Dorado enter offshore picture to go with bluefin, yellowfin and yellowtail

The summer fishing season just keeps getting better and better as some improving numbers of dorado have joined the bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and yellowtail in Southern California’s and Northern Baja’s offshore waters.

The tuna counts have been improving in recent days but the size of the bluefin and yellowfin have been the real story. Most of the bluefin going from 50 to more than 240 pounds and with the yellowfin ranging in size from 8 to 100 pounds. The kelp paddie yellowtail range from 2 to 30 pounds and the dorado in the 6- to 18-pound class.

Bluefin and yellowfin have been plentiful offshore in recent weeks but it has usually been difficult to get them to bite. Capt. Mike “The Beak” Hurt of the private boat Chiquelin reported this pattern looks to be changing and he is now seeing the yellowfin and bluefin responding better to the sardines and mackerel anglers are presenting to them. If the pattern of improvement continues and the fish start biting better, there are enough tuna holding on the local offshore banks to provide some truly spectacular action.

Productive areas for tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado listed from south to north have been the area between the 1140 Finger and the Peanut Bank, the 450 Spot, the area inside of the Inner Bank that is located outside of Ensenada, the Corner, the area about half way between the 43 Fathom Spot and the 182 Spot, the 182 Spot, the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank, the 181 Spot, the end of the Ridge above the 181 Spot, the 289 Spot and the Mackerel Bank. A new tuna zone developing as this report is being prepared is the 277 Spot off the East End of Catalina.

Capt. Tony Souza of the private boat Green Bee reported about a recent trip to the offshore banks outside of San Diego. Souza said it was quiet for them during the early part of the day but found a lively area outside of the middle part of the 9 Mile Bank during the late afternoon hours with bluefin tuna action.

Souza’s showing of tuna started at around 4:30 p.m. He said the first action of the day was when they hooked and lost a good-sized bluefin on a Flat Fall jig. A short while later they hooked another good-sized bluefin on a Flat Fall jig. This fish was hooked on light line and it turned into a long battle. The story had a happy ending though as three hours after hookup they boated an 80-pound bluefin tuna. Souza found this action while fishing outside of the upper end of the 9 Mile Bank at 17 miles 257 degrees from Point Loma.

Marlin fishing is continuing to improve. I would estimate four marlins have been caught during this early part of the season. The most recent marlin catch was caught and released from a feeder baited by a boat fishing at the Shipping Lanes outside of the 14 Mile Bank. There was also a recent lost marlin hookup reported from a troll fish that was hooked and lost while fishing near the 181 Spot. There has also been an occasional sleeper seen while fishing between the Avalon Bank and Avalon.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast provided a mix of calico bass, sand bass, bonito, barracuda, yellowtail and rockfish. The bonito bite is the most recent improvement in the coastal fishing with schools of bonito being found scattered around in areas ranging from 3 to 7 miles off the coast. The area outside of the stretch of coast from La Jolla to Del Mar has been the best for a chance at locating a school of bonito. Recent days have also seen bonito move into the 20 to 40 fathom depths off the stretch of coast between Mission Bay and the 5 Tanks area of Point Loma. Once located, the bonito have been biting on anchovies, sardines and an assortment of chrome jigs.

Private boater Marshall Madruga had a fine day of fishing on a recent trip to La Jolla. Madruga did not catch a lot of fish but what he caught was of high quality. In the morning Madruga came across some bait being chased around by yellowtail while fishing off the lower end of La Jolla. He had a couple of mackerel in the bait tank and cast one of the mackerel to the spot of fish. He got bit immediately and caught a 30-pound yellowtail. Later in the day Madruga was trolling a rainbow trout color Rapala at the upper end of La Jolla and caught three white seabass.

Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing reported very good calico bass fishing at the kelp bed areas off Carlsbad, Leucadia, Yellowtail Kelp and the Barn. The water has warmed to an average temperature of 72 degrees.

There is a lot of good fishing going on right now be it offshore, at the islands or along the coast. I hope you have a chance to get out and give it a try. 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

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