Yellowtail highlights island catches, yellowfin and bluefin starting to show offshore

By: Bob Vanian

Yellowtail fishing continues to highlight catches for boats fishing at Los Coronado Islands, La Jolla, San Clemente Island and Catalina Island but yellowfin and bluefin tuna are starting to enter the picture offshore and could take over the spotlight at any time. The past weekend saw Seaforth Sportfishing report two boats with yellowfin tuna catches while fishing offshore with Eclipse reporting 6 yellowfin during the first day of its 2-day trip and Apollo returning from its 2-day trip with 24 anglers catching 24 yellowfin tuna and 45 yellowtail. The catch on Eclipse was reported to have been made at around 70 miles from Point Loma.  I have not yet been able to confirm the exact location as of this writing but my belief is the catches of yellowfin came while fishing a band of relatively warm 64.5-degree water in the region ranging from the 238 Spot outside of Ensenada on down to the waters outside of Punta Colnett.

During the middle part of the week there was also a 40-pound yellowfin caught by a boat fishing the area of the 101 Spot outside of the Rockpile below Los Coronado Islands. That was a troll fish caught in 64.4-degree water down around 24 miles 174 degrees from Point Loma.

About a week ago there were also some bluefin tuna found biting in United States waters by some boats fishing outside of the 43 Fathom Spot. Capt. Mike Hadfield of the 6 pack charter yacht Josie Lynn out of Point Loma Sportfishing fished a 1.5-day trip and picked up 1 bluefin tuna and 1 jumbo sized bonito. Hadfield reported getting the bluefin from a trolling strike while turning toward a sonar mark. He said they also lost 2 bluefin baitfish hookups in the stop. The bluefin were reported to be in the 30- to 35-pound class and the action was had while fishing out around 43 miles 254 degrees from Point Loma.

A reminder to anglers is that bluefin tuna remain illegal to catch in Mexican waters and must be released if caught on the Mexican side of the border.

The yellowtail fishing at Los Coronado Islands remains good despite some recent unsettled weather. The current areas producing yellowtail action are for boats fishing around Pukey Point at North Island, along the weather side of North Island, at the Middle Grounds and at the South Kelp Ridge. The yellows have been mixed size fish up to 30 pounds. The best chance at the larger sized yellows is near Pukey Point and along the weather side of North Island.

In addition to yellowtail, there have been some bonito, barracuda, calico bass and rockfish biting around the Islands. The best spots for these species have been fishing kelp bed areas such as the South Kelp, 5 Minute Kelp and Ribbon Kelp.

San Clemente Island’s yellowtail bite has been up and down with the recent unsettled weather but there has been good overall fishing for a mix of yellowtail, calico bass, bonito, barracuda and rockfish. The best yellowtail bite has most often been found while fishing on the anchor along the ridges outside of Pyramid Cove. Also look for flurries of yellowtail action while fishing on the anchor up at the 9 Fathom Spot up at the west end of the Island. Calico bass have been biting well at the 9 Fathom Spot, Purse Seine Rock, White Rock and at the kelp beds and boiler rocks in Pyramid Cove.

The fishing along the San Diego County coast has been highlighted by some flurries of action on large yellowtail that have been biting in the La Jolla region. There has been action reported by boats fishing off the upper end of La Jolla and also by boats fishing the area below and outside of the Crystal Pier while keeping a short way below the MLPA closure zone at the lower end of La Jolla. The numbers of yellowtail being caught have not been that big but the yellowtail being caught have been mostly large fish in the 20- to 30+ pound class. Some of the action comes on surface iron or sardines presented to spots of yellowtail found on the surface under working birds and some of the action has been coming from trolling strikes while slow trolling with nose hooked live mackerel or nose hooked live sardines. A good depth range to be fishing in has been 90 to 100 feet of water.

Also worth a check for yellowtail is the area outside of the Point Loma Kelp Beds. Some yellowtail have just moved into this zone as quite a few spots of yellowtail were reported to have been seen under working birds this morning by a boat fishing outside of the Green Tank.  

Aside from the yellowtail activity at Point Loma and La Jolla, most of the fishing along the San Diego County coast has been for good mixed bag catches of calico bass, sand bass, rockfish and sculpin.

Yellowtail continue to provide the best action but there are improving numbers of tuna around and biting offshore. Get your tuna tackle ready as the yellowfin and bluefin bites could break loose at any time. 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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