More to Be Thankful for: Bluefin, Yellowfin, Dorado and Yellowtail Action

By: Bob Vanian

At a time when many folks are starting to plan their Thanksgiving menus, Southern California sport anglers can still be thankful for lingering bluefin and yellowfin tuna action, plus dorado and yellowtail, within 1.5-day range of Point Loma.

It is indeed November, and there are very few boats out fishing for tuna, dorado and yellowtail this late in the season. But the few who have been going out and working warmwater areas between 70 and 120 miles from Point Loma have been bringing back fish.

Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Sportfishing returned home from a recent 1.5-day trip with 23 anglers catching 115 yellowtail, three dorado and 41 bluefin tuna. Seaforth Sportfishing also had Eclipse out on a two-day trip, with 23 anglers catching 63 bluefin tuna. Those are some very respectable fish counts for any time of year.

Spots that have been producing fish in this late offshore season include the area below the 295 Bank, the Sausage Bank, and the offshore waters below and outside of Punta Colnett. There have also been some bluefin biting for boats fishing at anchor at the “High Spot” outside of Punta Colnett.

Action has been coming from kelp paddies, spots of breezing fish, trolling strikes and sonar marks. Most of the bluefin tuna have been in the 18- to 40-pound range and the yellowtail have mostly been in the 5- to 9-pound range.

The numbers of yellowfin tuna and dorado have thinned out considerably over the past week, but there are still a few around and biting. The yellowfin have ranged from 10 to 40 pounds, and the dorado have been in the 8- to 15-pound class.

Boats fishing around Los Coronados islands have been catching good numbers of assorted rockfish and have also been picking up some bonus lingcod. There have been some schools of yellowtail spotted with scanning sonar, but the yellowtail have not been interested in biting.

Some of the better areas for bottomfishing have been at hard-bottom spots into the north of North Island and outside of the Middle Grounds. A good depth range has been from 30 to 45 fathoms of water.

The Mexican authorities continue to enforce the FMM Immigration Form (sometimes called the “Mexican Visa”) requirement, and several boats fishing out around Los Coronados islands have been told to return to U.S. waters if they do not have their FMM Immigration Form, passports and Mexican fishing licenses for each person aboard.

You also need to have the boat’s registration papers, an FCC Ships Station License for your VHF radio and an FCC Operator’s License for the operator of the radio. There is now a way to obtain the FMM Immigration forms online — and submit and print out a list of the people aboard the boat for your trip — at

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been good for an assortment of rockfish, for boats fishing hard-bottom and structure spots.

Boats fishing off Imperial Beach have been doing well — at the Imperial Beach Pipeline and at the International Reef. At Point Loma, productive areas include the hard-bottom spots around the Whistler Buoy, the Point Loma Pipeline and hard-bottom spots outside of the Green Tank.

At La Jolla, rockfish have been biting at hard-bottom spots outside of the lower and upper end of La Jolla — and a good depth range has been in 30 to 40 fathoms of water.

As you continue up the coast, there have been rockfish biting outside of Del Mar, and off the stretch of coast between Leucadia and Solana Beach. A good depth range has been in 230 to 290 feet of water.

Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star, out of Helgren’s Sportfishing, reported that there have also been sand bass biting for boats fishing structure spots outside of Oceanside. One might want to try spots such as the artificial reefs off Oceanside Harbor, as well as the Buccaneer Pipeline.

There is an abundance of squid to be caught for bait at spots up and down the San Diego County coast. There have been squid reported off the Lab and 5 Tanks at Point Loma, outside of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, as well as off Torrey Pines.

In the Oceanside region, there have been squid reported off Carlsbad and above the Hovercraft Station. There are reports of an occasional white seabass or two being caught with squid off Point Loma, Pacific Beach and Torrey Pines.

Occasional spots of yellowtail are showing in the La Jolla region. They have been quality-size 25- to 30-pound class yellowtail, but it has been hard to get them to bite.

A good depth range to try and locate a school of yellowtail has been in 20 to 30 fathoms of water. The best bet for a chance at hooking one of the big yellows has been to cast surface iron to the breezing fish before they sound.

The 2013 Southern California offshore fishing season did not bring any significant numbers of albacore to local offshore waters, but it was a remarkably successful season, nonetheless — as bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail provided us with some excellent fishing. And even as things wind down in early November, there are continued opportunities for great catches.

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 976-Bite at Vanian also provides anglers with a personal fish report service over the phone at (619) 226-8218. He always welcomes your fish reports at that same phone number, or via email at

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