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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Southern CA Saltwater

Catalina Island yellows show

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 15, 2019

SAN PEDRO/LONG BEACH — While the coastal yellowtail showing simmered to a standstill early in the week, we got the first solid feedback on events at the island, coming from Capt. Ryan Gengler. Sculpin and some sand bass continued to provide the bulk of the action for anglers as primarily local 1/2- and 3/4-day trips were able to drum up participation between rainy day weather events.

jamesjohnstonputJAMES JOHNSTON PUT the first 2019 yellowtail aboard the Gail Force while fishing Catalina Island.


Gengler's two boats Triton and Gail Force are available primarily on a charter basis through the summer season, out of L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing in San Pedro. But this time of year they offer open party island trips with a 2 p.m. departure, targeting a bit of fishing before dusk, then switching to hoop net mode for the main event, lobster.


It was the Gail Force which boated their first fork of the season Saturday and it was angler James Johnston who was the lucky one to boat the big yellowtail. Plus, more importantly, they saw quite a bit of volume of yellowtail over at that island over the weekend.


Meanwhile the Triton had one of the best 10-hoop scores we've heard of recently, when the 8 participants finished their night with 40 keepers in the crate. See gailforcesportfishing.com for their full report.


Over at 22nd Street Landing the Monte Carlo, Tradition and Native Sun kept angling options open at that landing, as the rest of its fleet refitted for the coming season.


The Monte Carlo saw modest results for their anglers’ efforts chasing sand and calico bass plus sculpin on 1/2-day trips. With a bit more time to tango, anglers aboard the Native Sun for full-day trips had a bit better luck, harvesting a pile of sculpin one day, sacking 150, and before the yellowtail swam down, put 12 folks on them to land 6 of the fork tails. Aboard the Tradition sanddab special, Thursday was the top producer, with 22 dabbers dipping the depths for over 1,200 of the tasty morsels.


fortycatalinakeepersFORTY CATALINA KEEPERS Friday evening for Adrian Cruz' 8-person charter group aboard the Triton.


At Pierpoint Landing the City of Long Beach carried all that signed up and sand bass and scorpion fish were the top catches. Friday saw 10 angers get to a 3 keeper bass per rod average, snagging some 20 scullies along the way. Bunches more bass were released along the way.


Long Beach Sportfishing's Steve Phelps once again came through with a detailed rundown on the local scenario.


He said, "Our 3/4-day boat Victory has been consistently getting out this week and has had steady action for quality sculpin, as well as a few bass. On Wednesday, 17 anglers sacked up 85 sculpin (limits), 1 sanddab, 19 calico bass, and 10 sand bass. They released over 50 bass, just shy of legal, so it was steady action for most of the day."


He also came through with this great tackle tip. "The hot ticket for sculpin fishing is a double dropper loop with an 8-ounce sinker, (a pair of) 5-inch twin-tail AA plastics or AA 6-inch octopus, each attached to a 3/4-ounce bullet head."


As for the technique for fishing this rig, "Once your sinker hits the bottom, pull about another 5 feet of line from your reel, to ensure that both lead-heads are laying right on the bottom."


The bigger baits used assure it takes a bigger mouth to eat it and get hooked.


As with much of the rest of the fleet the Eldorado crew was repairing a season's worth of wear and tear in preparation for the March 1 season opener.


All are excited to tap into spots that haven't been fished in nearly 20 years as deeper depths open out at San Nicolas Island, the outer banks and other island and coastal areas too.


Jan. 22 the Victory will head into maintenance mode as well said Phelps.


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