Umarex Gauntlet


Southern CA Saltwater

Santa Barbara: Rockfish opener blown away but first week expected to be good

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Mar 03, 2020

SANTA BARBARA / VENTURA / OXNARD — The word started to circulate Saturday. Landings were cancelling overnight boats set to fish the rockfish opener. Day boats followed close behind Sunday, and what was expected to be a banner day would have to wait. But not long.

The gale force winds were expected to moderate Monday, the day this issue went to press, and steadily improve the deeper we get into Fred Hall Long Beach week.

GOOD DAY — Christopher Lukens of Oxnard finished up the off-season on the Aloha Spirit¸ CISCOS, on a bass trip and hit the jackpot with a legal white seabass and halibut. PHOTO COURTESY CISCOS

“I wish I had something to report, we got weathered out today. Tomorrow is game on,” Capt. Jason Diamond of Star­dust Sportfishing in Santa Barbara said. “The ocean looks horrible (today) but the weather looks really good the rest of the week. I mean real good.”

At Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara, Capt. Tiffany Vague said, “It was calm and balmy until the rockfish opener, then it blew a gale. We had a few private boaters try it in the morning, but they could only get to nearby, inshore spots for Johnny bass and brown rockfish before having to get back inside the harbor. Some of our boaters came in the shop to buy worms instead of squid and anchovies. They went up to Cachuma and fished trout and bass.”

At Ventura Harbor Sport­fishing, all boats were weather scratches Sunday but boats were set to leave the dock that night to fish Monday. The story was similar all along the Gold Coast.

At Channel Islands Sport­fishing in Oxnard (CISCOS), the Aloha Spirit ran a couple of full-day bass trips to finish out the off-season. Friday’s was particularly good for bass, and they came with a side of game fish. Angler Christopher Lukens of Oxnard, the day’s hot stick, reeled in a halibut reported at 8 pounds and a white seabass at 10. A second legal seabass was also pulled out of thick kelp.

Mike Thompson of CISCOS said the Aloha Spirit’s game fish action was a taste of what spring should bring. “Capt. Pat O’Brien put together a pretty good day,” he said. “Fishing overall this winter was very good and hopefully may be something to keep anglers busy during future off-season months.”

differentkindofDIFFERENT KIND OF KELP CREATURE — A legal white seabass pulled out of the thick stringers for an Aloha Spirit angler. PHOTO COURTESY CISCOS

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