Feature Report: Paific Star WON Charter

2012 Western Outdoor News/Pacific Star charter scores

Loads of rockfish as Toronado bags big biscuits

BY BOB SEMERAU/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jul 06, 2012


LIMIT STYLE ROCKFISHING filled bags aboard WON-Pacific Star Charter

LONG BEACH — Everybody felt like they’d gotten really lucky. The snotty offshore weather of recent days had at last left the Southern California islands meaning that the WON-Pacific Star 2012 Charter could get under way with little concern for wind and waves. The clear skies and light winds were a great relief to everyone, including owner-operator Captain Mike Bullard, who had toughed out the situation for the last several outings.

PACIFIC STAR CAPTAIN MIKE BULLARD shared his secret spots while piloting the WON 2012 Charter.

With a full roster of anglers aboard the decision had been made early-on to add a second boat to the WON charter and Toronado was pressed into service to handle the overflow crowd. At just past 10 p.m. the two boats began what would be an amazing trip, filled with the opportunity to fish some great water under optimal conditions.

Toronado skipper, Ray Lagmay, opted to load a few scoops of fin bait at the receiver before heading off to Catalina to make squid. Tory Denuccio, second captain on Pacific Star decided to head straight to the bait grounds just off Ship Rock near Two Harbors to get to work making bait.

While heading over anglers on both boats were given packs of hooks from Lazer Sharp, fluoro from YO-ZURI, and free spool-ups on 20-and-30-pound Suffix Mono. Four gift cards provided by Turner’s Outdoorsman, worth $50 each were raffled off as the two sportboats headed out of Long Beach Harbor. Fishing buddy Ted Reed once again acted as chartermaster aboard Toronado and awarded Turner’s gift cards to John Lueck and Patrick Cash, both of Cypress.

Pacific Star was tucked in close to Santa Barbara Island at daybreak on a spot known as “Rocky 10,” a high spot surrounded by kelp and rumored to be a hangout for biscuits. Toronado was within sight, in close to the island, and had already hooked and lost one white seabass right at the gaff.

With just one larger-model calico eating a squid pinned to the Lazer Sharp 2/0 circle hook, it seemed none of the cruising croaker would take the candy bait for either boat. Captain Bullard took Pacific Star off shore and to deeper water for some bag-filling rockfish. Toronado moved around to the backside of the island in search of better inshore fishing. Aboard Pacific Star the action got going fast as huge sheephead and legal ling started coming over the rail right away.

Brian Crill of Santa Barbara and Leonard Mendoza of Long Beach were first to score with a couple of goats that had thick shoulders and a mean set of teeth. John Drahos of Bradley found a ling to be proud of and Bobby Bunce, Corona, boated a big white fish while on the drift.

BRIAN CRILL PULLED IN his share of big sheephead and rockfish. His huge goat is shown off by Pacific Star deckhand Chris “Hollywood” Carbrey.

The action continued on drift after drift with rockfish and ling filling bags for everybody aboard Pacific Star.

The day’s action was punctuated by meals prepared by cook Tommy Zee, a guy who prides himself on serving great food. Breakfast, snacks, a full lunch, and dinner were about as good as it gets on the water. Pork Loin dinners, grilled chicken salad lunch, as well as homemade fish soup snack on the ride home, were all part of the movable feast aboard Pacific Star.

“That’s one of the reason’s I like this boat,” said Rick Nelson of Wildomar who fished with his son Daniel on this Father’s Day charter. “It’s like being with family, from Captain Bullard to the deck crew, everybody goes the extra mile. Not many crews go so far as to keep fresh bath towels in the showers for passengers to use whenever they want to shower up,” concluded Nelson. Daniel Nelson would go on to boat a beauty ling and take the day one jackpot aboard Pacific Star.
Deck hands Matt Sinclair and Chris “Hollywood” Carbrey were readily at hand helping with fish and the occasional tangle. Carbrey always makes a point of helping with any fish needing a photograph by extending a gaff and a smile for the camera.

DANIEL NELSON SCORED this jackpot winning lingcod on day-one while fishing with his dad, Rick Nelson. The big ling is displayed by Pacific Star deckhand Matt Sinclair.

JIG EATING LING for Randy Scott shown by deckhand Matt Sinclair to give Scott second day jackpot honors.

The pace slacked after a couple more drifts and Captain Bullard asked, “We can do a couple more drifts or maybe go after some big ling at a spot I know.” The resounding call for big ling led to an hour long move to a secret spot we’ll call “Bullard’s Bank.”

The deeper water called for a change in rigs as everyone went for the 1-pound weights and heavy line. This reporter connected immediately with a big ling that would later weigh-in at 15-pounds-plus. Frequent angler aboard WON charters is Tam Nguyen, always at the rail with a smile and a big fish hanging. His ling and several others would be in contention for the day’s jackpot money.

Randy Scott of Garden Grove also fishes the WON charters when he can and pulled in a ling cod to outweigh all others in the jackpot for day two aboard Pacific Star.

While all the action offshore continued, Toronado had moved all the way around Santa Barbara Island picking up some nice halibut for Steve Bustos and Phil Hildebrandt. Bustos’ 32-pound ’but would pick up the jackpot for day one aboard Toronado edging out Hildebrandt’s 29-pounder. Bustos would go on to take the second day prize as well.

Toronado returned to the inshore spot at the “Bowl” where she had started the day and found biscuits on the chew. In quick order eight white seabass took the baits and seven would come over the rail.

Both boats would finish day one back at SBI in search of white seabass with no more biters. As sun set the boats moved off in search of squid and settled back into the shelter on the island long after dark.

Pacific Star night driver Tory Denuccio had placed the boat over the Seven Fathom Ridge just outside the “Bowl,” where Toronado anchored for the night.

CROAKER ACTION ABOARD TORONADO while fishing at the “Bowl” at Santa Barbara Island.

The light of day brought no new action along the island and both boats moved out in search of rockfish to fill bags once again.

Ray Daniel fished with his buddy Bob Eggert and made a point of showing his lingcod and big chucklehead, so loved in his household. Both anglers held their own when it came time to tally the count and all the fish, including a big halibut, would help Daniel’s celebrate his upcoming 60th birthday.

Several drifts through deep water brought some big ling and rockfish aboard but, with bags filling and time running short, the boats tried once more for the prized ghostly white seabass by moving back into the “Bowl.”

Burning as much time as possible without being late back to the docks, Captain Bullard called for “Lines Up,” once again and the time had come to make the run back to Pierpoint Landing.

Four father and son teams were aboard for the WON-Pacific Star 2012 Charter and each of them found time to share the experience in a special way. Catching fish, catching up on old times, and remembering trips gone by, this father’s day was special for everyone aboard the WON-Pacific Star 2012 Charter.

Contact Info:
Pacific Star Sportfishing (951) 302-6383  www.pacificstarsportfishing.com

Toronado Sportfishing  (562) 983-9300 www.pierpoint.net

CHUCKS FOR RAY — Chucklehead are especially prized by some and Ray Daniels picked up doubles on the recent WON charter.

BIG LING FOR WON staffer Bob Semerau is displayed by Pacific Star skipper Mike Bullard. The fish ate a live squid pinned to a 2-0 Lazer Sharp circle hook using an Okuma Makaira reel and custom rod.

HUGE 32-POUND ’BUT took jackpot aboard Toronado for Steve Bustos.

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