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WON charter schedule picks up some new additions for 2020
Upgrades made in freebie department

WON Staff Writer

Before we were even out of 2019, the Western Outdoor News 2020 charter schedule was populated with locked-in trips, and there is always room for adding more to it. A couple of the destination-type trips — specifically 3.5-day trips aboard the Apollo (this month) and El Pescador (May) out of Puerto Vallarta — have already been filled, but there’s a lot of room on a wide variety of trips from casual island full-days to boat vs. boat shootouts to multi-day Pacific adventures.

PLENTY OF ROOM on the rail is one of the main reasons guys jump on limited load WON charters. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

The dates for each WON charter are specifically placed for optimum fishing for a “best bite” situation, or in some cases, for a specific species. While solid fishing is the big draw, WON staffers involved in creating and executing the charter schedule are pretty fired up about an upgraded sponsor list. Charter sponsors sweeten the deal with prizes and giveaways.

Daiwa is a long-time supporter of WON charters, and they typically provide bulk spools of J-Braid — all passengers are welcome to fill a reel (seriously, feel free to bring an empty reel), and demo outfits consisting of Daiwa Lexa reels and Proteus rods that anyone can “test drive.”

Speaking of free fill-ups, big spools of the new ProSpec Professional Grade mono from Berkley in a couple different line weights are provided, and filling up a reel with fresh line between the bait receiver and the fishing grounds has become pretty popular among charter regulars.

HI-SEAS is no stranger to supporting WON events, but they’re delivering a new wrinkle to WON charters. Every passenger will receive a spool of premium fluorocarbon from HI-SEAS. Fluoro is nothing new on these charters, but previously, anglers were just invited to pull off a length for leader as needed. Now, everyone will get enough for that charter and for future trips.

THEN THERE WAS the WON Charter that piled up rockfish and some bonus bluefin tuna…. in December. WON PHOTO BY BOB SEMERAU

P-Line is kicking in its popular Laser Minnows as another giveaway. These lures cast like a bullet, have an incredible action both on the retrieve and on the sink, and can be fished effectively vertically off the bottom or just below the surface. This versatility makes them an ideal jig for use on any trip — WON charter or otherwise — any time of year.

Even a casual angler can do the math on the braid, mono, fluoro score on top of the hooks and the jig and see the value in fishing with WON. That, along with the advantages that come with charter fishing in general, like lighter loads, familiar faces and at many times, a downright entertaining atmosphere.

Filling a void in the prize department is a huge newcomer to the sponsor list. Maui Jim produces the best polarized sunglasses on the market, and they’re respected world-wide by all manner of on-the-water enthusiasts. A variety of frames and lenses will be on hand to check out, and the jackpot winner will go home with a pair of Maui Jims of his or her own.

Also, the chartermaster on these trips will be a representative from WON, usually an editor who will be taking photos and scribbling notes for a write up on the trip for an upcoming issue of the paper.

WON charters

April 23: WON ROCKFISH RUMBLE: Ventura Sportfishing — The 8th Annual WON charter event featuring three boats (Pacific Eagle, Endeavor and Island Spirit) on all-day trips on which participating anglers will compete in a combined-jackpot situation. Like all on-the-water WON events, sponsor giveaways will be a part of the Rumble. The $115 entry fee includes the $10 jackpot.

May 1: Newport Landing Battle of the Bay: Newport Landing/Davey’s Locker Sportfishing — One of the newest boat vs. boat charter events, the inaugural Newport Battle of the Bay was held last May. This is another combined-jackpot shoot­out with up to $700 on the line being divvied up across the anglers landing the three biggest fish. This year, the Battle will go down between anglers on the Freelance and Patriot on May 1, and in addition, the standard prizes and giveaways on hand from supporting sponsors, participants will get a voucher for a return twilight trip. This one costs $145 each and includes $10 for jackpot.

May 11-13: 1.5-DAY ON THE PESCADOR: 22nd Street Landing — another new addition for 2020, this ultra-limited load trip will only haul 9 anglers and a WON editor. This freelance island jaunt will chase the best bite available, and the ticket runs $400. Early reservations are recommended for this one.

May 21-34: 3.5-DAY DESTINATION CHARTER ON EL PESCADOR: Puerto Vallarta — Targeting cow tuna out of PV, limited to 6 anglers on the largest fishing vessel in the area. Passengers are picked up at the airport and brought to Marina Vallarta. They may choose to stay up to two nights at a 5,000-square-foot penthouse at Shangri-La on the beach across from the marina at no charge, except for incidentals. Fishing license must be obtained stateside. Equipment and tackle list are provided at the time of booking. The $2,500 fare is All-Inclusive: On boat — meals, snacks, drinks, bait, tackle and fish filleting included.

June 3-5: 1.5-DAY ON THE AMIGO : 22nd Street Landing — Freelance island trip that likely will see some variety this time of year, anything from seabass to yellows to calicos and halibut. Limited to 18 anglers, and the fare is $295 per angler.

June 19: FULL-DAY BOAT VS BOAT BATTLE ON THE CLEMENTE OR SUM FUN : Dana Wharf Sportfishing — The combined-jackpot competition between boats model is so well received by WON charter anglers, we look for every opportunity to add them and this is another new one. Sticking to the winning format in similar events, anglers sticking the three biggest fish will share the combined jackpot. Ticket price is $115 all-in, and that includes a voucher for a free ½-day trip out of Dana Wharf, which is a solid tack on to the standard WON charter prize and freebie haul.

JUNE 28-30: 2-DAY TRIP ABOARD THE ELDORADO: Long Beach Sportfishing — San Clemente, San Nicholas and Santa Barbara islands are excellent options with the chance at offshore fish an option as well. Limited to 32 anglers, the $405 includes meals on the fishing days.

JULY 8: CHANNEL ISLANDS SHOOTOUT: Ventura Sportfishing — Unofficially standing as the granddaddy of allWON sportboat battles, anglers can hop on the Pacific Eagle, Endeavor and Island Spirit in limited-load fashion and throw down for a hunk of a big combined jackpot to be spread across the top 3 catches. Ticket cost is $115 including $10 for JP, and this one fills up fast and always sells out, so you’ll want to sign up as early as possible.

JULY 18: MORRO BAY CENTRAL COAST LINGCOD CHAMPIONSHIP — Virg’s Landing — A lot of WON charter regulars hop off the Channel Islands Shootout and immediately gear up for this one. For max range and time on the prime spots, this is a 12-hour trip aboard the Fiesta (limited to 25) and Black Pearl (limited to 30) with cash and prizes hanging in the balance. The anglers catching the three biggest lings will get a chunk of the combined jackpot, which is covered as part of the $160 entry fee.

JULY 22: TRITON VS GAIL FORCE LIMITED LOAD BATTLE: LA Waterfront Sportfishing — The final boat vs. boat event on the charter schedule almost always hits Catalina with up to 20 anglers on the Gail Force and 25 aboard the Triton. A couple years ago, this one ran into the hottest yellowtail bite any WON charter had come across all season, and it’s also one of those WON events with a loyal following. The fare for this one is $135 (includes $25 for jackpot), and it also features a combined jackpot for the top three fish.

AUG. 7-8: REVERSE 1.5-DAY ABOARD THE BLACK PEARL: Virg’s Landing — This unique trip permits you to catch two limits of quality bottom grabbers on a vessel known for churning up trophy lings and rockfish. The Black Pearl is well within reach of the unpressured Big Sur Coastline and other great rockfishing haunts, and this trip is limited to 23 anglers, and the $295 ticket includes meals.

AUG. 18-21: 2.5-DAY ABOARD THE PACIFIC ISLANDER: Point Loma Sport­fishing — This well-timed freelance trip will run down the best bite, which at this time of year should include some monster pelagics. Captain Rick Russell, previously of the Chief, is now operating the Pacific Islander and we are excited to continue the WON charter tradition aboard the new boat! This one runs $475 and is limited to 30 passengers.

SEPT. 4-7: 4-DAY DESTINATION FISHING AT CEDROS ISLAND — If calicos and yellowtail are your thing, this trip is “bucket list” worthy. Meet at the border, take a shuttle to Ensenada, then fly on a plane to Cedros Island, where you’ll fish with an experienced guide on pangas for 2.5 days. Limited to 12 anglers. There are several package options available ranging from $1,850 to $2,250 per person, the latter including (among other things) round trip air travel from San Diego directly to Cedros. Full details on that can be found under the EVENTS tab at Book at one of the Fred Hall Shows for $50 off the trip.

SEPT. 7-10: 2.5-DAY ABOARD THE TORONADO: Pierpoint Landing — Both offshore and San Clemente Island are options, and in years past, offshore tuna and dorado were also on the menu. This late-summer run costs $455 and is limited to 32 anglers.

SEPT. 10-14: 5-DAYS WITH KINGFISHER CHARTERS: Sitka, Alaska — Hosted by Pat McDonell and offering great 6-fish limits of silver salmon, kings, halibut, sablefish and rockfish in all-inclusive package — plus extras. The cost for three days of fishing is $2,695 per person plus $200 Sitka sales tax — includes $100 store credit. This special trip is limited to 12 anglers.

OCT. 12-16: 4-NIGHT (3 DAYS FISHING) LA BOCANA FISHING ADVENTURE: Limited to 12 anglers, the $1,895 ticket includes round trip ground transfers from San Diego to Ensenada airport, round trip flights from Ensenada to Guerrero Negro, ground transfers from Guerrero Negro to La Bocana, 4 nights lodging at La Bocana (based on two per cabin), 3 days of panga fishing (7 hours each), continental breakfast, packed panga lunches with beverages, 4 dinners at Las Cabañas restaurant (this is an exclusive benefit not included in regular packages), biosphere wrist bands for all guests and daily maid service.

NOV. 1-3: 2-DAY ON THE RANGER 85: CISCOS — Hit the outer Channel Islands with the opportunity to fish deeper waters with the new eased regulations. Limited to only 30 passengers and the $425 ticket price includes meals.

For more info and to sign up online, visit and find the charter schedule under the WON EVENTS tab. For questions or to sign up over the phone, call Dylan Depres at (949) 366-0726.

THE FREELANCE AND PATRIOT usually will hit Catalina during the Newport Battle of the Bay, but last year, the Freelance drifted oil rigs, which passengers were pretty fired up about. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

THE PATRIOT WAS added to the popular early-May WON charter aboard the Freelance turning it into another boat vs. boat, shared jackpot shootout now known as the Newport Battle of the Bay. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

A BIG CALICO picked up on a WON charter aboard the Triton out of LA Harbor Sportfishing. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

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