Private boater: Pelagics head northwest, SCI bluefin likely on deck

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BY BOB VANIAN

976Bite.com

There have been some changes as the hot area of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail that had been biting for boats fishing within 35 miles of Point Loma dropped off and anglers had to look to some new zones to find some better numbers.

The offshore fishing over the weekend was just fair for most boats with some action being found in area to the southwest of the 43 Fathom Spot, the area of the 1,000 Fathom Trench between the San Salvador Knoll and the 390 Bank, the area between the Lower Hidden Bank and the Upper 500 Bank, the area of the 385 Spot outside of Ensenada and the waters outside of San Martin Island.

That area outside of San Martin Island was a hotspot heading into the weekend with a good mix of 20- to 40-pound bluefin tuna, 12- to 25-pound yellowfin, yellowtail and dorado biting. but the bite tapered off over the weekend. The bite down there was found 130 to 145 miles, 153 to 155 degrees from Point Loma. What popped up on Sunday was an area that started to produce some fish outside of Punta Colonet at 100 to 105 miles, 155 degrees from Point Loma, so maybe those fish off San Martin Island have been moving up.

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Heading into the weekend, there was also a pretty good area of mixed yellowfin, bluefin and yellowtail for boats fishing the region of the 385 Spot outside of Ensenada, but that bite went on the decline over the weekend. What provided some pretty good fishing for that mix of fish on Sunday was an area between the Upper 500 Bank and the Lower Hidden Bank for boats fishing 50 to 55 miles, 183 to 185 degrees from Point Loma.

The 1,000 fathom trench has been producing occasional bluefin, yellowfin and yellowtail. On Sunday, there were some biters found in an area spread from 34 to 38 miles, 216 to 222 degrees from Point Loma.

The region to the west and southwest of the 43 Fathom Spot produced some fair to good fishing for the bigger bluefin over the weekend and also provided a chance at some kelp paddy yellowtail and a few yellowfin tuna. The bluefin in this sector seem to be working westerly toward San Clemente Island, and on Sunday the action was spread from 41 to 49 miles, 257 to 259 degrees from Point Loma.

Bluefin tuna have been ranging in size from 20- to 200-plus pounds and have been biting on frozen flying fish and Yummee Flyers under a kite, flylined and sinker-fished sardines and Flat-Fall jigs. The yellowfin tuna have mostly been 12- to 40-pound fish with an occasional larger model to 60 pounds.

Meter marks and sonar marks lead to most of the bluefin with yellowfin being caught on their own marks, kelp paddies, porpoise schools and jig strikes. Fly-lined sardines have been best for the yellowfin with Rapalas and feathers also bringing occasional yellowfin trolling strikes.

The offshore yellowtail have been biting around kelp paddies, and they have been surprisingly nice-sized fish with a good percentage being up in the 15- to 20-pound range. Most of the dorado have been 5 to 12 pounds.

The Coronado Islands have been a hotspot providing very good mixed-bag fishing for yellowtail, calico bass, barracuda, bonito and rockfish. Some of the better sportboat catches have included near-limit to limit numbers of yellowtail. The best zone has been spots inside of South Island in an area ranging from the Ribbon Kelp in the lee of South Island on down to the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge below South Island.

The yellowtail have been 12- to 25-pound fish and have been biting fly-lined sardines, or ‘dines on a dropper loop rig or slow trolled as well as surface and yo-yo iron. Slow trolled sardines and fly-lined drifted sardines tend to work best for private boaters.

John Carroll of the Huachinango fished at the Coronados for a half day on Saturday morning, and he reported finding very good mixed-bag fishing for yellowtail, calico bass and barracuda while fishing the Ribbon Kelp in the lee of South Island and the 5 Minute Kelp below and inside of the south tip of South Island. Carroll had two friends aboard who were novice anglers, and they fished until noon and caught 4 yellowtail along with a good number of barracuda and calico bass. He said the yellowtail bite was good enough to where three experienced anglers could have caught their limits of yellowtail in a couple of hours of fishing.

The yellowtail they boated were 12- to 16-pound fish, and he said they had some lost hookups on fish that were up over 20 pounds. They were getting bit using size 1 hooks and fluorocarbon leaders that were as heavy as 30-pound test.

Bill Parker of the Cabo fished at the Coronados and reported he and a friend caught 7 of the 18- to 25-pound yellowtail before saying enough was enough and leaving them biting to fish for calico bass. He said he found the hot yellowtail action while fishing the 5 Minute Kelp area inside of the south tip of South Island.

The yellows were biting for them on slow-trolled sardines, and Parker said they got bit best while slow trolling into the wind at a very slow idle speed. They increased the number of bites when they dropped down to 20- or 25-pound test, fluorocarbon leaders and size 2 or size 4 live bait hooks. After leaving the yellowtail, they found very good calico fishing. Parker and his friend caught and released several large calicos while fishing sardines at spots around South Island and the Middle Grounds.

The fishing along the San Diego area coast has been good for a mix of calico bass, barracuda and rockfish along with an occasional bonus halibut, white seabass or yellowtail.

One of the best areas for the coastal fishing remains at the Point Loma Kelp Beds which have been producing good numbers of calico bass along with some flurries of barracuda action and an occasional yellowtail or white seabass. The edges of the kelp beds have been producing calicos and some flurries of barracuda action, but the best ‘cuda bites have been found by locating spots of working terns outside of the kelp beds.

The kelp bed calico bass and barracuda action has been found over a large area at spots ranging from the Point Loma Kelp near the lighthouse all the way up to the kelp at Hill Street at Sunset Cliffs. The key to finding the best fishing has been to locate areas with the cleanest and warmest water combined with downhill current. Some of the best areas have been the Point Loma Lighthouse, the 5 Tanks, Green Tank and Point Loma Nazarine University.

The best barracuda fishing has been found under spots of working birds out in the 12- to 30-fathom depths in an area ranging from the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma on up to Hill Street at Sunset Cliffs. The of barracuda under the terns have been hit or miss, but when located, sardines and surface iron have been working well.

The fishing at La Jolla has been providing a mix of calico bass and rockfish, and the barracuda fishing picked up at La Jolla on Sunday as well. There have been occasional schools of yellowtail found working on the surface outside of Torrey Pines, and there has also been a shot at white seabass to targeting these yellows.

Imperial Beach has been producing an occasional halibut for boats drifting areas outside of the Imperial Beach Pier in the 40 to 80 foot depths. Boats working outside of Mission Beach have also been catching an occasional halibut while drifting the sandy bottom around the structure of the sunken NEL Tower or the Yukon shipwreck.

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