It’s amazing what a tank of squid can do for private boaters in the fall, and this season is no different, as private boaters tanking up with the candy have been catching everything from coastal seabass to island yellowtail and halibut.
The juiciest bites have without a doubt been out at Santa Barbara and Anacapa islands, where skiffs have had shots at the biggest, baddest island yellowtail of the year.
Tim Husband took his 28-foot Parker, Two Timer, over to Santa Barbara Island Friday for a shot at the big forkies. Along for the ride was Bill Bransetter.
“I had heard they had bait (squid) in the receiver in San Pedro, but they didn’t when we got there, so we ran to Catalina to try and get bait,” said Husband. The light boat fleet was all lit up along the back around China Point, but they were all waiting for it to float.
“I talked to Mark (Podoll) on the Carnage. He said he had bait under him, but it wasn’t floating. Eventually I found a seiner who jugged us out,” said Husband.
The candy bait ended up working to perfection, with the Husband and Bransetter going 4 for 7 on the yellows. Big fish was a 39.7 pounder that was a new personal best for Husband. Also in the mix were two halibut to 25 pounds.
“I got the big yellow on an Accurate 500 with 65-pound Spectra to a few feet of 50-pound fluorocarbon and a half-ounce slider to an 8/0 Aki Twist hook. Without the heavy tackle you don’t stand a chance on those things,” finished Husband.
Anacapa Island has also had some jumbo yellows around it, with one of the sportboats getting a 50 pounder and fish to over 40 pounds reported by the skiff guys.
Eric Andrews from Topanga Canyon went out last week and fished Anacapa on his 25-foot Parker.
“Along with bass, lingcod, and rockfish (I) found some nice-size yellowtail,” said Andrews in his report given to the Private Boaters’ Spotlight. The big yellow was a 40-plus pounder that didn’t require squid or heavy tackle. A live sardine fished on an egg sinker with 25-pound test is how he scored the fish of the trip.
The best yellowtail fishing of the year at close-to-home Anacapa Island drew quite the weekend crowd. Over 50 boats were said to have been on it Sunday.
The other crowded area has been the San Diego coastline below Oceanside, from Camp Pendleton to La Jolla. The commercial squid fleet showed up in force last week, and the hauls of squid were impressive.
With squid comes seabass, but the fact of the matter is that the fishing for white seabass was at its best before the seiners and lightboats showed.
“The guys putting the work in — the ‘very, very few of them’ — were having the best fall white seabass fishing that anyone can remember before we got inundated by seiners,” said Point Loma resident Greg Trompas Jr.
The fishing has pretty much fallen flat on its face since the commercial traffic got heavy, but a Friday night trip on The Last Minute with Tommy and Ricky Hutchinson, Jan Ishi and Nancy Scurka did turn up one La Jolla biscuit for the guy that deserved it the most — Jan Ishi.
“Jan fished hard and got the fish he’s been looking for — a nice seabass over 40 pounds,” said Trompas.
The offshore scene has been pretty much been getting left alone, although Bob Vanian at 976bite.com did get a report of some yellowtail caught by Steve Ross on the Bad Dog.
“Ross was fishing with his friends Juan Lu and Jovan and found a kelp paddy that produced 8 yellowtail for the 3 anglers aboard,” said Vanian. “It was the only kelp paddy they found all day and it was in some sun warmed 69.2 degree water at 96 miles 170 degrees from Point Loma.”• HAVE YOU SEEN MY MONKEY? — Jan Ishi (far left) has had a monkey on his back the past few seasons. Despite trying hard on skiffs and six-pack boats, he has been unable to connect on a big seabass. That was until he headed out with Tommy and Rick Hutchinson (middle and top, respectively) and Greg Trompas Jr. (far right) on a trip to La Jolla last week aboard the Hutchinsons’ boat, The Last Minute. Ishi ended up with the only seabass of the trip, but it was a worthy 41 pounder.
(Photo by Nancy Skurka)
• CHANNEL ISLANDS YELLOWTAIL — The big yellowtail have been on the chew at both Santa Barbara and Anacapa Islands. It was the latter of the little islands that gave Eric Andrew of Topanga Canyon this sardine-eating 40-plus-pound yellow.