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Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Yellowfin and bluefin both found in good numbers

As far north as San Clemente Island

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Jul 02, 2019

The past week of fishing saw some big changes offshore as a westerly movement of fish that started at mid-week brought yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna and kelp paddy yellowtail into United States waters. By the weekend, boats were finding action on bluefin and yellowfin in areas ranging from the 371 Bank all the way up to within 4 miles of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island. There were a few striped marlin in the offshore fishing picture over the past weekend as well.

Productive tuna areas over the weekend included the waters around the 371, 230 Spot, 302 Spot, 224 Spot, the San Salvador Knoll, the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy, the 43 Fathom Spot and the area 4 to 12 miles to the southeast of Pyramid Head at San Clemente Island. The best area for the larger bluefin was up by San Clemente Island. There are still big bluefin in other areas as well including foamers of 100-pound-class bluefin being reported in the waters outside of the Coronado Islands in the region of the 224 Spot and the 302 Spot at the Kidney Bank.

A private boater caught 4 of these bigger bluefin up by San Clemente Island and another reported catching 4 of the 80- to 90-pound-class bluefin westerly of the 43.

The bluefin have ranged from 20 to 200-plus pounds with most falling within the 60- to 90-pound range. Yellowfin tuna have ranged in size from 12 to 50 pounds with most falling within the 10- to 15-pound range, and they have been biting from blind trolling strikes, on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breaking or breezing fish and with porpoise schools. Kelp paddies have been producing yellowtail and an occasional dorado. Most of these yellowtail have been better 12- to 15-pound fish.

Once located, bluefin have been biting on sardines fly-lined, or kite fished, kite-fished flying fish, sardines fished with torpedo sinkers, poppers, surface iron and Flat-Fall-type jigs. Smaller, frozen flying fish that were worked under a kite were hot along with and mint green Tady 45s thrown at breaking fish.

Sam Minervini of the sailboat Sailfish does a good amount of fishing and he fished on Friday and said he reported starting the day at the 230 Spot outside of the 302, but he didn’t run into any action. Where he did end up finding fish was an area below and inside of the 302 Spot at 22 miles 217 degrees from Point Loma where he found both yellowfin and bluefin on the surface.

Minervini said the tuna showed no interest in their sardines, but they did get a couple to bite on the troll. One bluefin was caught on a bird trolling rig with a 6-inch Doorknob jig, and the other was caught on a blue and white Rapala.

Tom Golding of the Last Buck fished on Saturday and said they caught 4 yellowfin tuna. The first two were found to the southeast of the 302, and the second two came from an area that was about 10 miles west of the 224 Spot. Three of their yellowfin came on cedar plugs and the fourth ate a Colt Sniper.

Saturday saw some marlin become part of the offshore fishing picture. There were 3 hookups reported incidental to tuna fishing by boats fishing inside of the Kidney Bank, at the 302 and at the 371 Bank.

The surface fishing at the Coronado Islands has been producing a pretty good mix of yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass. In addition to the surface fishing activity, there has also been very good fishing for an assortment of reds, rockfish and whitefish along with an occasional lingcod.

Productive areas for the surface fishing have been the Middle Grounds, the area inside of the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island, the Ribbon Kelp, the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge. A couple of additional spots that have been producing calico bass are the boiler rocks at the Middle Grounds and the boiler rocks at the north end of South Island.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast remains good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, reds, rockfish, sculpin and whitefish along with an occasional flurry of barracuda action and a bonus yellowtail, halibut or lingcod.

The best zone for a chance for some barracuda has been in the area of the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma and along the edges of the Point Loma Kelp Beds ranging from the Lighthouse on up to the Lab. Those same Point Loma Kelp Bed areas have also been producing some calico bass.

La Jolla has been the best zone to try and catch a coastal yellowtail. Marshall Madruga fished off the upper-middle part of La Jolla on Saturday afternoon and found some small spots of yellowtail popping up under working birds while out in about 110 feet of water. They could not get the yellows to bite, but it was encouraging that there were some showing in the area.

Calico bass have been active and biting in several kelp bed areas. Boats fishing the Point Loma Kelp Beds have been finding some calicos biting at the kelp between the Lighthouse and the Lab. The kelp beds off the upper and upper middle part of La Jolla have also been producing some calicos.

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.

The fishing at San Clemente Island has seen a good mix of yellowtail, calico bass, barracuda and assorted bottom fish biting. The yellowtail bite continues to be varied with some days of very good yellowtail action and some days when the yellowtail bite has been just fair.

There has been squid around San Clemente Island and Pyramid Cove has been an area that has produced squid for bait at night and which is also producing an occasional white seabass and some nice-sized yellowtail. Try for seabass and yellowtail at the squid area in Pyramid Cove, and some yellowtail have also been biting along the ridges in the 18 to 25 fathom depths outside of Pyramid Cove. The front side of the Island has also seen some yellowtail, calico bass and a few barracuda biting at spots between Purse Seine Rock and Gold Bluff.

Catalina Island has been seeing improved mixed-bag surface fishing action for calico bass, bonito, barracuda and yellowtail along with an occasional white seabass. Areas that have been providing some surface action have been along the back side of the Island have been Orange Rocks, Freddie’s Beach, Salta Verde, The V’s and Church Rock.

Spots along much of the front side of Catalina Island have been producing good surface fishing for barracuda, calico bass, bonito and yellowtail while fishing legal waters at spots ranging from Seal Rocks on up to Black Point. Spots along the front side of the middle part of the Island have been some of the best mixed-bag fishing, and one of the better yellowtail areas along the front side of the Island has been while drifting with live squid between the Can Dump and Seal Rocks in 70 feet of water.

Some of the squid boats have been running to the area outside off Avalon to anchor and offer squid for sale to private boaters. Try to raise squid boats on VHF channels 72 and 11.


cashedin1aCASHED IN – Cash Troop, and his dad, Tom, puttin’ in work on San Diego Bay spotties.

privateboaterjoePRIVATE BOATER Joe Craig (left) of the Bad Katitude got a tip there was tuna boiling at the 43, so he headed over and picked off two bluefin on trolled cedar plugs and three yellowfin at the 181 were caught on casting lures. Also on board were Cory Sieverding and Vince Moretti.

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