Summary Fish Report—January 29, 2016 at 6:05 PM Report Prepared by Bob Vanian of 976-Bite Fish Reports at www.976bite.com
The first part of the 2016 fishing season has seen Southern California anglers have to deal with a series of weather systems that have brought some much needed rain but which have also brought some days of high seas, large surf and strong winds that have kept anglers off the water. We are currently in a stretch of several days of nice weather but that is forecasted to come to an end tomorrow (Saturday, January 30, 2016) with the arrival of another weather system that brings a chance of rain beginning on Saturday afternoon. The poor weather conditions are currently forecasted to last through Monday.
With these big winter swells, be extra cautious as you go in and out of some of the harbor entrances that tend to close out during a large swell. Also be extra cautious about fishing shallow water coastal or island areas as you never know when a big set of waves might appear and break in what had previously been calm water. As always, be sure to check the latest marine weather forecast before you head to the ocean to do some fishing or boating.
The good weather days have been highlighted by a chance at finding some winter time yellowtail action. San Diego area anglers have been finding a chance at finding a biting yellowtail while fishing at La Jolla, the Coronado Islands and on the 1.5 day sportboat trips that have been fishing off Punta Colnett.
In addition to a chance at a nice sized yellowtail, La Jolla has also kicked out an occasional white seabass. No big numbers of either of either yellowtail or white seabass have been biting at La Jolla but if you connect it is likely to be with a quality sized fish as most of those fish have been up in the 20 to 30 pound range. The upper end of La Jolla tends to be the best while fishing in depths ranging from 18 to 30 fathoms of water.
Live squid has been good bait for yellowtail or white seabass at La Jolla but squid availability has been very much hit or miss and they have generally been hard to locate and catch. The majority of the yellowtail caught at La Jolla have been caught on yo-yoed iron or on a dropper loop rig that is baited with a live mackerel or a live sardine. A live mackerel has generally been working better than a live sardine. For the white seabass, live squid would be best but anglers without live squid have seen occasional action on a live mackerel or a dead squid that is fished on a dropper loop rig. If using dead squid, make sure they are of a grade that is suitable for human consumption.
As an example of today’s fishing at the upper end of La Jolla, a couple of private boaters each reported catching one yellowtail today. They were both pleased with their catch as they were trophy sized 25 pound class fish. Both of the yellows were caught on yo-yoed iron and one Skipper reported that he caught his on a green and white color jig.
The winter season has also provided occasional yellowtail action for boats fishing hard bottom areas outside of Point Loma, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon but there has not been much in the way of yellowtail action reported from these areas in recent days. The back side of Catalina Island produced a couple of 10 pound class yellowtail for a boat fishing the Farnsworth Bank at mid-week. The water was at 60 degrees and the conditions were looking good for something to possibly continue to develop in the way of an early season yellowtail bite at Catalina.
Anglers need to keep in mind that that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish is in effect until March 1, 2016 for those fishing Southern California waters. Rockfish fishing does remain open for those fishing waters on the Mexico side of the border.
Anglers choosing to stay on the United States side of the Mexico border and target sand bass, calico bass and sculpin have been looking to fish hard bottom and structure spots. Productive areas for the bass and sculpin along the San Diego County coast have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank at Point Loma, Hill Street at Sunset Cliffs, the structure of the sunken NEL Tower off 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 the Barn and San Onofre.
The Coronado Islands have been producing much better numbers of yellowtail than La Jolla but the fish have been mixed in size with most ranging from 5 to 20 pounds. The smaller 5 to 10 pound yellowtail tend to be caught while fishing areas inside of South Island and at the Middle Grounds and the larger 10 to 20 pound yellows tend to be caught while fishing areas around North Island.
The Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished at the Coronados on Thursday, January 28, 2016 and had 17 anglers on a three-quarter day trip catch 43 yellowtail and 85 rockfish. The Mission Belle out of Point Loma Sportfishing last fished at the Coronados on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 and had 18 anglers on a three-quarter day trip catch 47 yellowtail, 2 bonito and 4 rockfish.
The fishing around the Coronados has been heavily dependent on being able to find a sonar mark with scanning sonar and most private boats that are equipped with a traditional up and down style fathometer are struggling to be able to find good numbers of biting yellowtail. Some of the private boaters have been scratching out a few yellowtail but not in the big numbers that have been caught on some of the sportboat trips.
Once yellowtail are located, anglers have had success in hooking them on yo-yoed iron or on a live sardine or a live mackerel that is fished deep on a dropper loop rig. Salas 6X Jr. and Sumo Jr. jigs have been working well. Good color patterns have been scrambled egg, blue mackerel or green mackerel.
Sportboats have been fishing 1.5 day trips to Punta Colnett out of San Diego Bay and Mission Bay. The fishing at Punta Colnett has been very good for 15 to 25 pound yellowtail along with a nice mix of lingcod, reds and assorted rockfish. Most of these trips have been leaving on Friday evening, fishing on Saturday and returning home on Sunday morning.
The trips that fished Punta Colnett last Saturday, January 23, 2016 did very well and the fish counts start with the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing that had 35 anglers on a 1.5 day trip catch 175 yellowtail and 40 rockfish. Seaforth Sportfishing had a 1.5 day trip on the Eclipse fishing Punta Colnett with 26 anglers that caught 118 yellowtail, 60 rockfish and 26 lingcod. The Chief out of H&M Landing also fished Punta Colnett on a 1.5 day trip and had 18 anglers catch 62 yellowtail, 10 bonito, 52 rockfish and 14 lingcod.
Yo-yoed iron has been working best for the yellowtail at Punta Colnett with a live sardine or a live mackerel that is fished on a dropper loop rig also reported to be working well. Scrambled egg has been a productive color yo-yo iron jig and the Salas 7X heavy and the Tady 4/0 have been hot jigs.
It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these Summary Fish Reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more updates and more details that include the specific location of where catches have been made, I refer you to the 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.