IMG_3738Decided last minute Friday night to head down and jump on the Liberty for the twilight trip with Capt. Gabriel Ceballos.  My buddy Mike of USA Sportfishing texted me to let me know that there were over 50 people on the boat.  Yikes!  I waivered for a sec, but at the end of the day, I just wanted to go fish and get out of the heat we’ve been experiencing.

I made it down to the landing about 20 minutes before we pushed off.  I only brought my bass rod, and it was already rigged with a dropshotted Zman Scented Paddlerz bait in Smoky Shad.  The setup was leftover from trying to target halibut from the beach post grunion run.  Threw it from the bow while the boat was loading and scored a nice little croaker.  Off to a good start 🙂

As we got underway, I ordered a burger and relaxed on the upper deck.  I noticed they’d been working on the boat since the last time I was out on their inaugural run.  The galley looked more put together.  The old, useless intercom system had been updated and included a stereo system.  Half of the bunkroom had been opened up if you wanted to lie down.  Really nice guys.  I enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the way out to Izor’s Reef, while I re-rigged to the standard leadhead setup.

IMG_3739

The two bigs

The two bigs

By the time we got out to the reef, it was almost dark.  I found a spot on the rail along the port side and casted out.  The current was ripping.  By the time I hit bottom, my line was well out to my left, but I was able to hold the bottom.  I slowly dragged it back and started feeling structure close to the boat.  Worked my bait and pulled a nice sized sculpin.  Lost my leadhead on the next cast though.  It was the only heavier one I had (2-3 oz. is what you want for these trips).  I had to compensate by adding some 1/2 oz. sliders on top of a 1.5 oz leadhead on the next setup and casting up current.  Somehow, despite the number of people on the boat and the fast moving current, the tangle situation never got unbearable.

Capt. Gabe wasn’t feeling the spot though and made a short move after maybe 20 minutes.  After we settled in at the new spot, Gabe came down from the wheelhouse and I joined him up on the bow.  It was a steady pick the rest of the night with a mixed bag of bass, cabezon, rockfish, and sculpin hitting the deck.  I personally caught 2 bass, 4 scullies, and 4 rockfish.  I took home 3 scullies and had deckhand Eddie Moreno distribute the rest…just a little fresh taco meat 😉  Angler Adrian Contreras took top honors with a fat cabezon that handily beat what I guessed was a 6+ lb. sand bass.  Overall, a really good night.  There was a ton of squid in the water…so much so that the dozen or so sea lions that stayed with the boat only took one angler’s sand bass that I saw.  They were otherwise too occupied chasing the squish.  It was good to see all the life in the water.  Things are definitely looking up.

Thanks to Capt. Gabe and crew for a fun Friday night.  Tight lines.

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