It finally happened.  The California Sheephead, aka goat, aka that damn fish finally went down.  I was on my Ling-A-Palooza trip this weekend aboard Pacific Islander Sportfishing.  We were fishing shallow by Santa Rosa Island…maybe 80 feet of water.  At that point, I had decided to forego fishing a jig.  Bait was killing it.  I gave in and switched up.  Gino had just gotten his big double with what ended up being the jackpot ling.  I’m still looking for my 20 pounder, and it seemed like that kind of fish might be around.

I looked to see if there was any mackerel in the bait tank.  I couldn’t find any, but found a horse size 8 inch sardine.  I had a double dropper setup where I tied a longer loop on the bottom for fin bait, and a shorter loop on top with a small hook and a strip of squid for whitefish.  I dropped in and immediately got smashed when my weight hit the bottom.  I knew I was bit, but I couldn’t move whatever it was that took my offering.  I gave it slack, waited, then tried to pull on it again.  Nada.  I tried that tactic a couple more times.  I waited a little longer with the slack line and it finally decided to swim out.  This time there was some give when I pulled.  I was hoping it was a big ling, but it wasn’t the same kind of fight.  No headshakes, just a steady heaviness to it.  When it got to color, I was surprised to see it was a sheephead.

Yes, it’s not a black and red.  He/she is in transition.  It had the white beard going, but no sign of black yet.  I may still head to San Nic to find a better model, but whatever, I’m counting it.  Now I just need a halibut to complete the quest.



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