Good Weather Days Often Lead To Good Fishing!

The month of January has seen several weather systems move through Southern California which have brought strong winds, high seas, rain and lightning but anglers have been able to go out and find some fun fishing on the good weather days between storms.


I do not know of any bluefin tuna activity being found in local offshore waters lately but there were a couple of private boats out looking around offshore a couple of days ago. They were out exploring by the 43 Fathom Spot and the Corner and were reporting relatively warm 61.1 degree water. As of their last report in the early afternoon, neither Skipper had seen any bluefin. I think the 61.1 degree water was a positive sign as in my way of thinking it is good news that the water has remained as warm 61.1 degrees in the middle of the winter. Hopefully that will prove to be a good indicator that we might start seeing bluefin show up in local offshore waters earlier than one might normally anticipate.


An ongoing reminder to anglers is that the annual rockfish closure on the United States side of the Mexico border went into effect on New Years Day and that the closure will remain in effect until April 1, 2024. During this time period anglers wishing to fish for rockfish will need to do so in Mexican waters. An additional reminder is that the fishing for sheephead on the United States side of the Mexico border will be closed until March 1, 2024. Please refer t o the Department of Fish and Wildlife website for all the details about the various closures at


Los Coronado Islands have been producing good numbers of rockfish for those wishing to escape the rockfish closure in United States waters and do some rockfish fishing. A productive rockfish zone has been at the hard bottom to the northwest, north and northeast of North Island in the 25 to 60 fathom depths. Another productive rockfish zone has been at the South Kelp Ridge below South Island in the 25 to 45 fathom depths. A recent three-quarter day trip to Mexican waters on Daiwa Pacific out of H&M Landing had a fish count of 20 anglers catching 132 rockfish, 1 lingcod, 5 sheephead and 62 reds.


On a side note, if you are out fishing for rockfish in the region of Los Coronado Islands it might be a good idea to keep a lookout for signs of bonito or yellowtail activity in the region of Los Coronado Islands and at the Flats area outside of the Bull Ring at Tijuana. A couple of days ago, there were some breaking bonito seen in the rockfish area out to the northwest of North Island.


When the weather allows, sportboats have been targeting rockfish, lingcod and yellowtail on 1.5 day trips to fish the waters in the Punta Colnett region. ON the last trip aboard Horizon out of H&M Landing they had 9 anglers catch 90 rockfish and 18 lingcod.


The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been highlighted by yellowtail activity in the La Jolla region. It has usually been hard to get the yellowtail to bite but every once in a while there are a few yellowtail caught that have been in the 15 to 35 pound range. This morning Skippers are reporting finding an increase in yellowtail activity but anglers are having a very hard time getting a yellowtail to bite the baits and jigs being presented to them.


Most yellowtail hookups have been on yo-yo iron or surface iron fished around spots of bait, meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish. Most of the yellowtail activity has been found in depths ranging from 14 to 40 fathoms. Areas of bait are likely spots where yellowtail might show. The best zones to try to locate yellowtail have been along the outskirts of the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla as well as outside of the upper end of La Jolla.


Yo-yo jigs fished around yellowtail meter marks that are found around deep bait balls have accounted for the majority of the yellowtail hookups and good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white and scrambled egg colors. Surface iron has also been effective when you can cast the jig to breaking fish before they sound. Good choices for surface iron include Tady 45 and Salas 7X light jigs in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. Colt Sniper dart style jigs have also produced an occasional yellowtail.


In addition to a chance at a yellowtail at La Jolla, hard bottom and structure areas up and down the San Diego County coast have been producing a good mix of calico bass, sand bass, sculpin, whitefish and an occasional halibut. Productive areas include the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Green Tank, the Jetty Kelp outside of Mission Bay, the Variety Kelp at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad, the Barn and San Onofre. The best zone for a chance at a halibut has been off San Onofre drifting sandy bottom near structure in 35 to 50 feet.


We are still in the middle of winter but if you study the weather reports to try and choose the nice weather days between storms to do your fishing you can do some fun fishing and have a chance at catching some quality fish for both sport and the table. Keep on fishing and I hope to see you out on the water sometime soon!


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 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


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