Friday night (April 18th) I was back in Oxnard at Channel Islands Sportfishing to fish overnight on the Pacific Islander.  After last month’s trip where I went 0 for 10 on legals to short lingcod, then seeing Juliana catch her ling last week, the choice was clear.  Daddy needed to get a lingcod too or face what poor Jake has been having to deal with…my 7 year old daughter Juliana smack talking to both of us!

Little dino off the rocks

Little dino off the rocks

I got up to Oxnard early.  The plan was to do a little jetty fishing with David who works at the landing prior to the trip.  Turned out that David had to work, but he set me up with a bucket, an aerator and a few pieces of live fin bait.  He showed me where to go, and I worked a jetty spot not far away from the landing.  I’ve been seeing a lot of halibut up and down the coast lately from beaches and jetties.  I figured with live bait and a secret spot, the odds were in my favor.  I noticed at the edge of the jetty what looked like an excellent ambush point for a fish.  There was kelp cover next to the rocks.  The incoming tide pounded one side of the jetty, but on the other side there was some still water.  I figured a smart predator could hide in that kelp and wait for the tide to deliver dinner.  I had a couple baits get raked, but no hookups.  I was down to my last bait and casted it into the moving water.  It settled into the bottom and the water pushed it into the ambush area.  Bounce, bounce, BAM!  It was substantial, but not huge.  I figured it was a short halibut.  I needed to finesse it to work it through the kelp, but when it finally emerged I was pleasantly surprised.  It was about a 16″ lingcod!  Hmmm…a sign perhaps?  Hopefully not of more shorts, but a sign of better things to come on the trip.  I could only hope.

When we finally loaded up and took off, we left the landing with some of that fin bait and frozen squid.  Eighteen anglers joined me on the trip.  The regular crew was onboard, Capt. Steve at the helm, his second Dan handling the night drive, Bryan and Larry on deck and Ginger filling in as cook.

View from the bow

View from the bow

The drive over was unusually smooth.  I slept like a baby and found myself waking up only when I heard Steve say we were nearing the first fishing spot of the day.  Good thing I had rigged up before going to bed.  I went up on deck.  The sun was already coming up and I could see we were on the backside of Rosa.  Dang it (it’s been my experience as the less productive side).  I figured I’d start off fishing bait and put some fish in the sack.  My usual spot on the starboard stern corner was already occupied, so I found an open spot on the bow.  It was ok.  One of the bow guys got a nice ling on the first drop, but other than that it was the usual stuff…blue rockfish, johnny bass (olive rockfish), gophers, and a few reds and chucks.  It got better as the morning wore on.  I started filling up the sack with some quality reds and chucks.  It was about 10am and I had 5 or 6 nice fish in the sack.  I also caught 4 short lings, 5 if you count the one off the jetty…0 for 15!  Every time I was on a fish, Steve would rib me and say, “Probably another short ling.”  I had one really promising bite and when it got to the surface guess what?  Two short lings!  Rather than let it get me down though, I just kept fishing.  Since I was fishing bait, I figured it would happen when it was ready to happen.   Funny how when you let the day come to you, good things happen.  The fifth ling was the right kind.

IMG_3413After I got the lingcod albatross off my neck, Steve decided to go take a peek and see what the other side was looking like.  We made our way west to the channel between Rosa and Miguel.  Whitecap city.  We stopped and tried a drift, but it was so fast it was pretty worthless.  Steve headed back toward the backside and we ended up in a spot further away from the island.  Steve said it was about 250 feet deep.  Much deeper than he usually fishes.  I had to bump up my weight to 12 ounces, but it was a productive spot.  By the time we were done, we had finished up on rockfish and were 4 lings away from a boat limit.  It was just after 12:30, so we still had a about an hour to hour and half left in the day.  Steve moved closer in and we fished under 100 feet for the rest of the day.  I fished jigs and swimbaits to try and target a ling.  I had one really good hit that held on for about 10 seconds before letting go.  The bait came up raked just behind the hook 🙁  Only 1 each of the target fish (whitefish and sheephead), but we were able to round out the limits on the lings.  It was definitely a different trip, but we got our numbers and everyone had a good time.  Thanks to Steve and his crew for another fun trip.  Tight lines!

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