Posted by: socalsalty | August 14, 2012

Trip Report: San Nic On The PI

San Nicolas

After fishing offshore Wednesday and Thursday, I was looking forward to being home for a couple days, then getting back out on the Pacific Islander Saturday night to fish Sunday.  We chased big buts last time I was on the boat, and indications were that halibut and white seabass might be on the menu again.  Shortly after boarding the boat, I was chatting with Capt. Steve Virtue, “Joe, I’m not 100% yet, but I think I’m going to drive out to San Nic.”  Interesting.  I’d never been before.  San Nicolas is one of the more remote islands in the Channel Islands chain.  Even though it is technically in Ventura County, it’s actually slightly further south and due west of Catalina.  The PI is CISCO’s “Outer Island Freelance” boat.  San Nic is as outer islands as it gets!

Steve’s plan was to go out there and fish grey light for seabass.  If that didn’t work out, San Nic is kind of known as a sheephead haven, and we could fill sacks with those tasty fish.  If you’ll recall, I checked off sheephead on my Top 10 (#8) with a cute little pink one that was barely legal.  I’m sitting at 9 of 10 (just need tuna), but it would be great for me to get a nice big, black and red, white bearded, screwy toothed sheepie.  The boat left the dock tanked with live squid and live anchovies, so we set out and I hit my bunk counting sheephead to fall asleep.

That’s Freshy in tshirt and shorts in the starboard corner

The next morning I woke up as soon as the engines slowed down from cruising mode into looking mode.  I peeked out and it was still dark.  5:30 am.  “We must be at San Nic if we’re only just now slowing down” I thought to myself.  Capt. Steve confirmed we had.  We anchored up and I posted up in the starboard/stern corner with my buddy Chris (aka SoCal Freshy) who drove out with me.  Shortly after we dropped lines, an angler up the rail got bit.  It didn’t appear as the “right kind” as he didn’t look like he was that bent.  That suspicion was confirmed…wrong kind of white…a whitefish.  It kicked off a run of whitefish.  Nice grade of fish…probably 3-5 lb. range.  I hooked into one that started off feeling like the right kind, but it was just a larger whitefish.

Steve later told me he had a seabass looking mark when we stopped there, but no seabass.  We tried a few more drifts, but by 10 or so it became obvious we weren’t on the hunt for biscuits any longer.  San Nic didn’t disappoint though in terms of the sheephead.  Big ones. Dark black, deep red ones.  They were coming over for everyone on the boat…except me 😦  Oh well.  That’s how it goes.  I felt out of sync all day, but the anglers appeared to enjoy the trip.  Jackpot fish came on one of last drifts of the day.  It was a very impressive ling cod.  In the galley I found out that the angler who caught it drove in from Bakersfield with his son.  Good for them!  Thanks to Capt. Steve and the rest of the crew for making it an enjoyable day.  Tight lines!

The first big sheephead of the day

PI regular Michael with another big sheep

The dad and his son had a good day

The big ling was in a class by itself

Big mouth



  1. Is that your boot?

    • It’s Michael’s (with the big sheepie)

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