Posted by: socalsalty | March 11, 2013

Trip Report: Rockin’ The Sum Fun

Jimmy Bass

Jimmy Bass

I’m still in Austin, TX for South by Southwest.  Good friend of the blog, Jimmy Bass, was out this weekend for a 3/4 day trip on the Sum Fun.  

Jimmy has spent most of his young life fishing here in SoCal.  So even though he’s less than half my age, he’s been a great guy to teach me a few things on the water.  Check out his blog, Jackpot Jimmy Sportfishing.  Below is his report.  Thanks Jimmy!

Saturday Trip Report

My dad and I made plans to fish Dana Point on Saturday, but the weather forecast didn’t look too good.  We two crazies went anyway.

Our crew was Capt. Chad, Matt in the galley and on deck, and Jordan on deck.  Joining us were our friends Jeanne, Peggy, Doug, and Vance, and 29 other anglers who wanted to get on the great rockfishing Dana Wharf has been having. Before the two-month rockfish hiatus, a lot of big reds and nice lingcod had been caught when the landing had live squid. We had live squid today, so we were looking forward to see what we could catch at the cod grounds. After getting a few scoops of sardines to compliment the live squid, we were off and running.  The waters looked nasty as we turned out of the harbor. We headed south, somewhat with the swell and wind, so it wasn’t that bad of a ride down. Lucky for me, I had taken my seasick pill, because it was still a bit rolly. And knowing me, I probably would’ve been miserable without it.

Our first stop was about a half-hour short of where we wanted to be. There was a breeze and the forecast hinted at a returning wind, which would make for a gnarly ride back up the line. So we’d try here and see about the weather.  Unfortunately we couldn’t drift due to the wind and swell, so we anchored up.  Immediately, about a half a dozen reds came up – a very good sign.  But the wind pushed us past the spot. We repositioned twice and caught only a couple more reds. The good news was the wind was came down and the seas calmed as a result.  The best news was we were now able to charge down to Capt. Chad’s desired fishing destination.

Vance with a bocaccio

Vance with a bocaccio

The first stop in this area produced a lot of bocaccio. No huge ones, but not little either – solid two-to-three pounders. They were biting strips of squid voraciously as soon as you hit bottom.  If you didn’t get a bocaccio, you had a chance at a barber pole, starry, or even a red.  I was on the bow fishing with Vance, and he was fishing a double dropper loop with two worm plastics slipped on the hooks. He told me he hadn’t caught bocaccio or sand dabs on it yet, but at this spot, he caught both. He was fishing a lighter Terez rod with spectra, so the hook-up on the bocaccio made the fish seem bigger than it was.  It was a decent bocaccio nonetheless, and on the worm plastic!

It was a slow pick, but some really nice highlights of the day came up at this spot.  From the bow, I saw Peggy reel in a quality sheephead.  Another angler a bit down from her caught an even bigger one.  On the move, I looked in her bag.  Her fish was in serious competition to the other big sheepie.  I didn’t weigh the other one, but Jeanne’s beautiful fish ended up weighing about six pounds.

Only 6 lbs?!?!

Only 6 lbs?!?!

Chad set us up on a small rockpile, home of more sheephead and hopefully some lingcod.  We repositioned on it twice because it was so small, but on our first go-round, Doug hooked into a big lingcod. The way it was fighting, it had to have been 20-plus-pounds.  Doug could only stand by helplessly as the behemoth was able to wedge itself in its rocky habitat, and the fish was lost.  That was enough to get me to try for big game. I tied my favorite lingcod rig, the one with the Roy Rose Knot and a single line with a big circle hook trailing down close to the sinker.  Once we got on the spot right, I was able to stay where I needed to be – in the rock.  I got hung up a few times.  One time I thought I’d have to break off my rig, but I got it out to a big thump and wound the fish onto my big circle hook.  It fought all the way up, so it had to be a ling or a sheephead.  Sure enough, it was a nice female sheephead, about three or three-and-a-half pounds!

Doug with a nice red

Doug with a nice red

Meanwhile, there was a nice pick going on the bocaccio and other rockfish.  A few reds even came up and joined the party.  This spot was the best spot of the day.  Jeanne caught a nice keeper lingcod to add to her beautiful sheepie.  On one particular drop, I got slammed before I hit bottom.  The fish fought like a nice red, but came off the hook halfway up.  Later on, I caught a decent bocaccio that fought the same way, so maybe it was just another bocaccio.  I’ll never know for sure…

One guy was on fire with the speckled rockfish, which Santa Monica Bay anglers call “belindas.”  He was the only one catching them – must’ve just found the honey hole.  Unlike the belindas of the bay which are caught 10-30 cranks up, he caught these right on the bottom.  The action was consistent, but like all things it came to an end.

The next stop was a desert so we tried one more spot.  Unfortunately, this spot was riddled with sand dabs. Vance was catching them two at a time on his worm plastics.  I asked if I could try it and he obliged. I hit bottom and bounced the worms a few times, and was slammed.  It was fighting too much to be a ‘dab.  Sure enough, it was a sold two pound red!  After that, it was just ‘dabs.  I noticed Vance had a Butterfly Jig tied up that he wasn’t using on a Trevela rod and a Talica 10 reel, and he let me try it out. I’ve never fished this kind of set-up before, and it was a neat experience.  No fish were being taken on the straight jigs today, so I put a small piece of squid on the stinger hook.  Again, I got slammed as soon as I hit bottom, and wound up a another red!  Vance just shook his head.  My only two reds of the day were caught on his gear.

I’ve fished with Vance for years and we’ve fished each other’s gear on more than one occasion.  When Shimano came out with the Torium 14, he caught the first fish on my new reel…supposedly a no-no in the fishing world.  That reel slayed some albacore that summer, so I don’t buy into that superstition.  It’s always nice to try new gear.

We had about five minutes left when an angler on the other side tied into something big.   It turned out to be an even bigger sheephead…probably eight or nine pounds!  It knocked Jeanne’s fish clear off the competition.  There’s some really nice sheephead in the waters off Dana Point.  I should know, I’ve caught my share down there over the years.

That was the end of the day.  We headed north into the swell.  The water had calmed way down from the morning, so the ride home wasn’t too bad.  The fishing, while not wide open, was a fairly consistent pick.  For 35 anglers, we ended up with 85 bocaccio, 80 rockfish, 56 reds, 8 sheephead, 9 sculpin, 3 whitefish, 1 lingcod, and 56 sand dabs for our day’s fishing.  My dad and I combined ended up with a nice haul of assorted rockfish.  The swells made Dad and I pretty tired, but it was good to be out on the water.  Capt. Chad and his crew did a great job once again.

And a big aside for all you anglers out there…my friend Jeanne is the Dana Wharf Lady Angler of 2012!!!!!  If you’re fishing Dana Point and you see her on the boat, be sure to congratulate her.



  1. Reblogged this on Jackpot Jimmy Sportfishing and commented:
    I made a guest post on that great blog SoCal Salty about my trip on the Sum Fun out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing last Saturday. Go take a look at it and all the other great posts Joe has on his blog!

  2. Great report Jimmy.


    • Thanks for stopping by the blog Cory. Please give us a Like on facebook to get all the updates.

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