San Diego Report: Yellowfin tuna arrive in local offshore waters

By: Bob Vanian

The past week of offshore fishing saw some major developments occur as good numbers of yellowfin tuna began biting in waters that were within easy one day range of Point Loma. As the week progressed things got even better as schools of yellowfin tuna continued to move closer to Point Loma and started biting around offshore banks located within 30 miles of Point Loma such as the 425 Bank, 371 Bank and 302 Spot.            

The yellowfin tuna have indeed arrived in local offshore waters and are currently highlighting the bite on the offshore fishing grounds. To add to all the excitement about the yellowfin tuna there are also some bluefin tuna, yellowtail and a few dorado in the mix. The yellowfin tuna have been mixed size fish that have been ranging from 12 to 30 pounds with most falling within the 14 to 20 pound class. There have been a lot of troll fish biting and some of the trolling stops had led to some hookups on live bait. Kelp paddies have also produced a few yellowfin tuna and have also been productive for yellowtail and an occasional dorado.             Capt. Scott Meisel of Condor out of Fisherman’s Landing reported catching 61 yellowfin tuna, 16 bluefin tuna and 2 dorado on a weekend 2.5 day trip. Meisel reported getting a mix of jig fish and bait fish and was encouraged by the fact that yellowfin tuna were being caught over a large stretch of ocean at spots ranging from the waters outside of Los Coronado Islands on down to the waters outside of Punta Colnett and below.       

Private boater Alex Deridder of Fishfinder reported fishing a recent trip to the 371 Bank and catching limits of yellowfin tuna which was a total of 15 yellowfin tuna for the 3 anglers aboard. Deridder found the hot action while fishing around porpoise that he found at 28 miles 204 degrees from Point Loma. Their yellowfin tuna ranged in size from 12 to 20 pounds and most were in the 12 to 15 pound class. They caught 13 jig fish and two bait fish and their hot jig on the troll was a black and purple X-Rap Rapala.

Private boater Jeff Petit of O’Strike reported fishing a recent trip to the 371 Bank and the Kidney Bank and catching five yellowfin tuna. Petit reported catching four of the yellowfin while fishing around the 371 Bank where one of the best areas was a short way below the bank at 29 miles 199 degrees from Point Loma.            

Petit said their yellowfin were in the 18 to 28 pound range and that they were biting best on a trolled cedar plug and were also biting a blue and white Yo-Zuri Hydromag. The water in the area was nice and blue and running at 69 degrees.            

Private boater Capt. Bob Woodard of Christina Lynn fished a recent trip aboard a friend’s boat and reported catching one yellowfin tuna and three yellowtail. Woodard reported catching the yellowfin tuna from a kelp paddie located inside of the 371 Bank at 24 miles 195 degrees from Point Loma. Their three yellowtail came from another kelp paddie that they found about half way between the 371 Bank and North Island at 19 miles 198 degrees from Point Loma. Their yellowtail were noteworthy sized fish that went from 20 to 24 pounds.            

Private boater Chris Broyles of Finology fished a recent 1.5 day trip and reported finding excellent yellowfin tuna fishing while down at the 1067 Trench which is 70 miles 196 degrees from Point Loma. The water was a little cool at 65.1 degrees but the area was loaded with yellowfin tuna and the seven anglers aboard limited out on 18 to 30 pound fish.            

Broyles reported trolling the edges of spots of breaking fish and getting multiple jig strikes. He said it was helpful to set up a steady anchovy chum line while they were trolling the edges of the breaking fish. Broyles felt that they were able to work the yellowfin they found for a good long time and not have the tuna spook because they never ran over the top of the breaking fish. They had their first action at around noon and left the tuna biting to head for home at 3p.m.            

Capt. Mike Hadfield of the six pack charter yacht Josie Lynn with Point Loma Sportfishing reported fishing a recent 1.5 day trip at the Upper 500 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank. Hadfield reported excellent fishing for yellowfin tuna and said they caught limits of yellowfin for everyone aboard the boat including the crew. Their yellowfin were ranging in size from 12 to 20 pounds and most were up in the 15 to 20 pound range. The Upper 500 Bank is at 55 miles 182 degrees from Point Loma and the outside high spot at the Upper Hidden Bank is at 38 miles 187 degrees from Point Loma.            

The fishing around Los Coronado Islands continues to produce good mixed bag fishing for yellowtail, barracuda, calico bass and rockfish.  To compliment the fishing out at the Islands there have also been some pretty good numbers of sand bass biting at the Flats area below the Bull Ring at Tijuana.             

Using large live baits has been the best way to go for the yellowtail fishing around Los Coronado Islands with live squid, Spanish mackerel, sardines or greenback mackerel working better than anchovies. Some of the better spots have been the Ribbon Kelp, the South Kelp, the north end of South Island, the Lighthouse at the south tip of South Island and the Rockpile. Most of the fishing continues to be done while sitting on the anchor but private boaters have also reported success when slow trolling nose hooked mackerel or sardines.            

The San Diego County coastal fishing has been very good for calico bass and has also been producing some sand bass and rockfish along with occasional flurries of barracuda action. Most of the calico bass and barracuda have been short sized fish that fail to meet the minimum size requirement of 14 inches for calico bass and sand bass and 28 inches for barracuda and must be released. The good news is that there have been improving numbers of legal sized bass and barracuda reported in the mix.             

The offshore fishing has started to steal the show with the arrival of yellowfin tuna to areas within 30 miles of Point Loma but do not overlook the fact that there is also plenty of good fishing going on for those preferring a trip along the coast or out to Los Coronado Islands. 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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