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C-MAP Hot Spot: Cortes Bank
Crews target this Southern California offshore hot spot for late-season tuna.
Cortes Bank, located roughly 100 miles off the Southern California coast, rises up from depths of nearly 2,000 feet to create a shallow bank that draws large populations of bluefin and yellowfin tuna. Positioning the boat over the structure requires advanced cartography such as these charts provided by C-MAP by Jeppesen.
Watching the weather and sea surface temperatures helps crews pick the best day to make the run to Cortes Bank. When El Nino is kicking up the bite closer to shore, you may not need to run out to the bank, but in typical years Cortes will hold late-season tuna when water temps remain in the mid-60s.
In this high-resolution bathy chart provided by C-MAP by Jeppesen, you can see the vast size of Cortes Bank and Tanner Bank to the north. Finding ideal water temps on top of this structure is the key to finding tuna, and always watch for birds and other signs of life.
The high spot on Cortes is in the 10-foot range, so the fish can see extremely well. You may need to drop down to lighter line and smaller hooks to connect with bluefin on the bank. Photo by Duane Diego.
C-MAP by Jeppesen offers 3-D cartography which is a big help when navigating to the edge and positioning the boat for the best bite. These charts are compatible with Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad and Lowrance, as well as others.
When the Santa Ana winds begin to blow, So Cal crews will start contemplating a trip to Cortes Bank. When the forecast calls for light winds and swell intervals outside of 10 to 12 seconds, the window opens.FishTrack's SST charts will help you pinpoint temperature breaks on the bank to help you pick a location to fish and conserve fuel.
The Cortes is 96 miles from San Pedro and 111 miles from San Diego, a long run for any vessel. To stay safe on the water and pick the quickest route requires quality cartography. Switching from raster charts to 3-D and even 4-D charts offered by C-MAP during the run is a big help when navigating and picking a spot on the bank.
The C-MAP Vector Charts are constantly updated with the latest information available. This accuracy can mean the difference between finding the bite and running around aimlessly.
When the bite slows down closer to shore, Cortes Bank offers a steady bite of bluefin tuna and even the warmer water loving yellowfin tuna. Photo by Duane Diego.
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