Needing to scratch an itch from lack of fishing and/or catching due to recent weather conditions, I went fishing Tuesday, 03-20-18 with Dave Robinson on his 28' Farallon, “Hooked” with crew Ron, Kevin and Bob. Our destination being the west end of San Clemente Island. We left Dave’s slip in Newport Beach at 5:15 am. We cleared the harbor by 5:45 am. Grey light was still 30-40 minutes away with the daylight savings time having just been applied. So we slowly made our way out in the dark. It was the calm before the expected storm, a short window of opportunity on an offshore Island trip. The skies were overcast, with some breaks in the clouds. The seas were quite lumpy, yet there was little wind. As the dawn began to make an appearance, the red skies created by Father Sun were in full sunrise splendor: We arrived outside Target Rock on the west end at 8:05 am. There were no other private boaters or Sport Boats in sight, although a private boater we had passed earlier would arrive soon and join us. There was a light breeze with a fairly strong current. Dave elected to begin our first drift in the mid-range depth area, between 180 and 200 feet. Despite moving all over the west end and past the runway, we never left this depth. We found the fish on the chew and even in these depths we experienced a solid scope out with the strong current and little wind. Although the Rockfish were not in the large size range the quality was excellent. First drops resulted a mixture of Coppers, big Starries, Three Spots and a few Reds. We had a triple going within seconds of reaching bottom. Half way up all five on board were bent over. I started with my favorite outfit, a Calstar 8 foot medium heavy rod, a Saltist 30H, loaded with 50 pound Spectra and a 50 foot top shot of Cxxx 40 pound line. My leader consisted of an 8 oz. Burnt Orange Jax Jig with a shrimp fly 18 inches above. My first drop resulted in two 2 pound Reds. Dave came up with a nice Copper and Ron followed with a big Starry. I didn’t see the other two landed as I rebaited and went back down. We were using frozen baby Octopus and Squid for bait. As we caught some baby rockfish they were stripped out with tails left on and placed on the Jax Jig. The bigger Johnny Bass were on the chew, as I got hammered when I reached bottom and felt the second fish climb as I set the hook on the first. A big pair of Johnny Bass (Olive Rockcod). The sun came out off and on and with little wind it allowed us to remove our jackets, yet remained cool enough to keep the sweatshirts on. The fishing was staying hot, as we all caught solid tasty fish. Here I am with a colorful Red and Johnny Bass: Kevin with a huge Copper and also a nice Johnny Bass: We boogied down the backside of the island, toward the Dunes. As per usual we ran over some new real promising new spots and Dave added to his list of weigh points in the 500 number range to date. Literally when Dave zooms out on his fish finder, he has a solid block of Red around the entire island displaying all the weigh points as a giant blob. As I watched the fish finder along the way, we ran over some great structure, hard bottom and very good looking fish marks, and jagged peaks of rocks. Dave was heading to a spot about another ¼ mile away and stated that he would return to this area later. We set up a drift in about 180’ of water. Water Temps were barely 60 degrees, not bad for this time of year and the water was crystal clear deep blue. The wind had picked up some, and by high noon it was capping, yet a half hour later returned to 6 to 8 knots. This produced over one knot of drift speed. The fish bit well almost everywhere we went. Some bigger Reds were caught, and Dave caught Jackpot with this 7 pounder, the picture does not do it justice. That was also a good sized Copper he caught. Funny how some pictures distort the size one way or another? Kevin with a nice combo: We had drifted a considerable distance and Dave moved us back into position. The fish seem to have scattered and we didn’t do well on this drift. We were nearing limits, so Dave ran back to the alley off Target Rock and we hoped to add some Whitefish to the count. Last time we were hear you could not get away from the Whitefish, today they MIA for the most part. I think we caught only a dozen keepers. The wind shifted to the Northwest and Dave said it might be time to head home. We headed to the barn at 2:30 and back at the dock by 6:00, after stopping outside the harbor to filet the fish. We ran into a nice wind front off Catalina and had to slow down. A few light sprinkles and nothing more. Wind was dead calm at the harbor. Thanks again Dave, you found some good action in 200 feet, while enjoying great conditions and weather before the storm arrives. Great fishing with you again Ron, Kevin and Bob, hope we can share a rail together soon. Hook up!