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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Bluefin tuna and yellowtail bites improve!
Bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail continue to produce offshore action with the tuna bites picking up and improving during the week for boats running down to fish the offshore waters below and outside of Ensenada. The other offshore area producing some tuna action is for a few of the jumbo sized bluefin tuna and a few yellowfin tuna which are biting up by San Clemente Island. In addition to the offshore tuna fishing, the yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands has been ranging from being good to something bordering on spectacular.

The main area being fished my most of the offshore sportboat fleet below and outside of Ensenada has been producing improving numbers of bluefin tuna along with a pretty good mix of yellowfin tuna, yellowtail and dorado. The bluefin down this way have been running from 25 to 100+ pounds and some of the better trips have been producing limit catches of bluefin tuna. There have been a few yellowfin tuna and dorado in the mix and an occasional kelp paddie that produces a good yellowtail bite.


The bluefin bite area below and outside of Ensenada ranges from the waters outside of the Banda Bank on down to the area above and inside of the 1140 Finger. Most of the action has been coming for boats fishing from 60 to 80 miles 158 to 162 degrees from Point Loma. The tuna action has been coming from stopping on spots of breaking fish, meter marks and sonar marks with an occasional trolling strike or porpoise school also producing some tuna action. Once located, the tuna have been biting on sardines, poppers, Colt Snipers, surface iron, Flat Fall jigs and stick baits.


Some sample sportboat counts coming from this region on Thursday, July 18, 2019 are the Condor out of Fisherman's Landing that had 17 anglers on a 1.5 day trip catching 28 bluefin tuna that went to 90 pounds along with 7 yellowfin tuna and 1 yellowtail.


Seaforth Sportfishing reported that the Aztec fished an overnight trip that had 23 anglers catch 18 bluefin tuna, 1 yellowfin tuna and 32 yellowtail.


Point Loma Sportfishing had a 1.5 day trip on the New Lo-An return home with 36 of the 30- to 100- pound bluefin tuna, along with 1 yellowtail and 1 yellowfin tuna.


H&M Landing had the Old Glory fishing an overnight trip with 15 anglers who caught 9 bluefin tuna, 6 yellowtail and 2 dorado.


The waters off San Clemente Island are producing some of the jumbo sized bluefin tuna to 250+ pounds along with an occasional yellowfin tuna. It has been hard to get the bluefin to bite up this way but there has been some action to be had on poppers, Colt Snipers, surface iron and kite trolled Yummy Flyers. The bluefin were being found around the 43 Fathom Spot and the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy early in the week but that area has been slowing down over the past few days with San Clemente Island emerging as the best area for a chance at a jumbo sized bluefin.


I have reports of occasional bluefin activity being around Desperation Reef outside of China Point but the best zone has been further off the Island for boats fishing about 14 miles to the southeast of China Point in an area that has you working 54 to 59 miles 255 degrees from Point Loma.


The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands during the week has at times been great with the past two days providing good action but seeing a bit of a decline compared to 200+ yellowtail per boat counts on some of the sportboat trips from earlier in the week. The information I have from this morning's fishing around the Coronados (Friday morning, July 19, 2019) makes me think the bite is improving again today.


Some counts from boats fishing on Thursday, July 18, 2019 start with Seaforth Sportfishing that had the San Diego fishing a full day trip with 51 anglers catch 63 yellowtail, 15 rockfish, 5 calico bass and 4 barracuda. They also had the 6 pack charter yacht El Gato Dos fishing a full day trip with 5 anglers who caught 16 yellowtail, 10 rockfish and 7 barracuda.


The Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing fished a full day trip with 41 anglers who caught 53 yellowtail, 14 rockfish, 6 bonito, 1 sheephead and 1 lingcod.


H&M Landing reports having the Legend fishing a full day trip with 30 anglers who caught 63 yellowtail, 10 barracuda and 75 rockfish. They also had the Grande fishing a full day trip with 60 anglers who caught 68 yellowtail.


Fisherman's Landing had the Liberty fishing a full day trip with 61 anglers who caught 61 yellowtail, 25 rockfish and 9 barracuda. They also had the Western Star fishing a full day trip with 4 anglers who caught 10 yellowtail, 10 barracuda and 8 calico bass.


Private boater Pat McDonell of Western Outdoor News and the private boat Robalo fished a solo trip to the Coronado Islands on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 and Pat reported catching his limits of 5 yellowtail and 2 bonito. Pat said his yellowtail were running around 12 pounds each and that the 2 bonito were both 8-pound fish.


Pat tried to catch some mackerel in San Diego Bay in the morning but had no luck with the mackerel. He went to the Islands without having any live bait aboard and caught the 5 yellowtail on surface iron and the 2 big bonito on trolled Rapalas. It was a sloppy southeast wind condition at the Coronados on Wednesday and Pat said the best area for the yellowtail was to the northeast of the tuna pens that were inside of the south tip of South Island. He said that if you tried going much further south that you would loose the protection of being in the lee of the Island and that the ocean conditions would be rough and sloppy.


Pat's report was that yellowtail were being caught in a variety of ways with slow trolled sardines, trolled Rapalas, flylined sardines, surface iron and yo-yo iron all producing action. He said most boats were either drifting or slow trolling with a few boats also fishing on the anchor.


Private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section called as I was preparing this report and reported about fishing at the Coronado Islands today, Friday, July 19, 2019. Seymour was fishing with his friend Dave Derianieh aboard and he reported that they had their caught their limits of yellowtail and several nice sized calico bass.


Seymour said they caught yellowtail on slow trolled sardines, yo-yo iron and trolled blue and white Rapalas. The best bite area in the early morning was fishing inside of the tuna pens and in the late morning he said that the best bite area shifted down to the South Kelp Ridge. In the afternoon they caught their 2 biggest yellowtail of the day while fishing at the outer Middle Grounds and he said that the outer part of the Middle Grounds was also where they caught their calico bass. Their yellowtail ranged in size from 8 to 15 pounds.


Seymour said that the water temperature was running 67.2 degrees and the water was reported to be nice and blue in the morning but he said that the water color developed into a blue-green color during the afternoon.


In addition to the yellowtail, the fishing at the Coronados has been producing a mix of bonito, barracuda, calico bass and rockfish. The best areas for the surface fishing have been the north end of South Island, the Ribbon Kelp, the area inside of the tuna pens inside of the south tip of South Island, the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge.


The fishing for rockfish has also been good around the Coronados and the 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 fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to be good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, reds, rockfish and sculpin and there has also been a chance at finding a flurry of barracuda action along with a bonus yellowtail, lingcod or halibut.


The primary surface fishing activity has been for calico bass which have been biting well at kelp bed spots up and down the coast. Some of the more productive area have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla, the kelp bed areas between Del Mar and South Carlsbad, the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and the kelp off Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that they hooked a yellowtail incidental to fishing for calico bass on a recent trip and he says that a new thing going on is that there has been an occasional yellowtail hookup reported incidental to fishing for calico bass among some of the sportboats in recent days. Joe reports that the calico bass fishing has been very good for what are mostly undersized fish that must be released with some legal sized calicos in the mix as well.


Joe reports that they have been fishing kelp bed areas both above and below Oceanside Harbor. Up above the harbor he mentioned productive kelp bed areas as being the Barn Kelp, Yellowtail Kelp and Box Canyon. Below Oceanside Harbor, they have been working kelp bed areas between south Carlsbad and Solana Beach. In addition to the calico bass Joe reports that they have been catching a few legal sized sand bass, a few legal sized halibut and some short sized white seabass that have been released.

The places that have been providing an occasional flurry of barracuda action have been the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 off Point Loma and along the edges of the Point Loma Kelp Beds. The best zone for a chance at a yellowtail has been at the upper end of La Jolla with kelp bed areas up and down the San Diego County coast seeing a bit of yellowtail activity on occasion as well.


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, Solana Beach, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


Hard bottom and structure spots have been producing some bass and sculpin with productive places 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 some good flurries of yellowtail action at spots around the East End of Catalina. Try areas such as Church Rock, the East End Light, Seal Rocks and the Can Dump. At times (including this morning, Friday, July 19, 2019), squid boats have been offering squid for sale while anchored in front 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 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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