Jake busted out his new Warbaits/Pearl combo

Jake busted out his new Warbaits/Pearl combo

I’ve got my big overnight on the Pacific Islander coming next weekend.  I was supposed to go out Opening Day weekend, but some serious wind hit the outer Channel Islands and the trip was cancelled.  So I’ve been looking forward to this trip now for almost 3 months!  My buddy Ty is making his first trip up to CISCO’s to go on that trip with me.  He’ll hopefully be catching his first ever ling cod, so we were chatting last week about it.  Over the course of the conversation I asked him, “When was the last time you fished the Halibut Hole?”  Months, but we’re going Saturday.  Wanna go?  Don’t need to ask me twice 🙂

I had the kids this weekend, so we arranged to meet Ty at his house Saturday morning and follow him to the spot.  Ty’s dad Norman, Uncle Raul who went last time, and Ty’s buddy Ramsey filled out the rest of the crew for the day.  We got there around 8:30.  It was a little overcast.  The water was calm and flat, but low tide was at 8:35, so our timing was good in terms of being there for the water movement of the incoming tide.  Birds were crashing bait all around us.  It definitely looked fishy and anticipation was high for a good day of fishing.

IMG_2875Everyone rigged up swimbaits, but I setup Juj and I on dropshot rigs…a) because I wanted to try out some new VMC dropshot hooks I had recently picked up, and b) since this was Juj’s first time using an artificial bait, I figured it would be easier with a dropshot setup than trying to work a swimmie.  I pinned a Zman Curly Tailz on in a brownish (lizardsfish looking) color and went to work.

Well sure enough, Juj was the first to hookup.  I casted her line out and started to reel in when I felt a hit.  I played it off and handed it to her.  “Dad, I’ve got a fish!”  Haha 😉  Get it Juj!  She reeled it up and it was a huge jacksmelt.  I snapped a pic and unhooked it.  I tossed it into the water and a massive splash happened as it swam away.  Holy crap!  We expected to see the sea lion we noticed earlier surface with it, but nothing ever came up.  Hali?

Shortly after the smelt, Juj struck again.  This time she struggled a bit more to reel in the fish.  Right kind?  Sure enough, she got it in and it was an obviously short halibut.  I rushed to snap a quick pic and get the fish back in the water.  I didn’t notice it at the time, but someone mentioned on Instagram that it was a Pacific Halibut.  I went back and looked closer.  I noticed that telltale diamond shape.  I’ve never seen a Pacific in Southern California.  She got it on plastic too.  Nice job Juj!

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Things slowed down after Juj’s little flattie.  We could see bait everywhere.  The birds continued to work.  We saw the sea lion tossing around what appeared to be a hali about 50 yards away from us.  Norman had what he thought was the right kind of bite, but no hookups other than a few greenbacks and lizards.  We took a break to have lunch.  I brought fixings for Spicy Tuna Burgers, and Ty fired them up on the grill.

After lunch, Ty decided to go work another spot.  We walked the opposite way to try our luck.  It wasn’t long before we heard Ty yelling from the opposite side.  We looked up and I could see Norman running toward him with the gaff.  We started to run over there ourselves.  When we got there, Ty was holding a nice halibut.  He said he saw a free swimmer and threw his smelt looking plastic (wonder what gave him that idea) on it.  His bait fell in front of it and boom, the big fish smashed it, and started to take out line.  Norman was still running over with the gaff when it got close to the shore.  Ty didn’t want to lose it on the rocks, so he reached out and grabbed it by the gill!  Definitely earned that one.  It measured out 15 lbs. on the Boga. Way to go Ty!

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We all went back to our original area.  While Ty was cutting the fish, I had a follower.  It was a halibut that rolled up and over the kelp line in front of us and I started yelling.  “Free swimmer!  Free swimmer!”  It was smaller than Ty’s fish, maybe 8-10 lbs., but still a nice fish.  It swam to my left and we all had an opportunity to throw on it, but no love.  It was starting to get late.  I managed a dink calico to avoid the skunk and we called it a day.

This spot definitely produces.  Ty was saying the fish he caught was a female.  Its roe wasn’t completely formed, so it looks like the spawn may be coming soon.  Combined with the grunion runs, the next month or so should be a prime time to score from the shore.  Thanks Ty for hosting another fun trip.  I’m looking forward to seeing you catch your first ling-a-ding-ding on our trip this week.  Tight lines!

 

* If you liked this post, check out Jetty Fishing Basics

 

 

 

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