Summary Fish Report—February 19, 2016 at 4:45 PM as Provided by Bob Vanian of 976-Bite Fish Reports at www.976bite.com
The winter months are progressing toward spring but despite what the calendar says, yellowtail have continued to bite throughout the El Nino winter and continue to provide action for San Diego area anglers. Anglers have had to watch the weather reports to avoid the days of bad weather but there have been plenty of good weather days where anglers have been able to get out on the water and do some fishing.
Yellowtail have been highlighting the action and the best yellowtail areas in recent days have been Punta Colnett and the Finger Bank. There has also been a chance at finding some yellowtail biting while fishing around the 27 Fathom Spot, the Rockpile and the Coronado Islands with boats fishing spots along the San Diego County coast scratching out an occasional yellowtail while fishing off La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.
Boats fishing Punta Colnett have been finding some of the best of the yellowtail action and they continue to return with a nice mix of yellowtail, reds and assorted rockfish along with a few bonus lingcod. Sportboats have been fishing Punta Colnett on 1.5 day trips out of San Diego Bay and Mission Bay and most of their trips to Punta Colnett have been departing on Friday evening to fish on Saturday.
The yellowtail biting at Punta Colnett have been quality sized fish that have generally been running from 18 to 25 pounds. Yo-yoed iron has been working best for the yellowtail with some yellows also being caught on dropper loop rigs that are baited with sardines, anchovies or mackerel. Good choices for yo-yo jigs have been reported to be Salas 7X heavy and Tady 4/0 jigs in the scrambled egg color.
Fish counts from 1.5 day trips that fished the Punta Colnett area last Saturday, February 13, 2016 start with the Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing that had 23 anglers catch 81 yellowtail and 65 rockfish. The Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing had 18 anglers catch 35 yellowtail and 80 rockfish. The Dominator out of Point Loma Sportfishing had 14 anglers catch 55 yellowtail, 6 barracuda, 30 rockfish, 10 lingcod and 4 bonito. H&M Landing had 31 anglers aboard the Chief catch 16 yellowtail, 162 rockfish and 2 barracuda. Fisherman’s Landing had the Pacific Queen out with 33 anglers that caught 111 yellowtail and 90 rockfish. The Fortune from Fisherman’s Landing was also out on a 1.5 day trip and returned with 21 anglers catching 10 reds, 21 yellowtail, 2 lingcod and 86 rockfish.
Boats fishing on three-quarter day trips out of San Diego Bay and Mission Bay have been finding yellowtail action while fishing at the Finger Bank. In addition, there has also been a chance at locating some yellowtail action while fishing closer to the Coronado Islands around North Island, South Island, the Rockpile and the 27 Fathom Spot. Around South Island, take a look at the Ribbon Kelp and the area inside of the north end of South Island. Up at North Island, yellows have been located off the south tip of North Island, into the North of North Island and along the weather side of North Island.
The yellows are being found by locating sonar marks or meter marks and Skippers who are fishing in the area of the 27 Fathom Spot and Finger Bank report that the yellows are often found about 20 fathoms below the surface near spots of working birds that are often associated with red crabs or anchovies. Boats with scanning sonar continue to have a big advantage over boats equipped with a traditional up and down style fathometer in this type of fishing but the fact that the yellowtail meter marks are often found in the region where there are working birds can be a visual help in getting located to those with traditional fathometers.
The yellows have been mixed size fish that have mostly fallen within the 10 to 20 pound range. Once located with the electronics, Skippers have been drifting over the meter marks and sonar marks and anglers have been hooking the yellows on yo-yoed iron or on dropper loop rigs that are baited with a live mackerel or a live sardine.
The Malihini out of H&M Landing fished a three-quarter day trip on Thursday, February 18 and had 17 anglers catch 34 rockfish and 17 yellowtail.
An ongoing reminder is that the fishing for rockfish/groundfish is closed in California waters until March 1, 2016. There is no such closure on the Mexico side of the border and the waters around the Coronado Islands have been productive for rockfish. The Premier out of H&M Landing has been running half day trips into Mexican waters to fish for rockfish on weekday morning half day trips and on these trips they usually fish areas such as the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank, the hard bottom into the north of North Island and the hard bottom to the northwest of North Island. The Premier was out fishing on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 and they had a half day trip with 17 anglers catch 89 rockfish.
There continues to be a chance at finding some yellowtail or white seabass action at La Jolla. The fishing continues to be scratchy most days but the occasional yellowtail or white seabass being caught continue to be quality sized fish. The upper end of La Jolla has been the best area to try and get into some yellowtail or white seabass action.
Live squid has been hard to locate but would be a preferred bait if available. In the absence of live squid, best bets for yellowtail have been a yo-yoed iron or a dropper loop rig that is baited with a live mackerel. Best bet for white seabass in the absence of live squid has been a live mackerel that is fished on a dropper loop rig.
Boats have also been searching for yellowtail in coastal areas such as Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon. The bite is scratchy but every once in a while someone finds a meter mark or sonar mark that produces a nice sized yellowtail. Once a mark is located with the electronics, the best bets have been fishing with yo-yoed iron or with a dropper loop rig baited with a mackerel or a sardine.
Anglers looking to do some fishing for bass and sculpin along the San Diego area coast have been working hard bottom and structure spots and have been catching a mix of sand bass, calico bass and sculpin. Productive areas for the bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the hard bottom outside of the stretch between the Green Tank and Sunset Cliffs, the sunken NEL tower outside of Mission Beach, the hard bottom outside of the kelp at La Jolla, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside and the hard bottom outside of the kelp at San Onofre and the Barn.
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.