This trip was supposed to be about taking my old boss Tom and his son TJ out on the water.  It had been years since Tom had fished on the ocean and TJ had never gotten salty.  Given their experience level, I figured we’d just keep it simple…fish a local halfie.  We arranged to meet on Saturday to ride the afternoon trip on the New Del Mar out of Marina Del Rey.

Pretty standard Fall rockfishing trip…start out fishing sculpin, load up the sacks, then go out and see if we can’t pickup some rockfish and lingcod to end the day.  Regular crew onboard… Capt. Danny Ericson driving, Vic and Eric on deck, and Dale in the galley.  We had live squid for bait, so always a shot at something good with the candy bait.

TJ with the 1st scully

TJ with the 1st scully

Out of the marina we headed south and setup shop just off Manhattan Beach in about 120 feet of water.  Jake helped me rig everyone up…longish dropper with a leadhead on it, setup to fall almost to the level of the weight (5 oz).  When we first got on the spot, I tried to cast out and away from the boat, but it was apparent that the structure (and thus the fish) were right below us.  TJ was the first to score dropping straight down and scoring a nice sized sculpin to start the day.  The day was already a success!

We stayed on the spot until we were close to boat limits.  Next up, we made a move outside to see what we could find in deeper water.  We settled in over a rocky spot in about 180 feet of water.  During the ride out, I re-rigged Tom, and TJ with the standard double dropper loop setup using 1/0 circle hooks and 8 oz. of lead on the bottom.  Me, Jake and Juj opted to swing long and setup to find lings…longish leader, 3/0 circle hook on the business end.

Right out of the gate, I connected.  Judging by the fight at the end of the line, I knew it was a ling.  Got it to the surface and I was right.  Unfortunately, it was short.  We were all setup on the port side.  A few moments later, an angler a few spots toward the stern connected and it was the right kind as well.  First legal ling of the day.  Not bad.  Minutes into the spot and I scored a short and there was a legal just down the rail from us.  Things slowed down a bit from that point.  Tom did manage to score a pinky sheephead though which was cool.  With our help, our guests were putting together a nice bag.

Then things started to heat up.  On the opposite side there was a lot of yelling.  I looked over and an angler on the opposite side of the bait tank had scored a really nice sized ling…low double digits maybe?  Definitely a nice fish.  A few moments later, big excitement up on the bow.  I looked over and Vic was walking back with an even bigger ling on his gaff.  Wow!  That action prompted Jake and TJ to make a move and try their luck on the starboard side.  Juj was doing her thing and I just stayed with her on the ‘dead’ side.  My next cast out, I snagged a sand dab, confirming my suspicion that the structure was on the other side of the boat.  Oh well…it’s rare that Juliana is this engaged with the fishing.  Usually she finds other things to occupy her.

Then all of a  sudden Juj got bit…

I could tell right away it a legit fish and I have to admit, it took all the restraint I could muster to not grab the rod and reel up that fish myself.  Boy was I glad I didn’t.  What a great moment for Juliana and I!  Tom and TJ had a good time.  TJ said he wants to go out again.  Me and Jake did our thing and put fish in the sack.  And Juj had a day to remember!  Thanks to Danny and his great crew for another fun day on the water.  Tight lines!

Way to go Juj!

Way to go Juj!


EDITORIAL NOTE – Thanks to readers Jacob and April for coming out and saying hi on the boat.  I always enjoy meeting my fellow salties.


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