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Saturday night I boarded the Pacific Islander out of CISCO’s for a trip to the outer Channel Islands.  I was joined on the trip by several of the Salties which always makes for a good time.  When we boarded, it was the regular crew of Capt. Steve Virtue, his second Dan, Bryan and Larry on deck, and Laura on the grill.  We had live anchovies and box squid for bait.  We had an on time departure at 10pm, and Capt. Steve gave his trip briefing.  Live squid hadn’t been present for awhile now, so if we passed any seiners on the way out, we’d stop and look, but otherwise his plan was to make it out to the westernmost island of San Miguel.

I love Miguel.  Most of the Ling-sanity trips have been at Miguel.  Because it’s so far out, it has very little fishing pressure, so it’s always game on.   Now that I’ve completed the Top 10 for the year, my goals for the trip were to go big…either a hitchhiker ling or a really big sheephead.  One of the reasons I like fishing up here is that all the crazy jigs that don’t seem to work anywhere else, seem to work here 🙂  Just in case though, I picked up some baby octopus at the Asian market and my buddy Adrian brought some shrimp.

It was rough heading out from the harbor.  It didn’t bother me though.  Maybe it was the lack of pressure with the Top 10 completed?  Whatever it was, I slept like a baby on the way out.  I woke up the next morning and we were anchored up in a cove on the south side of Rosa.  Uh oh.  Weather kicked up?  Yup, it was too windy to fish the north side of the island (which I know Capt. Steve likes better) and the wind would’ve made the trip to Miguel too long to get in a decent amount of fishing time.  Oh well.  We’d make the best of it.  People were fishing strips of squid on the anchor in the grey light.  I took my time, poured a cup of coffee and ordered a burrito.  As I mentioned previously, I’ve never had much luck in the grey, and with no live squid I wasn’t in a hurry to go out to the rail and try to break that streak.  As it turned out, it was a good call, only a couple small rockfish came over the rail.  Once the sun was up and most of the anglers awake, we made our way outside to try a drift.

Nice gaff shot Bryan!

Nice gaff shot Bryan!

It was a steady if unspectacular pick.  The usual suspects…blue rockfish, reds, chucks etc.  There were some short lings, but not any big boys.  Given where we were, I opted to go conventional and put fish in the sack.  I tied a double dropper with 12 oz. on the bottom and fished my octopus.  I was immediately rewarded with a smallish red and a just legal ling.  This was how the morning progressed, we’d drift, if it was good, we’d do it again.  If not, try a new one.  Capt. Steve was working hard to put us on fish, but in general, they didn’t want to cooperate.

It was going to take some work to put together a sack.  Steve was setting up the drifts so that the anglers lined up on the port side of the boat.  I set myself up on the starboard stern, casted out against the drift, and tried to cover as much ground as possible.  It took a lot of casts, but I was eventually rewarded with a heavy hit.  Slow wind in as it fought the whole way up.  Got it to color and called for the gaff, nicer ling.

Now that I had a ling limit in the sack, I decided I’d play around a little.  Tried my Gitzem/MC combo, the big glow grub…nobody wanted to play.  Tried to go with some of my lighter jigs, but the current was too strong and I couldn’t get them down into the zone.  I went back to bait and finished the day out that way.  Final count was 9 rocks, and my ling limit.  I ended up losing to a big sheephead and a larger ling that took the jackpot.  Overall, the conditions weren’t the best, but we managed a decent count and it’s always a pleasure to spend a day on the water with good friends.  As always, this crew took good care of us.  Thanks again.  Tight lines!

Good friends (L-R: Vance, Adrian, Deb, Cruz)

Good friends (L-R: Vance, Adrian, Deb, Cruz)

 

 

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