SANTA BARBARA — Springtime winds backed off, allowing Santa Barbara fishers to get back out and pick right back up where they left off catching halibut, white seabass, rockfish, lingcod and a few salmon. Surf fishing continues at a fast pace and pier fishing is rated very good.
The Stardust ran consistent and successful half-day and ¾-day trips out of Sea Landing in Santa Barbara. On half-day trips bait and small jigs were the preferred baits while on ¾-day trips, baits, heavy jigs and Lingslayers kept fish counts high. Half-day fishing remained steady with rockfish, a few lingcod, an occasional whitefish, and sand bass in the mix. On Tuesday, the boat had 12 anglers who ended the trip with 64 rockfish, 2 sand bass, 2 sheepshead and 10 ocean whitefish.
“Three-quarter day fishing remains very strong for rockfish with some good lingcod too,” said Capt. Jason Diamond of the Stardust. Wednesday's ¾-day charter at the Ranch had 28 anglers catch 136 rockfish, 1 rock sole, 14 red rockfish, 1 ocean whitefish, 2 lingcod and 5 sculpin. Sunday’s trip had 15 anglers bag up 64 reds, 86 rockfish, 3 lingcod, 1 ocean whitefish. Susan Rivas from Santa Maria nailed a 10-pound lingcod.
On Friday, charterboat WaveWalker ran a coastal all-day trip with two passengers who fished deep to boat easy limits of vermilion and chucklehead to 6 pounds. “The Lingslayer, available at Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara, attracted the larger fish and twintail plastics on double dropper loop rigs took many of the other quality rockfish,” said Capt. David Bacon.
Commercial fishers along with recreational fisherfolk found halibut and white seabass around the east end of Santa Cruz Island. Bounce-balling was the trick for both species because squid was spread throughout the area and it helped to move about by slow-trolling. Still, party boats were able to score some catches and the rest of the season looks bright.
Local surf fisher Marco Ferrell hooked and beached a 27-inch halibut at East Beach on Saturday by casting a Lucky Craft Sexy Smelt 110 Flash Minnow. Halibut catches increased on local beaches and Lucky Craft lures have caught most of them. Goleta Pier continued to be a hotspot for perch, cabezon, rockfish, an occasional lingcod and leopard shark.