Offshore bluefin tuna and yellowtail action moves closer to San Diego

SAN DIEGO—The past week of offshore fishing saw some significant changes occur for the better! An area of bluefin tuna and kelp paddie yellowtail holding below and outside of Ensenada for boats fishing between 78 and 95 miles from Point Loma made a move up the line to where boats are currently finding action on both species in offshore waters. The new sport is between 27 and 40 miles from Point Loma. The areas currently providing the bluefin tuna and yellowtail action are banks that are located below and outside of Los Coronado Islands for boats fishing the region of the 224 Spot, 371 Bank and 475 Knuckle.

Some fish counts for boats fishing on 1.5 day trips on April 27 start with Fisherman’s Landing. Tomahawk returned home from a 1.5-day trip with 15 of the 60- to 100-pound bluefin and limits of eight yellowtails for 28 anglers. They also had Shogun return home with 31 anglers having caught 57 of the 40- to 75-pound bluefin and 94 yellowtails. Pacific Queen also returned home with 34 anglers having caught 46 of the 40- to 80-pound bluefin and 57 yellowtails. Fisherman’s Landing also had Condor fishing on April 28 and had 153 yellowtails and one bluefin tuna.

Seaforth Sportfishing reports San Diego fished their full-day trip offshore on April 28 and had 27 anglers catch 39 yellowtails. Seaforth also had reports from 1.5-day trips. Tribute had 32 anglers catching 23 bluefin tuna and 35 yellowtails. Voyager returned home with 12 anglers catching 60 yellowtails and three bluefin tuna. Pride returned home with 12 anglers catching 25 yellowtails.

H&M Landing reported Daiwa Pacific was fishing a 1.5-day trip on April 28. At last report it had limits of yellowtail and two bluefin tuna and were still fishing. Vendetta had 13 anglers catching 65 yellowtails, also on April 28.

H&M Landing also reported about the following 1.5-day fishing on April 27: Legend had 31 anglers catching 32 bluefin; Old Glory had 30 anglers catching 50 bluefin tuna and six yellowtails; Top Gun 80 had 25 anglers return with 37 bluefin; and, Poseidon returned home from a 1.75-day trip with 24 anglers catching 24 bluefin.

Point Loma Sportfishing reported about the following 1.5-day trips fishing on April 27. American Angler had 32 anglers catching five yellowtails and one bluefin tuna. Chief returned with 36 anglers catching nine bluefin to 200.2 pounds. El Capitan was fishing with 18 anglers who caught nine yellowtails and four bluefin.

The bluefin tuna have been mixed size fish, running from 20 to 200+ pounds. Due to the mixed size of the bluefin and the fact that some schools of fish are more eager biters than others, it is a good idea to be prepared with live bait rods that have fluorocarbon leaders ranging from 30-pound test to 100-pound test. This allows you to readily adjust your tackle selection to how picky the fish might be and how large the fish are that are in the school of fish you are stopped on.

The yellowtail fishing around Los Coronado Islands has been very good at times but the past several days of fishing have seen the bite slow down to where it is currently scratchy yellowtail fishing. In addition to yellowtail, there are good numbers of assorted rockfish biting along with a pretty good mix of bonito, calico bass and lingcod.

The best zones for a chance at finding yellowtail action around Los Coronado Islands have been the hard bottom to the northeast of North Island, the Middle Grounds, the north end of South Island, the 5 Minute Kelp, the South Kelp and the South Kelp Ridge. Most yellowtail have been in the 10 to 15 pound class and yellowtail stops have been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, trolling strikes on X-Rap Rapalas and the occasional spot of fish that is found up on the surface.

Once located, yellowtails have been biting on a variety of jigs and on sardines. If the school of fish stays deep use yo-yo iron or a sardine fished on a dropper loop rig. If a deep running school of fish responds to the chum and comes to the surface or if a school of fish is found on the surface, try surface iron, flylined sardines or a sardine fished with a small sinker.

Good yo-yo jig choices would include Salas 6X, Salas 6X Jr., Salas 7X and Tady 4/0 jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg and sardine colors. Good surface iron jig choices would include Tady 45’s and Salas 7X lights in blue and white, mint and sardine colors.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast saw some recent signs of improving surface fishing with some showings of yellowtail and bonito but the surface fishing activity has declined over the past several days to where there are mostly rockfish, sculpin and a few bass biting. The one exception is there has been good calico bass fishing at the upper end of La Jolla during the afternoon hours. Skippers are reporting improved kelp growth at La Jolla and Point Loma and are thinking this is going to be a good thing for the calico bass fishing and for the fishing for other surface species during the upcoming months of spring and summer.

The best zone for a chance at scratching out a bonito or yellowtail has been while fishing the region of the Whistler Buoy outside of Point Loma or while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla.

Productive rockfish areas off the San Diego County coast include the International Reef, the Imperial Beach Pipeline, hard bottom areas in the region of the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, The 270 to the west of Mission Bay, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, South Carlsbad and Box Canyon.

Hard bottom and structure areas have been best for some bass and sculpin with productive areas being the Imperial Beach Pipeline, the hard bottom to the north and northwest of Buoy #3 at Point Loma, the Point Loma Pipeline, the Green Tank, Point Loma College, the Variety Kelp area below the MLPA closure area at the lower end of La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines, and the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside.

Just about the time the yellowtail and bonito bites started to slow down at Los Coronado Islands the yellowtail and bonito bites picked up at San Clemente Island. Recent days have seen some good stops to be found on both yellowtail and bonito at San Clemente Island. There has been some action to be had while fishing the ridge areas outside of Pyramid Cove and China Point but the best zone has proved to be fishing along the front side of the Island while working areas between Purse Seine Rock and Gold Bluff.

The spring fishing season is producing well with good early season catches of bluefin tuna and yellowtail. I hope you have a chance to get out on the water and sample the spring fishing. 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

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