IMG_1732Sunday (Nov 10th) I got out on the Spitfire.  It’s been kind of a down year in Santa Monica Bay this year.  We never really had the big summer sandbass or cuda fishing that we typically do.  There have been some good days though.  The time I got that accidental seabass, they were having nice calico fishing and a nice little run of halibut.  The good days this year have come when there’s been squid around.  This weekend, they had live squid.  I had a jackpot pass to burn from that seabass trip…easy choice.

Capt. John Corzel was driving.  Chris was on deck with his brother Edgar lending a hand.  Axel was behind the grill in the galley.  We had a little live squid and live anchovies for bait.  Forty other anglers joined me to enjoy some Fall rockfishing in SMB.

Very similar trip to the one last weekend on the New Del Mar.  Out of the marina, we headed south and worked a sculpin spot off Manhattan Beach.  With a little effort, we were able to fill the sacks.  Unlike the previous weekend, strange wind and water conditions were making it hard to anchor up correctly.  John had to reposition several times, but we got the job done and moved on.

Next we went out deeper in hopes of scoring some reds and other rockfish.  With luck, maybe a ling or two would come over the rail.  The same tough anchoring conditions we encountered inside, were the same outside.  John had to give in and drifted over the spots.  Before I knew it, there was only an hour left on the clock and nothing of note had been caught…a couple decent reds was it.  I tried throwing a jig a little, but got zero love on it.  I went back to bait and managed to score a short ling on a dropper loop chovy, but that was the extent of it.  People were catching some nice squarespot rockfish (very good eating) 10-15 cranks off the bottom.  We started to get bit a little by salmon grouper as well, so I figured I better join suit…a decent grouper could take jackpot on a scratchy day like today.

It's a contenda

It’s a contenda

I dropped in with 2 choves on a double dropper.  After hitting bottom, I cranked up 5.  Nada.  Try another 5 cranks up…bam.  It was a nicer size fish, but nothing to get too excited about.  I reeled it up and put it in the sack.  I had a contender at least.  Back to work.

Chris was telling me that all their bigger lings had been coming up on palm-sized squarespots.  Hmmm…a hitchhiker lingcod is one of the Extra Salty goals.  I stayed with the same rig and continued fishing up off the bottom.  However, when I had a smaller fish on, rather than reel it up, I dropped it all the way back down.  When I couldn’t feel the fish moving anymore, I’d reel it up and start over.  Sure enough, I got one to bite.  The mistake I’ve made in the past when trying for a hitcher ling is not letting it eat long enough.  You want the ling to really get that fish halfway inhaled so it has a hard time spitting it.  When I’ve seen it happen, the ling isn’t even hooked, it’s just grabbing that fish and won’t or can’t let go.  So I let it eat.  The downside of this strategy is you run the risk of letting that fish get hunkered down in it’s hole and that’s what happened.  When I felt like it had been eating long enough, I started to reel up.  No give.  I tried to give it slack to see if I could fool it into coming out.  Nope.  Next I tried to just put a lot of pressure on it and hopefully he was hooked well enough, would eventually tire and come out.  Pop!  I either broke the line or he let it go.  I tried to leave it down a little longer, but didn’t reacquire.  Reeled it up and sure enough, nicely raked squarespot.


It’s going to happen one of these times, but not today.  Oh well.  I ended up just edging the larger of the 2 reds to take the jackpot.  It was a nice day on the water…just the fishing that was tough.  I took the pass instead of the money.  Try again soon.  Thanks guys.




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