Umarex Gauntlet


Southern CA Saltwater

Rockfish opener sees mixed results due to weather for Santa Barbara boaters

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Mar 05, 2019

SANTA BARBARA — The opener of rockfish season was a nice and a productive day for Santa Barbara boaters, but then the weekend weather hit, slowing things down. The weekend storm did not pack a lot of wind, so surf anglers found that perch and rain mix well.

The morning of rockfish opener south of Point Conception didn’t dawn clear, but the water was calm, which meant people could go out and pick their way around floating debris from rain runoff.

THE SOUTHERN MANAGEMENT zone opened to groundfishing on Friday, and Mr. Dimalanta of San Diego caught this 21-pound lingcod on a squid strip aboard the Stardust out of Santa Barbara. “Boats have been out fishing both deep and shallow, catching a mix of rockfish, lingcod, sheephead and whitefish,” said Jaime Diamond, owner of Stardust & Coral Sea Sportfishing.

Once at their destinations, passenger on Stardust, Coral Sea and Rock Steady had great fishing with comfortable conditions. Increased depth to 75 fathoms meant that boats could fish spots that haven’t been worked over for many years. The result was great fishing for big rockfish and lingcod. On board Stardust, Mr. Dimalanta caught a whopping 21-pound lingcod on a squid strip. Those deep fish aren’t accustomed to our wily ways because they haven’t been fished in so long.

There were big fish caught and bigger fish lost. Capt. Tiffany Vague at Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara said, “We have people with wide grins coming in to tell us about monstrous reds, coppers and lings that they connected with fishing between 60 and 75 fathoms along both the mainland and the Channel Islands. There were a lot of fish lost because big fish pulled them into the deep rocks. Suddenly I’m getting orders for heavier-action custom Vague Rods because people want to keep fish out of the rocks.” The popular shop is also seeing an increase in sales of braided line because its no-stretch qualities help keep big lingcod and rockfish away from the deep rocks.

Surf fishing was excellent all week along local beaches from Rincon to Ellwood and up at Jalama Beach above Point Conception where Jesse Ferguson pulled a 16-inch barred surfperch. There were also reports of a couple of striped bass being taken from the beaches near Jalama. At Goleta Beach, Hal Martin got a 15-inch barred surfperch.

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