Southland anglers don’t think twice about making the drive to San Diego for bluefin tuna or other exotic species. The chance to catch hard fighting, great eating gamefish lures thousands of anglers south every single year.
But would you make a similar drive to the Channel Islands to catch rockfish? The answer is yes for me after I did just that on Sunday. Phil Friedman Outdoor Adventures took a group of 30 anglers out on the Pacific Angler out of Channel Island Sportfishing and it was one of the most memorable trips I have had for a long while.
The combination of a friendly and helpful crew, great food, quality limit style shallow water rockfish and lingcod fishing makes this trip worth the drive from anywhere. From the moment we walked on board, the Captain and crew greeted everyone and made sure everyone knew what kind of tackle would produce the best results.
At daybreak, we could see Santa Rosa Island in the distance as we dropped our two hook rigs down to the bottom. Before long, lots of big rockfish were being hoisted over the side of the Pacific Islander. Every time an angler caught a fish, a crew member was there to not only take the fish off the hook but to also take the fish to your sack. That included Captain Virtue who was literally running around deck congratulating anglers and sacking up more fish.
Eighteen-year-old Chrystal Gutierrez from Huntington Beach was making her first fishing trip ever. After some one on one lessons from the crew, she was catching rockfish like a seasoned veteran. Then, her rod doubled over and she felt a big head shake. She turned the handle of the reel and up from the depths emerged a 15-pound lingcod; one of nearly 40 legal lings that were caught this day.
Clark Franke from Santa Barbara was lifting a big chucklehead and a big lingcod over the rail when his line snapped and his prize catch fell back in to the sea. As it started to sink out of sight, deckhand Bryan grabbed a gaff and saved the day. He reached over and gaffed the lingcod just as it was about to sink out of reach.
It’s also worth mentioning that rockfish is not the only game in town in the Channel Islands. They have also had some great yellowtail, white seabass, halibut, barracuda and bass fishing this year. The area is rich with an abundant variety of fish.
The ride home was beautiful. The deckhands fileted limits of rockfish for hours as pods of playful dolphin showed us the way home as we passed San Miguel Island and witnessed a magnificent sunset. Perhaps Gutierrez said it best. “I want to do this again.”
You can reach Phil at Phil@PFORadio.com.
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Schedule as of September 6, 2013
2pm LIVE; Archived upon completion of LIVE Show
Mondays- The SURF FISHING SHOW
Tuesdays- The BAJA NOW SHOW
Wednesdays- THE FRESHWATER SHOW
Thursdays- THE SALTWATER SHOW
Friday's- AL Aire Libre; Pescando con Felipe (Our Spanish Show)