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Private Boater’s Report: Seabass trending up at Catalina

Weather hampers offshore bite

BY BOB VANIAN/976Bite.comPublished: May 21, 2019

The past week of fishing was highlighted by catches of bluefin tuna and yellowtail, but it was marred by periods of bad weather which kept a lot of private boaters and some sportboats at home. As recently as early this week, there were small craft advisories posted.

Bluefin tuna have been biting well at times for boats fishing the region between the 475 Knuckle and the Upper Hidden Bank in an area spread from 30 to 38 miles 175 to 185 degrees from Point Loma. The fishing has been good enough that some of the recent sportboat catches have included limits of bluefin. The bluefin have been ranging from 25 to 275 pounds with most falling within the 50- to 100-pound class.


Once located, bluefin have been biting fly-lined or kite-fished sardines and Flat-Fall jigs.


The yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands has been very good at times, but it was a bit more hit or miss in the sloppier weather. On the best days, it has been near-limit to limit fishing for the yellowtail and there has been a mix of bonito, calico bass and an assortment of rockfish biting to compliment and sometimes supplement the yellowtail action.


Most of the yellowtail have been in the 8- to 15-pound range with a few larger fish to 20 pounds also in the mix. They have been biting on fly-lined sardines, dropper-loops, yo-yo and surface iron, stickbaits and trolled X-Rap Rapalas. Good yo-yo jig choices would include Salas 6X, Salas 6X Jr., Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. Good surface iron jig choices would include Tady 45’s and Salas 7X lights in blue and white, mint and sardine colors.


Yellowtail have been located in varied locations such as the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island, the lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and the South Kelp Ridge with the South Kelp Ridge and lighthouse at the south tip of South Island being the best zones lately. Fishing kelp bed areas such as the South Kelp and 5-Minute Kelp has also produced some bonito, calico bass and short barracuda, and the boiler rocks around the Middle Grounds and at the north end of South Island have also been productive for calico bass.


The rockfish fishing has also been good around the Coronado Islands, and some of the better zones have been at hard-bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island in 35 to 50 fathoms of water. Another productive rockfish zone has been while fishing the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in 25 to 40 fathoms of water.


About 10 days ago, the fishing along the San Diego County coast was seeing some good yellowtail action at the upper end of La Jolla, but the bite eventually tailed off. There are still some yellows biting in the area, but the showings of fish have been up and down quickly and it has been hard to get them to bite. Skippers are thinking that a stretch of good weather will allow the water conditions to stabilize and the yellowtail fishing to improve.


John Carroll of the Huachinango was fishing with Gary Mouritzen of the Get Bent made on Saturday off Imperial Beach. Carroll reported that Mouritzen was catching sand bass and catching and releasing a lot of short barracuda when out of nowhere, he got bit by a jumbo yellowtail. He landed the big homeguard that tipped the scaled at 36.2 pounds.


In addition to the sporadic showings of yellowtail at La Jolla, they have also been sporadically showing up with bonito bonito for boats fishing the Imperial Beach region near the International Reef and the Imperial Beach Pipeline. It’s also been hit or miss, but Skippers are encouraged to be seeing more surface fish move into the area.


Most of the rest of the San Diego area coastal fishing has been good for a mix of bass, reds, rockfish, sculpin and whitefish along with an occasional bonus halibut or lingcod. 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 with productive areas including 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 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, and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside.


San Clemente Island has been producing a mixed bag of yellowtail and assorted bottom fish to go along with a few calico bass and bonito, but the unsettled weather conditions have had an effect on the fishing at San Clemente Island. The best areas for yellowtail have been off the back side of the western end of the Island at the West Cove and Runway areas and the front side of the Island between White Rock and Gold Bluff.


Yellowtail action has been found while sitting on the anchor and also found by stopping on sonar marks, meter marks and the occasional spot of breaking fish. The forkies have been biting on sardines, surface and yo-yo iron, and the bonito have bit best on sardines.


The fishing at Catalina Island has also been affected by the recent bad weather, but areas right to the Island has been producing what has decent numbers of yellowtail to go with lots of assorted bottom fish and a mix of calico bass, barracuda and bonito. New to the report is additional flurries of white seabass action as conditions stabilize around the island. Pro­ductive yellowtail areas have been off the V’s, Salta Verde, Church Rock, the East End Light, outside of Indian Rock and while fishing between the Blue Cavern State Marine Conservation Area and the Long Point State Marine Reserve.


There has been a bit of squid to catch for bait at night off Ben Weston and there has been an occasional flurry of white seabass action found while fishing with live squid at areas such as Salta Verde, the V’s, Church Rock and the East End Light.


Conditions are setting up nicely for the upcoming Catalina Jackpot held June- 7-9 out of Two Harbors. For more info on prizes, rules and registration, visit WONews.com and find it under the EVENTS tab.


chasingcharlie1

chasingcharlie2CHASING CHARLIE STRIKES — Casey Capparelli and his group enjoyed white seabass limits while fishing Santa Cruz Island aboard his private boat. The fish were weighed at CISCO’s and ranged from 19 to 32 pounds.


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