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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Coronado Islands yellowtail are biting despite the recent poor weather!
It took well into the month of February before a lengthy stretch of cold, windy winter weather arrived in Southern California. The past several days have seen periods where there has a bit of rain that has been accompanied by cool temperatures and strong winds. There were bluefin tuna still biting at the offshore fishing grounds below and outside of Punta Colnett last weekend but I know of no boats that have ventured out to fish offshore waters during the week. Last Saturday's fishing (Feb. 17, 2018) saw the Excel out of Fisherman's Landing make a catch that included 15 bluefin tuna that went to 170 pounds. Last Saturday also saw the Mustang out of H&M Landing out fishing a 1.5- day offshore trip with 25 anglers that caught limits of yellowtail which was 125 yellowtail.


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Boats fishing the High Spot area in closer to the coast off Punta Colnett have been catching lots of reds and rockfish along with a few lingcod and yellowtail. Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 saw the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing fish a 1.5-day trip to Punta Colnett with 24 anglers that caught limits of rockfish and 3 yellowtail. Most of the yellowtail action has been coming from locating meter marks or sonar marks and fishing with yo-yoed iron.


What has shown signs of coming to life on days of fishable weather has been the yellowtail action around the Coronado Islands. On Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a 3/4-day trip with 23 anglers catch 7 yellowtail, 95 rockfish and 9 bonito. On Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, the San Diego fished a full day trip with 10 anglers that caught 16 yellowtail, 50 reds and 22 rockfish.


Private boaters have also been finding some yellowtail action while fishing around the Coronado Islands and the best zone has been reported to be in the Pukey Point area of North Island. The yellowtail action has been coming from stopping on meter marks and sonar marks and fishing with yo-yoed iron or with a sardine on a dropper loop rig.


The best bottom fishing areas around the Coronado Islands have been the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40 to 50 fathom depths. Also, productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.


Anglers need to keep in mind that the seasonal rockfish / groundfish closure remains in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, 2018. With the closure in effect, most anglers continue to focus on fishing for sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and halibut.


There has been an occasional flurry of yellowtail action off La Jolla but not much has been reported on the yellows since the arrival of the recent bad weather. Last Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing found some yellowtail biting. On their morning half-day trip they had 22 anglers catch 1 yellowtail, 12 sculpin, 4 sand bass and 2 calico bass. On their afternoon half-day trip they had 23 anglers catch 1 sand bass and 6 yellowtail. Seaforth Sportfishing reported that the yellowtail were biting on yo-yoed iron and that they were nice sized fish that went to 30 pounds. Seaforth Sportfishing was suggesting using 40- or 50-pound test for fishing yo-yoed iron for the big yellowtail. Hopefully, the yellowtail will start biting again once the weather settles down.


Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast have been finding their best bass and sculpin fishing while working hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas in San Diego County from the south to the north have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia, Carlsbad, the Anderson Pipeline, the Buccaneer Pipeline, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor, Box Canyon, the Barn and San Onofre.


Productive areas for a chance at a halibut from south to north have been the sandy bottom patches outside of the Imperial Beach Pier, the sandy bottom patches outside of the Point Loma Lighthouse, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom off Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom adjacent to the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and the sandy bottom off the Golf Ball area above Oceanside Harbor. Going further north, a couple of additional productive halibut zones have been the sandy bottom off San Onofre and the sandy bottom outside of the San Clemente Pier.


The bits of yellowtail activity I have heard reported in the La Jolla region have been while drifting around balls of bait being found outside of Pacific Beach and outside of the lower end of La Jolla. Other areas that might be worth a check for signs of yellowtail would be the 270 out to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla and outside of the stretch of coast between Torrey Pines and Del Mar.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of timely and accurate information.


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