Bites of bluefin tuna, yellowtail, bass, halibut and rockfish continue into spring

SAN DIEGO — Southern California anglers have had a relatively mild winter of weather but the past few weeks have seen some northern systems move through the area, which have given us a sampling of winter. When those weather fronts have moved through they have kept most boats tied to the dock and anglers off the water. The good news is there have been some good days to be had between the weather systems, and those good days have provided a chance for anglers to get out on the water and enjoy some fishing. Biting species have included bluefin tuna, yellowtail, calico bass, sand bass, sculpin, rockfish and halibut.

Legend out of H&M Landing went out on an exploratory overnight trip on March 8 and had five anglers catch two bluefin tunas and limits of yellowtail (25). This catch was made while fishing around some of the offshore banks outside of Ensenada such as the 295 Bank. A stretch of good spring weather will likely see more boats out exploring offshore waters to see what might be out there and ready to bite.

Boats fishing the High Spot area down the Mexican coast outside of Punta Colnett have been doing well on reds and rockfish and usually been returning with limits. In addition to the reds and rockfish there has also been a chance at finding some bonus lingcod, yellowtail or bonito biting.

Old Glory, out of H&M Landing, ventured on a 1.5-day trip to Punta Colnett on March 17 and had 20 anglers catch limits of reds (100) and rock cod (100).

Yellowtail action in the Punta Colnett area has been hit or miss. The yellowtails in the area were mostly 15- to 25-pound fish and, once located, have been biting best on yo-yoed iron.

The fishing around Los Coronado Islands has been good for an assortment of reds and rockfish and there has also been a chance at finding some yellowtail action. The recent series of weather systems has made the yellowtail action more difficult to locate during the past couple of weeks – but there are still yellowtails to be found.

            Liberty ran a full-day trip with 18 anglers, March 18, and caught 90 rockfish, 70 reds and one yellowtail. San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing fished around Los Coronado Islands on March 10 with 19 anglers on a full-day trip; they returned to shore with eight yellowtails, 95 whitefish and 50 rockfish.

The best bet for finding yellowtail around Los Coronado Islands has been looking for meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breaking fish in the region of the Rockpile. Once located, yo-yo iron has worked the best for the yellowtail, which have also been biting on surface iron, flylined sardines and sardines fished on a dropper loop rig.

The best bottom fishing areas around Los Coronado Islands have been at hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island. A good depth range while fishing the areas off North Island has been working in 40 to 50 fathoms of water. Another one of the more productive rockfish zones has been at the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.

Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast have also had to deal with the recent unsettled weather conditions and have spent some days when they would otherwise be fishing tied to the dock because of the weather. On the nice weather days it has been mostly calico bass, sand bass, rockfish and sculpin that have been biting to go with a chance at catching a bonus halibut or yellowtail.

The better areas for rockfish fishing in the San Diego region have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the International Reef, hard bottom spots outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, hard bottom areas outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma, the 270 out to the west of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Leucadia and Box Canyon.

Productive areas for the bass and sculpin have been the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas to the north of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, hard bottom areas to the northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, hard bottom areas outside of the Green Tank at Point Loma and hard bottom areas outside of La Jolla.

Best areas for a chance at a halibut in the Imperial Beach and Point Loma region has been at the sandy bottom patches outside of the Imperial Beach Pier and at the Point Loma Buoyline area. At the Point Loma Buoyline, take a look in the area ranging from inside of the Point Loma Lighthouse on in to where you are fishing around the bait receivers inside of Ballast Point.

Spring will have arrived by the time you read this report and hopefully we will see some improved weather conditions with the official arrival of the spring season. The good weather days have already been providing some unseasonably good fishing and a stretch of nice weather should do nothing but help in sparking some improved surface 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

Legend Sportfishing photo

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