catalina and San Clemente islands. Squid boats have been regularly offering squid for sale while anchored up outside of Avalon. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 11 or 72.

IRON MAN — Capt. Billy Keleman of BillyKFishing.com headed to San Clemente Island for a little bit of fun and relaxation. With zero expectations, he was thrilled to be rewarded with jumbo yellowtail chewing the surface iron.

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