Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, May 11, 2018:

Bluefin Tuna and Yellowtail Highlight Offshore Action, Coronado Islands Yellowtail Bite Picks Up!

The spring fishing season continues to be hampered by a series of weak weather systems that have been passing through Southern California and bringing lumpy seas, windy weather and occasional light rain. These weather systems have been just frequent enough and just strong enough to keep things off balance with regard to water conditions and have been providing some minor setbacks to the development of the spring fishing season.

That said, this has been a good week of fishing. There have been good numbers of yellowtail biting under offshore kelp paddies as well as in the region of the Coronado Islands. In addition to yellowtail, there have been a few bluefin tuna biting on the offshore fishing grounds as well. The weather and the fishing started to take a downturn on Thursday and Skippers were reporting rough and sloppy weather condition again this morning which is Friday morning, May 11, 2018.

In addition to the tuna and yellowtail action offshore and the yellowtail action at the Coronado Islands, there has been an occasional yellowtail or white seabass caught in the La Jolla region. The fishing along the San Diego County coast has also been producing a mix of sand bass, calico bass, rockfish, sculpin along with an occasional halibut.

On the offshore fishing front, the early part of the week saw excellent fishing for yellowtail under kelp paddies found around some of the local offshore banks outside of the Coronado Islands such as the 425 Bank and the Upper Hidden Bank. There were some near limit to limit yellowtail catches being reported during the early part of the week but the bite started to decline a bit on Wednesday and that decline continued into Thursday's fishing. The best kelp paddie yellowtail zone has been for boats working from 25 to 40 miles 175 to 185 degrees from Point Loma.

Boats fishing the local offshore banks outside of the Coronado Islands have also found some bluefin tuna activity but it has been hard to get the bluefin to bite and only an occasional bluefin has been caught from this sector. The best bluefin area at the local offshore banks outside of the Coronados has been in the region of the 371 Bank for boats fishing from 24 to 28 miles 198 to 208 degrees from Point Loma. The bluefin in this zone have been found by locating sonar marks and spots of breaking fish under working birds. Most of the bluefin in this area have been in the 25 to 40 pound range.

Another more distant bluefin zone has been in the region of the Double 220 Bank, 1010 Trench and 213 Bank for boats working from 50 to 65 miles 185 to 200 degrees from Point Loma. The bluefin in this zone have mostly been in the 25 to 40 pound range with an occasional fish up to around 60 pounds reported in the mix as well. Much of the bluefin activity in this zone has been found by locating and stopping on meter marks that are found with scanning sonar.

The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands picked up during the early part of the week to provide some near limit to limit fishing. Similar to the offshore kelp paddie yellowtail bite, Thursday's fishing saw the yellowtail bite drop off considerably from what it was like early in the week.

Private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the private boat Robalo fished at the Coronado Islands on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 and reported finding wide open yellowtail action. McDonell was fishing with private boater Floyd Sparks of the Tuna Kahuna aboard and they each easily caught their limit of yellowtail and also caught and released a bunch more. McDonell reported catching all their yellowtail on surface iron that was cast to spots of breaking fish under working tern birds. He said it helped to vary the speed of the surface iron and to give the jig some jerks on the retrieve.

McDonell's hot yellowtail bite area was found along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island. Even though the bite slowed on Thursday, this area continues to produce the best action on yellowtail around the Islands and is also producing an occasional barracuda. Earlier in the week , the yellowtail were biting from spots of working birds that were found further below the Coronados at the Finger Bank. Finding the working tern birds has been a key to locating the yellowtail.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to produce an occasional nice sized yellowtail or white seabass at the upper end of La Jolla but the water has been off color and on most days the bite has been rather scratchy. The rest of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and rockfish along with an occasional halibut. Hard bottom and structure spots have been best for the bass, sculpin and rockfish and fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to hard bottom and structure spots has been best for a chance at a halibut.

If you want to give the La Jolla yellowtail a try, best bet has been fishing with a live mackerel, surface iron or yo-yo iron outside of the upper end of La Jolla in the 18 to 30 fathom depths. Best bet for a white seabass has been fishing along the edges of the kelp beds at the upper end of La Jolla with a live mackerel.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reported about a recent three-quarter day trip where they fished hard bottom areas south of Oceanside. He said they worked areas between Leucadia and Solana Beach in 60 to 70 feet of water and found good mixed bag fishing for an assortment of sand bass, calico bass, sheephead and whitefish. They also had some luck with the halibut and caught a 23 inch and a 33 inch halibut.

Cacciola said the water temperature was running 62 to 63 degrees and he said the water was off color in the morning. He says the water tends to clean up as the current picks up during the afternoon hours. Cacciola reports having live anchovies for bait and says they were working very well. Strips of fresh frozen squid were reported to be working well for the whitefish.

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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