Heading out to St Nicolas end of June

PENN

coastalwerks

I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Apr 20, 2010
    2,038
    429
    San Diego, CA USA
    Name
    Lance De Guzman
    Boat
    Local Kine!
    Jumped on an overnight charter with a few buds fishing on the Truline out of i think 22nd towards end of June. Being from San Diego, we usually fish for Tuna. Never been to St Nicolas and really don’t know what to expect. What type of weather condition, type of gear needed, setup, species, bait, lures, and any additional recommendations would be appreciated. School me on St Nicolas! Thanks 🙏🏼
     

    MYNomad

    Heading South
    Dec 12, 2007
    4,140
    4,696
    Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
    Name
    Rick
    Boat
    Yes
    Here is my experience, FWIW. As a private boater, I always have backup plans. Generally, if Plan A is Tanner, etc., San Nic is Plan B (and Plan C is SBI, Plan D is Catalina and E is stay home). Perhaps not surprisingly, most of my fishing is not at San Nic, but here is what I remember: 1) lots of seals, 2) relatively little recreational pressure, and the island is pretty big, with a big shelf; 3) good rockcod fishing, 4) there are yellow and sea bass. I can't remember being disappointed by San Nic -- in fact, this is inspiring me to plan a trip with San Nic as plan A.
     
    Upvote 0

    esgeo

    over 40 victim of fate
    Feb 12, 2015
    536
    638
    Tulsa, OK
    Name
    Eric
    Boat
    Feelfree Lure 11.5
    I went there once in early June on a 1.5 on the Fortune with Bob running the boat. The chief recommendation from the captain was having some 50# mono topshot for seabass for fishing dropper loop to help with the head shakes. We ended up fishing SBI also on the way in- definitely the most rail time I’ve ever had on a 1.5er, basically fishing from 4AM to 1AM, with a few moves in between. I doubt you would do both islands on an overnight, so please excuse the extraneous info…

    It was a combination of dropper loop fishing structure, kelp fishing, some shallow water rock fishing, fishing near some anchored squid boats away from the island after dark, and then finally some beach fishing at SBI on the way home (hooked a couple bat rays there but nothing else) . We didn’t get any seabass but there were YT (8-15#), huge sheepshead, whitefish, lingcod, and decent rockfish taken and a pretty heft BSB released. There might have been some short calicos, but I’m a little hazy on that. If I remember the water was low 60’s and somewhat clean.

    There were definitely problems with the dogs while we fished dropper loop for yt in the morning i had two hookups and both were taken by dogs literally seconds after getting bit. One guy next to me was using small flat falls (130 g I think) while everyone else was fishing bait, and put on a couple yt that way.

    I didn’t know much about fishing kelp then, but have since figured a few things out. The best, most counterintuitive advice I’ve gotten that changed my kelp fishing for the better was to constantly pull your squid away from the biting fish as they start to mouth (and ruin) your squid. If they are perch or whatnot the commotion may attract a bigger gamefish. And if it’s a seabass mouthing your bait, your rod should load up pretty good. Maybe the fish will be on finbait by then, so maybe that’s all moot for your trip.

    If you wanted to be prepared for a lot: A variety of leadheads in the 1/4 to maybe 5/8 Oz range if you are fishing squid. Probably some sliding sinkers from 1/8 to 3/4 Oz Also some decently big hooks are good for a true fly line setup and dropper loop. i think I took the aku twist 6/0-basically a long shank j hook with a twist in the shank. I think some people like using a white tady 4/0 style iron with a squid or two pinned on, but I’ve never done that. Also, the lingcod rig of choice was a reverse dropper loop with only a single hook, and 2-3+’of leader. Bob clipped the tail off a mac and told me to try that, and it was pretty much instant lingcod each time I tried that.

    That’s all I remember, other that it being an otherworldly place to fish. I’m sure others have some great advice I’m keen on reading as well. Would love to get back there some time. Have a blast!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: coastalwerks
    Upvote 0

    azbaseball

    Member
    Apr 2, 2007
    658
    1,005
    la mesa ca
    Name
    mike de vito
    Boat
    20ft nitro
    San Nic is a goat Haven. Hugh Sheepshead in the shallows in the kelp and off shore on the rock piles. There are yellowtail and some Sea Bass. I do not look for them as the bottom fishing is to remember I was on a trip where two 19 pound goats came aboard. My PB goat is 13.6 in the kelp. The kelp will eat your mono make sure you have braid on your reels. I use a slip sinker rig with a 4/9 AKI hook in the shallows with a whole shrimp. In the deeper water use an entire small squid. They will kill it. Also the large white fish love the squid. The current can be ripping in the deep water. Remember it is a military base and keep at least 200 yards from the shoreline. Have fun

    PICT0013.jpg


    IMG_4151.JPG
     
    Upvote 0

    chilidip

    Member
  • Jul 26, 2006
    734
    510
    North OC
    Name
    David
    Boat
    17' Logic CC
    I can’t count how many times we’ve gone to San Nicolas on the Eldorado. I just posted a trip report on it in the SoCal section. San Nicolas is a haven for big rockfish, goats and whitefish with your chance at YT, seabasss and halibut. It is the island that gets fished the least and has not had the fishing pressure of Clemente and Catalina… so it’s pretty much a seafood store of great eats.

    For the longest time I would take a 8’6” all star bass rod rated at 15-40 with a Lexa 300 and used to fish 15lb test mono top shot on 40lb braid all day. I now use 30lb floro topshot since it doesn’t kink as easily.

    There’s no need to use anything heavier than 8oz when fishing braid since it sinks quickly and there’s no need to drop further than 240 ft. Bring 10-12 oz, weights if the current is really ripping, but I never used anything heavier than 8. My last trip, I caught all of my reds on a 200g Daiwa SK sardine color.

    Good luck! You’ll have a blast. At San Nic, it’s catching and not fishing.
     
    Upvote 0

    coastalwerks

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Apr 20, 2010
    2,038
    429
    San Diego, CA USA
    Name
    Lance De Guzman
    Boat
    Local Kine!
    Here is my experience, FWIW. As a private boater, I always have backup plans. Generally, if Plan A is Tanner, etc., San Nic is Plan B (and Plan C is SBI, Plan D is Catalina and E is stay home). Perhaps not surprisingly, most of my fishing is not at San Nic, but here is what I remember: 1) lots of seals, 2) relatively little recreational pressure, and the island is pretty big, with a big shelf; 3) good rockcod fishing, 4) there are yellow and sea bass. I can't remember being disappointed by San Nic -- in fact, this is inspiring me to plan a trip with San Nic as plan A.
    Be inspired and mix it up! Looks like some good fishing around this area :)
     
    Upvote 0

    coastalwerks

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Apr 20, 2010
    2,038
    429
    San Diego, CA USA
    Name
    Lance De Guzman
    Boat
    Local Kine!
    I went there once in early June on a 1.5 on the Fortune with Bob running the boat. The chief recommendation from the captain was having some 50# mono topshot for seabass for fishing dropper loop to help with the head shakes. We ended up fishing SBI also on the way in- definitely the most rail time I’ve ever had on a 1.5er, basically fishing from 4AM to 1AM, with a few moves in between. I doubt you would do both islands on an overnight, so please excuse the extraneous info…

    It was a combination of dropper loop fishing structure, kelp fishing, some shallow water rock fishing, fishing near some anchored squid boats away from the island after dark, and then finally some beach fishing at SBI on the way home (hooked a couple bat rays there but nothing else) . We didn’t get any seabass but there were YT (8-15#), huge sheepshead, whitefish, lingcod, and decent rockfish taken and a pretty heft BSB released. There might have been some short calicos, but I’m a little hazy on that. If I remember the water was low 60’s and somewhat clean.

    There were definitely problems with the dogs while we fished dropper loop for yt in the morning i had two hookups and both were taken by dogs literally seconds after getting bit. One guy next to me was using small flat falls (130 g I think) while everyone else was fishing bait, and put on a couple yt that way.

    I didn’t know much about fishing kelp then, but have since figured a few things out. The best, most counterintuitive advice I’ve gotten that changed my kelp fishing for the better was to constantly pull your squid away from the biting fish as they start to mouth (and ruin) your squid. If they are perch or whatnot the commotion may attract a bigger gamefish. And if it’s a seabass mouthing your bait, your rod should load up pretty good. Maybe the fish will be on finbait by then, so maybe that’s all moot for your trip.

    If you wanted to be prepared for a lot: A variety of leadheads in the 1/4 to maybe 5/8 Oz range if you are fishing squid. Probably some sliding sinkers from 1/8 to 3/4 Oz Also some decently big hooks are good for a true fly line setup and dropper loop. i think I took the aku twist 6/0-basically a long shank j hook with a twist in the shank. I think some people like using a white tady 4/0 style iron with a squid or two pinned on, but I’ve never done that. Also, the lingcod rig of choice was a reverse dropper loop with only a single hook, and 2-3+’of leader. Bob clipped the tail off a mac and told me to try that, and it was pretty much instant lingcod each time I tried that.

    That’s all I remember, other that it being an otherworldly place to fish. I’m sure others have some great advice I’m keen on reading as well. Would love to get back there some time. Have a blast!

    I'll bring some zakana jigs just in case. Those weights mentioned seem light for this place. Thanks for the comments and will prepare for combat with the sea dogs.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: esgeo
    esgeo
    esgeo
    I’d bring your 4-16 Oz leads for bottom fishing, but the little <1oz) lead heads and sliders would be for slowly sinking a bait above/through the kelp while you are on anchor.
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    coastalwerks

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Apr 20, 2010
    2,038
    429
    San Diego, CA USA
    Name
    Lance De Guzman
    Boat
    Local Kine!
    San Nic is a goat Haven. Hugh Sheepshead in the shallows in the kelp and off shore on the rock piles. There are yellowtail and some Sea Bass. I do not look for them as the bottom fishing is to remember I was on a trip where two 19 pound goats came aboard. My PB goat is 13.6 in the kelp. The kelp will eat your mono make sure you have braid on your reels. I use a slip sinker rig with a 4/9 AKI hook in the shallows with a whole shrimp. In the deeper water use an entire small squid. They will kill it. Also the large white fish love the squid. The current can be ripping in the deep water. Remember it is a military base and keep at least 200 yards from the shoreline. Have fun

    View attachment 1287305

    View attachment 1287307

    Nice goats and mix. What line weight do you recommend along with what, a short leader for floro? Also, with water ripping, any recommendations for weight i.e. 4, 8, 10 oz?
     
    Upvote 0

    coastalwerks

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Apr 20, 2010
    2,038
    429
    San Diego, CA USA
    Name
    Lance De Guzman
    Boat
    Local Kine!
    I can’t count how many times we’ve gone to San Nicolas on the Eldorado. I just posted a trip report on it in the SoCal section. San Nicolas is a haven for big rockfish, goats and whitefish with your chance at YT, seabasss and halibut. It is the island that gets fished the least and has not had the fishing pressure of Clemente and Catalina… so it’s pretty much a seafood store of great eats.

    For the longest time I would take a 8’6” all star bass rod rated at 15-40 with a Lexa 300 and used to fish 15lb test mono top shot on 40lb braid all day. I now use 30lb floro topshot since it doesn’t kink as easily.

    There’s no need to use anything heavier than 8oz when fishing braid since it sinks quickly and there’s no need to drop further than 240 ft. Bring 10-12 oz, weights if the current is really ripping, but I never used anything heavier than 8. My last trip, I caught all of my reds on a 200g Daiwa SK sardine color.

    Good luck! You’ll have a blast. At San Nic, it’s catching and not fishing.
    Thanks, it sounds like i only need 2-3 setups maybe?
     
    • Like
    Reactions: jiggermyster
    Upvote 0

    chilidip

    Member
  • Jul 26, 2006
    734
    510
    North OC
    Name
    David
    Boat
    17' Logic CC
    Thanks, it sounds like i only need 2-3 setups maybe?

    I would take a light dropper loop rig (rod/reel rated for 20lb) with 40lb braid for whitefish/goats/rockfish. You can use anything from a 15-30lb topshot depending on the conditions.

    I would also bring a 2nd outfit for YT & WSB with a rod/reel combo rated to fish 30-40lb test for that.
     
    Upvote 0

    mike garrahan

    TheSabreGuy
    Sep 7, 2007
    2,113
    2,485
    la habra hts
    Name
    mike garrahan
    Boat
    23 ft. crestliner
    If it is an overnight trip on a sportboat out of 22nd St. you won't have a lot of time to fish if you go to San Nic. It is a 7 or 8 hour run depending on the boat. If you leave the landing around 9pm you won't get to the island until just around daylight. You will only be able to fish until around noon when they will have to start back.

    The boat will probably concentrate on bottom fish because they won't have a lot of time to look around for other species. Usually they fish a couple of shallow spots close to the island. A lot of times you can fish light line with a small sliding sinker and catch reds, whitefish, sheepshead etc. After fishing the shallow spots they usually move into deeper water and fish for the big reds, chuckleheads, lings etc.

    In the deeper areas a lot of times they just make drifts over the spot. If the wind is blowing it may be hard to get down to the bottom. You want to be pretty straight up and down. If you get angled out too much you will get hung up on the bottom and lose your outfit.

    You can just use a simple drooperloop outfit with 2 hooks. A 6oz or 8oz sinker is usually enough but if the wind is blowing you might need 12oz or 16ozs. A couple of shrimp flies with squid or anchovies works well for the big reds. The hardcore guys always have their handmade shrimp flies with painted heads and red and yellow feathers.

    Knife jigs and old school rockcod jigs especially red, orange and yellow also work well. I like to put a piece of squid on the hooks, it seems to get bit better.
     
    Last edited:
    • Like
    Reactions: coastalwerks
    Upvote 0

    azbaseball

    Member
    Apr 2, 2007
    658
    1,005
    la mesa ca
    Name
    mike de vito
    Boat
    20ft nitro
    Nice goats and mix. What line weight do you recommend along with what, a short leader for floro? Also, with water ripping, any recommendations for weight i.e. 4, 8, 10 oz?
    In shallow water i use 30 pound flouro and the lightest weight possible 4oz -8oz. In the deeper water I use a 40 pound leader and up to 16 oz. I have had to toss off the bow and follow it down to the stern to hit bottom and hook up instantly I load my reels with 65 pound test braid also it relates to 17 pound mono in size
     
    Upvote 0

    Abusaade

    Member
    Aug 22, 2010
    533
    281
    Compton, Ca
    Name
    Ahmad
    Boat
    none
    Let’s say you will not be disappointed fishing Saint Nic. Lots, lots of bottom delicious species. The issue actually is the weather and the current, other than that , you need 2 setups: 30 and 40 lb . Min. 8 oz to 16 oz . J hooks are great . You will have a sack full of fish by noon. You fish from 60 feet to 300 feet.
    I just got back from there yesterday. Fished on the Eldorado out of Long Beach, Beth 55. Captain is an expert about the island.
    I highly recommend that boat, since they leave by 8 pm and get you there by 4 am, and back at dock by no later than 7. One good advice: jump on the boat in the middle of the week ( light load )
     
    Upvote 0