Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Bluefin fishing is improving with the weather!
The past week of fishing has seen improved weather conditions following what had been a prolonged stretch of several days of bad weather where there were either Small Craft Advisories or Gale Warnings posted. The ocean is now having a chance to settle down and stabilize and there has been some warming and cleaning of the water in recent days. The highlight fishing remains offshore where bluefin tuna have been biting in better numbers along with a few kelp paddie yellowtail. The bluefin held in the area through the days of bad weather and seem to be biting better now that the weather has stabilized.

Some bluefin fish counts from the fishing on Thursday, May 30, 2019 start with the Condor out of Fisherman's Landing that had a 1.5 day trip with 12 anglers catch their limits of 24 bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing also had the Pacific Queen fishing a 1.5 day trip that had 32 anglers catch 44 of the 25- to 80-pound bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing had the Liberty out fishing a full day trip that had 15 anglers catch 2 bluefin tuna. Fisherman's Landing also reports having a 10:45 AM early update from the Pegasus that is out on a 1.5 day trip today, Friday, May 31, 2019 and that is reporting having 7 of the 60- to 80-pound bluefin tuna aboard. The report from the Pegasus added that they were seeing good signs of fish and the Pegasus had lots of fishing time remaining in the day at the time of their report.

Point Loma Sportfishing reports that the New Lo-An was out fishing bluefin on Thursday and returned home this morning with 16 anglers having caught limits of bluefin tuna which was 32 bluefin tuna.

The bluefin tuna have been ranging from 20 to 270+ pounds with most falling within the 50 to 90 pound range. The best zone has been ranging from the area below the 425 and 371 Banks on down to where you are fishing below the Upper Hidden Bank and below and outside of the 475 Knuckle. This has you working in an area ranging from 26 to 48 miles 170 to 182 degrees from Point Loma.

Bluefin action has been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of puddling fish, spots of breaking fish and spots of breezing fish. Some days see the best bluefin action come from stops that are found in the dark or during the twilight hours of the morning or the evening.

Kelp paddie yellowtail can add to the day's action. Most of the yellowtail have been running between 8 and 12 pounds. A 25-pound test live bait outfit works well for the kelp paddie yellowtail.

Flylined sardines, sinker fished sardines, sardines fished from a kite and flat fall jigs have been working well for the bluefin. Using flying fish or mackerel can also be effective in targeting the larger bluefin. When fishing bluefin, if you have the tackle and the room for the tackle aboard the boat, it is nice to be able to carry live bait outfits with fluorocarbon leader sizes ranging from 30-pound test to 100-pound test. This allows you to be able to quickly switch to an appropriate leader size based on how aggressive the bluefin are biting and what size fish you are encountering in the school of fish you are working.

The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands has been on the scratchy side of things since the days of bad weather when Small Craft Advisories and Gale Warnings were posted last week. There have been a few yellowtail, barracuda and calico bass biting but overall, the surface fishing remains slow with lots of reds, rockfish, whitefish and an occasional lingcod making up most of the catch.

As an example of the recent fishing, sportboat counts from boats fishing around the Coronado Islands on Thursday, May 30, 2019 start with Seaforth Sportfishing that had the San Diego fishing a full day trip with 9 anglers who caught 1 yellowtail, 2 lingcod, 45 reds and 42 rockfish. H&M Landing had the Grande fishing a full day trip with 9 anglers who caught 25 calico bass, 45 rockfish and 20 whitefish.

Best areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in 35 to 50 fathoms of water. The best areas for locating yellowtail have been along the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds and the north end of South Island. Yellowtail have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks, trolling strikes with X-Rap Rapalas and the occasional spot of fish found up on the surface under working birds.

Once located, yellowtail have been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron, stick bait jigs, sardines fished on a dropper loop rig and flylined sardines. Fish the yellows on the surface if you can get the flylined bait or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Try the yo-yo iron or a dropper loop fished sardine if the fish are holding deep or have sounded by the time you get to the spot.

Good yo-yo jig choices would include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. Good surface iron jig choices would include Tady 45's and Salas 7X lights in blue and white, mint and sardine colors.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish, sculpin and an occasional bonus lingcod, yellowtail or halibut. The yellowtail bite has been slow along the coast with the best chance at finding yellowtail being while fishing off the stretch of coast between the upper end of La Jolla and Torrey Pines. There are occasional showings of yellowtail found on the surface in this sector and sonar marks and meter marks have also led to yellowtail action. There have also been occasional showings of yellowtail outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma and this morning it was reported to be looking fishy off the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma. The report from the Whistler Buoy area was that there was a good amount of bird life and bait and that the water had cleaned up and warmed up to 64 degrees.

To try and locate yellowtail, look for sonar marks, meter marks and spots of fish that are up working on the surface. A good depth range off La Jolla and Torrey Pines has been in 10 to 18 fathoms of water. Fish the yellowtail on the surface if you can get a mackerel, sardine or surface iron jig to the fish before they sound. Otherwise, fish the yellows deep with yo-yo iron or a dropper loop rig fished sardine or mackerel. Private boaters might also want to try slow trolling with live sardines or live mackerel. Trolled Rapalas have also produced some yellowtail action for private boaters.

The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been mostly hard bottom and structure fishing for a good mixed bag of reds, rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, whitefish and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod and halibut biting.

Productive rockfish areas have been the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.

Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.

There have been a few halibut biting in coastal areas. Some productive halibut areas include Box Canyon, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the artificial reefs off Oceanside, the sandy bottom off South Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the sunken NEL Tower located outside of Mission Beach, the sandy bottom next to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck located outside of Mission Beach, San Diego Bay and while fishing sandy bottom areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier.

There are some signs that halibut might be getting more active. A midweek report from a Skipper fishing off Imperial Beach was that he saw a commercial boat gaff about eight of the 15-to 20-pound size halibut while fishing in 20 fathoms of water. The water in the area was responding to the recently improved weather conditions and was reported to have cleaned up and warmed to 63.5 degrees.

Some of the best surface fishing of the past week has been found out at San Clemente Island where there has been a good mix of yellowtail, calico bass, bonito, barracuda and assorted bottom fish biting. The yellowtail bite has been varied with some days of very good yellowtail action and some days when the yellowtail bite has been just fair.

Productive areas for the surface fishing have been along the front side of the Island for boats fishing between Gold Bluff and White Rock. Some of the yellowtail have been biting while sitting on the anchor and chumming and other yellowtail action has been found by stopping on sonar marks or meter marks. Sardines, surface iron and yo-yo iron have been working once yellowtail are located.

Prior to the recent bad weather, Catalina Island had been producing a bit of surface fishing action for a mix of calico bass, barracuda and bonito along with an occasional white seabass or yellowtail. The best areas for a chance at finding some surface fishing action have been off Orange Rock, Salta Verde, Church Rock and the East End Light.

There has been a bit of squid to catch for bait at night off Ben Weston and this morning, Friday morning, May 31,2019 there have been a couple of squid boats offering squid for sale while anchored up off Avalon. Try to raise squid boats on VHF channels 72 and 11.

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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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