Posted by: socalsalty | April 24, 2012

Trip Report: San Miguel on the Pacific Islander

Capt. Steve gives the trip briefing

I had an amazing day of fishing last Wednesday when I traveled down to San Diego to get in on the hunt for yellowtail.  I decided to stay Thursday and things were starting to get crazy when twice the number of people boarded the boat to catch the #1 fish we have here in SoCal (in my opinion).  I knew things would go totally bananas over the weekend.  I decided to go the opposite direction and do some low pressure rockfishing on one of my favorite boats, the Pacific Islander, out of Channel Islands Sportfishing in Oxnard.

I boarded the boat on Saturday night to fish San Miguel Island on Sunday.  One of the reasons this boat is one of my favorite to ride is that Capt. Steve Virtue does a very thorough job of giving the anglers a detailed trip briefing.  The information he shares helps me visualize how the trip is going to play out, so I can be prepared immediately to start fishing the next day.

LeRoy with a big red...CHOW!

The ride out was non-eventful, and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.  The next morning I woke up around 6:30 and we were looking for fish.  Capt. Steve setup the first drift in about 240 ft of water.  I opted to use my Terez/Avet MXJ combo and had it rigged with a standard double dropper loop setup.  I had a pink/yellow shrimp fly on top tipped with a strip of squid, a plain circle hook on the other loop with a squid head, and 12 oz. of lead on the bottom.  Immediately, everyone on my side went bendo, and I assume it was the same way on the other side too.  Once we drifted off structure, we reset, dropped lines, and continued to reel in big fish.  Before we even hit 9am, we had boated a full limit of 10 rockfish for each angler on the boat!

Big cabbie on a swimbait

The only disappointment was that we only had one ling on the boat.  If you remember the last time I rode this boat in March for the opener, it was LING-sanity!  So it was a little odd that we didn’t have many.  At this point, we moved into shallower water to look for lings, whitefish, and sheephead.  I was excited.  Before I left, Capt. Jordan Richard of the Speed Twin tipped me to bring my bass rod.  I asked why, and he told me that when we went shallow, that I should break it out and try using some swimbaits as a different, fun thing to do in fishing these waters.  Vance had picked up some new swimbaits at Fred Hall and shared one with me to use.  It was much appreciated as the best bait to catch a ling is a live sardine, and we had precious few on the boat.  On my first cast, I picked up a just short ling.  On the second, I thought I managed to get it stuck in a rock.  Crap, now I’m going to owe Vance.  Wait a sec…the rock is shaking his head!  On my bass rod, it was a mighty struggle.  Once I got him out of his rock though, I was able to handle him.  It was a very nice sized cabezon (a close cousin of ling cod).  While I snapped a pic, I noticed an angler on the other side of the boat pulling in a huge ling and my buddy Manny got into his first of what would be 3 for him!  LeRoy added 2 more.  In the end, I wasn’t able to get a legal one, but was very happy with how things turned out.  A 14lb ling took the jackpot!  The boat ended up with 15, and we all had a good time.

Amie in the galley

Amie's Fish Tacos

Another reason why I like this boat is that they are happy to filet some of your smaller fish, and cook up some fresh fish tacos right there on the boat!  Amie in the galley is a real sweetheart, and the tacos are to die for.  I ate lunch, napped and by the time I woke up we were only an hour out from port.

Thanks to Capt. Steve and the crew of the Pacific Islander.  Highly recommended.  Tight lines!

Manny's big haul

The jackpot ling













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