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Southern CA Saltwater

Gold Coast fleet averaging rockfish limits

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Mar 12, 2019

VENTURA/OXNARD — There was hardly a trip that didn’t post at least limits of rockfish all along the Gold Coast last week. The top trips doubled down, putting together an additional 10 bottom biters of other species for California-maximum 20-fish daily bag limits.

PAT OBRIEN WITH 4 giant deep-water reds aboard the Aloha Spirit — 3 vermilion and a sunset.

While this was most common on the overnight outings carrying 30 or fewer anglers, CISCO’s 3⁄4-day boat Gentleman posted 475 rockfish, 500 ocean whitefish and 3 sheephead for 50 anglers on Sunday — just 22 fish under that mark.

Dodging wet weather continued to be a challenge, as it has been for the entire coast. Both Wednesday and Friday last week were no-go days for the entire fleet. This week, however, appears dry through the coming weekend.

Sunday — CISCO’s landing alone — totals showed 1,200 ocean whitefish and well over 2,000 rockfish caught. In addition 42 lings hit decks.

The landing’s spokesman Mike Thompson reported in to WON, “The first full week of fishing the 2019 season is in the books. Besides a couple days of rain and a couple more days of wind, the weather was good for fishing. The fishing was very productive at both the inner and outer islands. Even some of the coastal spots were putting out great quality rockfish. Captains are exploring new territory previously off-limits because of depth and boundary line restrictions. So far the consensus is that the shallows (200 feet or less) are biting better than the deep water. The deep water is putting out quality, but surprisingly no better than the shallows.”

Phelps offered the following advice to anglers coming to fish these famously productive waters: “As for the weights they are asking anglers to bring, on day trips 8-16 ounces. On outer island or overnight trips, they want anglers to have 12-24 ounce torpedo sinkers in their box. Shrimp flies, squids, and even plastics on a double dropper loops work well. Jigs have not been producing thus far, but don’t shy away from bringing your favorite deep water irons.”

Highlights at Ventura Sportfishing included the Island Spirit’s 3⁄4-day catch of limits, 200 rockfish for 20 anglers, plus 20 lings Saturday. Sunday the Amigo posted limits of rockfish for 21 and a bonus of 111 ocean whitefish and 8 lings.

On a full-day trip the Pacific Eagle was on the board with 18 anglers bagging 180 cods, 74 whitefish, 14 sculpin and 3 sheephead.

At Capt. Hook’s Sportfishing Sunday they had the New Hustler and Outrider out on an overnight charters and the Estella fishing open party 3/4-day with 25 anglers aboard.

The landing’s combined catch for 52 anglers was 525 rockfish, 473 ocean whitefish, 25 sheephead and 15 lingcod for a nearly 20-fish per angler average.

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