A storm with strong winds passed through Southern California during the early part of April and the strong winds brought about a decline in the water temperature around Los Coronado Islands. The good news is that the drop in the water temperature did not cause the yellowtail to leave local waters. You have had to travel down below Los Coronado Islands to the 27 Fathom Spot (located below the Rockpile) and the Finger Bank area to get to the fish but there have been yellowtail around and biting after the storm.
The water temperature after the storm has for the most part been in the 57.5 to 59.5 degree range which is about a three to four degree drop compared to the water temperatures that were around before the storm. The area between the 27 Fathom Spot and the Finger Bank has been where the warmer 59.5 degree water has been located and the yellowtail have been found in the warmer water.
Most of the yellowtail action has been coming from stopping on meter marks that are found with scanning sonar. Birds and porpoise tend to mark the general areas where the yellowtail have been located. Private boaters without scanning sonar can maximize their chances of getting a meter mark with a traditional up and down style fathometer by working areas where they find porpoise and bird life.
Most of the yellowtail have been in the 20 to 30 pound class with a few 12 pound fish also showing in the mix. Yo-yoed iron remains a good way to go for the yellowtail when the fish are found down deep with the electronics. Live sardines or surface iron would also be good choices if you find some fish up at or near the surface or if you have a deep swimming school respond to your chum and come up to feed on the surface.
Good choices for yo-yo iron have been Salas 6X and 6X Jr’s, Sumo Jr’s and Tady 4/0’s in blue and white, blue and chrome and scrambled egg colors. Good choices for surface iron have been Tady 45’s and Salas 7X Lights in blue and white, sardine and mint colors.
The best recent catch of yellowtail was aboard the Malihini out of H&M Landing that had 21 anglers on a three-quarter day trip catch 21 yellowtail, 1 sheephead and 63 rockfish. The same day of fishing also saw the San Diego out of Seaforth Sportfishing get into some yellowtail action while out on a three-quarter day trip and they had 23 anglers catch 4 yellowtail, 2 sheephead, 125 rockfish and 2 lingcod.
There has also been good rockfish fishing for boats fishing the waters around and about Los Coronado Islands. The best areas for the bottom fishing have been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank (while fishing on the Mexican side of the border), the hard bottom to the north and the north-northwest of North Island, the hard bottom outside of the Middle Grounds and the outer ridges of the South Kelp Ridge.
Those fishing out of San Diego Bay should note that the Everingham Brothers bait receivers in San Diego Bay have been moved to a temporary location outside of Harbor Island. The bait receivers are currently located off to the side of the main channel of San Diego Bay and are located about two-thirds of the way down Harbor Island toward Downtown San Diego. They will be at this location for at least through May 15, 2014. You can see a map of their current location that includes GPS numbers and check their location on an ongoing basis at the Everingham Brothers web site at www.baitbarge.com .
A reminder is that the Mexican authorities have regularly been inspecting boats fishing the region of Los Coronado Islands and other areas within the 12 mile limit. You need to be certain that you have all your paperwork in order for the boat and for the people aboard the boat.
Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast have been picking up a mix of sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and rockfish and are also catching a few halibut. There have also been occasional showings of yellowtail and a few barracuda at La Jolla. Boats fishing out of San Diego Bay have been doing well on the rockfish while fishing hard bottom spots outside of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma. The Imperial Beach Pipeline and the Point Loma Pipeline have also been productive spots for rockfish. The halibut bite has slowed some since the recent storms brought about a drop in the water temperature but one of the better areas for a chance at a halibut along with finding a few sand bass and sculpin in the mix has been while drift fishing off Imperial Beach. Try drifting sandy bottom areas adjacent to kelp stringers in 50 to 75 feet of water.
In the La Jolla region, boats fishing hard bottom areas outside of the upper end of La Jolla and outside of the lower end of La Jolla have been picking up pretty good numbers of rockfish while fishing in depths ranging from 25 to 45 fathoms of water. La Jolla has been providing occasional showings of yellowtail and has also been producing a few barracuda. Look for the yellowtail while fishing outside of the outer border of the MLPA State Marine Reserve closure area at the lower end of La Jolla and also look outside of the upper end of La Jolla while in the 18 to 25 fathom depths. The yellowtail have not been very good biters but every once in a while someone gets one to go on surface iron, sardines or yo-yo iron with surface iron being the best bet. Look for a chance at catching a halibut while fishing the sandy bottom next to structure outside of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. Drifting alongside of the structure of the Yukon wreck or the sunken NEL Tower can help you focus on productive sandy bottom halibut areas.
In the northern San Diego County region, there have been rockfish biting for boats fishing outside of Del Mar, Solana Beach South Cardiff, Leucadia and Box Canyon. Also try for a few bass and sculpin while fishing the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor and the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines.
Drifting the sandy bottom around the structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor and the sandy bottom off of the Golf Ball can lead to some halibut action. Boats fishing out of Dana Point have reported finding some halibut activity while drifting sandy bottom around the pipeline at San Onofre and outside of the edges of kelp at the Barn.
Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star out of Helgren’s Sportfishing reports about his most recent three-quarter day trip where they found some good fishing for an assortment of rockfish. He said they averaged a little over 7 fish per angler and that a few anglers aboard the boat limited out. Their catch contained some nice quality sized rockfish and included a mix of reds, salmon grouper, bank perch and starries. In addition to the rockfish, Cacciola said they also had a few sheephead and sculpin mixed in the catch. The rockfish were biting best for them on cut fresh frozen squid and they found their fish while drifting in 190 to 290 feet of water while fishing outside of South Cardiff and Solana Beach.
Cacciola reported that the recent storm caused a drop in the water temperature in the coastal waters they have been fishing in north San Diego County. The water temperature on their most recent trip was at 58 degrees during the morning hours and warmed to 60 degrees in the afternoon sun. The water was an off color green between Oceanside and Encinitas Point but did clean up to a clean green color below Encinitas Point.
The recent storm brought high winds and it caused a drop in the water temperature. The very good news is that yellowtail have remained in the area and have continued to bite despite the drop in the water temperature. The surface fishing should get nothing but better as the water temperature recovers and warms up again. 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 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 email@example.com.