Spring fishing season continues to deliver on bluefin, yellowtail and more

SAN DIEGO — Relatively mild northern spring weather fronts are still passing through Southern California but that has not stopped the continued development of the spring fishing season. Good weather days have seen anglers out on the water and catching a variety of species, highlighted by bluefin tuna, yellowtail, bonito, bass and the occasional halibut or white sea bass.

A relatively mild weather system recently passed through Southern California but there were still some bluefin tuna, yellowtail and bonito biting offshore. The bluefin catches were off some from what they had been like earlier in the week but New Lo-An out of Point Loma Sportfishing had a fine day of bluefin tuna fishing with 32 anglers on a 1.5-day trip catching 27 bluefin tuna.

Old Glory out of H&M Landing fished a 1.5-day trip with 13 anglers and returned with 65 bonito, four yellowtails and two bluefin tuna.

Seaforth Sportfishing had Tomahawk fishing a 1.5-day trip with 15 anglers who caught three yellowtails and 12 bonito. Seaforth Sportfishing also had San Diego fishing a full-day trip with 47 anglers catching 27 yellowtails and 87 bonito.

Fisherman’s Landing had Liberty fishing a full-day trip with 36 anglers catching 26 yellowtails and 100 bonito.

The areas producing offshore action have been the 295 Bank, Upper Hidden Bank, 425 Bank and 371 Bank. Boats working the region of the 295 Bank have been fishing from 70 to 80 miles 175 degrees from Point Loma. Boats fishing the region of the 371 Bank, 425 Bank and Upper Hidden Bank have been working from 25 to 40 miles 175 to 210 degrees from Point Loma.

The bluefin tuna caught during the past week or so have ranged from 25 to 191 pounds, with most of the fish being caught during the past several days being in the 25- to 70-pound range. Best bet for the bluefin has been to locate a sonar mark and then stop and fish with flat fall jigs, flylined sardines and sardines that are fished deep with a 4- to 8-ounce torpedo sinker attached to the line via a rubber band. Also look for meter marks, working birds and the occasional spot of breaking fish to locate the bluefin.

Kelp paddies are producing yellowtail, bonito and an occasional bluefin tuna. Also look for trolling strikes and spots of breaking fish to locate the bonito. Most of the yellowtail and bonito have been in the 4- to 10-pound range.

The fishing around Los Coronado Islands has improved for bonito and yellowtail and also continues to provide good numbers of rockfish. The bonito and yellowtail are biting in an area a short way below the Mexico border while fishing to the north of North Island in 30 to 50 fathoms of water.

The bonito are mostly in the 4- to 8-pound range and most of the yellowtail have been in the 4- to 10-pound class. Look for spots of breaking fish under working birds and for trolling strikes to locate the bonito. The most recent trip was aboard Vendetta out of H&M Landing that had 12 anglers on a three-quarter-day trip catch 30 bonito, 15 yellowtail, 16 reds and nine whitefish.

The fishing for rockfish also remains good around Los Coronado Islands. Productive areas for reds and an assortment of rockfish have been the South Kelp Ridge, hard bottom areas to the north and the northwest of North Island and the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border.

Boats fishing the 30 to 50 fathom depths outside of Imperial Beach have been picking up a mix of bonito and yellowtail but the fishing in this zone seems to be more hit or miss than the fishing for yellowtail and bonito that is going on in similar depths while fishing in Mexican waters to the north of North Island as talked about above. It is the same style of fishing as on the Mexico side of the border with schools of breaking bonito and bonito trolling strikes leading to most of the bonito and yellowtail action.

The remainder of the fishing along the San Diego area coast remains good for a mix of rockfish, sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and an occasional halibut. There has also been a chance of catching a large yellowtail while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla. White sea bass fishing has been scratchy along the San Diego County coast but there is an occasional nice sized white sea bass found biting along the edges of the kelp beds at the upper end of La Jolla and along the edges of kelp bed areas between the Barn Kelp and Border Check Station above Oceanside.

Live mackerel has attracted some attention from white sea bass.

There have been occasional flurries of halibut action for boats fishing along the San Diego County coast but it has been hit or miss fishing. Productive halibut zones have been the Imperial Beach Pier and the Buoyline area of Point Loma ranging from below the Point Loma Light House on in to the bait barges. Also productive for halibut has been the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the Yukon Shipwreck off Mission Beach, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower off Mission Beach, the sandy bottom outside of Ponto Beach, the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor, and the sandy bottom off the Golf Ball area above Oceanside Harbor. Going further north, a couple of additional productive halibut zones have been the sandy bottom off San Onofre and the sandy bottom outside of the San Clemente Pier.

The spring season is continuing to progress and should continue to improve as the northern weather systems continue to lessen in number and intensity. 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 bob976bite@aol.com.

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