Posted by: socalsalty | November 5, 2012

Trip Report: Enterprise 3/4 Day Rockfishing

Jake’s cuda last time out

It’s been a busy fishing year…between the action down in San Diego, and up north in the Channel Islands, I’ve found little time to fish the middle.  Going into the weekend, I was strongly considering going far afield to fish this little albacore bite they’ve got going on out of Morro Bay.  My car is acting up though, so I figured I’d just stay nearby.

I hadn’t fished with Capt. Andrew Siratt of the Enterprise since cuda season.  With the warm water we had this year, they had an interesting summer…at one point hooking into a marlin as they trolled coming back from Catalina Island.  That would’ve been a hard fish tale to top, scoring a local marlin on a 3/4 day open party boat!

Nice double red!

The Enterprise had 28 sheephead on their Friday run.  Seeing as how that’s a fish that I’d like to end the year with a better example than the one I have currently on the list, off I went.  We started out the day about an hour out of Los Alamitos Harbor in about 150 feet of water, in a spot that Capt. Andrew said should yield rockfish, whitefish, and sheephead.  We had dead squid and live sardines on the boat.  I fished the standard double dropper with a longer loop on the bottom…thinking I’d drag it along the bottom for a ling.  Andrew told me the squid was really thick in the area and that’s all they were eating.  Save the sardines for later.  Ok.  We drifted the spot and it was productive.  Lots of reds in the 1-2 lb range and a few sheephead.  One, caught by Dave the galley cook, was a nicer, fully mature one.  We made several small moves to redrift the same small spot.  I managed 5 reds and a barberpole.  The spot petered out and we made a bigger move to some deeper water…180 feet or so, over a reef.

Here we busted out the ‘dines.  I was hoping it would be for ling, but I only saw one baby get pulled up.  I soon discovered the reason for the dines…bocaccio (aka salmon grouper).  I was fishing the bottom, but still scoring them on a regular basis.  Usually when we fish for them in Santa Monica Bay, we have to find them somewhere in the middle of the water column.  I’ll typically start at 5 cranks off the bottom and have gone as high as 20 cranks up to find them.  This was easy.  I quickly got my 2 and just tried to get a bigger one for jackpot.  I caught several nice size ones, but none that would be in the conversation at the end of the day.

Dave’s beef quesadilla…YUM!

By the time the bite tailed off, we were mostly limited out for rockfish as a boat.  Andrew wanted to make a longer move.  He told me there was a little spot on a wreck that he liked for ling.  I took the opportunity to enjoy one of Dave’s special beef quesadillas while we made the move 😉  An hour later, we were on the spot.  Immediately, one angler got rocked hard and his pole went bendo.  Ultimately, he was underarmed fishing a light spinning setup and lost the fish.

At this point in the day, I had met a couple anglers…Mike and Mike.  The 3 of us kind of took over the corner on the port stern.  One Mike was telling me that Andrew was giving him S as he had farmed a big fish (sheephead?) the previous day.  He was looking for redemption.  I saw him with a legal today, but it was just a pinky.  Out of the 3 of us, the other Mike had the biggest fish scoring a large bocaccio in the second spot (or so I thought).  I was hoping I could pull a ling and best them both, but there was only the one big hit.  The boat was now limited for rockfish.

My ‘trophy’ flea cod

We spent the last bit of the day in a shallower spot hoping for whitefish and maybe sheephead.  I got a legal, but somehow managed to get an even smaller just legal than my previous one 😦  I also got what I now recognized as a calico rockfish…aka flea cod.  Dave said it had to be some sort of record for smallest fish caught on rod and reel.  I took a pic just in case 😉

For jackpot, Mike’s big bocaccio seemed to be the clear winner.  It bested the bigger reds and one larger whitefish it went up against.  All of sudden the other Mike rolls up with a nice sheepie.  Where’d that come from?  He said he was up in the bow on the first stop when he caught it.  It easily beat the bocaccio.  Mike got his redemption.

Nice day on the water.  Thanks to the Andrew, Dave in the galley, and Austin and Matt on deck.  It was a fun, like summer day on the water.  Tight lines!

Mike’s bocaccio v. whitefish

Austin, Mike & Mike…the goat was WAY heavier!


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