This year is so whack.  Typically, in the Summer, the you spend a lot of time close to shore and it’s all about the 3B’s (bass, bonito, barracuda) and yellowtail.  The classic Summer bite is to chase yellows and then top off the trip inshore when the current starts moving to smash some calicos.

Obviously, this year has been a different year.  When I caught rockfish and lingcod on the Seabiscuit, I had to pause when I realized it was the first time rockfishing since just after the opener.  When I got to finally do some bass fishing this weekend, I realized I hadn’t gotten in a good sesh since that Spring trip on the Commander.

Last week, I finally got my perfect Summer trip.  It took 2 trips, on 2 separate boats, but I got it done…

Monday, Sept. 14 – Gentleman Sportfishing

HowardI had a friend visiting from Florida this week, Howard Goldberg.  Howard is an old buddy of mine and pretty salty…just an East Coast version.  I talked about him when I wrote my Tuesday article for BD Outdoors this week.

I was a little concerned as the trip neared.  When I committed to going, it only had about 30 people.  By time we got on the boat, the angler count ballooned to 54.  It was nice to find a few salties I’ve previously fished with on the boat though: Ron, Robert and Christian.  Today would be interesting.  I really wanted Howard to experience the best of what our fishing had to offer.  As it turned out, things would be more than fine.

For starters, the bait was some of the best I’ve seen at any landing all Summer…5-6″ lively sardines.  With great bait onboard (definitely not a given this year), we saved all that time of making bait.  As we got past the breakwater, we found another welcome surprise with a gentle sea for the ride over to Anacapa Island.

I brought 4 poles total for Howard and I.  The lineup consisted of 2 mostly mono 30 lb. setups (braid down below); and 2 light setups on 9 foot poles using a baitcaster spooled with 65 lb. braid.  Based on the captain’s recommendation, I rigged a spider hitch dropper setup on the 30 lb. setups.  On the light setups, I terminated them with 25 lb. fluoro, 1/4 oz. slider and a 2/0 J-style baithook (“knocker rig” in East Coast parlance).

We crossed over the channel toward the north side of Anacapa Island.  Once there, Capt. Don Rowell slowed down and started looking.  We settled into a spot maybe 2/3 of the way past the arch in the pelagics only zone (no bottomfish take allowed).  As we setup to stop, the deckhands were instructed to start a chumline.  The boat circled an area that they chummed into the center of the circle.  We were waiting at the rail with our dropper setup, but seeing how they were setting up, I switched us out to the more surface oriented setups.

JPfreshThe action was almost immediate and Howard was one of the first ones to hook up.  He did well and got in the fish quickly.  He got 2 in the boat while I farmed my first 3 opportunities.  The action was steady though and I eventually found my groove.  The bite was steady up until just after 10am when it just kind of shut off.  Before that happened, I managed to pull into a 4-4 tie with Howard with my last fish being a larger model fish.  It ended up taking JP at the end of the day.

The bite lasted a little while longer, but that was it for the both of us on yellowtail.  It was fine though.  Lots of day left to fish and we had both already done well.

I found a particularly good bait in the handwell.  It was hard to finally corner and put on my hook.  It was extra slimy and I just knew the thing would get bit.  Casted it out and it took off strong as soon as it hit the water.  1-2-3 FRESH!  Little did I know I would be in for the fight that was about to happen.  I counted 5 big runs.  Each time I thought I had it, it would rip out another long run of line.  This is how the final run played out…

Wow!  I’d never caught a black seabass before.  I’ve always wanted to feel the pull of one and the fish did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much the last action of the day.  We were almost out of bait and Donny made his way around to the backside to try and make some more.  We stopped on a paddy.  The water was so clear that we could tell from the wheelhouse that there was a lot of something underneath.  It turned out to be 100’s of mini yellowtail.  We bailed and tried to rockfish the rest of the day, but it wasn’t good and that was it.

It was a good overall day though.  Howard got to experience the thrill of pulling on and catching some yellows.  He said he caught one before in Cabo, so we didn’t make him eat the heart 😉  I was glad the day delivered for him.  It would’ve been nice to get into some calicos to end the trip, but Donny said that action was more down the beach.  Oh well.  Thanks to the crew of Gentleman Sportfishing for a really fun day.

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