Posted by: socalsalty | October 16, 2012

Trip Report: Island Rockfishing

Friday night lights

Friday night, I met fellow MDR salty, Ryo Kimura, at CISCO’s to ride the Pacific Islander.  The PI is our go to overnight boat up north.  The boat started doing regular Friday shallow water trips the week prior.  I’m a fan of this style of rockfishing.  Aside from the fact that it saves you from reeling so far when you catch fish, it also allows you to use a lot more toys…jigs, swimbaits etc.  I couldn’t get out Thursday night for the Friday trip, but I know Capt. Steve Virtue likes this style of fishing too, so I brought my toys anyway 😉

The next morning, we found ourselves in the dark off the southwest tip of Santa Rosa Island.  I’d never found myself to have much luck fishing in the dark for rockfish.  It seems like they need a little sun to get active and biting.  Nevertheless, I found myself out at the rail with everyone else when we stopped.  It took me about 20 minutes to decide that a hot cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito was a better way to go.  I had my breakfast and hit my bunk.

Miguel and Rosa are the far western Channel Islands

While I slept, we made a move and ended up northwest of our first stop on the San Miguel side of the gap between the two islands.  Luckily, I had made the right call and didn’t miss anything.  By this time, the sun was starting to come up and I gave it another go.  We started off with a drift.  I figured I’d stay conventional to start and put some fish in the sack.  I fished a double dropper with a hook and a glow bead on the bottom, and a pink/white shrimp fly up top.  First drop, I was rewarded with a just legal ling that hit the bottom loop on a strip of squid.

Not a bad way to start 🙂  From there, things pretty much went as planned…do a drift, pickup a couple rockfish.  By 10 or so, the boat had a limit of rockfish and we went in closer to the beach and anchored up.  Here the hope was to catch some whitefish, and we put some big ones on the boat.  However, since we were anchored up and shallow, I decided it was a good time to open up the toybox.  Tried my Tady A2 in the glow mack pattern.  Nothing.  Tried my butterfly in squid.  Nada.  I was getting a lot of action previously with the pink/white shrimp fly, so I busted out my pink/white Lucanus jig.  That was the ticket and I topped off the sack.

Nice red on the Lucanus

Treefish on the Lucanus

There were some bigger lings that vied for jackpot, but in the end a big 17lb sheephead ended up taking top spot.  Good day for myself and the other 23 anglers on the boat.  Limits of rockfish all around.  Here is the official count: 6 Sheephead 11 Whitefish 240 Rockfish 11 Lingcod 1 Sole for 24 anglers.  Another good trip on the PI.  Thanks to Capt. Steve, Dan, Bryan, Larry and Laura for another fun outing.

Check out the trip video…


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