liberty_berth55This weekend the Liberty with Capt. Gabriel Ceballos kicked off its twilight run.  They’ll be doing it every Friday and Saturday night from 6:30 to 12.  I got down to the landing early last night and had the opportunity to chat with Capt. Gabe and the crew before we got underway.  No surprises…we’d be heading down to Izor’s Reef and it would be the standard leadhead and squid affair.

It was good to see some familiar faces onboard.  Capt. Butch Diaz (the second ticket to many 😉 ) was hanging out.  He was working next door on the Eldorado who is getting ready for their season opener next week.  Regular crewman Ray Pachejo was onboard working deck with Chad who works the 3/4 run.  They called in Grant from the Freedom to run the galley.  My buddy Mike from USA Sportfishing who is the primary promoter of this run was onboard and so were a couple other buddies of ours Ron Owens and Jaysen Park.

We got off the dock on time and started off the 1 hour plus ride to Izor’s.  The bay was filled with cargo ships stacked up from the only recently resolved port shutdown.  We picked our way past them and mostly had the reef to ourselves once we got out there.  Gabe anchored up and we proceeded to start fishing.  The standard setup for this kind of fishing is a pretty stiff rod (my go to is either my Crucial 711H or Teramar 711MH).  I fish 50 lb. braid on my Curado 300 EJ to a short topshot of 30 or 40 fluoro.  In this case, the fluoro is more for abrasion resistance than stealth.  A 2 oz banana style leadhead is the preferred terminal tackle.  Pin on a whole squid or two and you are leadhead and squid structure bass fishing.


Ray holds up Kurt’s JP winner

I don’t do this sort of fishing that often and when I do it’s usually in the summer.  In the summer I work pretty quickly, casting out and then dragging the bait along the bottom.  The idea being to locate the bass hunkered down on the sea floor.  Capt. Gabe watched me doing this and told me to adjust my presentation.  Instead, continue to cast and drag but when you find the structure, let it sit and let the bass find your bait.  I did that and managed to catch a few fish.  It was a mixture of mostly bass (both sand and calico) and sculpin that were being caught, but also several cabezon (out of season) and even what would be a legal ling as of next week.  It wasn’t wide open, but it was steady enough that we only moved to reset on the same structure.  Enough fish got caught to keep everyone happy.  Kurt took top honors with this nice calico.

The price is right on this ride…only $35 if you book ahead online ($45 walkup).  Capt. Gabe and his crew work hard to make sure everyone has a safe, enjoyable trip.  It’s a great way to get in a sesh if you can’t fit one in during the day.  I’ll be spending time on the boat with these guys this year for sure.  Thanks also to Mike of USA Sportfishing for providing most of the photos for this trip report.  Tight lines!

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