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Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Year-round bluefin fishing doable

By BOB VANIAN/976-BITE.comPublished: Feb 13, 2018

Colonet kicking out cod

The past week of fishing saw more offshore action with bluefin tuna and yellowtail biting. The way bluefin have stayed with us through the winter months, it is foreseeable that we will see a 12 consecutive month run of bluefin tuna within 1.5-day range of Point Loma. The thought of year-round bluefin tuna fishing is incredible!

The Mustang out of H&M Landing fished a 1.5-day for bluefin tuna on Saturday, and they had a good trip with 21 anglers catching 37 bluefin tuna and 10 yellowtail. Captain Steve Gawitt reported the blue­fin were running from 30 to 40 pounds and said they caught their bluefin from an 8-hour stop that originated from a sonar mark. The stop came to an end at 4 p.m., and they next found a kelp paddy that produced their 10 yellowtail.

Gawitt was protective of the location of where they made their catch but did say they were fishing within 1.5-day range of Point Loma in 64 degree water and that they were in a different zone than where they had been fishing outside of Punta Colonet. He described the 8-hour bluefin stop a steady plunker-type of bite. Gawitt stressed that it was most important that anglers keep changing their baits and select the most-lively baits to put on their hook.

Gawitt says he has 1.5-day offshore trips on the Mustang scheduled to depart on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday nights and says he will run these offshore trips as long as he has enough reservations to go.

Boats fishing the high spot area in close to the coast outside of Punta Colonet have been doing well on a mix of reds, miscellaneous rockfish and lingcod. Yellowtail have been hard to find the past couple of weeks but when located there has also been good yellowtail fishing on 15- to 20-pound fish. Yellowtail have been located via sonar and meter marks and when found they have been biting best on yo-yo’d iron. The Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing fished the Punta Colonet area on Saturday on a 1.5-day with 30 anglers that caught 150 reds, 120 rockfish and 2 lingcod. The Chief out of H&M Landing also fished on Saturday and had a 1.5-day trip with 31 anglers catch 310 rockfish. The Dominator out of Point Loma Sportfishing also fished on Saturday and had a 1.5-day trip with 22 anglers catch 40 whitefish, 65 rockfish, 110 reds and 5 lingcod.

The fishing for rockfish and reds has also been good around the Coronado Islands, but there has not been much happening in the way of yellowtail activity. The last sportboat trip I know of that fished around the Coronado Islands was on Saturday, Feb. 10 when the Liberty out of Fisherman’s Land­ing fished a three-quarter-day trip with 13 anglers that caught 6 sheephead, 122 rockfish and 2 lingcod.

Some of the better rockfish areas have been the hard-bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40- to 50-fathom depths. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9-Mile Bank on the Mexico side of the border.

With the annual 2-month rockfish/groundfish closure in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, most anglers fishing coastal areas have been fishing hard-bottom and structure spots for sand bass, calico bass and sculpin and have also been working sandy bottom areas adjacent to hard bottom and structure areas trying for halibut. One of the better areas for bass and sculpin in the San Diego region has been the Imperial Beach Pipeline.

An additional productive coastal area has been the sandy bottom and the kelp off the Imperial Beach Pier and the sandy bottom areas would be likely places to find a halibut. There have also been some bass and sculpin biting at the hard bottom to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma and at the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma.

Another couple of spots to try for halibut are the sandy bottom next to the Yukon Shipwreck and the sandy bottom next to the sunken NEL Tower outside of Mission Beach. A couple of other zones to try for halibut are the sandy bottom adjacent to the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and off Ponto Beach outside of Carlsbad. Boats have also been targeting halibut at sandy bottom areas off San Onofre, Trestles and outside of the San Clemente Pier.

Look for some bass and sculpin along with a chance at a halibut at La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia, Carlsbad and the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines. Look for a chance at some bass and sculpin at the hard bottom outside of Box Canyon, the Barn and San Onofre.

There have been inconsistent showings of squid to catch for bait at night along the San Diego County coast with the area outside of the Scripps Pier providing the best chance at finding some squid.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that there has been squid metered in various areas in the Oceanside region, but he says that it has been hit or miss in being able to catch squid for bait at night. Places where squid have been metered include the area outside of the Buccaneer Pipeline and outside of the Santa Margarita River.

Cacciola says that the Chubasco II has been fishing half-day trips out of the Oceanside Sea Center and says they have been doing well on quality sand bass with some of the better trips returning with catches that include limits of them. The sand bass have been biting well on strips of fresh frozen squid fished on a lead head, on whole fresh frozen squid and on plastics. Some of the better areas for the sand bass fishing have been the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor. As an example of the fishing, on their most recent trip on Sunday, February 11 the Chubasco II had 14 anglers on a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. half-day trip catch 1 triggerfish, 32 sculpin, 2 calico bass and 21 sand bass.

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