California Boating Card


Southern CA Saltwater

CISCO's submits halibut catch to IGFA

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: May 16, 2018

VENTURA/OXNARD — It was Tuesday when Erin Villareal's call came in. The Aloha Spirit had just brought in a world record class halibut. At 45.1 pounds it bested the International Gamefish Association woman's 30-pound line class record by more than 4 pounds. That record belonged to Beverly Philips and had stood since 1988. The big fish was caught by Debbi Sharp of Fountain Valley.

debbiesharpDEBBIE SHARP'S 45.1 pound California halibut she caught at the Channel Islands on the Aloha Spirit Tuesday was submitted to the IGFA, in contention for the woman's 30-pound test line class record. It bests the current record holders weight by over 4 pounds.

Her hali ate a dropper looped previously frozen squid. Amazingly, in the past week such baits have accounted for several yellowtail catches made at the western islands in 53-degree water. For whatever reason these home guard fish are simply weathering the post El Niño friged western islands springtime conditions rather than moving on.

Much better weather this past weekend allowed the fleet full access to the outer islands once again. Rockfish catches were limits across the board for the three landings, and sometimes included big lingcod and whitefish scores too. Sunday the Mirage pulled in with 20 anglers, limits of rockfish (200) and 194 ocean whitefish, just 4 shy of limits, allowing for the 4 lingcod they also had.

CISCO's Asst. Mgr. Mike Thompson said, "One big change this past week was simply the good weather. This is one of the first weeks this spring that the boats were able to fish all seven days. For now, until live bait becomes abundant, the boats will be focusing on catching rockfish, whitefish and other bottom species for its anglers."

He added, "If schools of yellowtail come within striking distance, have a surface iron or yo-yo setup handy. Otherwise bring your rock cod gear and be prepared to fish anywhere from 120 to 350 feet of water."

THE ALOHA SPIRIT'S first white seabass of the 2018 season weighed 24 pounds – with angler Dean Morimune and deckhand Kelly Carlberg.

Even the inner island areas kicked out limits, and the Gentleman's 33 all got it done. The Seabiscuit added 77 of the razorgills, plus 14 lings to their 15 rockfish limits.

At Ventura Sportfishing the Pacific Dawn's 18 anglers had limits of lingcod on top of their rockfish limits and Monday the Amigo had done the same with 22 aboard.

Vannessa Ewart reported, "This week had good fishing and decent weather. Our Lingcod Special rocked the dock with ling and rockfish limits...the 4 a.m. Amigo came home with 20-fish bag limits, while the 5 a.m. Island Spirit and the overnight Pacific Dawn caught rockfish limits. The weather looks great for the upcoming week, and we hope to land more of the same high quality fish!"

At Hooks Landing the Coroloma turned in limits of rockfish every trip out. The New Hustler had added a 23-pound outer islands yellowtail that ate an Ahi Jig for angler Jim Milbrand of Fish'n Fools.

Back at CISCO's the Ranger 85 returned from a 2-day trip over the weekend. Capt. Ricky Perez worked 2nd for Capt. Robert Grey. He described the fishing and conditions they encountered.

The Channel Islands area seems to have little dabs of squid in a lot of areas but not enough to catch anywhere so far. They managed to scratch 30 or 40 pieces each night, running from zone to zone.

The remnant swell of previous days had waters somewhat churned up but the rockfish and whitefish were game-on. For 24 fishers they limited on rockfish easily, added 196 grade large whitefish and 82 lings. In addition, the 53-degree waters yielded 5 teen grade yellowtail and a barracuda on popsicle previously frozen squid, dropper looped.

Perez said a lot of the rockfish, primarily reds and coppers, were caught on jigs. Of course the fork-tails showed after the last remnants of the few live squid they caught were long gone. Red crabs were packed into much of the fish they caught.

JIM MILBRAND HOOKED this 23-pound yellowtail on an Ahi Jig, aboard the New Hustler, Capt. Hook's outer island overnight boat, where SSTs have been in the low 50s.

MIKE SCHAFFER OF Santa Clarita and Capt. Shawn Steward with a 28.5-pound yo-yo yellow at Santa Cruz Island.

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Advertise with Western Outdoor News
The Longfin Tackle Shop