Southern CA Saltwater

Whitefish and rockfish fill 'em up!

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 08, 2019

VENTURA/OXNARD — The Gold Coast fleet, CISCOs, Hook's and Ventura Sportfishing, simply slammed the big bottom biters this past week. It was hard to find a report where there weren't limits of whitefish or rockfish, and sometimes both, in the mix.

For example, the Mirage had an overnighter that didn't get limits of either, posting 209 whitefish and 190 rockfish for 23 angers. But that was because their 38 sheephead and 13 lings took up those spots under their 20 fish per angler maximum.

JOE RINGING CAUGHT this big ling aboard the Gentleman, reported to be a 22 pounder – CISCO's 3/4-day boat.

The story was the same across the entire fleet. And a second week in a row of unusually calm spring weather was at the core of these results, with a third forecast for this week.

With that, the surface waters were gradually warming, rather than staying frigid as they usually do this time of year.

The epic ocean whitefish abundance has really boosted bags, as the boats regularly added in the OWFs by hundreds on top of their rockfish quotas.

Ventura Sportfishing's Crystal Ying reported, "We had a quiet week this week, but our experienced captains really pulled out wins for the weekend! On the Amigo, with Capt. Jon Ewart and Capt. Steve Chesley, our whopper of the week goes to Joey Clark with 22-pound lingcod! On the Island Spirit, with Capt. Sonny Haendiges, our whopper of the week goes to Robert Martinez with a 13-pound sheephead. On the Pacific Dawn, with Captain Pat Cavanaugh and Mike (Dogg), our whopper of the week goes to Richard Egan with a 42-pound halibut! The Amigo and the Island Spirit finished off the weekend by getting double limits of rockfish and lingcod."

CISCO's Mike Thompson said, "All the boats are doing well on rockfish, whitefish, and other bottom species. In fact, the local boats doing 3/4-day trips are catching some outstanding quality. Normally you would have to go to Santa Rosa Island to catch big rockfish, but this year the local boats are getting similar quality."

Regarding the big game prospects, he noted, "Early season gamefish continue to bite at the Channel Islands in the cool sea temperatures. The water still has not hit 60 degrees, yet boats are catching yellowtail on a consistent basis.

"The white seabass bite has dipped a bit since the moon has gone dark, but some are still being caught at Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands. The seabass are chunky this year, averaging 25 to 30 pounds, but several 40-pound fish have been caught also."

richardegansRICHARD EGAN'S 42-pound halibut aboard the Pacific Dawn was their WON Whopper of the Week. Capt. "Dogg" with the hook – Ventura Sportfishing.

keverettejohnsonKEVRETTE JOHNSON WITH the exotic of the week aboard the Aloha Spirit — a 14-pound snowy/star studded/tan grouper.

yellowtailvssheepheadYELLOWTAIL VS. SHEEPHEAD aboard the New Hustler, Hook's Landing.

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