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Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Tuna scattered, but still present, after the storms

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Dec 11, 2018

The past week of fishing saw more bad weather pass through Southern Califor­nia’s coastal and offshore waters. but the good news was the weather improved over the weekend. Anglers were wanting to know what might be around and biting after the weather passed, and the weekend’s fishing brought some answers.

Prior to the most recent storm, there were bluefin tuna biting to the east-southeast of the Cortes Bank, and there were striped marlin biting off the east end of Catalina. The first boat I know of that went back to the bluefin grounds was the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Land­ing. That boat fished on Friday, and caught three bluefin. Those were the only bluefin for a 3-day trip which returned home on Sunday.

There were several sportboats that fished the area to the east-southeast of the Cortes Bank on Saturday, and the bluefin fishing was slow. Boats would then head east-southeast of the Cortes and look at some other areas such as the Mushroom Bank, Worm Bank and 60 Mile Bank. They found some kelp-paddy yellowtail and a few skipjack biting, but it sounded like things were pretty slow in the way of bluefin action.

Some fish counts from Saturday were from the Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing that had 16 anglers on a 1.5-day trip that bagged 26 yellowtail and 2 skipjack. Point Loma Sport­fishing had the New Lo-An fishing a 1.5-day trip that had 30 anglers catch 46 yellowtail.

The water temperature re­mains warm enough to hold bluefin and is running from 64 to 65 degrees. I am thinking that some bluefin may soon pop up around the 60 Mile Bank like they did around this time last year. Most of the bluefin being caught during the past couple of weeks have been in the 20- to 40-pound range, and most stops have come from stopping on sonar marks. Sardines have been working best for bait with Flat-Fall jigs also producing some action.

There are still a few tuna around in more local offshore waters. The past weekend saw a yellowfin caught from a school of porpoise in region outside of the Dana Point/San Onofre sector. There have also been occasional bluefin sightings in the area ranging from the 9 Mile Bank on out to the 302 Spot, 224 Spot and 182 Spot. On Sunday, there were a couple of private boaters out looking for tuna at the 9 Mile Bank, 302 Spot, 224 Spot and 182 Spot sectors, and one Skipper reported getting some light meter marks of tuna that he found with a school of porpoise. He was confident he was metering tuna but was not able to get them to bite. The other Skipper reported finding a kelp paddy that produced a few yellowtail, but I do not believe he found any activity. There are still a few around in the more local offshore waters, but to catch one, it sounds like you really have to be fortunate to be at the right spot at the right time.

Striped marlin have been holding in tight to the East End of Catalina in recent weeks and there were a few boats out looking around over the weekend to see what might still be around and biting after the storm. What was found was a few marlin holding in the area with a couple of feeders off the East End Light to Church Rock. I do not know of any bites being had over the weekend, but there were still some marlin holding in the area. The water temperature was running between 63.5 and 64 degrees.

Most of the marlin action over the past few weeks has been found while fishing in the 40- to 100-fathom depths in an area ranging from the Rock Quarry over to Church Rock. Much of the action has originated on the troll with occasional hook-ups from baiting sleepers, feeders and tailers.

Anglers were also curious about what the yellowtail fishing might be like at the Coronado Islands after the weather moved through. There were a few boats out fishing around the Coronados over the weekend, and there were some bonito and rockfish biting but no yellowtail action was reported. There were bonito biting at the Middle Grounds, North Island and the South Kelp with the Middle Grounds being the best. Try for rockfish at the South Kelp Ridge below South Island as well as at the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island. The bonito have been mostly nice sized 4- to 8-plus-pound fish.

The Malihini out of H&M Land­ing is the only sportboat I know of fishing the Coronados since the recent storm. They fished on Saturday and had a fish count of 11 anglers on a full day trip catching 40 reds, 31 rockfish, 25 whitefish, 22 bonito, 1 halibut and 1 sand bass.

The fishing along the San Diego area coast has seen most boats transitioning into a rockfish mode for some good numbers, but there have also been some bass biting along with a chance at some bonito or scratching out a halibut. Yellow­tail fishing has been slow. Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and rockfish and the best chance at finding some bonito action has been while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla or around the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma.

THEY’RE HERE — Jeff Gardner of Bonita was fishing for rockfish Saturday in 120 feet of water aboard Al Silebi of San Diego’s Diamond Dog when he cranked up this nice sand bass off the Whistler just offshore of San Diego Bay. It was one of 5 chunks that came on board.WON PHOTO PAUL LEBOWITZ

joshatkinsonJOSHUA ATKINSON (11 years old) from Redondo Beach landed this limit of lobster unassisted on the Josie Lynn out of San Diego. The hot bait was whole salmon fillets.

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