Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin tuna and yellowtail continue to provide offshore action!
The past week of offshore fishing has seen some days of not so good weather conditions but despite the sometimes poor weather, the bluefin tuna and yellowtail bites continue to provide some action. The bites on both species have been hit or miss and tend to be on the scratchy side of things but an angler can go out and have a chance at catching bluefin tuna and yellowtail while fishing areas within 40 miles of Point Loma.

There were 2 sportboats out fishing on Thursday, May, 24, 2018. The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a full day trip with 21 anglers catch 20 yellowtail. The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing fished an overnight trip with 18 anglers that caught 35 yellowtail and 5 bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing reports that the bluefin were in the 25- to 30- pound range.

Most of the bluefin have been in the 25- to 60- pound range but during the past couple of weeks there have been bluefin caught that have gone to 204 pounds. The best area has been for boats fishing the region between the 371 Bank and the area outside of the Upper Hidden Bank which has you fishing from 30 to 40 miles 195 to 210 degrees from Point Loma. There have also been improving signs of life and a few fish reported in the area of the 302 Spot and out to the west of the Coronado Islands and this might be a sector worth keeping an eye on.

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 to the line 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. Most of the yellowtail have been 6- to 12-pound fish and the yellowtail have been biting best on sardines.

The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands has been scratchy but there have been some improving signs of life and some yellowtail activity reported by boats fishing the area off the weather side of North Island and the Middle Grounds. The South Kelp Ridge is an area where there has been some yellowtail activity as well. Look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish working on the surface that are usually marked by working birds.

The rockfish fishing has been good around the Coronado Islands. A productive area for reds and an assortment of rockfish has 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 has been highlighted by an occasional nice sized yellowtail or white seabass at the upper end of La Jolla and an occasional nice sized white seabass is also reported from kelp bed areas in the View Point and Barn kelp bed areas above Oceanside. 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 have also been seeing improved calico bass activity and a couple of degrees of warming water temperature might be all it takes see a big improvement in the calico bass bite 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 with a live mackerel at the upper end of La Jolla, View Point or Barn Kelp regions.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports improving calico bass fishing at kelp bed areas between Leucadia and Solana Beach. Cacciola reports that finding kelp bed areas where there is 63+ degree clean water is a key to finding some active calico bass. Anchovies, smaller sized sardines and Hookup Bait plastics have worked well for the calicos.

Cacciola also reports that they have been catching an occasional nice sized halibut while fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to the kelp bed and kelp stringer areas where they are fishing for calico bass. He says that on a recent trip they caught a 36-pound halibut while fishing along the edges of the kelp. Cacciola also reports catching and releasing a good number of short sized white seabass on recent trips. The white seabass they have been catching and releasing have been running from 20 to 22 inches which is far short of the 28-inch minimum size requirement.

Thresher sharks continue to bite for boats fishing the Carlsbad Canyon area and there was also a report of a thresher recently being caught at the La Jolla Canyon as well. Skippers report that they usually have to work hard and put in a good amount of time to get a thresher but there have been some large ones caught that have gone to 500+ pounds. A productive method for the thresher sharks has been to troll hot pink color Bait-O-Matics that are baited with a 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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