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Feature Article: WON/Aloha Spirit Charter

WON-Aloha Spirit 2018 charter works shores of Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands

BY BOB SEMERAU/WON Staff WriterPublished: Oct 11, 2018

OXNARD — Each year the Aloha Spirit/Western Outdoor News charter out of Channel Islands Sportfishing makes the run to the islands with a limited load of anglers, excited at the opportunity to get fish and prizes.

The 2018 charter saw the 50-foot sportfisher leave CISCOS heading south to the islands under calm, clear skies and over smooth seas. Early on, the swag-fest was held, giving all aboard packs of VMC hooks and Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon spools to share. Reels of 50- and 65-pound Daiwa J-Braid as well as huge rolls of 20- and 30-pound Sufix monofilament were available for every angler to spool up their reels.

jackpotredJACKPOT RED, WAS the biggest fish of the day, giving Craig Nomura, right, bragging rights and a $250 pair of Costa Sunglasses. Captain O’Brien, left, helped on deck when needed.

Two pair of Costa sunglasses were on hand for the giving, with one going to the skipper, Captain Pat O’Brien. The other would wait for the final weigh-in to determine the largest fish for the day, when the $ 250 shades would be awarded.

Captain O’Brien took Aloha Spirit out to a spot know as Hungry Man’s along the shores of Santa Cruz Island to hunt for yellowtail, on the chew at the spot in recent days.

Making the run in just 1-hour and 45-minutes to Santa Cruz Island the first spot was set up and fishing got underway.

“Signs of yellowtail were everywhere but none would bite jigs or fly-lined sardines,” reported WON associate, Ted Reed, from the decks of Aloha Spirit. “I broke the ice with a couple of calico and angler Craig Nomura found a willing red that might go on to win big fish of the day,” reported Reed.

Nomura bagged several more reds and plenty of whitefish at the islands working a green and silver ColtSniper most of the day.

Charter regulars, Robert Hildebrand, Michael Buck, and Greg and Joanne Marshall had been out with WON in the weeks prior to this charter.

Not wanting to sit on top of unproductive waters, Capt. O’Brien made four more drops along the same area of Santa Cruz Island looking for yellowtail on the chew.

michaelbuckrightMICHAEL BUCK, RIGHT, bagged plenty of whitefish on the WON-Aloha Spirit Charter. Deck hand Gage Foster, left, was always ready to assist when needed.

“I don’t really care about getting yellowtail so much, it’s just great to be out here at the islands and fishing with these people,” said regular charter guy, Michael Buck.

Buck, along with angler Kerry Caines, could usually be found at the rail pulling on whitefish that did have a bite on throughout the day. Both anglers employed a fly-lined ‘dine on a small ¼ to- ½-ounce sliding egg sinker to get the feisty fish in the sacks.

With the morning slipping by Capt. O’Brien felt it was time for a big move and he took Aloha Spirit out to the gap between Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands for some deep-water action. Working several spots in the 180-foot range gave up few fish for the charter anglers adding only a smattering of rockfish to the bags.

Moving again, this time inshore to Anacapa Island at the west end, the boat anchored off for some calico action among the kelps. Angler Joe Nunez found a keeper calico as did a few other anglers.

But the day’s numbers would show that the hard-fighting and delicious whitefish were the stars of the day, giving lots of action despite being on the small side.

“These little guys can give a fight despite their size,” said an angler adding a “flat yellowtail” to his sack.

After a couple of hours spent hoping and fishing for yellowtail while managing a spotty catch of rockfish and whitefish with a calico or two thrown in for good measure, the time had come to head home.

“Okay lines up, one last time,” came the call over the P.A. and with that, the day was done.

happyanglerjoeHAPPY ANGLER, JOE Nunez, bagged a share of the calico, rockfish and whitefish catch aboard the 2018 WON-Aloha Spirit charter.

As Aloha Spirit made the 1½-hour journey back across the channel, weigh-in confirmed that Craig Nomura’s first red of the day would hold up as the biggest fish of the trip. With that honor, Nomura took home the top-prize of a pair of Costa sunglasses valued at $250.

The trips to the islands can be challenging, as the 2018 charter anglers can attest. However, when it’s good though, it can be very good.

While out on the 2016 WON-Aloha Spirit charter Joanne Hoffman remembers fishing the area known as Yellow Banks, off Santa Cruz Island.

Hoffman quickly let out line on her fly-lined rig with a big, strong swimming ‘dine that was immediately attacked by a hungry fish around 9:30 a.m. Carefully watching the line spin out from her reel, Hoffman threw it into gear after a count of five, allowing time for the big fork-tail to eat the bait fully.

On the initial run the yellowtail took Hoffman straight up the rail and around and down the other side of the boat. Back at the stern the lady-angler managed to begin to retrieve some of the line she’d given out to the big fish. Always turning the handle and holding steady, Hoffman worked the gear like a pro and after a bit, boated the fish with a head-shot gaff by then deck hand, Pat O’Brien, now skipper of the sportfisher, Aloha Spirit.

Not only was that forkie the lady angler’s first yellowtail, but it went on to win big fish of the day for that charter trip.

The 2018 trip returned to the docks at Channel Islands Sportfishing with a count that was far from stellar despite the efforts of Captain O’Brien, the Aloha Spirit crew, and the hardworking charter anglers. For 20-anglers the count showed 39 rockfish, 4 calico bass, and 54 ocean whitefish, to make up the catch for the day.

CONTACT: Aloha Spirit Sportfishing, ; (805) 382-1612

Channel Islands Sportfishing, ; (805) 382-1612

costasunglassesareCOSTA SUNGLASSES ARE awarded to Craig Nomura, right, by WON associate, Ted Reed, left. Nomura caught the red that won him first prize early in the day jigging a green and silver ColtSniper.

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