It’s tough not to be all seabass, seabass, seabass right now. The things are just freaking everywhere. It’s the best shot ever to get a 50 pounder, and 60s are also in the mix. It’s a race to see who gets the first 70 on rod and reel this year.
Somehow, some way—hint: amazing wife—I’ve snuck out to fish seabass on my skiff six times since our son, Noah was born on May 19; a seabass has hit the deck on every trip.
There’s no more squid outside the checkpoint or anywhere from Dana Point to La Jolla (the zone I fish) so many have stopped trying, which is cool. The whole night thing, day thing, seabass thing in general isn’t for everyone. Especially after trying a few times and missing or trying a few times and connecting and getting the “seabass fix.”
There was no crowd last night, just empty kelp lines from Salt Creek on down. It was really refreshing. This one wasn’t the biggest or the baddest, but it was a fun one:
There’s the whole, “shhhh” seabass thing, which I totally get. However… there’s potential on every kelp line and any squid nest that pops up has seabass on it. If there was ever a time to just try a known producer, this is it. No need for secrets and all the seabass drama. Try and you can score, from either a skiff or a sportboat.
This year the fish are simply everywhere along the coast, and every harbor from San Diego to Oxnard has seabass within string distance. Or at least potential. And it’s not just for skiffs. The San Diego set has the sportboat Pride to jump on—they had one seabass last night but are loaded up with primo squid from Catalina—and Orange County anglers can jump on the Helena out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing. I saw them rolling down the coast last night right after getting on the water at 5 p.m. The boat didn’t put together a seabass score, but all it takes is looking at Ryan Burson’s 67.1-pound white seabass to come up with a reason to give it a try.
And that wasn’t even the biggest seabass to get caught coming off this moon phase. Here’s the 67.4 pounder caught on the Pacific Quest at Santa Barbara Island on Sunday (didn't catch angler's name, jacked pic off facebook):
The bite at Catalina is finally starting to get some legs to it for the big boats. The Pursuit had over 100 calico bass and 6 seabass today. This is the best part of the blog (if you are into the seabass enough to make it this far). John Woodrum on the Pursuit called to say they had the 6 seabass and give me a ribbing about not putting his SBI limit score of 3 weeks ago in WON.
“Take a pic of the six and text me the pic and we’ll put it on my blog,” I said.
“Ok, I’ll have my deckhand do it right now, he has an iPhone,” shot back Woodrum.
This was at 2:35.
Then at 2:45 he called me back, barking instructions and huffing and puffing. “We just threw on 2 big 30 to 35 pounders and we have 3 going.” Does the fact that 30s are getting called "big" makes it obvious he’s at Catalina?
(Fun seabass flashback: being on the Options in November of 2010 with my buds Greg Trompas and Tim Husband and having a little morning bite on 15- to 25-pound seabass in Pyramid Cove on the flyline squid. Skipper Wes Flesch’s 20-pound-class seabass comes to gaff, and he’s yelling “gaff, gaff, big seabass, BIG SEABASS.” We were on a goof off trip, so Trompas grabbed a gaff and deadpanned Flesch who he just met the night before: "Big seabass? Where? All I see is this one." Gaff. Fish on deck. It was classic.)
So Catalina, is biting and Woodrum just sent me a text "trying 2 get done." When he calls back or texts a pic, I'll fill it in. He was up to 10 seabass in the amount of time it took to type a paragraph.
Last but the final words on seabass right now are the big scores going down for Ventura boats thanks to Port Huneme and County Line both chewing hard. Limits for the sportboats have made for some insane scores. This pic came off the Aloha Spirit. Skipper/photographer Shawn Steward has been really string together some incredible days--like 24 seabass for full limits for passengers and crew yesterday:
2010 was this epic seabass season that was the season of all season, and that hadn’t even kicked off yet by this time of the year. But it went into November. Who knows how long these bites will last, or when the offshore scene will ramp up and draw boats away from the coast and islands, but in the end, it’s just incredible to see this fishery grow and grow every year.
Somehow, someway, somewhere, you have to experience it. I’m going to take mine two inches below sea level in the skiff with the occasional buddy and a dog, but for once getting up there on a sportboat is almost a guaranteed way to see some local biscuit action.
And with that, it’s time to talk about something other than seabass in the next few blogs. Like, maybe, the Independence getting limits of yellowfin tuna, 80 plus bluefin and 2 dorado yesterday down past 200 miles.
Any ideas? (Leave them in the comments section, please!)