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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, May 11, 2018
YELLOWTAIL BITE PICKS UP


Bluefin tuna and yellowtail continue to provide offshore action!
An ongoing story of this spring fishing season continues to be a series of weak weather systems that have been moving through Southern California throughout the spring season. The systems tend to be weakening as time goes on but even the weak systems have brought enough in the way of lumpy seas and wind to keep some boats tied to the dock on certain days and keep the water temperatures on the cool side. The good news is that bluefin tuna and yellowtail have been biting throughout the spring fishing season and that they continue to provide action despite the sometimes sloppy weather conditions. With the cooler water around and with the late season weather systems it makes me wonder if some shift in the weather pattern might be going on that could bring about water conditions that might bring some albacore our way? Wouldn't that be fun!


The past week of fishing has seen bluefin tuna and yellowtail biting offshore. The numbers of yellowtail being caught has slipped a bit from what it has been in recent weeks and the numbers of bluefin that have been biting has been up and down which is similar to how the bluefin have been biting in recent weeks. What has improved is that some of the bigger jumbo sized bluefin tuna have entered the mix with bluefin tuna to 204 pounds being reported caught during the past week or so.


The bluefin have been ranging in size from 25 to 204 pounds with most of the fish in the 25- to 60-pound range. The best area has been for boats fishing the region between the 371 Bank and the 390 Bank as well as out to the west and southwest of the 371 Bank. This has you fishing from 30 to 40 miles 210 to 225 degrees from Point Loma.


Most of the bluefin have been found by locating sonar marks, meter marks or spots of breaking fish. Shearwater birds and tern birds often mark an area where you are likely to get a sonar mark, meter mark or find a spot of breaking fish. Flylined sardines, sardines fished deep with a 4- to 8-ounce torpedo sinker attached with a rubber band and flat fall jigs have been working well for the bluefin. There has also been a bit of recent bluefin activity reported on kite trolled Yummy Flyers. Kelp paddies have produced most of the yellowtail action and the yellowtail have been biting best on sardines.


Some sample fish counts from recent days of fishing start with the fishing on Thursday, May 17, 2018 when the Black Diamond out of Fisherman's Landing that had 3 anglers on an overnight trip catch a 35 pound bluefin tuna and a bonito. On Monday, May 14, 2018 the Black Diamond returned with 3 yellowtail and a 204 pound bluefin tuna. The Condor out of Fisherman's Landing had a 1.5 day trip on Thursday, May 17, 2018 that had 10 anglers catch 12 yellowtail. The fishing on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 saw the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing have 23 anglers out on an overnight trip catch 1 yellowtail and 13 bluefin tuna. On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 the Pacific Queen had 24 anglers on a full day trip catch 3 yellowtail and 16 bluefin tuna. I also have information about a locally caught 150+ pound bluefin tuna that was brought into a San Diego area fish market on Wednesday.


The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands has been slow but there have not been many boats out fishing around the Coronados in recent days. Occasional spots of working birds that have yellowtail or bonito under them are located but the reports are that the yellowtail and bonito have been focused on tiny baitfish and are not very interested in the sardines and iron anglers are presenting to them.


The occasional spot of working birds with yellowtail or bonito under them around the Coronados have been seen over a large area that is spread from the area to the east of the Coronado Canyon on down to the South Kelp Ridge and Rockpile areas below South Island. It is a matter of being at the right spot at the right time when some fish pop up to locate some yellowtail or bonito but even when you find them, it has not been easy to get them to bite.


The rockfish fishing has been good around the Coronado Islands. Productive areas for reds and an assortment of rockfish have been the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 35 fathoms. Better yet have been hard bottom areas to the north and the northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40 to 50 fathom depths. The lower end of the 9 Mile Bank has also been a productive rockfish zone while fishing on the Mexico side of the border in the 60 to 85 fathom depths.


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 in many coastal areas including La Jolla remains cool and off color and the fishing for yellowtail and white seabass along the coast has been 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. Kelp bed areas are starting to see a bit more calico bass activity and there are also some schools of short sized barracuda being found. A couple of degrees of water warming might be all it takes to jumpstart the calico bass fishing in the kelp beds.


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.


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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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