San Diego Fish Report

Anglers finding good fishing between winter storms

SAN DIEGO — The past couple of weeks have seen some weather systems roll through Southern California that have brought high seas, strong winds, rain, and hail. The winds were strong enough during one recent storm to have Gale Warnings posted in Southern California. The good news for anglers during the past couple of weeks has been that the days of good weather between weather systems have provided some days of good fishing.

The best overall fishing has been for boats traveling down the coast of Mexico on 1.5-day trips to fish the waters off Punta Colnett. The fishing off of Punta Colnett has been very good during this winter season and continues to produce quality mixed bag, bottom fishing for reds, rockfish, and lingcod. There has also been a chance of locating some surface fishing excitement from yellowtail and bonito. The most recent fish counts from the Punta Colnett area start with Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing that had 25 anglers on a 1.5-day trip caught 4 yellowtail, 125 reds, 105 rockfish, 9 lingcod, and 3 sheephead.

H&M Landing had Relentless fishing a 1.5 day to Punta Colnett and they returned home with 19 anglers catching 179 rockfish and 11 lingcod. Most of the yellowtail being caught off Punta Colnett have been quality-sized fish that are in the 15 to 25-pound class. Punta Colnett yellowtail often bites best from stopping on meter marks and sonar marks and fishing with yo-yo iron or with sardines that are fished on dropper loop rigs.

The past weekend brought good weather and some private boaters out to sample the fishing around Los Coronado Islands. There were a couple of reports about the surface fishing activity with bonito reported to be biting around North Island. The remaining reports were of good bottom fishing for reds and rockfish along with an occasional bonus lingcod. A Skipper who was catching bonito at North Island reported that there were 2-pound bonito biting off the weather side of North Island and that there were larger bonito that went to 7 pounds biting along the lee side of North Island.

Sardines, small chrome jigs, and trolled Rapalas would be good choices for bonito. Productive bottom fishing areas around Los Coronado Islands have been the hard bottom to the north and the northwest of North Island in 35 to 50 fathoms as well as hard bottom spots to the east and northeast of North Island in 20 to 25 fathoms. The rockpile and the ridge areas below and outside of South Island have also been productive for bottom fishing in the 25 to 40-fathom depths.

An ongoing reminder to anglers is that the annual 2-month rockfish/groundfish closure on the United States side of the Mexico border went into effect on Jan. 1. This means that those wishing to fish for the rockfish and groundfish species covered by the closure will need to travel into Mexico’s waters if they want to fish for these species during the 2-month closure period. The closure in Southern California waters will come to an end on March 1.

With the annual 2-month rockfish and groundfish closure in effect, Skippers fishing along the San Diego County coast have been focusing their efforts on species that are still open to fishing such as calico bass, sand bass, sculpin, halibut, and yellowtail. The bass and sculpin fishing have both been good and there has also been occasional yellowtail or white seabass biting to go with a few halibut.

The yellowtail and white seabass fishing has been scratchy but the past weekend of good weather did see some yellowtail located by finding meter marks and spots of breaking fish. There was also a chance at finding a white seabass biting in the same areas where a yellowtail was being found. Spots, where yellow-tail activity was reported, were below and outside of the Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach as well as while fishing outside of the upper end of La Jolla, Torrey Pines, and Corona Del Mar.

Locating areas of bait continues to be a good way to try and position yourself to be in the right spot at the right time should some yellowtail decide to show. Most of the yellowtail activity has been found in 18 to 35 fathoms. Surface iron works best when cast to fish that are found upon the surface and yo-yo iron works best when dropping down to meter marks or sonar marks. Sardines and mackerel can also be effective when slow trolled, flylined, or fished deep on a dropper loop rig. The yellowtail found along the coast has been quality-sized fish with most between 15 and 25 pounds. Good choices for surface iron include Salas 7X lights and Tady 45’s in blue and white, mint and sardine colors. Good choices for yo-yo iron include Salas 6X and Salas 6X Jr. jigs in blue and white, scrambled egg, and blue and chrome. Visit fi shrapnews.com for the remainder of this story.

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.Bob Vanian’s976-BITE FISH REPORTSwww.976BITE.COMF or Internet Reports Visit www.976bite.comFor Personal Reports Call (619) 226-8218Saltwater and FreshwaterMarine Art PrintsChuck Byron LithographsRetail and wholesale pricing. (Quantity discounts available) $20.00 plus $6.95 shipping in the US. To place an order, contact us at: Fishoncontests@gmail.comor call 619-301.3193Byron Productschuckbyron.com

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