CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Southern CA Saltwater

North-easy offshore winds bring fantastic bottom bites

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 06, 2018

VENTURA/OXNARD — Recent relatively mild offshore wind flow laid the outer islands waters down flat for much of the past week. That opened up access to the best of best, when it comes to outer island bottom fishing.

Vannessa Ewart at Ventura Sportfishing put it this way. "The quality of the fish this week was fantastic. Our overnight trips are bringing in bigger lingcod and reds... The warm weather is sticking around."


ranger85yellowtailRANGER 85 YELLOWTAIL. The big boat was back at CISCO's this week.


This week's weather forecast featured similar predictions, but with a bit more breeze in the mornings for the eastern inner waters and even up the south side of the island chain. Yet those places way out west, like at San Miguel Island will most likely be spared — some of the very best of the best when it comes to reef fish at the Northern Channel Islands.


Ewart said the standard squid baits, heavy iron and swimbaits and such were best bets out there.


At CISCO's, Assistant Manager Mike Thompson highlighted the fall bass bite going on for calico aficionados, not only down along the Malibu Coast, but out at the Channel Islands.


He penned, "It’s a little known secret that fall bass fishing at the Channel Islands is really good. Bass fishing in general is a challenge for any angler, but fishing bass at the Northern Channel Islands is a whole other animal. Calico bass is not only a fun hard fighting fish, but great eating too. This is the time of year you will see boats targeting bass as opposed to strictly going bottom fishing. Found in the kelp or submerged structure, these fish will bite both the live bait and artificial baits."


He said the ocean whitefish have been ravenous recently, no doubt as a result of their recent population boom. It's no doubt associated with our recent warm water years in the Bight.


Even big ones have small mouths, so smaller hooks work better, advised Thompson.


Both the Ranger 85 and the Outrider returned to their winter Channel Islands roosts this past week.


The week's highlights included the Outrider's 9-angler catch of 90 rockfish, a ling, 2 halibut and 9 yellowtail on an overnight trip. Sunday the Mirage was back at the dock with full limits of lingcod (48) and rockfish (240) for 24 anglers.


Both the Seabiscuit and Pacific Islander ran overnight trips pulling in big bags full of fish, limits of rockfish along with hundreds of whitefish. Aboard the 'Biscuit, they were only a few fish from full 20-fish limits, including 225 whitefish for their 24 anglers.


Even on the local areas the numbers were huge, although perhaps not outer island grade fish. The Speed Twin ran with 52 anglers on a 1/2-day run and Capt. Jessie put them on 355 whitefish and 225 rockfish, plus a few other incidental biters.


The Island Tak carried a crew of 9 calico killers to at least limits of calico, with likely many more released.


There were a few bonito around and aboard the Erna B, 13 fishers found 40 bones, plus a yellow, several bass and some rockfish, too.


At Captain Hook's Sportfishing the Coroloma and New Hustler found folks to fish only on the weekend, so go see them. Their 3/4-day limited out on whitefish and added in lots of rockfish and perch too. The New Hustler bagged limits of rockfish and 25 lings for their 23 anglers. They really stuffed the sacks when they added 110 whitefish and 6 sheephead to their cod limits and lings.


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