IMG_4806The fleet out of CISCO’s had an incredible run this year on the white seabass.  However, when I last rode the Pacific Islander July 21stit seemed that the bite was over.  We tried to find to find them at Santa Rosa.  Despite having the candy bait of live squid, we didn’t get so much as a sniff from the elusive ghosts.  On the way home, I talked with Capt. Steve Virtue and he told me that the water was getting warmer.  He figured they were probably headed north in search of a cooler environment.  Despite not getting any seabass, I enjoyed a fun trip catching rockfish and lingcod with the Chasing Tail guys and the crew.

The following Saturday (July 26th) though, the boat got into the seabass pretty good with a score of 32.  That trip kicked off a streak of finding them every trip leading up to my most recent trip.  On Wednesday, July 30th, I boarded the boat with 27 other anglers.  Despite the successful trips leading up to this one, I had no expectations of catching seabass.  Something I heard when I first started writing the blog and has proven itself to be true is, “The best time to catch white seabass, is when you don’t expect to catch white seabass.”  That adage proved to be true again on this trip.

When we boarded the boat, there was one bait tank, maybe half full of squid.  When Steve did his normal trip briefing to kick things off, he said we’d try to make some more on the way out, but that it was pretty spotty.  It was also going to be bumpy and we’d be limited to fishing the backside.  It’s a good thing I had lowered expectations for the trip.  We had frozen squid for backup though, so if all else failed, we’d be fine for rockfishing.  I setup my rig for the morning and went to bed.  We stopped at Santa Cruz around 3am and gave it a try.  There was actually a decent amount of squid in the water, but it was a dog pound.  Sea lions everywhere.  It didn’t go well.  After putting in about an hour at the rail, I put up a meager count of 6.  I was one of the more successful squid jiggers too 🙁

IMG_4814When I woke up a few hours later, we were pulling into the fishing grounds on the southeastern part of the island.  I was in a daze from making squid and sleepwalked to the rail.  It was a good thing I had setup the night before.  Steve was setting up our first drift, so I didn’t have time to grab coffee.  I baited up and found a spot along the stern.  He told us to drop and immediately the angler to my left was bit.  A minute later, so was I.  People were still getting setup and I was chasing my fish down the rail.  Both fish were boated kicking off an eye opening run to start our day.  I looked down the rail at one point, and it seemed like the whole side was bit.  I quickly re-baited, dropped in and was bit again.  With all the lines going though, I got hopelessly tangled.  I figured the fish was lost, but somehow it was still there when the dust settled.  We managed 29 fish in that initial run and quickly setup for drift #2.

They still wanted to go.  Twenty one more fish were caught in Round 2.  I got my third and it was only 9am!  That turned out to be it though.  We tried a couple more drifts.  Steve said there were fish marking higher up in the water column.  I switched up from my dropper loop to a light leadhead setup, but it didn’t pan out for me.  It didn’t for anyone else either.  It was fine.  We had 50 seabass for the boat and I personally limited out.  My 6 pieces of squid proved to be plenty 🙂

We made a run out to the west end of the island to rockfish.  I was surprised again when we setup a drift in only a 100 ft. of water.  Last time out, we were fishing right up to the 300 ft. depth limit.  Despite the relatively shallow depth though, we were moving too fast to fish a jig.  It was mostly unspectacular.  Lots of blues and gophers.  We had one run where we picked away at some quality reds and chucks.  There were none of #thatdamnfish and only 2 lings for the trip.  One of the lings was cool though…the angler had a double of blues and the ling hitchhiked on the one hooked on the upper loop.  Deckhand Sean freegaffed it to put it on deck.  The blue was bit all the way to its gill plates!

That was our day.  I could’ve easily put together a full limit of rockfish, but just chilled and enjoyed the ride.  I kept 3 nice reds and gave away the remainder of my sack.  It was definitely a good outing…good fishing and made new friends.  Thank you to Captain Steve and crew for another great ride.  Tight lines!

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