Late fishing season provides summer-like bites for tuna, yellowtail and marlin

SAN DIEGO — We are on the doorstep of November and Southern California anglers are still being treated to unseasonably good fishing with bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, Dorado, striped marlin and bonito. The water temperatures in many places remains in the 67.5- to 70.5-degree range and these warm water species have been content to stay in our local offshore waters.

The bluefin tuna bite continues to amaze with the bluefin biting well for boats fishing out by San Clemente Island. The bluefin are running from 20 to 200+ pounds and continue to bite in the areas of Desperation Reef, the 86 Fathom Spot, the 190 Spot and the 381 Spot.

Bluefin tuna around San Clemente Island have been biting on kite trolled Yummy Flyers, slow trolled mackerel and while drifting and using sardines or Flat Fall jigs. Most of the action comes from working meter marks, sonar marks or spots of breezing fish. Porpoise schools found around San Clemente Island have also been producing a few nice sized yellowfin tuna that have been in the 40- to 60-pound range.

As an example of some of the jumbo sized bluefin that have been biting, Aztec out of Seaforth Sportfishing recently caught a bluefin tuna of 238 pounds while fishing out at San Clemente Island. Old Glory out of H&M Landing posted a great bluefin count on a recent overnight trip that included limits of bluefin tuna that went to 87 pounds. Her fish count was 36 anglers catching 72 bluefin tuna and 1 yellowfin tuna.

There is still a chance at finding yellowfin tuna spread out over a large area ranging from Catalina on down to the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett. The bite has turned somewhat hit or miss on the yellowfin in recent days but a new area for the tuna species with excellent fishing was just located by someone fishing below Los Coronado Islands in the area near the 425 Bank. There is also still a chance at finding Dorado, yellowtail and skipjack biting in many of the areas where Skippers have been targeting yellowfin tuna.

In addition to San Clemente Island, productive yellowfin areas listed from north to south are the 152 Spot, 277 Spot, 209 Spot, the Corner, the Butterfly Bank, the area between the 371 Bank and the 390 Bank, the area 4 to 8 miles below the 425 Bank, the Lower 500 Bank and the offshore waters outside of Punta Colnett.

The yellowfin have been ranging in size from 5 to 60 pounds with the best chance at the bigger sized yellowfin coming from the waters outside of San Clemente Island, the 152 Spot and the 277 Spot. Porpoise schools, bait balls, kelp paddies, and trolling strikes have been leading to action on yellowfin tuna.

Marlin fishing around the eastern part of Catalina has been producing some action in recent days and over the past weekend I would estimate three or four marlin were caught and released from this zone. Most of the action was coming from blind jig strikes but there were some feeders and tailers showing in the area as well. Productive areas around the eastern part of Catalina have been the 152 Spot, the 277 Spot, the Avalon Bank and the area from 2 to 4 miles off the Island between the Can Dump and Toyon Bay.

The fishing at Los Coronado Islands has been good for a mix of bonito, yellowtail and calico bass along with an occasional bluefin tuna. Bonito have been biting at many spots around the Islands such as the Rockpile, the South Kelp, the Ribbon Kelp and the Middle Grounds. Yellowtails have been biting at the Flats inside of the Islands as well as at the Middle Grounds, Ribbon Kelp and South Kelp. There was good bluefin fishing around Los Coronado Islands during the early part of the past week but the bluefin bite has since turned scratchy. Best areas for a chance at a bluefin have been the Rockpile, the South Kelp, the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island, the tuna pens inside of South Island and the 5 Minute Kelp.

There has also been very good fishing for bonito, yellowtail and skipjack for boats fishing the San Diego area coast in an area ranging from the Imperial Beach Flats on up to where you area fishing outside of The Lab at Point Loma. Skippers have been locating fish within this zone by finding trolling strikes, sonar marks, meter marks, spots of puddling fish and kelp paddies. After getting a trolling strike, the yellowtail and bonito have been biting well on sardines and there have also been some bonito and yellowtail biting on iron. Most of the yellowtail has been in the 4- to 10-pound class and most of the bonito have been in the 4 to 8 pound range.

Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing passed along a report from Capt. Anthony Maglietto (also known as Capt. Tiny) of the Chubasco II with Chubasco 2 Sportfishing. The report was that Maglietto found a wide-open yellowtail stop while fishing outside of Point Loma in 30 fathoms of water. Cacciola said Maglietto stopped on a sonar mark and that the fish responded very well to the live sardines they were using for bait. Everyone aboard was able to catch limits of 6- to 8-pound yellowtail. The fish count was 26 anglers catching 130 yellowtails and 26 bonito.

There has also been good bonito fishing reported outside of La Jolla, Box Canyon and Dana Point. Skippers have been locating the fish by looking for trolling strikes, meter marks, sonar marks and spots of puddling fish out in 30 to 80 fathoms of water. Once located, sardines and iron have been working for the bonito with sardines reported to be working the best.

November will be here by the time you read this report and unless something dramatic happens there should still be a variety of warm water game fish available to target offshore, at the local islands and along the coast. This has been a great fall fishing season and it is still producing well. 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

Newport Landing/Thunderbird photo

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