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Southern CA Saltwater

Full limits the rule

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Mar 26, 2019

VENTURA/OXNARD — Ventura County sportboats continued to pull full limits of jumbo-sized rockfish and ocean whitefish from Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands on overnight trips. Meanwhile, the local boats tackled the more average grade cods and whitefish at Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands, as well as other Channel areas locally.

CHIEF DOUBLE island reds.

The ever-growing number of whitefish augmenting catches continued to boost combined catches close to that 20-fish maximum daily bag limit.

Some weather rolled through midweek, bringing winds right after, but by the weekend conditions were passable and better again. Wednesday was the down day when none tried to make the crossing to the island lee.

Only a couple of boats were out Thursday, but the early week had been awesome and the weekend provided better conditions, especially by Sunday.

That day the Amigo, Ventura, turned in 20-fish limits for 19 anglers, as 190 rockfish, 172 big whitefish and 7 lings. The day prior they’d limited on lings for 25.

Sunday, the Pacific Dawn was down for cod limits of the big stuff, along with 140 whitefish for 24 folks. Friday the Island Spirit, with 27 full-day anglers aboard, put 270 whitefish, 230 rockfish, 2 sheephead and 5 lings on the scoreboard.

The story was similar at CISCO’s. The Seabiscuit ran the overnight run, tagging in for limits of rockfish or close daily, along with hundreds of those big Santa Rosa Island whitefish.

Although the counts didn’t show any difference between rockfish, for the outer island fleet, the vast majority of those rockffish continued to be big reds and coppers, with a lesser mix of blues, olives and others.

outerislandgradeOUTER ISLAND GRADE ocean whitefish aboard the Chief.

The local 3⁄4- and extended 1⁄2-day boats like the Gentleman and Speed Twin may have had smaller rockfish and whitefish than those outer island offerings, but the numbers were definitely there.

Saturday the Speed Twin carried 40 folks and put them on 400 rockfish. Sunday the Gentleman carried 50 and they caught 500, and added 350 ocean whitefish in the shallows, plus other odds ’n ends. The grand total turned in for 50, 3⁄4-day anglers was 855 fish for a 17 fish per person average.

At Capt. Hooks Sportfishing the Outrider, Chief and Estella all made runs, from local 3⁄4- to outer island 1.5-day. It was full limits of rockfish across the board. The Chief’s Tackle Express sponsored 1.5-day ran with 17 anglers aboard the 90 footer. Their rockfish limits were nearly straight beautiful 4-pound reds. They are scheduled nightly said Capt. Rick Russell, the boat’s owner.

Ventura Sportfishing’s Crystal Ying reported, “The bigger the better! We’re going for bigger and better quality fish! Our Lingcod Monday Special on the Amigo was a success with limits for all of our anglers... The Island Spirit has been on a roll, coming back with limits for all their anglers while keeping up the quality. The Pacific Dawn is definitely back in action, coming back with limits for every trip this week. The Pacific Eagle had light loads all week but kept up their limits as well.”

Meanwhile, CISCO’s Mike Thompson penned, “A couple overnight boats even fished San Nicolas and San Miguel islands... The boats are still bottom fishing in various depths, and catching outstanding quality. Many boats are testing the newly opened deep water spots, but the shallows seem to still be biting best. Many captains say this depth change will not make much of a difference during the spring, but will be a big help in the fall. For now, the boats are asking anglers to come prepared for any depth. Using mostly 12-ounce sinkers on local trips, and 16-ounce on overnight. How­ever, they want anglers to have the big weights just in case. On local morning trips, anglers are being asked to have up to 16 ounces in their tackle box.

Overnight or outer island trips, they are asking anglers to bring up to 24 ounces... One of the new rule changes many don’t know about is that anglers can (now) keep (up to) 2 canary rockfish.”

It’s definitely go time, with the bottom fish biting heavily enough for anglers to sack 12 to 20 each, consistently.

MISSY BRIONES’ 54-pound soupfin shark with Capt. Bob Valney aboard the Seabiscui

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