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Private Boater's Report

Private Boater’s Report: Spots of biting yellows becoming more frequent under better conditions

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: Mar 26, 2019

Even with the arrival of spring, anglers are still having to dodge some poor weather to do their fishing. These days can include rain, high seas and wind and even some of the sunny days have been windy with a large swell running. The good news is the good weather days continue to provide good fishing and there has been surface action to be found on the days with nicer conditions.

Most of the surface fishing action is being found by boats fishing the Finger Bank area below the Coronado Islands. The Finger Bank has been productive with a mix of yellowtail, bonito and an assortment of rockfish. Over the weekend, the central area of yellowtail activity at the Finger Bank was down at 33 miles, 156 degrees from Point Loma.

Most of the yellowtail action has been coming from stopping on sonar marks, chumming heavily and dropping a yo-yo iron or a sardine on a dropper loop rig. This style fishing can be difficult for private boaters without scanning sonar and that have a limited chumming capacity compared to the chumming capacity of a sportboat.

Productive yo-yo jig choices include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. The yellows at the Finger Bank have been running from 10 to 20 pounds. As an example of the yellowtail fishing, on Sunday the sportboat full-day-trip yellowtail counts ranged anywhere from 12 to 55 yellowtail per boat with some bonito and rockfish in the counts as well.

Lee Fleming of the Jawbreaker fished the Finger Bank on Saturday and reported catching three bonito, a bunch of rockfish and hooking and losing three mystery fish that bit on yo-yo iron he thought were likely yellowtail. The sportboats with scanning sonar and a lot of bait to throw for chum were reported to be having an easier time locating a school of yellowtail and then get them into a feeding mode via heavy chumming. Fleming said the water temperature was 64 degrees and it was a clean blue-green color. He also reported finding lots of birds, seals, porpoise and whales in the zone where yellowtail were being located.

In addition to the fishing for yellowtail, bonito and rockfish at the Finger Bank, there has also been good fishing for rockfish at hard-bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island in 40 to 65 fathoms of water. Another productive rockfish zone has been the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in 25 to 40 fathoms of water. Also look for a chance at scratching out a few bonito and for the possibility of catching a yellowtail while fishing along the weather side of North Island.

The San Diego County coastal fishing has been good for a mix of reds, rockfish, calico bass, sand bass and sculpin. There have also been a few bonus lingcod or halibut biting to round out the catch.

There has not been much in the way of San Diego are coastal yellowtail activity reported in recent days but on Tuesday, there was a good showing of forkies under working birds that was reported by a private boater fishing outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma. The private boater had caught 5 yellowtail on iron. There have been no reports of yellowtail showing in the Green Tank area since that time. The other zone where there have been occasional showings of yellows during the past couple weeks has been at the upper end of La Jolla. Hopefully a stretch of good weather will help in getting some consistency to the showings of yellowtail along the coast.

Productive rockfish areas off the San Diego County coast include 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, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad and Box Canyon.

Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for the bass and sculpin off the San Diego County coast with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard-bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure area at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.

Up at Catalina, there has been some squid to be caught for bait at night off the V’s and outside of Ben Weston with the Ben Weston area tending to be the best. Look for a chance at scratching out a yellowtail or white seabass off the V’s and Salta Verde as well as off the area between Ribbon Rock and the West End. A stretch of nice weather might go a long way toward improving the spring white seabass and yellowtail fishing at Catalina.

LA JOLLA PRODUCED a slug yellow for this solo boater who was flylining a live mackerel. WON PHOTO BY PAT MCDONELL

RAINY DAY SPOTTY with SoCal Halibut Charters out of Long Beach. PHOTO COURTESY

SAN NIC A GREAT OPTION — Rob Flaata of Canyon Country caught his personal best 42-pound halibut while fishing San Nicolas aboard the Options, Capt. Wes Flesch. The fish couldn’t resist a dropper-looped live squid.

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