SAN DIEGO — The month of October is known for sometimes providing some of the best offshore fishing of the year. The early part of this month has been one of those types of Octobers as yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, skipjack, Dorado and yellowtail are biting offshore and at times have been providing near limit to limit action.
The best area for the bluefin outside of San Clemente Island is currently ranging from the waters outside of Seal Cove on up to the waters outside of West Cove. The bluefin bite has currently moved further off the Island than where it was for much of the summer season and if they keep going much further off the Island they will be approaching the Tanner Bank. Some of the better trips have been returning with near limit to limit numbers of bluefin tuna and most of the fish have been ranging from 25 to 90 pounds. There are also some larger sized bluefin to 200+ pounds in the mix as well.
Most of the bluefin action comes from stopping and drifting on sonar marks or meter marks with an occasional spot of fish also found up working on the surface. The bluefin have been biting in the dark and during the daylight hours. Mackerel, sardines, flying fish and Flat Fall jigs have been the top baits and lures.
Capt. Joe Cacciola of Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing and the Oceanside Sea Center reported Pronto was out fishing the bluefin on Oct. 13. Cacciola spoke with Capt. Ernie Prieto of and reported catches of four big bluefin to 90 pounds.
Yellowfin tuna have been biting very well with near limit to limit catches combined with a mix of skipjack, Dorado and yellowtail being found by boats on overnight trips at some of the offshore banks outside of Ensenada. The yellowfin outside of Ensenada have been biting around spots such as the 385 Spot, the Inner Bank (that contains the 238 Spot), the 450 Spot and the 295 Bank. Boats working these areas have been finding action while fishing between 50 and 75 miles 160 to 180 degrees from Point Loma.
Yellowfin stops are coming from kelp paddies, trolling strikes, skipjack trolling strikes, porpoise schools, meter marks, sonar marks and spots of puddling fish. Most of the yellowfin are in the 5- to 15-pound range with some larger fish to 30+ pounds also in the mix. The larger-sized yellowfin tend to be caught with porpoise. Sardines, Megabait style jigs, Colt Snipers and poppers have been working in the yellowfin stops. Dropping down to 15-pound test line and using small hooks is often a key to getting yellowfin to bite when they are touchy. Anglers report that the smaller sized sardines tend to work best for the yellowfin.
In waters more local to Point Loma there has also been very good fishing for a mix of yellowfin tuna and skipjack for boats fishing areas such as the 9 Mile Bank, 4 to 8 miles west of North Island, the deep water inside of the Kidney Bank as well as the deep water between the 425 Bank and the 371 Bank. The skipjack fishing is very good in these areas but it is hit or miss in getting a yellowfin tuna stop. Once yellowfin are located though, there have been some very good bites where limits of yellowfin are caught from a single stop. In these good yellowfin stops Skippers are often calling out for someone to take over their stop before they leave to head for home with limits.
Marlin have been producing some action in the Catalina and San Diego areas. The marlin fishing in the San Diego region has been scratchy. Most of the reports of marlin encounters in the San Diego region are coming from the area of the 9 Mile Bank and are found incidental to tuna fishing.
Boats targeting marlin in the Catalina area are finding some pretty good action while working spots around the eastern part of the Island. Avalon Bank, the 152 Spot, Church Rock, the area between Silver Canyon and Ben Weston and while fishing out toward San Clemente Island at the Mackerel Bank have all been producing marlin action.
There have been very few reports from Los Coronado Islands with most boats that might otherwise be fishing around the Islands fishing local offshore waters for tuna and skipjack. The few reports about the fishing at Los Coronado Islands have been of excellent bonito fishing along with a good mix of calico bass and assorted bottom fish. There has also been a chance at scratching out a yellowtail or bluefin tuna. The best areas for the surface fishing have been while fishing around North Island and at the Middle Grounds.
The fishing along the San Diego County Coast has been good for a mix of bonito, calico bass, sand bass and an assortment of bottom fish. The yellowtail fishing has been slow. The bonito are currently the highlight species and have been biting well at the Point Loma Kelp Beds, by the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, outside of the upper end of La Jolla, at Del Mar and between South Carlsbad and the Oceanside Pier.
The bonito have been mostly 4- to 7-pound fish and Cacciola reported boats out of Oceanside Sea Center have been doing well while fishing in 115 to 150 feet of water in an area ranging from the Oceanside Pier on down to Ponto Beach at South Carlsbad. Cacciola said that they have been getting bonito trolling strikes and then drifting and fishing with sardines, Megabait style jigs and chrome Crocodile jigs. He added the smaller sized sardines have been working a lot better than the big sardines.
The month of October is providing some of the best fishing of the year and I hope you have a chance to get out and get in on the action. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.