Hello Salties. I’m happy to say I’m back in SoCal. Thanks for all the support these last few weeks. It’s been an emotional ride and I truly appreciate it.
Quick Seattle fishing update. I did a lot of pier fishing. In odd numbered years, the pink salmon run and a few had already been caught at some of the northern piers of Puget Sound. My parents’ place is on South Puget Sound, so I wanted to be out there if the salmon happened to roll through. Too early. During my pier fishing though, I put a kid, Zion, on his first fish (a flounder) which is always fun.
I got out on a boat once during my visit with my buddy, Jason Brooks. Jason is a police detective in his real life, but also does radio (710 ESPN in Seattle) and magazines talking about hunting and fishing in the Northwest. We met down in Loreto, Mexico a few years back. It’s a short lingcod season up there (May 1st to June 15) and we wanted to give it a go. We launched out of Point Defiance (Tacoma, WA) and fished near the Narrows Bridge.
Unfortunately, conditions weren’t great the day we could both do it, but it was just good to get on the water. Neither of us caught a lingcod, but I caught a new species…an Irish Lord (right) which is part of the sculpin family. That was cool. Thanks Jason. Hopefully, we’ll connect again in August to catch some salmon. Stay tuned.
As soon as I got back though, I really needed to get on a boat…
Trip Report – Overnight on the Mirage
I’ve been going up fishing the boats in Oxnard and Ventura for several years now. Yet somehow, I’ve never managed to ride the Mirage. Owner/operator, Joe Villareal, has been running the boat going on 30 years, and it’s one of the top boats in the area. His captain, Ryan Young, has been putting together a string of solid trips over the last couple weeks with seabass, halibut and yellowtail augmenting the typically great bottom fishing of the Channel Islands. Despite having never been on the boat, I was pleasantly surprised to find some familiar faces among the crew.
Unfortunately, the area on front side of Santa Rosa Island that had been the hot zone really deteriorated on the trip previous to ours. The poor fishing was a combination of a withering squid situation and an overload of sea lions. The one seabass they hooked, was lost to the dogs. Given that experience, and the fact that the front side was windy the day of our trip, I woke up to find ourselves on the lee side of the island. We looked for squid, but didn’t find any. The boat had some live squid that was on its last tentacles and fresh frozen. There was little to no current when the fishing day started on the anchor tight to the island. Noting these factors, I took advantage of getting in on breakfast early.
Once the water started moving a little, the action got going with the first fish of the day getting hooked on the high dropper with live squid (above). It turned out to be a chunky homeguard yellow that was an easy 20+ pound class fish. The boat plunked out two more before giving in and moving on to rockfishing. The other two yellows were a nice grade also, but the first one ended up taking jackpot at the end of the day. It was good to see that all three opportunities were converted by the anglers involved.
For the rockfishing, we went into deeper water and drifted over a series of hard bottom spots. They seemed to bite best at the beginning of the drift and tail off quickly. A majority of the anglers were using a standard double dropper with a pound of weight. I chose to go with a 12 oz. Lingcodjig in a jig and fly setup using just a bare hook and a strip of squid on top (left). The rockfishing was good. Two to three pound reds and chucks were the norm, with the occasional monster red in the 5+ class.
As the trip was coming to a close, we went shallow and topped off sacks with whitefish. I caught one that rivaled a paddy yellow in size and fight which was fun. Only one lingcod caught for the trip which was surprising. There weren’t even that many shorts. (Editors note – the limit went back to 2 on June 1st)
And that was the trip. It was good to be on the water with friends on a low stress rockfish trip. Thanks to Capt. Ryan and his excellent crew for taking good care of us. Keep an eye on the squid situation up north. I’m sure that once they pop up again, the action will be hot again. In the meantime, if you want to load up on rockfish with a chance of more, pick a day and go.
Good luck if you get out there.