Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Yellowtail and Albacore are Biting!

Bob Vanian

Wow, what a fishing season we are having as there are good numbers of bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail and dorado biting within one-day fishing range from harbors up and down the Southern California coast. The prospects for the rest of the fishing season got even brighter this week as Seaforth Sportfishing reported Tribute called in early while on an overnight trip and while still fishing had a mid-morning count of 32 bluefin tuna, one yellowfin tuna and one albacore.

The albacore is the first I know of caught from Southern California waters this season. A short while later, a private boater had a VHF radio report of having had an albacore trolling stop and produced an albacore jig fish and two albacore baitfish. Time will tell if these are just a few straggler albacore or the first of what will be a large body of albacore starting to move into Southern California offshore waters. Albacore get anglers interest perked up like no other fish and, with schools of albacore bypassing Southern California offshore waters in recent years, the thought of the possibility of having schools of albacore return to local offshore waters is exciting.

The albacore reportedly by the private boater were from the area of the 289 Spot at 47 miles 277 degrees from Point Loma. I believe Tribute’s albacore was caught in the zone where the bluefin tuna have been biting well in recent days for boats fishing between the 277 Spot and the Mackerel Bank inside of San Clemente Island. Boats in this zone have been fishing at about 55 miles 285 degrees from Point Loma.

The fishing for yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, dorado and yellowtail has been fantastic. Yellowfin have ranged in size from 5 to 100 pounds, with most falling within the 20- to 40-pound range. The bluefin have ranged in size from 15 to 200 pounds with most reported to be in the 35- to 45-pound range.

Good offshore fishing can be found from the Catalina area on down to the offshore banks below and outside of Los Coronado Islands. 

The tuna have been caught in a variety of ways with kelp paddies, spots of breaking fish, sonar marks, meter marks, trolling strikes, porpoise schools and strikes on slow trolled nose hooked mackerel or sardines all producing action. Productive live baits have been anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Anglers have also been reporting success while chumming with chunks of sardine or chunks of mackerel and at times say the tuna bite the chunks on their hooks better than they bite the live sardines on their hooks.

Marlin fishing improved with good to very good marlin action being reported up around the 17 Fathom Spot above Santa Barbara Island. The 17 Fathom Spot was the recent hot bite area but there have also been marlin scattered around that have been providing some action for boats fishing around East End of Catalina and at some of the offshore banks outside of San Diego such as the 9 Mile Bank, 302 Spot, 43 Fathom Spot, 182 Spot, the Corner and the Upper Finger Bank.

There was also some great coastal fishing for quality sized yellowtail, calico bass, sand bass and barracuda. Private boater John Carroll of Huachinango reported finding some outstanding yellowtail and barracuda fishing on a recent trip to the Whistler Buoy at Point Loma. Carroll said the three anglers aboard caught 15 yellowtail and several log sized barracuda in about four hours of fishing. His report was the yellowtail were quality sized fish in the 15- to 22-pound range. In addition to the action they were getting on the slow trolled sardines they would also get yellowtail and barracuda hookups while drifting with the sardines after getting a trolling strike on their slow trolled sardines.

The summer tuna bite is literally exploding and breaking wide open. Do what you can to get out as often as possible and enjoy this fun 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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