LocalFish Rap

Bluefin Bite Improving!

The weather of the early spring fishing season has continued to bring rain, wind and sloppy seas but the past 10 days or so have seen improving weather with more days of sunshine. Some of the sunny days have seen strong winds blowing but the overall weather picture has been getting better. Anglers have been anxiously awaiting improved weather conditions to not only enjoy nicer days out on the water but to allow the colder than normal water conditions to stabilize and warm. There was water as cold as 51 degrees reported outside of Dana Point after a recent weather front passed through several days ago.

The anticipated improvement in surface fishing that one normally associates with the spring time season has been slow in coming with the late winter and early spring of unsettled weather conditions but that situation appears to be changing out on the offshore fishing grounds today with today’s fishing seeing good numbers of bluefin tuna biting. Before today’s catch, the bluefin bite was on the scratchy side of things and very much hit or miss with recent weeks seeing boats finding occasional action on fish to 170 pounds while fishing offshore waters to the southwest of Punta Colnett and to the southwest of San Martin Island between 110 and 140 miles from Point Loma.

Today there has been a breakthrough catch of bluefin made by Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing. Fisherman’s Landing reports that Pacific Queen is out on a 1.5 day trip and that they had an early update of having 25 bluefin aboard that were in the 20 to 50 pound class. They were still fishing at the time of that report. The limited information I have is that this catch of bluefin was made within 60 miles of Point Loma while working the 1000 fathom trench between the 390 Bank and the 60 Mile Bank.

The spring season has seen bluefin biting during both the daylight and the night time hours. Knife jigs and Flat Fall jigs have worked best during the dark and flylined sardines have been working best during daylight hours.

The fishing at Los Coronado Islands has been producing a very occasional yellowtail but the yellowtail bite has been slow. Occasional schools of yellows are being metered with the electronics so there are some yellowtail around that could change their habits and start biting better. What has been very good around the Islands has been the fishing for reds, an assortment of rockfish, whitefish and an occasional lingcod. The most recent trip aboard San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing was a full day trip that had excellent bottom fishing and returned with limits of reds and limits of rockfish.

If you want to try for yellowtail around the Islands, yo-yo iron has been working best with dropper loop fished sardines also producing occasional hookups. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Salas 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white scrambled egg as well as blue and chrome colors. Most of the yellowtail activity has been found while working sonar marks found on the warm water side of temperature breaks found off the weather side of North Island and to the northeast of North Island. The cooler water around the Islands has been down around 56 degrees and the warmer water has been up around 59 degrees. Best areas for the bottom fishing around Los Coronado Islands have been to the northwest and to the north of North Island in 30 to 60 fathoms.

Most boats fishing San Diego County coastal areas have been focused on fishing for rockfish since the seasonal rockfish/groundfish closure came to an end on April 1. The fishing at coastal and at offshore rockfish areas has been excellent as anglers have been able to fish rockfish areas without the depth restrictions of recent years. Reports of excellent rockfish fishing have been coming in from areas such as the International Reef, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, the 9 Mile Bank, the 60 Mile Bank, the 270 to the west of Mission Bay, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Box Canyon, the 14 Mile Bank and San Clemente Island.

Captain Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports excellent fishing for reds and Mexican rockfish at hard bottom areas off Carlsbad in depths ranging from 250 to 600-plus feet of water. Cacciola reported that strips of frozen squid were working best for the rockfish species.

I have not heard of much in the way of halibut biting along the coast lately but Captain Joe Cacciola also reported that there were a couple of nice sized halibut within the catch made on Blue Horizon from the Oceanside Sea Center on a recent 1.5 day trip out to San Clemente Island. Cacciola said that Blue Horizon also caught lots big rockfish on their 1.5 day trip to San Clemente Island. There have also been a few reports about an occasional nice sized halibut biting on live squid off Silver Canyon and the V’s off the back side of Catalina.

The yellowtail fishing at La Jolla remains slow but there has been occasional yellowtail activity found at La Jolla in recent weeks. The yellowtail activity tends to be found in the region ranging from the outskirts of the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla on up to the lower edges of the La Jolla Canyon in 18 to 35 fathoms.

Most of the yellowtail are located around schools of bait and the occasional bites tend to be had on surface iron, yo-yo iron and sardines or mackerel that are fished deep on a dropper loop rig. Good choices for surface iron include Tady 45’s and Salas 7X lights in blue and white and sardine colors. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X, Salas 7X and Salas 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg as well as blue and chrome.

It sounds like the tuna season within one day range of Point Loma might well be underway with the catch made aboard Pacific Queen today as talked about above. A stretch of nice weather might be all it will take for the water conditions to stabilize and for the water to warm up a few degrees and trigger better surface fishing offshore, at the local Islands and along the coast. I hope the spring season continues to improve and that you get a chance to get out on the water and enjoy some spring time fishing in good weather. Keep on fishing and I hope to see you out on the water!

Bob Vanian is the voice, writer and researcher of the San Diego-based internet fish report service called 976-Bite which can be found at www.976bite.com. Vanian also provides anglers with a personal fish report service over the telephone at (619) 226-8218. He always welcomes your fish reports at that same phone number or at bob976bite@aol.com.

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