Fall fishing season off to a great start!

SAN DIEGO—The 2020 offshore fishing season has just entered the months of fall and things are shaping up to look like we might be in for a fine fall fishing season with good numbers of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail currently holding and biting in local offshore waters.

Recent days have seen good bluefin fishing on fish ranging size from 15- to 250-plus-pounds. The current hot bite areas have been in the deep water inside of the upper end of the Tanner Bank and out to the west of the West End of San Clemente Island.

The bigger sized bluefin have been biting best on kite fished frozen flying fish and kite trolled Yummy Flyers with sardines, small mackerel and Flat Fall jigs working well for bluefin that are in the 15- to 80-pound range. Bluefin are being located by finding meter marks, sonar marks, spots of breezing fish, spots of breaking fish and an occasional trolling strike.

Those wishing to target yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail within one day range of Point Loma have been finding hit or miss action while working areas within 60 miles of Point Loma. The fishing has been hit or miss in that some kelp paddies produce wide open action that results in near limit to limit numbers of yellowfin tuna, yellowtail and dorado and with other kelp paddies in the same zone being empty or producing just a few fish. In recent days, the best areas for the yellowfin, dorado and yellowtail have been the 43 Fathom Spot, the Butterfly Bank, the San Salvador Knoll and the deep water between the Kidney Bank and the San Salvador Knoll.

Further south, boats fishing more distant offshore waters that are on multi-day trips that head into Mexico have been finding excellent fishing for yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail. There has often been near limit to limit fishing for dorado and yellowfin tuna found while fishing kelp paddies outside of Punta Colnett. The best zone has been down below the 1140 Finger while fishing between 95 and 105 miles at 161 to 166 degrees from Point Loma.

Striped marlin fishing has been pretty good for boats fishing areas off the East End of Catalina with what I would estimate to be four or five marlins caught and released over the past weekend. Most of the marlin hookups have been coming from blind trolling strikes and the best areas have been off the East End of Catalina while working off Church Rock and around the 125 Spot and the 152 Spot. The past weekend also saw a few marlins being caught and released by boats within the bluefin tuna fleet that was fishing off San Clemente Island. The marlin fishing in the San Diego region has been producing an occasional fish with a striped marlin reported to have been caught by a boat fishing at the 9 Mile Bank while I was preparing this report.

There have been some boats deep-drop fishing for swordfish that have been hooking and catching an occasional swordfish. The 9 Mile Bank and spots off Avalon and off the East End of Catalina have been providing a good percentage of the deep drop swordfish fishing excitement.

There have not been many reports coming from Los Coronado Islands lately because most boats have been fishing local offshore waters for tuna, dorado and yellowtail. The few private boater reports coming from Los Coronado Islands have been of fair mixed bag surface fishing for what are mostly bonito and calico bass along with a chance at a yellowtail. The weather side of North Island and the Middle Grounds have been the best spots for the surface fishing in recent days. Bonito have been biting the best and they have been good sized fish that have been in the 4- to 8-pound range. Trolling with feathers and Rapalas has been a good way to locate bonito to fish with sardines and small chrome jigs while drifting after getting a trolling strike.

Bonito, calico bass, reds and an assortment of rockfish have been providing most of the action along the San Diego County coast. There has also been an occasional bonus yellowtail reported while fishing off Point Loma, La Jolla and Del Mar.

The bonito biting along the coast have been mostly 3- to 8-pound fish and they have been biting well off Point Loma and La Jolla. Point Loma is the current bonito hot spot and boats fishing off Point Loma in an area ranging from the Whistler Buoy on up to the Lab have been finding trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breezing fish to drift on and fish with sardines and small chrome jigs. There have also been good numbers of bonito in the picture for those fishing outside of Mission Bay and La Jolla.

Calico bass are still biting well in kelp bed areas up and down the San Diego County coast and productive spots have been the Point Loma Kelp Beds, the upper end of La Jolla, Solana Beach, Leucadia, Carlsbad and the Barn.

Capt, Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reports that they have been doing well on calicos while fishing kelp bed areas off Carlsbad, Leucadia and Solana Beach. Cacciola reports that the calicos have been biting for them while using chunks of sardines, live sardines, green Wham plastics and anchovy color Hookup Bait plastics.

La Jolla has been providing the best chance at a yellowtail along the San Diego County coast and there was also a recent report of some private boaters catching some yellows off Del Mar. The best bet for yellows has been to look for spots of breezing fish, meter marks and sonar marks in the 18 to 40 fathom depths between Mission Beach and the La Jolla Canyon. In addition to the yellowtail caught outside of the kelp beds there have also been yellowtail biting incidental to fishing for calico bass along the edges of the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla.

The summer has come and gone but the fall fishing season is currently carrying on as if it were the middle of summer. Take your pick of what type of fish you would like to target 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 www.976bite.com. 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 bob976bite@aol.com.

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