Posted by: socalsalty | June 3, 2012

Trip Report: Halibut Drifting On The Basshole

The Basshole

My buddy Jeff called me last week as I was returning from a disappointing trip out to Catalina.  “We’re going halibut drifting on Monday (Memorial Day) if you want to come.”  What time should I meet you?

Jeff is a former work colleague.  He has a boat parked in MDR called, The Basshole.  When we first met, he showed me pics of big halibut that he’s scored on his boat.  We’ve gone out on it before, but this would be my first time on it drifting for ‘buts.  Jeff mentioned when he called that he felt like he had these fish dialed in, so I anticipated a good trip.  His lifelong fishing buddy, Andy, joined us onboard.

The right bait makes all the difference

All year we’ve been having one of 2 extremes locally with bait…either tiny pinner anchovies or mega-sardines.  Sunday, Jake, Juj and I fished the bait dock at MDR.  All they had in the pens were the pinner ‘choves.  Juj and I were sabiki-ing for bait.  We had one line in the water setup for halibut.  All the while, Jake and I were taking turns throwing iron for casting practice.  While we were there, I was picking up nice sized sardines on the sabiki, so I knew they were around.  I was psyched when we got to the bait dock and they had the right size of bait.

Nice one Andy!

We left the harbor and were able to setup our first drift shortly after…  I want to get more rides on The Basshole, so I won’t say exactly where 😉  We were all setup in the same fashion…live sardine on a snelled hook, with a trailing stinger (treble hook).  On the first drift, Andy picked up a nice sized sculpin.  You can catch scullies all day long on squid, but you typically pick up the bigger ones on ‘dines.  Next drift I hooked a decent sugar bass (brown rockfish).  We hit a little lull and then Andy kicked off the real action, nailing the first flattie of the day…a nice one approaching 30lbs!  It was a new personal best for him.

We setup another drift and then Jeff got bit big.  The fish ate his bait and took off.  Line stripped out quickly.  I was shooting video on my phone and could see that Jeff was quickly getting close to getting spooled.  He buttoned down the drag all the way and was able to stop the fish…momentarily.  He gained some line on it, but then it got a second wind and snapped him off (on 50lb mono!).  Bummer.  Andy said it was a tanker WSB.  I thought it was a shark.  We’ll never know.


Jeff went back to work though and got another line in the water quickly.  Not 10 minutes later, Jeff got bit again.  This time he made short work of it and nailed the second flattie of the day…another nice one…north of 20lbs.  We were doing really well.  I’d be lying though if I said I wasn’t a little jealous.  I didn’t have to wait long though.  At this point, the wind had picked up a little.  Not so much that it made things difficult, but enough that the pace of the drift was more favorable.  I got hit hard on my light rod (the Crucial, but with an Abu Record 50 as my Trinidad was in the shop).  The rod was doubled over hard.  Andy was worried that maybe I might be overmatched.  “What line do you have on there?”  60lb spectra with a 30lb leader.  “That’s good.  You’re good.”  It took a bit of coaxing, but I eventually got it up to the surface.  Jeff was ready with the gaff and got him onboard.  We were all cheering and high-fiving.  It was a nice fish.  I’m guessing just over 30.

At this point, I was good.  I had my first ever big halibut.  Andy had a personal best.  Jeff got a good one.  Anything else would be gravy.  “The only thing better would be if we all went bendo at the same time…”  Not 5 minutes later…well, watch the video.  At the point where Jeff’s fish is flopping all over the deck, we thought my rod went bendo too, but it was only a snag.  It was a first for The Basshole though to go Double ‘But Bendo.

And that was pretty much the day.  A tremendous output…we boated somewhere near 100 lbs of California Halibut, no shorts, and it was right here in our home fishing grounds of Santa Monica Bay.  The Halibut Derby is next weekend.  I’m trying to convince Jeff we should enter 😉  Thanks for a great day buddy.  Tight lines!

Mine’s the big one up front 🙂


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