IMG_0790This weekend, the original plan was to head up to Oxnard and ride the Pacific Islander one last time before the end of the year.  Saturday morning, I got a text at 7am from Channel Islands Sportfishing‘s co-owner, Liz Vernand – “Looking iffy.  Trip might get cancelled.”  By 10am the trip was a confirmed No Go due to weather conditions.  It’s always iffy at the outer Channel Islands this time of year.  It doesn’t make it any easier though.  Now what?

Heard Box Canyon was percolating a little on the yellows and I hadn’t been down to Dana in awhile.  Capt. Aaron Graham got into the yellows driving the Monte Carlo (Native Sun is out of the water for annual maintenance).  Capt. Danny Ericson on the New Del Mar got into some yellows in Santa Monica Bay.  At the end of the day, I went for easy and rode the NDM.

Once we got underway, Danny came over the intercom to say that we would be starting the day jigging for squid.  Wait what?  Squid?  Apparently, they happened upon a wayward lobster trap on Saturday and fished it out of the water…only to find it full of squid.  Alerted of their presence, they were able to find the biomass and jig some up for bait.  As a result, they got 3 yellows on the Saturday AM run and a fourth in the PM.  The PM ride yellow bit a strip of squid!

IMG_0796I always keep a snagger in my bag, so I rigged it up on my bass setup.  Woo!  What do you know?  Caught my first squid of the year.  They were the bigger model – 6″ or so.  There were maybe a dozen of us jigging with probably 50 on the boat.  Pretty much regulars and crewmembers, but we were able to get enough for the day in about 20-30 minutes.  It was pretty good and we left with a high degree of anticipation of what the rest of the morning might hold.

It was a short ride out to the fishing grounds.  I started the day fishing the longish dropper with a whole squid for yellowtail, but knowing it would work on anything else that might be around.  Right out of the gate, 3 lingcod were hooked and landed.  Regular angler, Jeff Lerma, was one of the lucky ones fishing the port stern corner next to me.

After that initial run on the lings, it slowed down a bit.  I noticed the rent rods were doing well fishing the prescribed squid strips, so I downsized and followed suit.  I found immediate success before the bite dried up.

With a half limit of rockfish in the bag, I decided I’d focus on the whole squid again for the remainder of the trip.  It was the right idea.  A guy fishing next to me, Nestor, got picked up doing the same.  The way it was taking out line, I immediately knew it was the right kind.  We were up on the starboard side by the house and it took him all the way to stern corner before he lost it.  Awwwww.  His buddy Eric wouldn’t let him live it down.  Ouch.  That had to hurt.

That was it.  One of the lings took JP.  Not a bad outing for a December halfie.  My buddy Perry Pascual rode the Spitfire Monday and was 1 of 5 lucky anglers to score a yellow.  I’m thinking there should be a good opportunity at least for the next couple days leading up to the full moon.  Get out if you can.  Tight lines!

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