Summary Fish Report—April 20, 2016 at 4:40 PM
Provided by Bob Vanian of 976-Bite Fish Reports at www.976bite.com
We are well into the spring fishing season and El Nino is still present and we are seeing it’s ongoing effects via a very early start to the Southern California offshore fishing season. The past several weeks have seen bluefin tuna biting in what have at times been in good numbers and we have even seen a few yellowfin tuna biting as well. In addition to the offshore tuna fishing there has been additional early season excitement with yellowtail biting at some of the local islands and at spots along the coast. The coastal and island fishing has also provided some good mixed bag catches of rockfish and sculpin along with a few halibut and occasional flurries of barracuda action.
The bluefin tuna have been biting for several weeks but the bite has been hit or miss from day to day with some days seeing near limit to limit fishing (a limit of bluefin is two bluefin per angler) and other days providing scratchy fishing. We are currently in a phase of recent days that have been providing mostly scratchy bluefin fishing but there are still bluefin being caught most every day. For example, the most recent sportboat count was from the Legend out of H&M Landing that fished on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 and had 13 anglers on an overnight trip catch 3 bluefin tuna and 7 yellowtail.
The productive areas currently are the 60 Mile Bank, the Hidden Bank and the 475 Knuckle. The deep water outside of the Banda Bank was a good area a few days ago but has since slowed down. There were also bluefin biting closer to Point Loma for boats fishing around the 9 Mile Bank, 182 Spot, 181 Spot, 209 Spot, 312 Spot and 178 Spot but the bluefin fishing has been rather quiet in those areas for the past week.
The bluefin have been ranging in size from 15 to 80 pounds. There are also occasional yellowfin tuna in the mix with the schools of bluefin and the few yellowfin that have been biting have been in the 50 to 60 pound class.
The bluefin out at the 60 Mile Bank have been mostly the 15 to 25 pound fish and have been biting by drifting live sardines over meter marks or sonar marks. In other areas much of the action has originated from stopping on spots of breaking fish and the best bet has been to try and cast iron into the spot of breaking fish as you first approach them. Some productive iron jigs have been Salas 7X lights, Colt Snipers, Flat Falls, Megabaits and Laser Minnows.
The fishing at the Coronado Islands has been good for a mix of yellowtail, barracuda and rockfish. The yellowtail attract most of the attention and the yellowtail bite has been pretty good most days but has generally falling short of providing near limit to limit fishing. Barracuda have been biting in some fair numbers and when Skippers turn their attention away from the surface fishing to trying for rockfish, the bite has been good.
As an example of the recent fishing, on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 H&M Landing had a 3/4 day trip on the Malihini out fishing the Coronados with 8 anglers that caught 18 yellowtail. Tuesday’s fishing also had Seaforth Sportfishing with a 3/4 day trip out to the Coronados aboard the San Diego with 30 anglers that caught 42 yellowtail.
Productive areas for the yellowtail have been the Rockpile, the area inside of the north end of South Island and the weather side of North Island. The yellowtail fishing around the Rockpile has been slowing some over the 2 days due to some off color water moving into the area with today’s best reports coming from boats fishing up and down the weather side of North Island.
The yellowtail have been biting from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks and occasional spots of fish found working on the surface. The yellowtail have been mixed sized fish that are running from 5 to 25 pounds. The nicer sized yellows tend to come from the Rockpile and the weather side of North Island and the smaller yellows tend to come from the area inside of the northern part of South Island.
Surface iron, flylined live baits, yo-yo iron and sardines fished on dropper loop rigs are producing yellowtail action. Adjust your bait or jig selection based on where the school of fish you are working is situated in the water column.
Good choices for yo-yo iron have been Salas 7X heavy, Salas 6X and Tady 4/0 jigs in scrambled egg, blue & white and orange & red color combinations. For surface iron, try Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue & white and sardine colors. A surface iron with red and orange might also be worth a try with all the red crabs around and with the orange and red color combination working for yo-yo iron fishing.
Barracuda have been biting around the Rockpile and also at kelp bed areas such as the South Kelp and the Ribbon Kelp. Some of the barracuda action has come from stopping on spots of breaking fish and some of the barracuda action has come from fishing on the anchor near the high spot at the Rockpile as well as at the South Kelp or the Ribbon Kelp. Try flylined sardines or surface iron for the yellowtail.
A good zone for the rockfish has been at hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in 25 to 45 fathoms of water.
The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been producing some flurries of yellowtail action off La Jolla and there has also been good mixed bag fishing for rockfish, sculpin and bass. There are also a few halibut starting to bite for some of those who have been drifting the area below the Imperial Beach Pier.
The upper end of La Jolla has been best for the coastal yellowtail fishing. The bite has been scratchy most days but catching a single yellowtail can make your day a memorable one as they have been mostly quality sized 20 to 30+ pound yellowtail. The yellowtail have been found by locating meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish. They have been biting on surface iron, yo-yo iron, flylined mackerel and mackerel fished deep on a dropper loop rig. Anglers need to adjust their bait and lure selection and their presentation based on where the particular school of fish they are working is located in the water column.
The fishing for bass, sculpin and rockfish up and down the San Diego County coast has been best at hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas around the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the hard bottom outside of the Green Tank, the 270, Del Mar, Leucadia, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and Box Canyon.
San Clemente Island has been producing some pretty good numbers of yellowtail along with some good numbers of calico bass and rockfish.
The ridges outside of Pyramid Cove and China Point have been good for yellowtail and rockfish. The boiler rocks in Pyramid Cove have been productive for calico bass. The Runway and 9 Fathom Spot at the west end of San Clemente Island have produced a few yellowtail and good numbers of rockfish and also look for some improving numbers of yellowtail and some bonito along the front side of the Island from spots of breezing fish found between Purse Seine Rock and White Rock.
Good choices for yellowtail can be surface iron, yo-yo iron, flylined sardines and sardines fished on a dropper loop rig. Anglers need to adjust their bait and lure selection and presentation from the surface to down deep based on where the particular school of fish they are working is located in the water column.
It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these Summary Reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more frequent reports with more details that include the specific location of where catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of timely and accurate information.