The 2016 Southern California season continues to improve to where we just might be headed full speed toward a fantastic fishing in late summer and fall. There are big bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, yellowtail to target offshore, good-sized yellowtail, bonito and barracuda to target at Los Coronado Islands, and calico bass, bonito, barracuda, yellowtail and white seabass biting along the San Diego County Coast.
The offshore fishing attracted a lot of attention with a bluefin tuna to 260-plus pounds and yellowfin up to 100 pounds biting. Kelp paddie yellowtail and dorado were also biting. It remains challenging to get the bluefin tuna to bite but the effort was worth it once you find a biting fish. Most of the bluefin have been in the 60- to 185-pound range.
The bluefin are being found at a lot of areas, with spots 3 to 15 miles off the coast between La Jolla and San Onofre being productive and with areas further offshore such as the 289 Spot, 43 Fathom Spot, 181 Spot, 209 Spot and 312 Spot producing bluefin action as well. Yellowfin tuna have been found in the same areas as the bluefin and they have been mixed size fish ranging in size from 10 to 100 pounds.
There is an occasional bluefin caught from a trolling strike or kelp paddie but the vast majority of the bluefin are biting from working spots of fish found at or near the surface.
The yellowfin found in the same areas as the bluefin have been acting like the bluefin and have also been touchy biters.
Farther down the line, boats fishing offshore banks below and outside of Ensenada have been finding action on a mix of 12- to 25-pound yellowfin tuna, 6- to 25-pound dorado and 8- to 30-pound yellowtail.
Kelp paddies, blind trolling strikes, porpoise schools, sonar marks and spots of breaking or puddling fish have been leading to action on the tuna grounds below and outside of Ensenada. It is hit or miss on getting into a good yellowfin bait stop but there have been some good bait stops to be found.
Capt. Wayne Slahor of the 6-pack charter yacht Osprey out of the Islandia Hotel in Mission Bay reported about fishing a recent two day trip down to the offshore banks below and outside of Ensenada. Slahor reported catching 19 yellowfin tuna and one dorado and said they had most of their action from trolling strikes found while fishing a short way outside of the Banda Bank at 64 miles 152 degrees from Point Loma.
Private boater Ray Millman of Go the Distance reported one of the best catches of the season on quality sized bluefin tuna. Millman was fishing outside of the 182 Spot and reported catching bluefin that weighed 218, 216 and 120 pounds. Millman reported that the 216 pound and 120 pound fish were caught on Yo-Zuri Bull poppers that were fished on a spinning rod with a Shimano Stella spinning reel. The 218-pound bluefin was caught on a slow trolled mackerel fished on an Okuma Makaira 2 speed conventional reel.
On the marlin front, there are a few scattered marlin encounters reported by boats out tuna fishing. That situation has improved some in recent days with reports of there being three marlin caught and released in the region of the 209 Spot over the past weekend.
The fishing along the San Diego County Coast has been providing good fishing for a mix of calico bass, sand bass, bonito, barracuda and yellowtail along with an occasional white seabass.
The Point Loma Kelp Beds have been very good for calico bass and have also been producing a mix of a few bonito, barracuda and yellowtail along with an occasional white seabass. Productive areas have been the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 and the edges of the kelp beds at the Dropoff, the Lab, 5 Tanks, the Green Tank and Point Loma College.
The fishing at La Jolla has been good for a mix of calico bass, bonito, barracuda and yellowtail. The best bite at La Jolla has been during the morning hours while fishing outside of the main kelp beds at the upper end of La Jolla. Most of the fishing on the sportboats is being done while sitting on the anchor and private boaters have also seen some success while drifting or while slow trolling nose hooked sardines or mackerel.
Going further up the coast there has been good calico bass fishing and a few bonito and barracuda biting for boats fishing the edges of the kelp beds at spots such as Solana Beach, Leucadia, Carlsbad, the Barn and San Onofre. There have also been a few bonito schools roaming around offshore in this sector for boats fishing 1 to 4 miles off the coast.
There is a lot of fine fishing going on right now and I hope you make the most of the summer season and get out there and give it a try. 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.