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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

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976 Bite started out as a telephone recording service some 20 years ago and has since evolved into www.976bite.com. If you are looking to fish offshore for tuna and marlin, the Coronados for yellows, along the coast and beyond Bob Vanian and his 976 Bite service has been leading the way to fish for years. Subscriptions range from one week to one year. For more information please visit
www.976bite.com


Good winter fishing includes a chance at bluefin tuna!
The past week has once again seen what have been mostly days of nice, fishable weather conditions. This has allowed water conditions at both inshore and offshore waters to stabilize and there are some interesting things to report.

What is most interesting are reports of drift net commercial boats catching a mix of 60 to 90-plus pound bluefin tuna, a few thresher sharks and an occasional swordfish while fishing areas between 32 miles and 50 miles from Point Loma. The fish have been spread out and have been found while fishing an area ranging from the waters between the 289 Spot and the 277 Spot on down to the area of the 138 Spot on the Ridge.


There is some relatively warm 61+ degree water in the zone where the drift net boats have been fishing and the fish have been found in the warm water. The drift net boats set their nets for fishing at night and while looking around during the day, Captains also report seeing a few nice sized yellowtail around some of the kelp paddies they locate. I do not know of any sport anglers that have been out giving this area a try, but there are some bluefin that are currently wintering in our local offshore waters.


There are still a few Skippers trying the deep drop method for swordfish but the fishing has been slow. There is an occasional bite being reported that is thought to be from a swordfish but I do not know of any swordfish being hooked or boated lately. Skippers tend to think there are still a few swordfish around in the areas they have been trying but tend to feel that the numbers of swordfish around have really thinned out.


The main areas being targeted for deep drop swordfish fishing have been the drop off shelf outside of Newport Beach, the area of the drop-off below and outside of the oil rigs in the Catalina Channel, the Avalon Bank, the Rock Quarry at Catalina, the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot. The last hookup I know of was aboard a commercial deep drop swordfish boat that hooked and lost a swordfish while fishing at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.


Skippers have been deep drop drifting the areas mentioned above in 150 to 300 fathoms of water and have been fishing their baits at around 900 feet below the surface. Large frozen squid have been the best bait with live mackerel also producing occasional action.


Sportboats continue to fish Punta Colnett on 1.5 day trips that are mostly fishing on Saturdays. The high spot area outside of Punta Colnett continues to be productive and continues to provide very good mixed bag fishing for reds, rockfish, lingcod, bonito and yellowtail. One change from the fishing last Saturday was that the numbers of yellowtail in the counts on the 1.5 day trips to the Punta Colnett area dropped off considerably from what had been found biting in recent weeks.


As an example of the fishing, Fisherman’s Landing had both the Tomahawk and the Pacific Queen fishing 1.5 day trips to the Punta Colnett region last Saturday. The Pacific Queen had 33 anglers catch 148 reds, 130 rockfish, 1 yellowtail and 10 lingcod. The Tomahawk had 16 anglers catch 95 reds, 74 rockfish 21 lingcod and 1 bonito. The Relentless out of H&M Landing fished a 1.5 day trip last week on Thursday and they had outstanding lingcod fishing as 11 anglers caught 45 lingcod and 65 rockfish.


The yellowtail and the lingcod caught on the Punta Colnett area trips have been going up into the 20-plus pound class. Best bet for yellowtail off Punta Colnett has been to look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of working birds. Yo-yo iron is usually the best way to go once yellowtail are located and a sardine or mackerel fished on a dropper loop rig can also be effective. Good choices for yo-yo iron included Salas 6X or 7X jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, dorado and sardine colors.


The fishing for reds, rockfish and an occasional lingcod continues to be very good around the Coronado Islands. Productive zones include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running three-quarter day trips to target the bottom fishing around the Coronado Islands and as an example of the recent fishing, on Wednesday, they had 11 anglers on a three-quarter day trip catch 45 reds and 65 rockfish.


Anglers need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure on the U.S. side of the Mexico border went into effect on New Year’s Day and that it will remain in effect until March 1, 2020. With the rockfish/groundfish closure currently in effect, Southern California anglers fishing in US waters have been focusing on species that are still open to fishing such as sand bass, calico bass, sculpin, halibut and yellowtail. The actual fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin and there has also been an occasional halibut biting along with an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


The Imperial Beach Pipeline has been one of the better areas to find some biting sand bass and sculpin. As an example of the fishing, the Dolphin out of Fisherman’s Landing ran a half day trip with 12 anglers who caught 59 perch, 17 sand bass, 2 sculpin, 1 halibut and 5 calico bass.


There have been a few halibut biting out in 30 fathoms of water outside of the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach and in the area of the sunken NEL Tower outside of Mission Beach. There was also a recent report of some halibut biting in San Diego Bay.


The showings of yellowtail along the San Diego County coast have been erratic from day to day but the showings of yellowtail have been more consistent than they have been in recent weeks. It has not been easy to get them to bite but there have been a few biting yellowtail to be found. The main area of yellowtail activity has been spread from the area outside of Mission Bay on up to the area below the MLPA closure zone outside of the lower end of La Jolla. A good depth range to locate yellowtail has been while fishing in 18 to 30 fathoms of water with the 20 to 24 fathom depths being the best in recent days.


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and spots of working birds. Once located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all worked for the yellowtail. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There are recent reports of mackerel being caught for bait in 40-to 50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


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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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


Good winter fishing!
The past week has seen what have been mostly days of nice, fishable weather conditions. Some anglers have been taking the opportunity to get out on the water and sample the wintertime fishing. What has been found is that we seem to be in a traditional winter time mode right now with regard to what is biting and where. Boats traveling to Punta Colnett to fish 1.5 day trips are finding the best action which has been very good mixed bag fishing for reds, rockfish, lingcod, yellowtail and bonito. The fishing around the Coronado Islands has also been very good for a mix of reds, rockfish and an occasional lingcod and the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin along with a chance at a yellowtail or halibut.

The fishing for swordfish via the deep drop method has slowed but it still seems to me like there is a chance at getting a bite and hooking a swordfish via the deep drop method. There has been an occasional boat out trying for swordfish and the main areas being targeted have been the drop off shelf outside of Newport Beach, the area of the drop-off below and outside of the oil rigs in the Catalina Channel, the Avalon Bank, the Rock Quarry at Catalina, the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot. The last hookup I know of was aboard a commercial deep drop swordfish boat that hooked and lost a swordfish while fishing at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.


Skippers have been deep drop drifting the areas mentioned above in 150 to 300 fathoms of water and have been fishing their baits at around 900 feet below the surface. Large frozen squid have been the best bait with live mackerel also producing occasional action.


Most of the sportboat trips fishing 1.5 day trips to Punta Colnett have been fishing on Saturdays and last weekend’s fishing resulted in very good mixed bag fishing for reds, lingcod, rockfish, bonito and yellowtail. As an example of the recent fishing, Fisherman’s Landing had both the Tomahawk and the Pacific Queen fishing 1.5 day trips to the Punta Colnett region last Saturday. The Pacific Queen had 33 anglers catch 170 reds, 125 rockfish, 25 yellowtail and 7 lingcod. The Tomahawk had 16 anglers catch 120 rockfish, 18 lingcod, 14 bonito and 3 yellowtail. The yellowtail and the lingcod caught on the Punta Colnett trips have been going up into the 20-plus pound class and Fisherman’s Landing reports that the yellowtail caught on Saturday were ranging from 15 to 25 pounds.


Best bet for yellowtail off Punta Colnett has been to look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of working birds. Yo-yo iron is usually the best way to go once yellowtail are located and a sardine or mackerel fished on a dropper loop rig can also be effective. Good choices for yo-yo iron included Salas 6X or 7X jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, dorado and sardine colors.


The fishing for reds, rockfish and an occasional lingcod has been very good around the Coronado Islands. Productive zones include hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while working in 25 to 55 fathoms of water. Also productive has been fishing the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while keeping on the Mexico side of the border and fishing in the 60 to 80 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone around the Coronado Islands has been fishing spots along the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing has been running three-quarter day trips to target the bottom fishing around the Coronado Islands and as an example of the recent fishing, today on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 they had 22 anglers return with 200 rockfish and 20 reds.


Anglers need to keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure on the U.S. side of the Mexico border went into effect on New Year’s Day and that it will remain in effect until March 1, 2020. With the rockfish/groundfish closure currently in effect, Southern California anglers fishing in US waters have been focusing on species that are still open to fishing such as sand bass, calico bass, sculpin, halibut and yellowtail. The actual fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, perch and sculpin and there has also been an occasional halibut biting along with an occasional flurry of yellowtail action.


Productive areas for bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp while fishing below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


The Imperial Beach Pipeline has been one of the better areas to find some biting sand bass and sculpin. As an example of the fishing, the Premier out of H&M Landing ran 2 half day trips last Sunday that saw 31 anglers combine to catch 37 sculpin, 59 sand bass and 55 perch. A more recent report was from Thursday’s fishing when the Dolphin out of Fisherman’s Landing ran a half day trip with 15 anglers who caught 207 perch, 19 sand bass, 11 sculpin and 1 calico bass.


There have been a few halibut biting out in 30 fathoms of water outside of the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach and in the area of the sunken NEL Tower outside of Mission Beach. There was also a recent report of some halibut biting in San Diego Bay.


The showings of yellowtail along the San Diego County coast have been erratic from day to day and it has been rather quiet with regard to yellowtail activity in recent days. During the past several weeks there have been occasional showing of yellowtail found in the area ranging from the Whistler Buoy off Point Loma on up to the upper end of La Jolla and you never know where and when some yellowtail might pop up. A good depth range to try and locate yellowtail has been in 18 to 30 fathoms of water. The zone below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla has been the best place to try and locate some yellowtail during the past couple of weeks.


The yellowtail along the coast have been mostly 18- to 25-pound fish and they have been located by finding sonar marks, meter marks and spots of working birds. Once located, yo-yo iron, surface iron, mackerel and sardines have all worked for the yellowtail. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. The live baits have worked while slow trolled, flylined and fished deep with a dropper loop rig. There are recent reports of mackerel being caught for bait in about 40-50 feet of water off the Mission Bay jetties.


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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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Holidays and stormy weather have been keeping most anglers off the water in recent days
Christmas has come and gone and the busy holiday season coupled with poor weather conditions have kept most anglers off the water during much of the Christmas week. Today is Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 and the weather is still unsettled with the forecast for Monday calling for another significant chance of rain. The good news is that there are also some good weather days within the current forecast and I stress the importance of always checking the latest marine weather forecast before you go boating or fishing.

Today is Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 and there are a few boats out fishing offshore that are looking around for bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna. It is still sloppy weather offshore and to this point, I have no news of significant catches of tuna having been made so far today while fishing in today’s sloppy weather.


There was very good fishing for bluefin tuna and a few yellowfin tuna last weekend and there should be several more boats out looking around this upcoming weekend to try and relocate some biting tuna.


Last weekend’s fishing saw the Mustang out of H&M Landing fish overnight trips on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the Mustang had 30 anglers catch 23 of the 50- to 80-pound sized bluefin tuna and two of the 25- to 40-pound yellowfin tuna. On Sunday, the Mustang caught limits of 25- to 40-pound bluefin tuna and had a total catch of 30 anglers catching 60 bluefin tuna and 6 yellowfin tuna.


Sunday’s fishing also saw the Tomahawk out of Fisherman’s Landing out fishing a 1.5 day trip and they posted a fish count of 28 bluefin tuna which ranged in size from 70 to 90 pounds. Fisherman’s Landing reported that the bluefin caught on the Tomahawk were biting on flylined sardines that were fished on live bait outfits with 50 and 60 pound test fluorocarbon leaders.


Hopefully some more bluefin and yellowfin will be relocated by the boats out trying today or the boats out giving it a look over the weekend. Additional boat coverage should be helpful in relocating some biting bluefin or yellowfin. Areas being looked at today include the Butterfly Bank, 60 Mile Bank, 390 Bank, 213 Bank, 1010 Trench and the Airplane Trench.


Prior to the recent bad weather there was fair action for swordfish for boats using the deep drop technique. There have been two main areas of swordfish activity with the best zone being for boats fishing the drop off shelf off Newport Beach and with the other productive region being while fishing around the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot. Last reports were that the bite had slowed from the good action of a few weeks ago but that there were still some swordfish bites being found and an occasional swordfish being caught. Skippers have been drifting areas in 150 to 300 fathoms of water and have been fishing their baits at around 900 feet below the surface. Large frozen squid have been the best bait with live mackerel also producing occasional action.


There have been no boats fishing at the Coronados that I know of since Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 when there was good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, calico bass and an assortment of bottom fish species. There have been several weather systems that have passed through since December 14 that have likely changed the water conditions, but for your reference, the fish counts from December 14 were the Vendetta out of H&M Landing that had a full day trip with 21 anglers catch 65 bonito, 20 sheephead, 20 rockfish, 10 calico bass and 5 sculpin. The Grande out of H&M Landing fished a full day trip with 21 anglers that same day who caught 39 yellowtail, 55 bonito and 80 rockfish.


The last reports were that there were some smaller bonito biting around North Island as well as some larger bonito and calico bass biting at spots around South Island. There were also some bonito and yellowtail biting in the region of the Rockpile and below. Good areas for rockfish have been while fishing hard bottom areas to the northwest, north and northeast of North Island in the 25 to 45 fathom depths as well as along the ridges ranging from the South Kelp Ridge to the Rockpile in the 20 to 40 fathom depths.


For those fishing along the San Diego County coast, the past few weeks have seen occasional flurries of yellowtail action found off the stretch of coast between the upper end of La Jolla and the Green Tank at Point Loma while fishing in 18 to 25 fathoms of water. The bite has been erratic from day to day but yellowtail have been popping up from time to time. The recent yellowtail fishing has been slow with the last significant sportboat yellowtail catch coming from the fishing on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 when the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a morning half day trip with 14 anglers catch 7 yellowtail, 2 whitefish and 5 rockfish. Most of the yellowtail found biting along the coast have been good sized fish that have been running from 18 to 25 pounds.


The yellowtail off the coast have shown a pattern of showing and biting best during the early morning hours. Look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish up under working birds to try and locate yellowtail. Specific productive areas where yellowtail have been popping up from time to time over the past few weeks have been while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla, the lower end of La Jolla, Mission Bay, Point Loma College and the Green Tank.


If you are fortunate enough to be at the right spot at the right time and locate some yellowtail, best bets have been yo-yo iron and surface iron with sardines and mackerel also producing some action.


Anglers need to keep in mind is that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure in California waters goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. During the 2 month closure period, anglers will need to fish in Mexican waters to target the rockfish/groundfish that are covered by the closure.


Aside from the occasional yellowtail action, the remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass, sheephead and whitefish. Hard bottom and structure spots have been the best with productive areas being at the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside 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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Yellowtail bite off stretch between Mission Bay and the Green Tank at Point Loma!
There have been no boats looking around offshore for tuna that I know of since last weekend when there were a few yellowfin tuna scratched out along with a few skipjack and what were some pretty good numbers of what were mostly the small 3- to 5-pound kelp paddie yellowtail. The best zone for this activity was below and outside of the Coronado Islands for boats working 28 to 40 miles from Point Loma to the southwest and to south of the 371 Bank. The numbers of tuna that were biting were not good enough to get other boats out there looking around during the week. Who knows, maybe someone will go out offshore and do some looking around for tuna over the weekend?


What was good on a couple of days during the week was the fishing for 18- to 25-pound yellowtail for boats fishing the 18 to 25 fathom depths in an area spread from outside of Mission Bay on down to being outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma. There was a good yellowtail bite off the lower end of La Jolla last Friday, December 6, 2019 but the yellows played hard to find for a few days until the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing relocated good numbers of yellows again on Wednesday and had a morning half day trip with 16 anglers catch 25 yellowtail, 2 calico bass and 1 sand bass. The good yellowtail bite carried over to Thursday when the New Seaforth had a morning half day trip with 48 anglers catch 63 yellowtail. Today is Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 and the yellowtail bite was on the scratchy side of things for most boats this morning.


The yellows have been biting from stopping on meter marks, sonar marks and spots of fish found up working on the surface which are usually marked by diving birds. Yo-yo iron, surface iron, sardines and mackerel have all been working for the yellowtail with both types of iron working best. The water temperature in the area has been running 62 to 63 degrees.


Private boater Bill Parker of the Cabo fished the coastal yellowtail on Thursday morning and reported very good fishing with the 3 aboard catching 7 of the 18- to 25-pound yellows. Parker said they found their fish under spots of working birds and were working in an area ranging from outside of the Ocean Beach Pier on up to the Green Tank at Point Loma. He called it “run and gun” style fishing and said that 6 of their yellowtail were caught on surface iron and that they got one yellowtail on yo-yo iron.


Parker said that the mint color Salas 7X light was the hot surface iron for them. Parker was fishing with his friend Justin Krumb and son-in-law Jeremiah Marrujo aboard and an exciting thing was that Jeremiah caught his first ever yellowtail! To make it even more special, Marrujo caught the fish on a brand new Phenix Rods fishing rod that Parker had got him for his birthday.


An interesting note from Parker’s trip was about the one yellowtail they caught on a yo-yo iron. When they boated the fish it thrashed and flopped on the deck and broke the yo-yo iron jig in half.


The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been productive for a mix of reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass, sheephead and whitefish. There have also been a few halibut biting out in 30 fathoms of water outside of the Yukon shipwreck off Mission Beach.


Most of the coastal fishing for bass, sculpin, reds, rockfish, sheephead and whitefish is being done at hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas have been at the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


Boats that are deep drop fishing for swordfish continue to find action while fishing the drop-off shelf outside of Newport Beach and in the region of the 9 Mile Bank and the nearby 178 Spot off San Diego. There have also been a few boats fishing the coastal drop-off shelf off Oceanside that have seen occasional action as well.


The area off Newport Beach has been the best and when there are 8 or 10 boats out fishing on a given day, there seems to be a swordfish or two being caught. This morning there was a boat reporting a lost swordfish hookup off Newport Beach and there was another report of a swordfish being caught.


Captain Maurice Smith of the private boat Dos Hermanos reported about deep drop fishing for swordfish at the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank / 178 Spot region on Tuesday and said that they did not have any luck. There was another boat doing commercial deep drop fishing nearby and Smith said that the commercial boat did not have any luck on Tuesday either. Smith reported 63.8 degree water in the area and said there was a lot of life around.


The most recent report from the Coronado Islands proper was from last Friday, December 6, 2019 when private boater, Captain Bob Fletcher of the Fletch fished at the Coronados with private boater, Captain Louie Zimm aboard Zimm’s boat Shearwater.


Fletcher reported having a great trip and said that they started the day by fishing along the weather side of North Island in 62.8 degree water in what were beautiful and calm weather conditions. Fletcher said they found steady action on 3 to 5 pound bonito that were biting on small Rapalas that they were trolling up and down the weather side of North Island. They ended up catching 6 bonito out of that bite that included one larger fish that was up between 7 and 8 pounds. They kept some of their bonito and released the rest.


Fletcher said their next move was to try the Middle Grounds and when they got there they found that the water was cold and at 61.75 degrees. Nothing was happening in the cooler water and they did not spend much time at the Middle Grounds before heading out to the west-southwest of North Island to try some rock cod fishing.


While they were drifting and catching rock cod, they had a big school of jumbo sized bonito show up and they threw some chum and got the fish boiling around the boat. The bonito were biting well and they were hooking bonito on yo-yo iron and sardines. They were mostly 8 to 9 pound bonito except for one bonito that Zimm caught on a Colt Sniper yo-yo jig. The bonito that bit on the Colt Sniper was a considerably larger 11 pound fish when it was weighed back at the dock. Fletcher said that the water in the zone to the west-southwest of North Island was clean green in color and was at 63.4 degrees. They ended up catching 5 bonito and 10 rockfish from this zone and once again kept some of their bonito and released the rest.


After the great bonito bite, the weather began to change and a southwest wind started to blow ahead of an approaching storm. They headed for home and were back at the dock by 1:15 PM. They ended up keeping 6 of their bonito and 10 rockfish and Fletcher said they never saw another boat fishing around the Coronados except for a couple of commercial Mexican lobster pangas.


On Tuesday Zimm went fishing on the Shearwater once again and fished at the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank. He said they caught one big bonito on a trolled X-Rap Rapala and saw some others. He said they chased some bird schools around but could not get any more action on bonito. They tried some rock cod fishing in the 80 to 90 fathom depths at the 9 Mile Bank on the Mexico side of the border and found what he described as “fair” fishing for rockcod on frozen squid.


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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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Will the second cold weather storm of the season knock out the tuna bite?
It is Thanksgiving Eve as I am preparing this report and it has been a wet and windy day for Southern California as the second northern weather system of the season has arrived. There are currently Small Craft Advisories posted through Friday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2019 and Southern California offshore anglers are curious as to what effect these 3 days of bad weather will have on the good fishing that has been going on for bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna.


The result of the first northern weather system of the season that passed through Southern California last week was that there was some cooling of the water and the that the tuna bite moved further offshore. Offshore water temperatures were running from 62.5 to 64.5 degrees in areas where there has been tuna activity. With Small Craft Advisories currently in effect until Friday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2019, there will likely not be any boats out looking for tuna until the weather improves on the post Thanksgiving day weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens to the water temperature and what becomes of the tuna bite after the passing of the current storm.


The best tuna bite area heading into the current storm was in the area of the deep water basin to the southwest of the 43 Fathom Spot for boats fishing between 49 and 54 miles 252 to 254 degrees from Point Loma. Some of the more local offshore banks within 25 miles or so of San Diego such as the 182 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank and the 178 Spot were producing some 3 to 10 pound kelp paddie yellowtail and some skipjack prior to the arrival of the current storm.


An interesting bluefin report was provided by Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center. Cacciola says that some of the boats that have been fishing for rockfish at hard bottom areas off Box Canyon have been seeing occasional spots of breaking bluefin tuna incidental to their bottom fishing. He also reported that whale watch boats have been seeing occasional spots of breaking bluefin tuna incidental to looking for whales between Dana Point and San Onofre.


Most of the yellowfin tuna have been in the 20- to 40-pound class and most of the bluefin have been running from 15 to 60 pounds with some of the larger bluefin going up over the 100-pound mark. Stops have been coming from kelp paddies, spots of working birds, sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breezing fish, skipjack trolling strikes and yellowfin trolling strikes. Sardines have worked well for bait with mackerel also working for some of the larger sized bluefin. Flat Fall jigs and Colt Snipers have also been producing some action.


Some fish counts prior to the arrival of the current storm are the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing that had 40 anglers on a full day trip catch 99 yellowtail and 5 skipjack. Seaforth Sportfishing also had the Tribute return home from a 1.5 day trip which had 27 anglers catch 36 yellowfin tuna and 31 bluefin tuna. The Pacifica returned home to Seaforth Sportfishing from a 1.75 day trip where 24 anglers caught 10 yellowfin tuna.


H&M Landing reported that the Grande fished a full day trip with 21 anglers who caught 11 yellowtail, 1 yellowfin tuna and 5 skipjack. They also had the Old Glory fishing an overnight trip with 36 anglers who caught 28 bluefin tuna, 1 bigeye tuna and 2 yellowfin tuna.


Fisherman's Landing had the Liberty fish a full day trip where 34 anglers caught 34 yellowtail and 34 skipjack. They also had the Tomahawk fish a 1.5 day trip with 19 anglers who caught 38 bluefin tuna and 3 yellowfin tuna.


Point Loma Sportfishing had the New Lo-An return from a 2.5 day trip with 15 anglers catching 115 yellowfin tuna that went to 60 pounds, 6 bluefin tuna that went to 100 pounds and 51 yellowtail.


The past weekend also saw good fishing for yellowfin tuna and some bluefin tuna at the Corner and the San Clemente Basin Weather Buoy but those areas have quieted down since last weekend. Marcus Hale of the Cabrilla fished below and outside of the Corner at 33 miles 251 degrees from Point Loma on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 and reported finding a very good yellowfin bait stop. Hale said they found the hot yellowfin stop in 64.5 degree water and reported that their stop started by getting a double yellowfin trolling strike where the 2 troll fish bit on a cedar plug and a Rapala.


They caught 12 yellowfin out of that stop and the yellowfin were quality sized 25 to 40 pound fish that filled their fish bag. Hale said that in the early morning they also found a kelp paddie that produced limits of small yellowtail while fishing 2 miles outside of the 224 Spot which puts you out at 24 miles 236 degrees from Point Loma.


Tom Golding of the Last Buck fished to the southwest of the 43 Fathom Spot at 44 miles 252 degrees from Point Loma on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 and reported finding a great yellowfin bait stop where they drifted and caught yellowfin from 10 a.m. until they left to head for home at sunset. They caught 27 yellowfin out of the stop and they were nice sized fish that went from 30 to 35-plus pounds. Golding said that by the time they headed for home that they had filled all their ice chests, hatches and fish hold space with yellowfin tuna!


The water temperature where Golding found the great yellowfin stop was at 63.63 degrees and he said that the yellowfin were biting well on sardines. He added that even though they had fish boiling around the boat during the entirety of the stop that they needed to be using 30-pound test line with a 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader and a size 2 hook to readily get strikes. He said that you could eventually get bit while using heavier 40-pound test line with a 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader but that it took a long time to get a bite when using the 40-pound test.


There has been good fishing for swordfish for boats using the deep drop method. The best area has been the coastal drop off shelf outside of Newport Beach. Some of the better days of fishing have seen 3 or 4 swordfish caught from this zone. Popular areas that have been producing some swordfish action via the deep drop method have been off Newport Beach, Abalone Point, Dana Point, the Golf Ball off Oceanside, the 178 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, the Slide at Catalina and the 152 Spot off the East End of Catalina. Large squid and mackerel have been effective baits while being fished 800 to 900 feet below the surface with the large squid reported to be working best.


There has not been much news coming from the Coronado Islands lately with most boats continuing to fish the good tuna bite offshore. There was a private boater report from Saturday from a Skipper who had spent some time fishing Pukey Point and the area along the weather side of North Island who had found the surface fishing to be slow. The last sportboat reports from the Coronados are now about 3 weeks old and at that time there was good bottom fishing and a chance at finding some bonito action. Good areas for the bottom fishing have been at the South Kelp Ridge while fishing in 25 to 40 fathoms of water and at hard bottom areas to the north, northeast and northwest of North Island while fishing in 25 to 50 fathoms of water.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast is into what is mostly a bottom fishing mode with reds, rockfish, sculpin, bass and whitefish making up the bulk of the catch. There have also been occasional flurries of bonito action by the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma and off Imperial Beach while fishing the region of the International Reef. Locating bonito activity has been hit or miss but there have been occasional showings of bonito in these areas.


Most of the coastal fishing for bass, sculpin, reds, rockfish and whitefish is now being done at hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas have been at the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #5 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270, the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.


Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that the Sea Center boats have been doing well on a mixed bag catch of rockfish, reds, whitefish and sculpin while fishing hard bottom areas off Box Canyon. Cacciola says that the Oceanside Sea Center boats have also been fishing occasional trips to the south of Oceanside and that hard bottom areas off Leucadia and Solana Beach have been producing good mixed bag catches of bottom fish. Sculpin have been making up a good percentage of the recent catch and he says that the sculpin fishing tends to be better off Box Canyon than at the spots off Leucadia and Solana Beach. Cacciola reports that the water in these coastal areas has been running around 63 degrees and says that the water has been a clean green color.


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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 the timely and accurate information at www.976bite.com .


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