Barracuda, bonito, calico bass, yellowtail highlight San Diego offshore bites

SAN DIEGO — As the Southern California offshore fishing season heads toward the months of the fall season, there is no apparent easing in the bluefin tuna bite, which continues to provide action on quality sized fish that have been running from 30 to 200+ pounds. In addition to bluefin tuna, anglers have also had some yellowfin tuna, Dorado, yellowtail and striped marlin to target on their offshore fishing adventures.

To compliment the offshore fishing, there is very good action at Los Coronado Islands for yellowtail, bonito and calico bass; the fishing at the Islands also provides a chance at a bluefin tuna.

Fishing along the San Diego County coast also remains good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, barracuda, halibut and calico bass.

The current hot spot for the big bluefin tuna is the 43 Fathom Spot, which is located 38 miles 258 degrees from Point Loma. Boats have been fishing around the high spot and have been finding good action on quality-sized bluefin tuna. Much of the fishing is being done while sitting on the anchor but there has also been some action to be found while drift fishing and while kite trolling Yummy Flyers. Sardines and mackerel have been good live baits for the bluefin, which have also been biting on Flat Fall jigs. Fishing with sardines and Flat Fall jigs while sitting on the anchor has been the best.

Private boater, Capt. Bob Woodard Jr. of Dropback, had a great story about fishing the big bluefin at the 43 Fathom Spot. Woodard was fishing with The Marlin Club’s president, Jake Russell, aboard his boat, Commander. They had been kite trolling with the Yummy Flyer without any luck but had a single sardine swimming around in their bait tank. Just before dark they made one final effort to catch a bluefin by drifting and fishing with the one sardine on a live bait outfit with 50-pound test line. They were bit by a big bluefin, hooking and fighting the fish into the dark, finally boating it after an intense 3-hour battle. It was a jumbo-sized bluefin tuna, estimated at 160 pounds.

Their experience in boating the big tuna was a tremendous thrill but it was dark. They were tired and had run out of food and water by the time the fish was boated. The sportboat Shogun, out of Fisherman’s Landing, was nearby. Woodard and Russell asked the captain and crew of Shogun for some water for the ride home. Shogun’s crew responded with water, soda, beers and rack of lamb dinners.

Yellowfin tuna are also scattered around in various offshore areas between Catalina and the offshore banks outside of San Diego. Look for spots of breaking fish or porpoise schools to locate the yellowfin. There are also some fair numbers of yellowfin that have been biting down below Ensenada in the region of the Lower 500 Bank and down toward the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett. One of the better local yellowfin areas in recent days has been in the region of the 277 Spot off the East End of Catalina. Boats have been finding scattered action on 25 to 30 pound yellowfin while trolling around porpoise, while fishing spots of breaking fish and from blind trolling strikes.

Boats fishing the Point Loma Kelp Beds are finding good mixed bag fishing for bonito, calico bass, barracuda and yellowtail. The best kelp bed areas have been the Dropoff above the Point Loma Lighthouse as well as at kelp bed spots outside of the Green Tank and Point Loma College.

The fishing at La Jolla is providing a mix of bonito, calico bass and yellowtail. The upper end of La Jolla has been best while working the kelp stringer area of Northwest and also while fishing in closer to the coast at the kelp bed area outside of the Hotel. Most of the action is coming while sitting on the anchor or while drift fishing. Private boaters might also want to try slow trolling sardines or trolling Rapalas for bonito and yellowtail.

The ridge area outside of Del Mar is continuing to produce some bonito and yellowtail and there was a report of some large halibut biting in the area. Try looking for yellowtail meter marks to stop on and fish while in 14 to 20 fathoms of water.

The summer fishing season keeps on producing be it offshore, at the Islands or along the coast. Anglers have lots of good options to choose from in deciding what they want to target in their day of fishing. 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 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

Davey’s Locker photo

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