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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, June 29, 2018
Bluefin bite improves

Excellent yellowtail fishing continues at the Coronados!

The offshore fishing continues to attract lots of attention and the past few days have seen the bite get even more exciting with better numbers of yellowfin tuna showing up to join what have been lots of schools of bluefin tuna in waters within easy one day range of Point Loma. The bluefin are often difficult to get a bite from but the yellowfin are being better biters and are a lot more user friendly for anglers looking to go out and catch some tuna.

The yellowfin tuna started biting better during the first part of the week for boats fishing the area from the region outside of the 475 Knuckle on down to the waters outside of Ensenada. There are yellowfin biting in that sector again this morning and around the Upper Hidden Bank as well. It is also exciting that the past three days of fishing, including this morning, are also showing increasing yellowfin activity in waters further north of this zone. This morning (Friday morning July 6, 2018) there are reports of yellowfin biting a short way outside of the Coronado Islands, at the 302 Spot and in the deep water between the 9 Mile Bank and the 182 Spot.

Private boater Sam Minervini fishes a lot aboard his sailboat Sail Fish and he was out fishing the Coronado Islands this morning and reported leaving the Islands at mid-day and looking around offshore for tuna. Minervini certainly found some excitement and got a quadruple jig strike on 30-pound yellowfin tuna while fishing about half way between South Island and the 425 Bank. Minervini reported that they caught all 4 of the yellowfin tuna.

A few other private boaters are reporting having caught 3 to 4 of the 15- to 20-pound yellowfin per boat this morning while fishing the deep water between the 9 Mile Bank and the 182 Spot. One private boater caught a yellowfin on a sardine and 2 yellowfin on poppers and another reported catching 4 yellowfin on the troll.

The arrival of yellowfin is generating a lot of excitement in seeing some tuna arrive that are biting better than the bluefin have been biting but there are still lots of bluefin around to target as well. The best areas where bluefin are currently being seen and are sometimes biting are the Corner, the 43 Fathom Spot and the area between the 224 Spot and the Corner. There have also been some bluefin showing to the west of the 43 Fathom Spot to where you are fishing up toward San Clemente Island. In addition to these areas there have also been some bluefin found by the boats fishing yellowfin in the region between the 475 Knuckle and the offshore waters outside of Ensenada.

A fish count from the fishing on Thursday, July 5, 2018 comes from Point Loma Sportfishing that had the New Lo-An fishing an overnight trip with 27 anglers that caught 6 bluefin tuna, 5 yellowfin tuna and 36 yellowtail.

Bluefin have been ranging in size from 25 to 200+ pounds. Flylined sardines, sardines fished deep with a 4- to 8-ounce torpedo sinker attached with a rubber band, flat fall jigs, slow trolled mackerel, poppers and iron have been working for the bluefin tuna. There has also been some action on the bigger bluefin while kite trolling with Yummy Flyers. There has also been some action reported on kite fished live baits that are presented to spots of breezing fish.

Most of the bluefin action is found after stopping on sonar marks, meter marks or spots of breaking fish which are often found under working birds. Areas with shearwater birds and tern birds have been likely spots to find a sonar mark, meter mark or see a spot of breaking fish. There are some yellowtail and an occasional bluefin that are being caught around some of the kelp paddies as well.

The yellowfin are biting from blind trolling strikes, trolling strikes around spots of working tern birds and from stopping on spots of breaking fish and drifting around kelp paddies. Most of the yellowfin have been running from 15 to 25 pounds and have been biting on trolled feathers, cedar plugs and Rapalas. Also try casting poppers and Megabait style jigs as well as flylining sardines.

There has been excellent fishing around the Coronado Islands for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda, calico bass and bonito. Also look for a chance at yellowfin tuna while trolling deep water within a few miles outside of and above the Islands. The yellowtail have been running from 6 to 25 pounds with most falling within the 8- to 15-pound range.

Yellowtail have been found in several areas with Pukey Point at North Island, the south tip of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the lighthouse at the South tip of South Island and the South Kelp Ridge being productive spots for yellowtail in recent days.

The yellowtail at the Coronados have been biting flylined sardines, slow trolled sardines, surface iron and trolled Rapalas. Surface iron and flylined sardines have also been productive for the barracuda. Calico bass have been biting on sardines, anchovies and plastics. Try small chrome jigs, sardines and anchovies for the bonito.

Fish counts from Thursday, July 5, 2018 start with the Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing that fished a full day trip and had 57 anglers catch 2 yellowfin tuna, 149 yellowtail, 10 reds, 1 calico bass, 13 barracuda and 1 bonito.

The San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing had full day trip to the Coronado Islands with 51 anglers catch 171 yellowtail, 7 barracuda, 2 yellowfin tuna and 2 bonito.

Point Loma Sportfishing had the Mission Belle fishing a full day trip with 42 anglers who caught 61 yellowtail, 4 bonito, 5 barracuda and 1 sand bass.

The Grande out of H&M Landing had a full day trip with 42 anglers catch 107 yellowtail and 3 barracuda.

Private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section reported about fishing the Coronado Islands on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Seymour reported excellent fishing and said they caught double limits of yellowtail and that they kept their limits and released the rest. In addition to the outstanding yellowtail action there was also very good fishing for bonito and barracuda. He said it was all you wanted to catch and release type action on the bonito and barracuda and said the barracuda were log sized 36+ inch fish.

Seymour said the yellowtail were a bit smaller grade fish than what they caught on their prior trip and he said the yellows were running 8 to 12 pounds. They found their best action while fishing slow trolled and drifted sardines at the Middle Grounds in 102 feet of water.

Seymour also fished the Coronados on Sunday, July 1, 2018 and had another outstanding catch that included limits of yellowtail. These were 14- to 20- pound fish that were caught on slow trolled and drifted sardines while fishing the Keyhole area at the south tip of North Island.

Private boater Mike Rooney of the Reel Busy reported fishing the Coronados on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 with his son Sean Rooney, his grandson Keegan Rooney and their friend Grand Jones aboard and said they found excellent yellowtail fishing. Rooney said they fished from 7 a.m. until noon and that the 4 aboard caught 15 yellowtail that were in the 10- to 18-pound range. He said it was a great day of fishing and that they left biting fish when they headed for home at noon.

Rooney reported that they had their hot yellowtail action at North Island. They also spent some time fishing around South Island and he reported finding that the bite at South Island was not as good as at North Island. After giving South Island a try they went back up to North Island and once again started catching yellowtail.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, sculpin and rockfish and there have been a few yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and halibut in the mix as well.

Kelp bed areas have been the best for the calico bass and have also been producing a few sand bass. Hard bottom and structure spots have been best for the sculpin and rockfish. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to hard bottom and structure spots has been best for a chance at a halibut.

One place where the calico bass bite in the kelp beds has slowed the past couple of days is the Point Loma Kelp Beds where some off color greenish brown water moved into the area and slowed down what had been very good calico bass fishing. Most boats fishing coastal trips out of San Diego Bay are currently fishing outside of Imperial Beach and are finding a mix of sand bass, calico bass and barracuda biting. A bit further outside, there is a chance at getting into some bonito action while fishing the lower part of the 9 Mile Bank a short way above the Mexico border.

The fishing at the La Jolla Kelp Beds has picked up with some good fishing at the upper end of La Jolla for calico bass and an occasional yellowtail. Most of the yellowtail are the 20-pound class fish and most of the action has been coming while sitting on the anchor targeting calico bass in the kelp beds. There has also been some yellowtail activity found a short way outside of the kelp beds in the way of locating meter marks or finding fish under working birds.

Areas that have produced an occasional halibut have been for boats fishing off Imperial Beach, inside of San Diego Bay, outside of Mission Beach, off Solana Beach, Leucadia the Barn and San Onofre. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to structure and the sandy bottom adjacent to kelp and hard bottom has been the best bet for targeting halibut.

There have been some yellowtail biting at San Clemente Island and at Catalina Island but the bite seems to have slowed some the past couple of days. Over at San Clemente Island, there have been some yellowtail biting for boats fishing off Pyramid Cove, White Rock and Purse Seine Rock. The White Rock and Purse Seine Rock areas have also been producing calico bass and a few bonito. There was a report from several days ago of a boat catching limits of white seabass while fishing at West Cove at San Clemente Island.

At Catalina Island there has been a mix of yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and barracuda biting at spots around the Isthmus and at spots around the middle part of the front side of the Island but the surface fishing has slowed some the past few days. Ship's Rock near the Isthmus has been one of the better spots for yellowtail within this zone. The other productive zone for a mix of calico bass, yellowtail and bonito along with an occasional white seabass or halibut has been for boats fishing spots along the back side of the Island from the V's over to Ben Weston.

Squid is the best bait for fishing at Catalina and San Clemente Island but squid has not been easy to catch for bait. When they have squid available, the squid boats have been offering squid for sale while anchored up outside of Avalon. Try to raise the squid boats on VHF channels 11 or 72.

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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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