Islands 5/11/21 Mirage Channel Islands

PENN

streetnfish

I Should Upgrade My Account
Jun 7, 2009
1,017
2,255
south pasadena
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Ray
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Float tube
Hey guys,

Jumped on the Mirage Mon night in hopes of getting lucky with a straggler out of the Seabass bite that started last week. Took 3 setups. Newell 533N/Calstar 700H for 40lb dropper. Accurate BV500N/Temple Reef Innovate 80MH for slow pitch. Penn fathom 25N/Calstar 800L for 25lb leadhead & squid.
We pushed off around 10 with a full boat of fine gentlemen. Capt Ryan was driving, Chase, Victor, and Sean were on deck. Sorry guys but I can't remember the cute young gal who was cooking in the galley. Seabass was the target species
Anyway, I hit the rack for some Z's and woke up around 4am when the boat throttled down and dropped the anchor. We started jigging squid. It was slow but we were putting a few pieces in the well.
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Capt told us to "Hold off and see if we can get this to float ". Boy did it float !
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It was pretty amazing to watch that stuff build and come up circling the lights. Anyway out came the brail and the large nets. It was on !
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By grey light, we filled the tanks and the holds. Capt said we were gonna try fishing where we were before looking around so out went the baits. I planned on spending the majority of my time fishing the dropper loop based on some intel from a fellow BDer which was verified by the crew. Things were slow at first and then the first guy got bent. Then another. Then I got a couple of pecks and then bent ! Worked my fish to the boat and when it came up it was a nice halibut ! PB for me for sure ! Nice stick and it was on the deck ! The first fish was a huge seabass. The second was a nice yellow and my butt came third.
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So stoked to be on the board early with a PB and be able to relax and fish. I can get bored fishing dropper loops and if the fishing is slow like seabass can be, it can be torture. Anyway we didn't have to wait too much longer and the pick began. Few more bites and a few more yellows and halibut came up. In between there were some barracuda and larger whitefish caught. Just enough to keep you fishing hard.
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I tossed out another line and got hammered right when I hit bottom. Set the hook, the line screamed out and then settled into familiar tail shakes. Pretty soon I had another nice fish on the deck .
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We continued to pick away for the morning. The crew did a great job with tangles and gaffing fish. None were lost due to tangles.
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A few fish were lost due to light line and the reef nearby which some of the yellows found. A few of us tried lead heads or sliders but they only resulted in barracuda or whitefish.
We picked until around mid day and then the current shifted completely shutting down the bite. We pulled the anchor and went off to chase some rockfish in the deeper water. Weather was beautiful with a slight breeze and lots of whales and dolphins around
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We started in about 250' and got nothing for the first 2 drops. We had some wind against the current so it was difficult to drift the small spots we were fishing. By the 3rd drop, Ryan was able to use the motors to keep us straight. I dropped a 250g Sea Falcon jig and as soon as I hit bottom and put my reel in gear I got hammered ! Result was a nice Ling !
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Pacific Dawn showed up and we took turns on some stones. Some hot and some not.
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Then tragedy struck ! I caught a nice chuckle head and when the fish got to the surface, I reached down and pulled him aboard using the leader as I always do. I was still holding the leader and walking him over to unhook him when something slid down the line and onto my hand. It was a tip section of my rod just past the 3rd guide. Had no idea how it broke. So bummed ! ☹ But no use crying about it now so I grabbed my 25lb outfit, just tied on the same jig I had, and kept fishing. Man what a difference ! I know guys always say "I don't need that fancy rod. I'll just tie a jig on my blah blah blah rod and it'll work just fine as a slow pitch setup." WRONG ! I now know from personal experience that you cannot work a SP jig the same way with any old blank. You really can't work the jig at all well. You pretty much simply bounce it around like an expensive Jax or diamond jig. To fish long fall style with a regular blank sucks ! It takes much more effort cause the blank doesn't work for you and it is a much less pleasurable experience if you have figured out how to use a slow pitch rod. Don't get me wrong, It works..
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But definitely not as well as an SP set up for SP fishing. There were several of us at the bow jigging and the guy using his Jax did just fine using the traditional jigging technique so I'm not trying to say that SP is a better technique. But trying to slow pitch without a slow pitch rod is next to impossible. In a hot bite it wouldn't matter but we were in more picky conditions. I still managed some nice Chucks and Barber poles though and still had fun catching fish on the jig. It was kind of funny watching the other guys using traditional and SP jigging setups keep hooking up an about double my pace with my hybrid setup.
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Around 3pm we turned for home with smiles all around and some nice bags of fish. I never got the seabass to complete my Channel Island Slam but was stoked on my halibut. We had 2 guys that did hit the Trifecta of sea bass, halibut, and yellowtail though so that was cool. You gotta check the counts but for the exotics we ended up with something like 15 yellows, 7 seabass, and 5 halibut. All caught on dropper loops. Good weather, great crew, and good guys to fish with. I think this was the first day the boats got a good snap on the yellows and they were quality fish. Nice bonus when the seabass are being seabass.
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Take care out there and have fun guys !
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Last edited:

watersdeep

I CATCH IT. I KILL IT. I CLEAN IT. I DON'T DELIVER
Jan 19, 2016
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Jed Venture
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the twisted ducker
The grand slam of grand slams.
 
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mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
  • Apr 22, 2013
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    Huntington Beach
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    2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
    Nice report and congrats, but why the incognito pics.? Wife or boss not know you were fishing?
    :D
     
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    swami 805

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 9, 2016
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    Bill
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    sunk it
    Nice report on a great trip! I have three trips coming up in the next two weeks. Hope that stuff hangs around
    I got a few on a white jig squid combo last week,give it a try when the bite gets picky
     
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    eat'm_raw

    person of interest
  • Mar 7, 2006
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    Santa Barbara
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    Mike
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    15 ' Hobie Power Skiff
    The Mirage has been one of the fishiest boats in the area for a lot of years now. Not the most luxurious boat around, but seabass and flatties in particular love to die on that deck. Congrats on an awesome day on the water!
     
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    gettingbentwithbo

    Subscribe to my YouTube Channel!
    Mar 7, 2009
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    16' Starcraft SF SS
    Damn I think I might have to make the drive and try fishing the Channel Islands! Great report. Thanks for sharing.
     
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    COSDoug

    Member
    Nov 23, 2008
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    Colorado Springs, CO.
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    Doug
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    Hobie Kayak
    Ray,
    Between the photos, accurate descriptions and your explanation of technical strategies involved, your reports are always a great read. Thank you.
    Congratulations on the flatty, a beauty.
    Doug
     
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    palella09

    Almost A Member
    Jul 2, 2015
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    Tony
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    12' Scrambler XT
    Great write up. Hopefully the wsb are still in the area when I make it up north. By the way, did you take home some of the fresh squid for the calamari? 😂
     
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    streetnfish

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Jun 7, 2009
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    south pasadena
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    Ray
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    Float tube
    Great write up. Hopefully the wsb are still in the area when I make it up north. By the way, did you take home some of the fresh squid for the calamari? 😂
    Yea man ! Normally when making squid, we are just trying to get enough to fish with and for the boat. But when that stuff floated the way it did and they were filling up trashcans for the hold, I just took my squid jig over to the other side of the boat and jigged myself a few. First time doing it and man was it good ! I'd never poach squid from the boats stash. Just got lucky to have a rare surplus of squid in the water, an ice pack and a zip lock bag with me 😉 Had tempura battered squid and halibut nuggets last night !
     
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    esgeo

    over 40 victim of fate
    Feb 12, 2015
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    Tulsa, OK
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    Eric
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    Feelfree Lure 11.5
    Great day- great report! Congrats on the PB but bummer about the rod. Just curious, I’ve got an innovate mh as well that I’ve yet to try out and am wondering if you’ve come up with a minimum jig weight for given depths? I know many factors come into play- shape of the jig, weight of your braid, current, etc… but I’ve been trying to come up with a good west coast kit and have been generally amassing jigs between 180-300 g. I used to fish ground fish mostly out of the Bay Area and “current” was usually more related to wind pushing the boat than actual water movement (unless you were in/near the Bay proper). I’ve got the maiden voyage with my setup coming up next month, going out to the Farallons, so the depths are probably slightly shallower than Channel Islands (200-250 max I’m thinking). Wondering if you think 180-300 with an assortment of shapes would cover that? Much appreciate any insights and hope you can get a new top section from TR!
     
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    streetnfish

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Jun 7, 2009
    1,017
    2,255
    south pasadena
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    Ray
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    Float tube
    Great day- great report! Congrats on the PB but bummer about the rod. Just curious, I’ve got an innovate mh as well that I’ve yet to try out and am wondering if you’ve come up with a minimum jig weight for given depths? I know many factors come into play- shape of the jig, weight of your braid, current, etc… but I’ve been trying to come up with a good west coast kit and have been generally amassing jigs between 180-300 g. I used to fish ground fish mostly out of the Bay Area and “current” was usually more related to wind pushing the boat than actual water movement (unless you were in/near the Bay proper). I’ve got the maiden voyage with my setup coming up next month, going out to the Farallons, so the depths are probably slightly shallower than Channel Islands (200-250 max I’m thinking). Wondering if you think 180-300 with an assortment of shapes would cover that? Much appreciate any insights and hope you can get a new top section from TR!
    You're all set with what you described. Don't overthink it too much. Make a best guess based on your experience and the current depth. Then adjust accordingly. The only technique I have adapted to our fishery is to underhand toss the jig downwind to increase my time for vertical presentation when I hit bottom. Other than that there are no hard/fast rules. Play around with it and have fun. The fish will tell you when you are doing it right !
     
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    hucklongfin

    Deep release specialist
    Jul 3, 2003
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    Excellent report and pictures! In that last picture I see tentacles... you were frying up the bait? Well, good if you roll that way!
     
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