Southern CA Saltwater

Ventura/Oxnard: Seabass bite tops the charts

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 02, 2019

VENTURA/OXNARD — Triple digit white seabass scores set the bar among the fleet fishing the Channel Islands. It was as good as croaker fishing gets, some boats smoking limits of white seabass before 8 a.m. and pulling off biting fish to top out on the region’s bountiful rockfish resource. At CISCO’s, Mike Thomson summed up the situation.

HOT BITE ABOARD the Pacific Dawn, Capt. Cavanaugh with the gaff. Note the second fish just landed, behind him.

“This past week was one of the best, if not the best week of fishing yet this year. Both local island and outer island boats got into a wide-open white seabass bite, catching limits or very close to limits. Some boats rolled in to the bite a little late, so they missed the best of it, but they still managed to pick off several fish before it ended. The very next day all the boats were ready for action, and when the bite turned on, they made the best of it. Captains are saying there are fish everywhere. There are fish on the coast, fish at Anacapa, and fish at Santa Cruz Island. At Santa Rosa Island the bite has been steady for a while now but this week it broke open. Before the bite was centered around the full moon, but this week it didn’t seem to matter. They were biting! Boats fishing out there on overnight trips or 2-day trips simply killed them. Limits of seabass reported by as early as 8 o’clock in the morning with a few yellowtail mixed in, and even a couple giant halibut!”

At the inner islands anglers targeted the big fish with swimbaits and sardines, while outer island trips scratched and shared live squid, fishing singles of the precious commodity on dropper loop rigs mostly. However custom 1⁄2-ounce leadheads with large hooks, as well as small sliding egg sinker rigs were part of the mix too.

Here are a few eye-popping examples of what y’all missed out on so far. Ranger 85 Saturday-Sunday 2 dayer — 32 anglers, 192 white seabass (limits both days), and a buncha bottom biters. Mirage over­nighter with 22 anglers: 41 seabass, 6 yellows and limits of rockfish plus over 100 whitefish. Island Tak full-day, 9 anglers — 27 seabass (limits). Mirage 2-day: 16 anglers, 65 seabass, 3 yellows, 31 lings, 280 rockfish, 112 whitefish. Pacific Islander overnight with 23 anglers: 32 seabass, 20 lings, 192 cods. Aloha Spirit full-day with 17 anglers: 21 white seabass, 14 calico and a hali.

threesmilinganglersTHREE SMILING ANGLERS and a trio of nice yellows aboard the Toronado with Capt. Ray Lagmay.

At Hook’s Landing Sportfishing: Endeavor 2-day with 20 anglers, 2 halibut, 120 white seabass for limits — both days. Endeavor overnighter with 11 fishing: 27 seabass, 6 yellows, limits ocean whitefish, more bottom stuff. The New Hustler also posted some solid game fish scores and the Coroloma picked off some too on local 3⁄4-day trips fishing Anacapa and east Santa Cruz islands.

Ventura Sportfishing: Pacific Dawn overnight with 16 anglers — 21 white seabass, 10 yellows, other. Pacific Dawn overnight with 27 anglers: 81 white seabass, 2 yellows. Pacific Dawn overnight with 11 anglers — 28 seabass, bunch of bottom biters. Pacific Dawn 2-day with 17 anglers: 102 white seabass (limits), 340 rockfish (limits), a halibut and bunch of other bottom biters. Amigo was on the board heavy several trips too, had 10 anglers with 18 seabass, 14 lings, limits of bottom fish. Amigo overnight: 20 anglers, 200 cods, 31 seabass, 7 yellows, more...

The bite is on, and while a few fish have started to show along the Central Coast, this week’s recent winds are likely to hold the croaker in the Channel Island area as Central Coast waters upwell and return to salmon cold for another week or more. This weekend’s weather was forecast calm as of press time.

A 48-POUND halibut on deck for Corey Dewit aboard the Amigo.

CAPT. TUCKER McCoombs and daughter Brooklyn. She caught and gaffed both of these seabass (Endeavor, Hook’s Landing).

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