What can without a doubt be
called the best fishing of the year for big yellowtail has been going on at
Santa Barbara Island, where 25- to 40-plus-pound yellowtail are putting anglers
through the ringer.
It’s been a strictly squid
bite. And the boat that has been on it everyday has been the Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro.
Skipper Tommy Lee has been making squid in the Santa Monica Bay and taking the
candy to Santa Barbara Island, where the overnight trips have hooked as many as
over 80 yellowtail a day to land about half of what they hook. Some big halibut
and even some white seabass have also been in the mix.
Sunday was the best day of
the week on the Freedom. That’s
when 38 anglers had 62 white seabass to go with 5 white seabass and 4 halibut.
Black seabass have been crashing the party as well. On Saturday 6 blacks were
released to go with 37 yellowtail and 5 halibut that went in the sacks. Other
trips earlier in the week had 18 and 20 yellows on Friday and Thursday,
Santa Barbara Island is
within range of any overnight boat running from Newport Beach to Oxnard, but
the Freedom is the only boat
fishing the island nightly.
The Ranger 85 fished SBI Sunday on an overnight trip out of Channel
Islands Sportfishing. Even with the caliber of fishing that’s going on right
now, it was still the only other big sportboat aside from the Freedom that fished the island last week.
“We didn’t have much squid,
but Tommy Lee on the Freedom gave
us a tank of bait and we ended up getting a nice sample,” reported Ranger 85 skipper Dustin Tench. “Two guys had 6 of our 7 fish.
We hooked somewhere in the high teens to get what we got.”