It seems like we are seeing a transition period up north. The coastal spawning wsb bite is fading, while the action is starting to pickup out at the islands. Two weekends ago, I noticed that both the Mirage and Pacific Islander…the outer islands overnight boats of Channel Islands Sportsfishing both got their first seabass of the year (on their normal run). As I was looking at the fishing opportunities up there, I noticed a nice light load trip on the PI leaving Sunday night…just enough to get out, but nowhere near full capacity. I reserved my spot and awaited the Sunday night departure.
Then Saturday (June 15th) happened…22 anglers got limits of seabass, limits of rockfish, 28 lings and some random other fish. All of a sudden, it became a full boat. Oh well, the bite was hot and I’d be out in the middle of it. I met my buddy Dennis at the landing. He and I had fished together a bunch of times out of Marina Del Rey, but this was the first time afield together. The boat departed at 10 pm and was already tanked with live squid. Normal crew was aboard with the exception of 2nd Capt. Dan being off…Capt. Steve Virtue, Bryan and Larry on deck, and Laura running the grill. Jeff was filling in as second ticket. Steve said we’d go out to the far west side of Santa Rosa in the Eagles Nest area. He was expecting wind, but we’d give it a shot and see if the ghosts wanted to play. If that didn’t work out, we’d have to play it by ear based on the conditions.
They had been out there during the day and gotten 6 seabass. I figured we were due to kick it back up seeing as how a) we would be the bounceback trip and b) Dennis is a wsb magnet. The previous week, Dennis had hooked 3 on the Aloha Spirit. He was only able to keep one, but the limit is up to 3 now. Oh the possibilities! I sacked out for the long ride to Rosa.
Early the next morning, we rolled into the spot around 3:30 am. Setup was the standard waist high dropper, but with 8 oz to compensate for being deeper and probably more current. It was still very dark. I was slow to make my way out, but I got out there and gave it a whirl. I was a bit surprised that the current wasn’t very strong, but boy was it windy. It made it hard to get the boat setup and it was swinging back and forth on the anchor. Dennis stayed in his bunk and I was thinking that was a good idea. As a the dark came to light, not a damn thing had happened. Dennis finally rolled out around 6:30, got a cup of coffee and joined the rest of us on the rail. Not 5 minutes later, he’s hooked up. Curse you Dennis! 🙂 We picked up another one just after Dennis’ and then it went quiet. I was cold and still sleepy, so I decided to head back to my bunk and get a little shuteye.
I woke up refreshed an hour later to the commotion of cheers on the deck. Went up top to see this girl Joanna high-fiving as her seabass hits the deck. Little did I know what I was about to see. Within the next 30 minutes, she goes on an unbelievable tear hooking 3 more in quick succession. Never seen anything like it before. During that stretch, she was at the rail next to me for part of that time. I examined her setup closely. Nothing special. Sometimes it’s just your day. I chatted with her a bit. She had gotten 2 the week before on 2 other trips. Wow, I guess it’s her day a lot!
Her amazing run was followed by a steady plunk that lasted the rest of the morning. By the end, the boat had 12. I didn’t get a bite during that whole time and neither did most of the people on the boat. We had a couple more hours to fish and Steve wanted to get everyone some fish. We went outside for a bit, but by now the current was ripping. I didn’t even bring a 1lb weight for the trip, but I needed it. I had a 12 and put a 3 oz slider in front of it and was still having a hard time maintaining contact with the bottom. We made a run around to the backside. Better conditions, but the clock was running short.
I wasn’t interested in catching just to catch, so I rigged up some of the ling toys I had brought to see if I could knock it off the list. First I tried a double dropper with the Tako soft bait on top and a real baby octopus (I made a bait run prior to the trip) on the bottom loop. Scored a nice red, but no ling. Changed it up to the large tube lure I call the Pickle on a 6oz leadhead and tipped it with an octopus. Even though we were drifting, I was casting and dragging from the bow. Fooled a 23 incher to bite. Yay! Cross it off the list and I had ling to eat this week.
Another solid trip on the Pacific Islander. It wasn’t the typical PI rockfish-lingsanity fest, but a good day considering the conditions we encountered. Thank you to Capt. Steve and the crew of the Pacific Islander. Tight lines!