Jenn and I haven't had an opportunity to get over to Catalina since New Years due to weather and work, but the forecast this weekend was looking good, so we planned on making a quick trip to Catalina Saturday.
Unfortunately we got a pretty late start Saturday morning and didn't get down to the boat in San Pedro until 7:45 a.m. To make matters worse, a dense fog had rolled in and we had to take it slow on our way over to the island.
We couldn't even see the break wall until we got to the mouth of the Harbor.
Making our way slowly through the fog, we didn't get to Catalina until 9:30 a.m. But thankfully things cleared up once we got to the Island.
I was thinking that since we got such a late start, it probably wasn't worth chasing seabass on the backside, so we were going to go after some light tackle bonito and maybe a couple goats, but the Long Beach Carnage was set up so conveniently in front of Avalon, so we got a generous scoop of squid and decided to to give it a shot for our first seabass of the season.
We made our way around the East End and were suprised to see a massive amount of boats just inside of Church Rock. Some very reputable six pack boats and about 15 or so private boaters had me thinking that somthing had happened there earlier in the morning, but we don't like fishing in crowds so we headed on down the backside to get away from everyone.
Found a nice little spot all by ourselves where the conditions looked killer and set the hook. Jenn and I caught a released a few nice calicos right off the bat so things looked good. It was now 10:00 a.m.
Then it started. Jenn got picked up and her little avet started singing. We were watching her rod intently trying to figure out if it was the right kind, and we both thought it was acting like a big bat ray. About 10 minutes into the fight Jenn was up at the bow and started yelling. I grabbed the gaff and went up there just in time to see an estimated 30 pound seabass shaking its head before Jenn's line parted. It got worse from there.
Within minutes after that we both were on. These were very nice fish. Jenn again got her fish to color on straight 20 pound and it just came unbuttoned. She said it looked to be about 25-30 pounds. I fought my fish for quite a while and finally got a brief glimpse of what would have likely been a personal best for me before it ran straight for the anchor and busted me off. Um....yeah.....we were both pretty bummed.
Believe it or not, we each pulled the hooks on our next couple fish before Jenn finally landed our first seabass of 2010. A decent fish.
Right after that I finally landed a little smaller model.
Limits on the deck.
Close up on Jenn's fish.
Obviously we were both stoked, but seriously, we lost so many nice fish until we finally landed these two that it was more than a little frustrating. I don't think Jenn and I have both been this snakebit at the same time before. It was both horrible and incredibly awesome at the same time.
Anyway, we were still metering seabass under the boat, but we had our limits so we picked up and left to see if we could add a halibut or two at one of our flatty spots. Unfortunately we found more of the same. I caught and released another three seabass in the 15 to 20 pound range, and Jenn released two more. All these fished seemed to release very well. We got down on the swim step to unhook them and didn't take them out of the water. Still, seabass are notoriously sensitive, so we left them biting and headed back to the slip at noon.
As we made our way back around to the front side, I convinced Jenn to let me make one more cast to a nice little boiler rock that we like to fish for calicos in the summer.....which produced a 29 inch seabass. :shock: When they want to chew, they really chew I guess.
By this time the fog that we left in San Pedro had followed us to Cat, so we had to slow it down for the first 5 miles or so heading back until it cleared up again and we bumped it up.
Lunch on Sunday. Broiled seabass wrapped in bacon.
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