Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Tuna bite remains excellent overall

Quick bout with rough weather keeps boats close

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Sep 10, 2019

Excellent offshore fishing continues with catches of bluefin tuna, and yellow­fin tuna along with bonus yellowtail, skipjack and dorado biting. The one negative from the past weekend the rough and sloppy weather conditions entered the picture that kept most boats from fishing off the back side of San Clemente Island.

Anglers wishing to target large bluefin have been heading over to San Clemente Island and have been finding good fishing for fish in the 90- to 300-pound class. The best areas have been 4 to 8 miles to the southeast of Pyramid Head as well as in the region of the 81 Fathom Spot located outside of China Point.

TEDD STYLES WITH his super cow which taped out to 344 pounds, alongside Quiteña skipper Capt. Rich Hamilton and crewman Sam Long. PHOTO BY WENDY TOCHIHARA

The SCI bluefin have been biting best on flying fish and mackerel fished from kites or balloons. Tony Dileva of the Esperanza fished off San Clemente Island on Friday before the bad weather arrived. He found some schools of big bluefin but couldn’t get them to bite the kite-trolled Yummee Flyers. Dileva said the people he talked to who hooked up were using flying fish or mackerel under helium balloons.

The very good fishing for 15- to 20-pound yellowfin and 20- to 50-pound bluefin has been found by boats fishing some of the offshore banks below and outside of the Coronado Islands. The better days of fishing have seen some sportboat counts that contain limits of bluefin and yellowfin. Pro­ductive areas over the weekend were fishing the regions of the 302 Spot, 371 Bank, 425 Bank and 475 Knuckle. The 9 Mile Bank is another zone that has produced some yellowfin and bluefin action during the week, but the bite has been inconsistent from one day to the next.

In many of situations, the tuna are picky and dropping down to 15- or 20-pound fluoro­carbon leaders and small hooks helps. Sardines are the best live bait, and taking the time to select a hot bait also helps getting a bit. Flat-Fall jigs and Coltsnipers are also producing some action on the bluefin and yellowfin.

Captain Bob Woodard of the Christina Lynn fished some of the offshore banks below and outside the Coronado Islands and reported drifting in the general area where he found 5 or 6 boats were drifting and picking away at an occasional tuna. Once they started drifting and putting some chum in the water, both bluefin and yellow­fin gathered around the boat and stayed with them for five hours.

Woodard said they were using small hooks and fluoro leaders as light as 12-pound-test, and they were able to boat 6 bluefin and 4 yellowfin. The use of the light line and small hooks resulted in quite a few lost fish in addition to what they boated, and he said they also had some seals come in and grab some of their hooked fish. This action was found to the northeast of the 371 Bank ,23 miles 199 degrees from Point Loma.

Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna caught six of the 15- to 25-pound class yellowfin tuna between the 371 Bank and the lower end of the Kidney Bank at 26 miles, 212 degrees from Point Loma. He said they stopped on a meter mark, drifted and chummed, and the fish stayed with the boat and boil on the chum. In addition to the yellowfin, they had some 100-pound bluefin boiling but they could not get them to bite.

Marlin fishing has been fair with action being reported in the Catalina region 1 to 4 miles off the Slide, 1 to 4 miles off the Can Dump, 1 to 2 miles off Avalon, at the Avalon Bank around the 125 Spot and at the 14 Mile Bank. There are occasional tailers, sleepers and jumpers being seen and some blind jig strikes to be found. There have also been some showings of swordfish off the Avalon Bank, 14 Mile Bank and Avalon. There has also been an some swordfish hooked and boated by anglers using the deep-drop technique.

The Coronado Islands have not seen much fishing pressure lately due to solid fishing offshore. The best areas for finding surface action have been along the weather side of North Island, the north end of South Island, the Ribbon Kelp and the South Kelp. Good areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge in 25 to 40 fathoms and the hard bottom areas to the north, the northwest and the northeast of North Island in 20 to 45 fathoms of water.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, whitefish and sculpin and there has also been a chance at finding a few small bonito biting along with a chance at a bonus lingcod, halibut or yellowtail.

Calico bass continue to provide most of the surface fishing action with kelp bed areas up and down much of the San Diego County coast producing action. Some of the more productive areas for calicos have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and South Carls­bad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp off Box Canyon.

Yellowtail fishing remains generally slow, but there has been a bit of improvement with the past week seeing a bit of yellowtail activity at the upper end of La Jolla. There have also been some small bonito biting along the edges of the same kelp bed areas as are mentioned above.

Rockfish are a significant part of the coastal fishing picture with recent reports of good rockfish catches coming from hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar and Box Canyon.

Hard bottom and structure spots have also been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom spots between the Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Mexico border, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.

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