Capts. Matt & Bob

Capts. Matt & Bob

Last week I rode the Seabiscuit again.  With the bite migrating out to the islands, they just started doing overnights and I was interested to see what one of those trips looked like.  It’s kind of funny, CISCO’s used to diligently call day of (or night before) trip to confirm I’d be coming out.  I guess they’re getting used to seeing me since they didn’t call this time 😉

I got to the landing for the 10pm departure and boarded the boat.  Capt. Bob Valney would be driving, but Matt was there again as his second.  Same crew as last time…Scott on deck,  and Evan in the galley, but with the addition of James on deck (who just fished last time out).  The boat had live anchovies and frozen squid onboard for bait.

In his trip briefing, Bob said we’d be heading out to the west end of Santa Cruz.  We’d get there around 3am and try to make squid.  If that went well, we’d make a run at some white seabass and halibut.  If not, we’d rockfish.  Weather would not be an issue.  Since the plans for the trip were unsure, I didn’t rig up and hit the bunk.

Squid cooperating

Squid cooperating

We rolled into the spot at 2:55 am.  Squid boats everywhere!  It’s O-Dark-30 and the place was lit up.  The squid were plentiful and floated up so that the guys could net them.  We jigged a little too, but it didn’t take long to get jugged.  We’d be staying here and fishing at first light.

I woke up at 6:30 and people were already fishing.  I quickly tied a high dropper and joined them, but wasn’t at the rail long before Bob decided we were going to run across the channel to Santa Rosa.  I took the time to order a burrito from Evan and rig the rest of my gear.

Matt's fish.  He was in his bunk.

Matt’s fish. He was in his bunk.

We got across to the other side and the Pacific Eagle was already out there.  We anchored up and weren’t there very long before we could hear them whooping it up as a biscuit hit their deck.  Bob said there was a lot of life underneath us, so optimism ran high.  Matt came out on deck.  The guy was up all night driving the boat.  Then he was up making squid.  Then there was the whole Sammy incident (don’t ask).  And now he’s out here?  He drops in, promptly hooks up, and then went to bed.  Nice walkoff shot Matt.  Showoff 🙂

The rest of the morning played out very slowly.  Over the next couple hours, we only managed 2 more fish.  I actually hooked up twice during this period.  The first time I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “These sea lions look small…not fish stealing size.”  One guess what happened next.  Grrr!  The second time, I could feel the fish playing with the bait.  I waited.  C’mon…eat it.  EAT IT!  He did and then started to take off.  And then that fast it was gone.  My drags were fine.  Maybe it was never hooked and he just had the squid in it’s mouth?  Whatever it was, it just wasn’t my day.

The natives were getting restless.  We made a move and anchored up outside in about 160 feet of water.  Nada.  Bob looked around.  “We’re going to try a drift guys, be ready.”  I had played the first stop convential…double dropper.  At this point though, I figured I might as well have fun with it and try some toys.  I have a new bag.  It fits 4 boxes in the main cavity, and then in the upper part there’s space for my hook binder, some spools of line, and the toy box.  The toy box is different on every trip depending on what I might encounter.  I took out a rig I put together myself…a 10 oz. white Gitzem leadhead, an 8″ MC slug (brown grunion pattern), and a stinger treble hook that I tied to the bend of the leadhead hook.  I tied the whole rig to the bottom of my 40 lb setup.  About a foot above it, I tied a loop and cut it to a single strand.  On that line I tied a 1/0 circle hook and a glow bead on a perfection loop.  What happened next amazed me.

Gitzem/MC ling concoction

Gitzem/MC ling concoction

The drift was a little deeper…180 feet.  Immediately, I got rocked big time.  It was definitely a bite, but whatever it was got itself hunkered down in it’s grotto and didn’t want to leave.  I gave it slack to see if I could fool it to come out.  I gave it a few and started to reel again.  It’s coming up!  And it’s not happy.  Big headshakes.  I dropped the foregrip on the rail and slowly wound.  Finally got it to color and OMG…it was a beast!  James was standing next to me and stuck him.  I looked into the jaws of the beast and the stinger was lodged deep in it’s throat, while the leadhead hook was stuck in the middle of his face.  He wasn’t going anywhere.  Glad I was fishing 40!

I dropped in again and it happened again.  This time though, a guy on the opposite side got his line mixed up with mine (we’re on a drift…c’mon buddy).  Long story short, the tail of the slug came off.  James said to just rig it on a leadhead.  Good idea!  He cut it so I had a clean line.  I re-tied a double dropper and put the leadhead/slug-tail on the bottom loop, same bare hook setup on top.  A big chuckie, a big blue bass that hit it like a ling, big reds, more lings…the rest of the boat was doing well too, but I had definitely found something.

It was a great way to end the day.  I ended up with 4 legal lings.  My best ever.  The big ended up just over 10lbs. and lost jackpot to one of the 2 non-crew caught wsb.  I had a full compliment of 10 big rockfish to take home and put several in other people’s sacks.  I told Matt that I’d caught a biscuit on the Seabiscuit the two previous times I had ridden.  I was not unhappy though breaking that streak.  Great day on the water.  Thanks to Capt. Bob and his crew.  Tight lines!

Two limits of ling

Two limits of ling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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