Posted by: socalsalty | September 10, 2012

Trip Report: Getting Salty With Bama’s Striper King

Gary with another fat striper

One of the great things about this fishing journey of mine is that I have the opportunity to meet some really cool people who happen to be anglers too.  Some are locals that I meet out on the boats.  Others are people from all over the country and the world that I only know from the Web, but hope to fish with someday.  One of these people is Gary Hanson (@mgaryhanson on twitter).  Gary lives in Anniston, Alabama and plies his craft on Logan Martin Lake.  I noticed Gary out of all the anglers on twitter because of his consistent stream of pics…mostly of big striped bass he catches on LML.  Gary fishes from his canoe…no electronics…just a guy who has his local fishery completely dialed in.  I’ve always hoped for an opportunity to fish with Gary.  I imagined myself learning his secrets and having a great new adventure.

Well Sunday the Salty Crew got to fish with Gary (and I did learn some of his secrets ;-)), but it was here in SoCal!  We rode the extended half day trip (8am-4pm) on the Speed Twin, out of Channel Islands Sportfishing.  Capt. Jordan Richard was behind the wheel, with Rick and Hunter on deck and Aimee in the galley.  Jordan said we were going to fish the gap between Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, targeting rockfish, with live anchovies and live squid on board to do it.

Nice red and a tasty little strawberry (with Jordan Richard)

It took about an hour and a half to get out to the spot.  When we got there, the conditions were beautiful…bright sunny skies, calm seas…just a ripping current detracted from the otherwise perfect day.  I rigged us all up with the standard double dropper loop setup.  I pinned on a couple live squids and casted out.  Almost immediately, my line was going sideways even though I was using 8oz of lead.  Despite the current, I quickly discovered it was a fishy spot nailing a big red and a decent starry on my first drop.

Nice red Gary!

The first spot was a drift.  With the conditions as they were, many people were getting tangled, so Jordan tried resetting and dropping anchor.  Unfortunately, it was mostly the same result.  We were fishing the starboard corner on the bow (yes, corner…the boat is a catamaran and the bow is like fishing off a pier), and the current was pushing our lines to the left and under the boat.  Gary was having a hard time with it, so I suggested he fish an open spot on the port side where his line would carry out and away from the boat.  It did the trick.  Gary was soon rolling up big reds.

Within his 1st 5 drops, Jake picked up 3 short lings…one of which was a hair shy of being legal.  He asked me if he could still count it and check it off his Top 10.  “Sorry buddy, has to make it in the sack.”  Another angler named Dennis was fishing a purple and black Jax jig next to us and was killing the shorty lings with it.  I got a couple myself.  There were also a lot of mackerel in the area.  Jordan hypothesized that with all the greenbacks around, the bigger lings were feasting on them, leaving the shorties to compete for the bait we were throwing them.  Hmmmm…that got me thinking.

Gary, Juj, and the biggest scullie I’ve ever seen

With a couple hours left in the day, we moved to a shallow area closer to Santa Cruz.  We picked away at it for awhile, but it was mostly perch.  The highlight of the stop was Juj nailing the biggest sculpin that I have ever seen.  Her mood immediately lifted.  She hadn’t been feeling well most of the day, so it was great to watch her get it 🙂

It was close to the end of the day, so Jordan went back out to the deep water to try one more drift.  I knew I was close to a limit, so I figured I’d go big game hunting.  I rigged up my 40lb rig with a 6/0 circle hook and a pound of lead.  The first mackie I picked up (a fat 8 incher), instead of throwing him back, I pinned him on the big hook and put it down.  I got whacked, and started to reel, but the line got light almost as fast.  I dropped it back down, but wasn’t able to reacquire.  Dang it!  Reeled it up to find the mack had been short bit.  Good idea, poor execution.  I should’ve trap rigged it.  I’ll remember it next time I soak a big bait.

And that was the day.  Big fish was the lone legal ling (here’s the count on 976-Tuna).  We all had a good day though.  It was fun to fish with Gary and introduce him to what we do out here.  I hope to get my chance and fish Logan Martin with him someday.  Thanks to Capt. Jordan, the crew of the Speed Twin, and Channel Islands Sportfishing for another great day on the water.  Tight lines!



  1. Good job my brother! I was at casitas Lake just a few minutes from you! Shoot I could of fished with you! Next time………..

    • Been wondering about you LeRoy. Hope all is well with you. We need to get out soon. Take care.

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