Posted by: socalsalty | April 15, 2013

Trip Report: Overnight To Rosa On The PI

Last Yellow of 2012

Last Yellow of 2012

My parents are in town for Jake’s birthday (he turned 13 on Sunday).  My only window to get in a fish was going to be Saturday.  I’ve been traveling a lot the last 6 weeks, so I missed the rockfish opener and Fred Hall – Long Beach…kind of the mental start of the new season.  A steady stream of pics flowed thru facebook, as I was on the road longing to get salty.  My last time on the Pacific Islander was the year end blowout where the last yellowtail of 2012 was caught and I got that sheephead albatross off my neck!  Epic trip.  I love Capt. Steve Virtue and his crew on the PI.  The boat is very comfortable…one of my very favorite rides.  So I’ve been dying to go out on the boat and get in on the quality rockfish with a good chance for ling cod and sheephead.

My good friend Jimmy Bass hit me up early in the week.  “Joe, the PI just opened up for Friday, fishing Saturday.”  Perfect.  I’m in.  Monday and Tuesday were scary breezy at the outer islands, but things calmed down on Wednesday and the counts were really good.  Thursday was another good day.  The weather was supposed to pickup again Friday, but the outlook improved to where we were looking at very workable conditions for the trip.

I got to the landing around 8pm Friday night for the 10pm departure.  I met Jimmy and LeRoy at the boat.  Jimmy brought a couple of the Saturday Spitfire regulars with him, Tom and Jim.  The PI fished on Friday and didn’t quite get limits of rockfish, but managed 5 lings for 13 anglers.  Part of the issue was the bait situation…only boxed squid, and not a lot of it at that.  No fin bait in weeks, and the live squid isn’t popping yet either.  I’ve seen plenty of big fish caught on a strip of squid though, so I shrugged it off.  We left the dock with 26 anglers.

Optimism ran high, despite the bait situation

Deckhand Bryan with Buff and his ling

Deckhand Bryan with Buff and his ling

The ride out was somewhat bumpy, but I slept fine.  By 6:30am, we were on the north side of Rosa, just off the west end of the island.  Miguel was in sight as we setup the first drift of the day in about 180 feet of water.  It wasn’t windy, but pretty cold and overcast as we started the day.  Kinda scratchy for the first couple drifts…some smaller reds and chuckies with several blues in the mix.  The drifts went pretty fast.  Capt. Steve said as fast as a knot and a half at times.  As the day went on though, the fishing quickly built up.  A better grade of reds and chucks started coming over the rail.

There was an older gentleman fishing to the right of me named Buff.  Buff runs a tackle shop and brought his own bait…some smaller sized (maybe a foot long) octopi.  He pulled in the highlight fish of the morning with the eventual jackpot ling caught on a whole octopus!

I had read somewhere how octopus are a ling cod’s favorite food.  Buff’s catch seemed to back that idea up.  He only had one small pack though, and was sharing it with a buddy.  I didn’t want to ask.  My answer though was to pull out an octopus soft bait that had been sitting in my bag for awhile.  Immediately, I hooked into a big red with it.  Then a nice chuck.  Then a big hit…head shakes all the way up.  Ling-a-ding me.  C’mon baby.  It was a ling alright, but just short.  Lots of shorts all around the boat.

Meanwhile, Jimmy was up working the bow.  Tom had brought some large tube jigs with heavy tube shaped leadheads.  He and Jimmy were fishing those and Ahi diamond jigs and connecting on lings bouncing them along the bottom.  Jimmy told me later that every time he hit a rock and it dropped down on the other side he was getting bit.  He ended up with 5 legal ling for the day!  Nice.

Jimmy & Capt. Steve with the diamond jig sheepie

Jimmy & Capt. Steve with the diamond jig sheepie

It was getting close to lunch and the boat was close to limits on rockfish.  Laura was working the galley and made me some fish tacos.  After lunch, we anchored up in a shallow spot (80 feet) and tried to fish some whitefish.  Not a lot, but the ones we got were quality.  An angler to my left got a fatty that I guessed was pushing 7 lbs!

We were getting towards the end of the day and tried a couple more drifts.  I joined Jimmy and LeRoy up on the bow and the fishing was furious to wrap things up.  I was fishing a heavy tube jig setup on the bottom, with a bare hook and a strip of squid about a foot up.  I got that big hit that I thought might be my legal ling.  Steve was cheering me on from the wheelhouse and came down as we saw color.  Unfortunately, it was a short that managed to get all wrapped up in my tackle and was just coming back funky.  At this point, Jimmy was now fishing the P-line version of the diamond jig.  He ended his day with his personal best sheephead…right around 10 lbs on the jig!  LeRoy got a legal ling fishing a bleeding trout swimbait on a dropper loop…crazy!  It seemed like I was a step behind all day, but took home a nice bag of 10 reds and chuckies.  I also took home 2 lings thanks to the largesse of my friends 😉  The boat ended up with limits of big reds and chucks, 34 lings, 2 sheepies, and some random other fish to round it out.  Jimmy was the hot stick, but his sheepie was just edged out by Buff’s big ling.  All in all another epic trip on the PI.  Tight lines!



  1. […] And special thanks to “Salty” Joe for turning me on to this boat last year. Check out his great blog for another perspective on this trip, as well as more pictures. Check out the Salty Report! […]

  2. Great fishing with you once again Joe. The good ol’ PI never fails us!

    • Yup, had some good ones on that boat. Good to see you Jimmy

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