First time out to Catalina on the Arima 1511

Sep 3, 2019
42
37
35
Fullerton
Name
Nikita
Boat
Palomar 10'
Hey all my friend and finally took my 16' Arima on our FIRST long awaited Catalina trip this last Saturday. The weather conditions were pretty rough, but we made it out to the island by 7:20am and tried fishing the back side of the island by Church Rock. We've never taken a boat out to Catalina and only had the GPS with some coordinates we got from the web (Church Rock being one of them). The swell seemed very big especially for the boat we were on, but we managed to catch some white fish, a sheep head and a few bass. We stayed anchored up until we saw the Freelance truck by us around 10am, and as much as we wanted to follow it to hopefully lead us to the Yellows, we decided against it do the weather. We headed to calmer waters over by Avalon over by Frog Rock (our second GPS coordinate) and here we caught a ton of smaller calicoes but no keepers. We ended up leaving around 1:30pm fearing that the weather was going to turn even worse and made it home safe.

I honestly can't wait to go back, hopefully on a calmer day. Can any salty dogs out there lend a hand and point me to the general areas I should be fishing to find bigger calico or yellow tail around the Island? Are there usually big fish in the two areas we fished? I'm hoping to get a few more runs out to the island in the next month, and would love to have a general area to shoot for in order to have a more successful day.

Thanks,
Here are some photos

Catalina1.jpg


Catalina2.jpg


Catalina3.jpg


Catalina4.jpg


Catalina5.jpg
 

Arima-bob

Ship faced aquaholic
Mar 9, 2012
4,962
3,610
Too far from water
Name
Beeulzebob
Boat
uh....
Good times! I’ve had my 17 to Catalina many times, and all the way around it. I’ve had some bumpy rides, but never felt unsafe. Arima’s are very capable boats, and hold their own quite well.

Fishing cat is never certain. There’s always fish around, and sometimes you just gotta find them. Sometimes you get lucky and they find you. If you start at Avalon, work your way alongto the dumps, church rock, the V’s, Farnsworth bank, up to the west end and eagle rock, and back around to Isthmuth bay and such. There’s a lot of good spots along the way, and those are just a few I remember the names of. Yellows and Calicos are all around the island.
 

uglyducky

I heard there was gonna be cake?
Dec 5, 2017
376
503
Los Angeles
Name
Jesse Collin
Boat
Boston Whaler Challenger 27'
it's less about the exact places you are fishing and more about conditions/time of year/bait/technique, etc. sounds like you caught some fish and made it home safely! that's a successful trip in my opinion. nothing wrong with the two spots you mentioned at all!
 

gettingbentwithbo

Get Bent!
Mar 7, 2009
2,260
1,040
Riverside
gettingbentwithbo.com
Name
Bo
Boat
14' Starcraft SF SS
Never hurts to sibiki up some mac's and slow troll around the island. I have caught a number of yellowtail / bonita / barracudas using this method.
 

Steve Francis

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 11, 2006
347
428
--
Name
StephenKatSea
Boat
.--.
Go to the backside of Catalina. Find the thick kelp beds, assuming they are still there. With a smaller size boat like yours find an opening in the kelp just big enough for your boat. Drop your lines straight down, using just enough weight to get you down. Live squid, when available, is the typically the best bait. Likely catch will be calico bass, often the larger variety which tend to live deep within the kelp beds. Sheep head and whitefish are also likely. Observe the CA F&G laws on all your fish, particularly the Calicos, minimum size 14" and max 5 fish. You're going to look crazy sitting there in the middle of the kelp bed, but it works. Anchor?? Your choice. Very easy to get it hung up in the thick kelp. Try not to damage any kelp as you ease into and out of these small open areas of the kelp bed.
 

gettingbentwithbo

Get Bent!
Mar 7, 2009
2,260
1,040
Riverside
gettingbentwithbo.com
Name
Bo
Boat
14' Starcraft SF SS
Or drag a Rapala while you're metering around, looking.
Yup that can work too! Or a Nomad DTX 7 those have a really nice action to them as well.
 
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Dan Salazar

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 23, 2014
329
838
69
Costa Mesa
Name
Dan Salazar
Boat
Hammer Time
I would recommend the front side of the island on the legal side of Long Point see attached
Calico bass and certain times bigger yellowtail come around on that point sometimes you have to wait quite a while for that to happen
Lobster hooping is also good in this area
Screenshot_20200922-114541_FishDope.jpg
 

uglyducky

I heard there was gonna be cake?
Dec 5, 2017
376
503
Los Angeles
Name
Jesse Collin
Boat
Boston Whaler Challenger 27'
You don't see the humor in that? Lol, calm down dude. You must be one of the snowflakes that's all broken up about RBG.
super calm. everything you post is negative. i would love to see you speak to all these folks, myself included, in person in the manner you do. the fact that you are so stupid you need to try and drag politics into this is just underlining the point even more. you're a miserable, broke prick.
 

SaltH20Angler

I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
Aug 6, 2016
1,144
1,541
SoCal - Corona
Name
Christopher
Boat
I know a couple guys...
Congrats on your first trip to Cat, looks like a great day that could have been greater with a lil more luck.

Cat can be an incredible fishery and she will give up the meat on some days but she can also be as stingy as a nun in menopause with giving up the goods because that's exactly how many quality fish (Halibut, YT, WSB, Big Sheepshead, etc.) that I have caught on many days (none). At the same time, I've had some of my best days there.

There are some guys on here that really do well with the right kind at the island pretty consistently, but they spent a lot of time and $$ to get there, so I'd be surprised if anyone gives you a honey hole spot that is going to consistently produce. If you get good spots like that, share them with me too. 😁

Check out yoursaltwaterguide.com (small monthly fee apprx $6 I think) and you will get lots of GPS spots and probably more importantly a solid game plan video on Thursdays from "Turn the Handle Randall" himself.

You guys did good on your first outing especially considering the snotty conditions. Smart for heading for the barn earlier than later. I have had days crossing the channel on roughly the same size sled that have beat my ass silly. The conditions can be deceivingly nice on the lee side of the island only to find an ass whoopin waiting for you halfway across the channel.

You got some good advice above (slow troll, flyline, kelp info, long point, etc.) and I recommend giving them a try. I've made the mistake of having a great day at a specific spot and spending too much time there on a future days thinking they just gotta be there still when they were not.

Go explore, troll around while you are looking and you will have your lucky day soon enough. Before you know it you will start finding patterns to your sucess. When you do, dont forget to take the pic facing the island or do what pisses me off (blurr out the island so nobody can figure out where you caught at). 🤪
 
Sep 3, 2019
42
37
35
Fullerton
Name
Nikita
Boat
Palomar 10'
Congrats on your first trip to Cat, looks like a great day that could have been greater with a lil more luck.

Cat can be an incredible fishery and she will give up the meat on some days but she can also be as stingy as a nun in menopause with giving up the goods because that's exactly how many quality fish (Halibut, YT, WSB, Big Sheepshead, etc.) that I have caught on many days (none). At the same time, I've had some of my best days there.

There are some guys on here that really do well with the right kind at the island pretty consistently, but they spent a lot of time and $$ to get there, so I'd be surprised if anyone gives you a honey hole spot that is going to consistently produce. If you get good spots like that, share them with me too. 😁

Check out yoursaltwaterguide.com (small monthly fee apprx $6 I think) and you will get lots of GPS spots and probably more importantly a solid game plan video on Thursdays from "Turn the Handle Randall" himself.

You guys did good on your first outing especially considering the snotty conditions. Smart for heading for the barn earlier than later. I have had days crossing the channel on roughly the same size sled that have beat my ass silly. The conditions can be deceivingly nice on the lee side of the island only to find an ass whoopin waiting for you halfway across the channel.

You got some good advice above (slow troll, flyline, kelp info, long point, etc.) and I recommend giving them a try. I've made the mistake of having a great day at a specific spot and spending too much time there on a future days thinking they just gotta be there still when they were not.

Go explore, troll around while you are looking and you will have your lucky day soon enough. Before you know it you will start finding patterns to your sucess. When you do, dont forget to take the pic facing the island or do what pisses me off (blurr out the island so nobody can figure out where you caught at). 🤪
Thanks everyone for the advice and words of encouragement. I will definitely try the techniques provided by everyone here, and hopefully have a better game face next time, or a bigger fish.
 

DonnieD

Shit...where's the beer
May 27, 2015
206
205
45
SD
Name
Donnie D
Boat
FINBOMB
When you can Squid is really the game changer...maybe more importantly....TIME...sometimes you really need to work all day to get that one donkey sized YT but when you do it will rip your arms off! Grab a can in Avalon or Two Harbors ($35) and stay over there one night so you can fish through 5pm...really another HUGE game changer!!
 

djennings

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 17, 2006
137
215
52
Huntington beach
Name
David Jennings
Boat
Arima sea angler 19 "NEW DAY RISING"
Catalina Yellowtail are tough fish. Out of 8 trips since April, I've hooked 3 and landed only 1. Church Rock, Frog rock, Hen rock and all the other spots are good. You just have to be in the right spot/right time. Fish get hungry on the tide swings and current. I also wouldn't fish anything heavier than 30 lb test and smaller hooks (max 1 OT). You hook one, make sure your drag is set properly. Fish won't bite and will bail if the Sea Lions are circling your boat. Move off the spot and find a new one. I marked a great school of Big yellow at the West End last friday. Caught a few nice bonito and the flea bags showed up and the fish finder went dead. Love the 16' ARIMA! Keep at it. It will happen and the stoke lasts for weeks!
 

Capt Devo

Fish Hard
Mar 14, 2010
731
849
San Clemente
Name
Devo
Boat
Trophy
Go to the backside of Catalina. Find the thick kelp beds, assuming they are still there. With a smaller size boat like yours find an opening in the kelp just big enough for your boat. Drop your lines straight down, using just enough weight to get you down. Live squid, when available, is the typically the best bait. Likely catch will be calico bass, often the larger variety which tend to live deep within the kelp beds. Sheep head and whitefish are also likely. Observe the CA F&G laws on all your fish, particularly the Calicos, minimum size 14" and max 5 fish. You're going to look crazy sitting there in the middle of the kelp bed, but it works. Anchor?? Your choice. Very easy to get it hung up in the thick kelp. Try not to damage any kelp as you ease into and out of these small open areas of the kelp bed.
100% good tip there Capt
 

RyanErb

Love to fish!
Aug 7, 2012
1,641
827
All over the 805
Name
Ryan
Boat
OnTheWater
Lots of good tips already in this thread. Cat is tough. Tons of party boats out there constantly hammering it. Watch some of the reports on here from guys like Eric Landesfind on his big trips to San Clemente where they get bigger calico. Some guys will catch 30 calicos at Catalina and all are under 12 inches. As people have said, best to release the calicos as they are a slow growing sport species as discussed here: http://www.sportfishsandiego.com/calico-bass-info.html Sounds like you are getting into the sport, just keep reading and researching and spending time on the water. Perhaps you could even go on a sport boat that goes to the island and learn a few spots and learn how they do it. Sadly, there is no 'magic' bullet. Lots of time on the water, lots of experience, and sometimes just getting lucky. Keep at it! Welcome to the site!
 

Hungone

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 14, 2012
1,255
348
Long beach
Name
Hung One
Boat
Hung One
Nice! I saw you out there by Frog Rock. My pops and I were on my 17 BW Montauk. It was bumpy for us as well
 

Steve Francis

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 11, 2006
347
428
--
Name
StephenKatSea
Boat
.--.
Catalina Island is an amazing fish habitat. It has been very heavily fished since the post WWII era. We all need to do what we can to keep it that way. Fish it, enjoy it. But, most of all respect it. With that respect it will remain a great destination for many years to come.
 
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Danno

Well-Known "Member"
Jan 24, 2007
52
58
San Juan Capistrano
Name
Dan
Boat
19’ Arima Sea Chaser
Damn, those Arimas will handle more than you can!
 

Reefmo

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 28, 2016
200
302
46
North OC
Name
Matt Skogmo
Boat
Trout Sniffer - heavily customized 18.5 tracker targa
The books mentioned above are really helpful... my personal experience has been that having someone or something to point me in the right direction is key. After one year's fred hall, I heard Dave Hansen speak and talk about his site - yoursaltwaterguide.com It is a pay site, and it is a bit rough to navigate around, but there are a few things that are gold -- the spots videos all show you exactly where on cat to fish, and every thursday he posts a 'where to go this weekend' audio message -- including what is happenin at cat. Not everyone likes Dave, but I have learned lots from his site.

Just my $0.02