Bluefin, yellowfin, Dorado, yellowtail, marlin and swordfish biting offshore

SAN DIEGO—At the time of my last report, the fishing for bluefin and yellowfin was going through a bit of a lull period, as tuna bites had slowed during the middle part of August. I am excited to have great news to pass along to you: the big numbers of tuna were just down for a while and have now come back up and are biting well. When you add to the picture the good fishing that is currently going on for Dorado and yellowtail, the offshore fishing is as good as it has been all season.

Boats wishing to target bluefin tuna have been finding action while fishing areas such as the back side of San Clemente Island, the Tanner Bank, the deep water inside of the Tanner Bank, the San Clemente Canyon and the San Clemente Basin. The bluefin caught while fishing on the anchor at the Tanner Bank have been mostly “smaller” fish that have been in the 8- to 40-pound class and the other areas listed above have been providing action on larger sized bluefin that have gone up over the 250-pound mark.

Sardines have been working for all sizes of bluefin with kite fished flying fish being the optimum bait for those targeting the jumbo sized bluefin tuna. Meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breaking or breezing fish have been leading to most of the bluefin action.

Private boater Floyd Sparks of Tuna Kahuna fished a recent trip targeting the jumbo sized bluefin and reported not finding much going on while fishing spots up and down the entire back side of San Clemente Island. He reported seeing lots of boats drifting and fishing flying fish from kites but did not see much in the way of breaking fish or meter marks to stop on. Sparks reported his best-looking area while fishing off San Clemente Island was off Pyramid Head where he saw some breaking jumbo sized bluefin that did not want to bite for them on their kite fished flying fish.

Sparks left San Clemente Island and fished his way home toward San Diego by way of the 43 Fathom Spot. It was in the evening not long before dark when he got to the 43 Fathom Spot where he found a porpoise school. He trolled through the porpoise school hoping for a yellowfin and got a trolling strike on a trolled Halco plug. Sparks was expecting the fish to be a yellowfin tuna because it was hooked in a school of porpoise but was pleasantly surprised when they ended up catching a 75-pound bluefin tuna. Sparks said it was an unexpected way to have saved the day and put a nice sized bluefin on the boat.

Private boater Tom Golding of Last Buck reported about fishing a recent trip to the Tanner Bank. Golding said they anchored near the 9 Fathom Spot where they found good fishing for bluefin tuna and yellowtail. He said that the three anglers aboard caught their limits of 6 bluefin tuna and also caught seven yellowtail.  In addition to catching their limits of bluefin they also caught and released three additional bluefin.

Golding said that their bluefin ranged in size from 8 to 15 pounds and the yellowtail they caught were in the 20- to 25-pound class. The bluefin were biting on sardines and they caught five of their yellowtail on iron and two of their yellowtail on sardines. The yellows were reported to be biting well on Sumo 6 heavy jigs and the bites they were getting were coming on the retrieve while the jig was an estimated 6 to 7 feet off the bottom.

In addition to the good bluefin fishing there has been good fishing for a mix of Dorado, yellowtail and yellowfin for boats fishing in Mexican waters in an area ranging from the Upper Hidden Bank and the 475 Knuckle on down to the region of the 295 Bank and Inner Bank that are located outside of Ensenada. This is a large area of fish and has you fishing between 33 and 72 miles 170 to 190 degrees from Point Loma. Boats fishing these areas have often been finding near limit to limit Dorado fishing along with a pretty good mix of yellowtail and improving numbers of yellowfin.

Kelp paddies have lead to most of the action on the Dorado, yellowtail and yellowfin tuna with some blind trolling strikes and trolling strikes in porpoise schools also leading to action on yellowfin tuna. Most of the Dorado and yellowtail have been in the 5- to 12-pound range and most of the yellowfin have been running from 10 to 18 pounds.

Private boater Louie Zimm of Shearwater fished a recent trip to the 475 Knuckle and reported finding a wide-open dorado bite at a kelp paddie he found at 37 miles 165 degrees from Point Loma. He said the kelp paddie was loaded with 5- to 9-pound dorado and that they were biting well on sardines and on a one-half ounce freshwater bass top-water plug. They easily limited out on dorado and Zimm said that he took the hooks off the top-water bass plug and had a blast watching the dorado attack the top-water plug with no hooks in it.

Marlin fishing has been pretty good overall with what I would estimate to have been nine or 10 marlins caught and released over the past weekend. There were two primary productive zones of marlin activity with the eastern part of Catalina producing action for boats fishing off the Slide, around the 125 Spot and around the 152 Spot.  The other productive marlin zone was in closer to the mainland with some action being found in an area spread from the region of the 267 Spot off Dana Point on down to the area outside of Box Canyon at Camp Pendleton. Deep drop fishing for swordfish has also been producing some action with the back side of Santa Cruz Island, the Slide, the 125 Spot, the 152 Spot and the 9 Mile Bank being areas that have produced deep drop swordfish action in recent days.

The fishing at Los Coronado Islands has not been sampled much lately due to the good fishing in local offshore waters. The last reports were of good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, bonito, barracuda, calico bass and rockfish. Productive areas were Pukey Point at North Island, the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island and the South Kelp. Private boaters have been doing well on yellowtail, barracuda, bonito and calico bass while fishing slow trolled nose hooked sardines.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for an assortment of rockfish and sculpin with some calico bass and bonito in the picture as well. The water temperature has dropped to the mid-60s in a lot of areas along the San Diego County coast and the calico bass bite has been just fair since the recent drop in the water temperature. There has been a bit of yellowtail activity off the upper end of La Jolla but not much has been caught.

The summer fishing season continues to be a good one with lots of varieties of quality fish to target be it offshore, at the local Islands or along the coast. Take you pick and go fishing! Keep on fishing and I hope to see you out on the water sometime soon!

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *