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Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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Friday, August 16, 2019
Yellowfin tune bite breaks open…
Friday, August 30, 2019
Yellowfin tuna bite breaks wide open!


Yellowfin tuna bite very good
Jumbo bluefin playing hide and seek!

The past week of fishing has provided offshore anglers with some very good yellowfin tuna action but a combination of military training exercises closing access to waters off the back side of San Clemente Island, bad weather and generally down showings of bluefin tuna resulted in a slowing of the catches of jumbo sized bluefin tuna. In addition to the yellowfin tuna and the jumbo sized bluefin tuna, offshore anglers have also made pretty good catches of kelp paddie yellowtail, fair numbers of 20- to 40-pound bluefin tuna, a few dorado and have also caught and released an occasional striped marlin.



The past few days of fishing for the jumbo sized bluefin tuna by San Clemente Island have been slow. Skippers have looked to other areas up above the West End of San Clemente Island to try and locate some fish and be fishing in waters that are not effected by closure due to military training exercises. Skippers have covered areas such as the 499 Spot, the 267 Spot that is above the West End of San Clemente Island, the 711 Spot and the Osborn Bank and have found very little if any tuna activity in those areas. The good news is that this morning, which is Friday morning, Aug. 23, 2019 there have been spots of bluefin tuna that are being referred to as "mid-grade" sized fish and some 50-pound class yellowfin tuna showing in areas off the West End and off the West Cove areas of San Clemente Island. I am thinking that the "mid-grade" sized bluefin are in the 80- to 150-pound range. The military exercises are still a factor today as one Skipper had to pull his kite in at the request of the military while they were doing training work with helicopters.


The jumbo size bluefin tuna have ranged to 300-plus pounds and the bluefin have been located by finding spots of breaking fish, spots of breezing fish, spots of puddling fish, meter marks, trolling strikes on kite trolled Yummy Flyers and sonar marks. Once bluefin are located, most of the action has been coming from kite trolled Yummy Flyers, Flat Fall jigs and flying fish that are fished from a kite that is either being drifted or slow trolled. Occasional action has also been coming on poppers and on mackerel that are fished from a floating balloon, a helium filled balloon or which are slow trolled. Of all the things mentioned, live flying fish have been working best with frozen flying fish and fresh dead flying fish also being effective. A new development this morning with the "mid-grade" sized bluefin are that there have been some bites reported on live sardines.


Yellowfin tuna fishing has been excellent with many near limit to limit catches being reported during the past several days. The great news is that most of the yellowfin are being caught within 25 miles of Point Loma around spots such as the 224 Spot and the area outside of the middle part and lower part of the 9 Mile Bank. The yellowfin have been in the 8- to 30- pound class with most falling within the 12- to 20- pound range. There has also been an occasional 20- to 40-pound bluefin in the mix along with some kelp paddie yellowtail and an occasional dorado.


The yellowfin are being located by finding meter marks, sonar marks, spots of breaking fish, spots of breezing fish, kelp paddies and the occasional trolling strike. The best bet has most often been to stop on a school of fish you have located and drift and chum and fish with sardines. It has often been a situation where the yellowfin are touchy biters and it helps to draw strikes by fishing with 15- to 20-pound test fluorocarbon leaders and small hooks. In addition to sardines, small chrome Megabait and Colt Sniper style jigs have also been drawing some strikes once you find some yellowfin.


Private boater John Carroll of the Huachinango passed along a report that a private boater friend fished on Thursday and caught limits of yellowfin tuna while fishing outside of the 9 Mile Bank at 16 miles 237 degrees from Point Loma. Carroll reported that his friend caught limits of yellowfin from one stop that started from stopping on a small meter mark in an area where he saw a single puddling fish. The yellowfin were biting well for them on sardines. At times the yellowfin bit hot to where you could get bit using 40-pound test fluorocarbon leaders but at times they were more touchy biters and they found that they had to drop down to 20-pound test fluorocarbon leaders to get bit.


The bluefin in the mix with the yellowfin have been biting on sardines, Flat Fall jigs and the occasional trolling strike. The best jigs on the troll for the 20 to 40 pound bluefin and for the yellowfin have been cedar plugs and X-Rap Rapalas. Blue and white has been a good color X-Rap Rapala and good color cedar plugs have been black and purple, blue and white as well as the natural wood color.


Boats fishing spots off the eastern part of Catalina have been finding fair marlin action. The areas 1 to 6 miles off the Can Dump and off the Slide have been the best with occasional tailers, sleepers and blind jig strikes being reported. There were several boats fishing this zone on Thursday and I know of one marlin caught and released and think there may have been another. The morning hours have been best for a chance at seeing a marlin or raising a marlin on the troll.


The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands is a bit of an unknown with most all the boats that would otherwise be fishing around the Coronado Islands fishing local offshore waters for tuna. There was a sportboat that fished at the Coronado Islands early in the week and they caught pretty good numbers of barracuda and bass, good numbers of rockfish and a single yellowtail.


Best areas for a chance at some surface fishing action around the Coronados have been the weather side of North Island, the north end of South Island and the Ribbon Kelp. Looking for the warmer 67 degree water has been helpful in trying to locate some surface fishing action.


The fishing for rockfish has 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 has seen some cool water move in around Point Loma and this has had a slowing effect on the calico bass fishing in the Point Loma Kelp Beds with most boats focusing on fishing for rockfish or fishing for sand bass. The cool water has moved up to the lower end of La Jolla but the upper end of La Jolla has been on the edge of the temperature break and has been providing some calico bass action in the kelp beds. There has been a chance at scratching out a yellowtail at the upper end of La Jolla but I have not heard of much in the way of yellowtail activity in recent days.


The water is still warm at 70-plus degrees at the kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and the San Onofre region and there is still good calico bass fishing at kelp bed areas between Solana Beach and South Carlsbad and at the Yellowtail Kelp and Barn Kelp areas.


Rockfish have been biting well at spots along the coast and some of the more productive areas have been while fishing hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, off the upper end of La Jolla and while fishing outside of Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.


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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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