Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Decent weather days providing opportunities for bluefin, yellowtail, threshers, halibut and more!
I recently returned from some vacation time fishing for rainbow trout at Topaz Lake in the Sierras. The trout fishing was good on the days of fishable weather but there were several days of wet and windy weather conditions that kept me from getting out on the water. Upon returning home to San Diego, I found that the same windy weather conditions that I was trying to dodge and fish around in the mountains have been and are still troubling Southern California saltwater anglers who have had some days of good fishable weather and some days where the best decision has been to stay at the dock in order to avoid the rough water conditions out on the ocean.

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The good news is that there have been some days of decent weather between the bad weather days and the even better news is that the spring time fishing is continuing to develop with a chance at finding action on bluefin tuna, yellowtail, white seabass, halibut, thresher sharks, bass, sculpin and an assortment of rockfish.

Bluefin tuna have been attracting much of the attention and last Saturday, April 14, 2018 saw some boats fishing overnight and 1.5 day trips to the waters ranging from below the 295 Bank on down to the area outside of the 1140 Finger while working between 65 and 80 miles 170 to 175 degrees from Point Loma. There was action on bluefin, yellowtail and bonito found within this zone.

Bluefin have been biting from stopping on meter marks, sonar marks and an occasional spot of breaking fish. Kelp paddies in the region are providing a chance at some yellowtail action and are also producing an occasional bluefin tuna.

It was hit or miss action on getting into a good bluefin bite last Saturday and the fish counts from Saturday's fishing show the hit or miss nature of getting a good bluefin bite going. The counts start with the Tomahawk out of Seaforth Sportfishing that fished a 1.5 day trip with 21 anglers who caught limits of bluefin tuna which was 42 bluefin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing reports that the Tomahawk caught bluefin that went to 50 pounds. Fisherman's Landing had a 1.5 day trip aboard the Condor with 17 anglers catch 2 bluefin tuna and 2 yellowtail. Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An fishing an overnight trip with 32 anglers that caught 25 bonito, 12 yellowtail and 3 bluefin tuna. H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing a 1.5 day trip with 27 anglers that caught 36 yellowtail, 3 bluefin tuna and 1 bonito.

Today, is Friday, April 20, 2018 and Seaforth Sportfishing is reporting that the Pacific Voyager is fishing the first day of a 3 day trip and has limits of yellowtail and 3 bluefin tuna aboard for their first day of fishing. They were still fishing and had lots of time remaining in their first day of fishing at the time of the report.

The fishing around the Coronado Islands has been producing hit or miss action on yellowtail along with a mix of bonito, reds and assorted rockfish. The yellowtail action can be up and down from day to day but the better days of yellowtail fishing have seen near limit to limit yellowtail catches being reported.

Recent fish counts aboard the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing have been indicative of the hit or miss nature of the yellowtail bite with the more recent trips finding yellowtail playing hard to get. On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the San Diego had 18 anglers on a full day trip catch 65 reds and 65 rockfish. On Sunday, April 15, 2018 the San Diego had 39 anglers on a full day trip catch 123 rockfish and 107 reds. On Saturday, April 14, 2018 the San Diego had 43 anglers on a full day trip find some cooperative yellowtail and they caught 33 yellowtail, 75 whitefish, 40 rockfish and 1 sheephead. The San Diego's trip prior to April 14, 2018 was on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 when they had 9 anglers on a full day trip catch their limits of 45 yellowtail along with their limits of reds which was 45 reds.

The best yellowtail fishing around the Coronados has been found in the region of the Rockpile with sonar marks, meter marks and an occasional spot of fish found up on the surface under working birds leading to most of the action. Once located, the yellows have been biting on yo-yo iron, surface iron, flylined sardines and sardines fished on a dropper loop rig with the yo-yo iron usually working best. The yellowtail biting around the Coronados have been mixed sized fish that have mostly been in the 8 to 15 pound range.

There has also been some good bonito fishing reported around North Island with one private boater Skipper reporting finding lots of bonito action on trolled Rapalas. Bottom fishing remains good around the Coronados with reds and an assortment of rockfish producing good action at a variety of locations. Productive rockfish areas have been the South Kelp Ridge, hard bottom areas to the north and the northwest of North Island and the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.

Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast are finding their best chance at catching a yellowtail or white seabass to be in the La Jolla area. The yellowtail and white seabass fishing has been scratchy but there are occasional nice sized yellowtail and white seabass being scratched out of the area.

Yellowtail have been located in an area ranging from out in front of Mission Bay on up to Torrey Pines with the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines and the area outside of Mission Bay tending to provide the best opportunities for locating some yellowtail. Schools of bait and porpoise have been indicators of where yellowtail might be found and the yellows have been located by finding meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish under working birds. The yellowtail being found in these coastal areas tend to be the large 15- to 30-pound class fish.

The upper end of La Jolla has also produced an occasional nice sized white seabass. The best bet has been fishing with live mackerel along the outside edges of the kelp beds. Try slow trolling with a live mackerel or fishing a live mackerel down deep with a dropper loop rig.

Aside from the chance at yellowtail or white seabass in the Mission Bay to Torrey Pines region, boats fishing along the San Diego County coast have been finding a mixed bag of action on sand bass, calico bass, sculpin, halibut and rockfish.

Some of the better areas for rockfish in the San Diego region have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom spots outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, hard bottom areas outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, the Pine Tree outside of Sunset Cliffs, the 270 out to the west of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.

Some of the better areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the north of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, hard bottom areas to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, hard bottom areas outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma and hard bottom areas outside of La Jolla. Also productive have been hard bottom spots outside of Leucadia and Box Canyon along with the structure of the Anderson Pipeline, Buccaneer Pipeline and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor.

There have been some flurries of halibut action along the San Diego County coast but it has been hit or miss fishing. Productive halibut areas along the San Diego area coast have been the Imperial Beach Pier, the Buoyline area of Point Loma ranging from below the Point Loma Light House on in to the bait barges, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck off Mission Beach, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower off Mission Beach, the sandy bottom outside of Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor, 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.

Captain Tony Souza of the private boat Green Bee reported fishing for halibut outside of Mission Bay and having his brother, Mario Souza catch a 31 pound, 9-ounce halibut. Mario's big halibut bit on a sardine while fishing in 80 feet of water. Souza reported that they made another drift over the exact same spot and that he (Captain Tony Souza) hooked a similarly sized halibut that was unfortunately lost when the hook pulled out. The 31-pound, 9- ounce reported weight was from the certified scale at The Marlin Club.

Souza provided another report about fishing outside of La Jolla a few days after having made the catch of the 31 pound 9 ounce halibut outside of Mission Bay. He said that they were trolling with Rapalas aboard the private boat Notayacht while looking for yellowtail outside of the middle part of La Jolla when they hooked and landed a 71-pound thresher shark. Captain Tony Souza was the angler and Captain Mario Souza was at the helm. Captain Tony Souza reports that there have been a few thresher sharks that have gone to 400 pounds caught from the area outside of La Jolla in recent days.

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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 . 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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