Posted by: socalsalty | March 8, 2011

Trip Report: Pacific Islander (Saturday, March 5th)

The Pacific Islander

Friday night, I drove up to Oxnard where Channel Islands Sportfishing is located.  I had never fished before in this part of SoCal, so I was excited to be trying it out.  I arrived around 8:30pm and checked into the landing.  The landing office was nice…full tackle and reception area.  Around 9, we were allowed to board the boat, the Pacific Islander and we departed at 10pm.  Today would mark the inaugural trip of the season for the PI, as things kind of shut down up here when rockfish season closes.  This week marked the re-opening of rockfish season.

The trip was to be a 1.5 day trip, so we would head out on Friday, get out to the spot, wake up and fish all day, and return around 6pm Saturday evening.  With only 15 anglers on the boat, I was looking forward to a hassle free day of fishing.

Map courtesy of

After making bait just outside the harbor (live squid), we proceeded out to the islands.  Our destination was the Eagles Nest area in between Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands.  At dawn we started doing small drifts hoping to catch either halibut or white seabass (WSB).  Last week, the first WSB of the 2011 season was taken…a small one off Catalina.  Recommended setup was to run a single drop loop with a 3/0 hook about 3 ft above a 4-6 oz weight.  The reason why the loop was so high up from the weight was to avoid any junk-fish catch as there are a lot of sharks and rays in the area.  After a few drifts and no action though, we bailed on the idea and Capt. Paul proceeded west and north around to the Johnson’s Lee area on the outer side of Santa Rosa.  By this time, the sun was out and it was the beginning of a beautiful day.  Although we were out into the unprotected ocean side of the island, the swells were very mild.  I started out with an 8oz sinker on a 2 dropper loop setup, but quickly realized that I didn’t need that much weight and

Dawn by the Eagle’s Nest

eventually dropped down to 4 oz.  Here we started to see some action…one of the first fish being Daniel’s ling cod.  The rockfish action was pretty good.  Early on, I scored a nice red in the 3-4 lb. range that at the time was big fish.  The day was not to be defined though by reds like the last few times in San Diego.   There was a wide variety of rockfish.  Lots of blue rockfish, gopher rockfish, chuckleheads and ocean whitefish.  There was also quite a few ling.  I personally caught 4 or 5.  Only one was in the keeper range, but the fact that so many were being caught I took as a good sign of things to come when the ling opener rolls around April 1.

Mike and his sheep

The star fish of the day were sheephead, with the Top 3  big fish all being sheeps in probably the 5 lb range.  For the day, the boat took home a full limit of 150 rockfish (of which, about 60 were reds), 47 ocean whitefish that ran pretty big at 3-5 lbs apiece, 9 sheephead, 3 cabezon, and 1 sculpin…lots of variety on this trip!

I found the crew to be really helpful and friendly.  Captains Paul and Pete, deckhands Bryan and Teddy, and Amy in the galley are all to be commended for their fine level of service.  The overall vibe was pleasant and I’ll definitely be back for more.  The drive out was close to an hour less than San Diego is for me…even fighting Friday traffic, so that is very attractive.  There are 14 boats out of this landing, so there is a ride to fit everyone.  Get out and check them out.

Paul N. with the jackpot sheephead. Bryan is on the camera, as Teddy yucks it up in the background.

Amie in the galley. Her first time on the Pacific Ocean.

Looking back as we headed home



  1. Sweet! I was wondering how the trip went.

  2. Good one man. Full sack and added 2 on my species account…just not the elusive “ghost” the WSB.

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