Santa Barbara Island Rockfish and Yellowtail Report

PENN

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So Cal Editor
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May 1, 2005
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Erik
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Robalo 226 Cayman
Matt Kotch and I made the run up to Santa Barbara Island on Saturday to shoot some photos for a rockfish article I'm writing for Sport Fishing magazine. I also wanted to try out my new Raymarine ES98 with the through hull chirp sonar. We left long beach at around 6:30 a.m. and after a very smooth crossing arrived at the island around 8. Spent the first hour looking for yellows between the MPA and Sutil Rock. Marked some fish in a couple of spots but they weren't interested so we ran around to the northwest end of the island to fish rockfish.
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Before anyone jumps on my case, yes I know that you can only fish rockfish in water less than 20 fathoms due to SBI being in the CCA. But that doesn't mean that I couldn't go and meter around in the deeper stuff to test out my new sonar and take pics for the article. The CHIRP sonar proved to be better than expected when it came to metering deep water even at speeds over 30 MPH. Also, the Sonar Charts on the Navionics + Regions chart were money when it came to finding rockfish spots at SBI. Everywhere that looked good on the chart looked good on the sonar and produced fish.
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Matt and I ended up with limits of rockfish that were a mix of reds, chuckle heads and blue bass. There was an incredible amount of current so you needed something heavy to get down to the fish. The hot ticket was the Savage Gear Squish jigs in 100 and 130 grams. Color didn't seem to matter but the fish preferred a presentation with a lot of movement. I would drop to the bottom, take five or ten fast winds with the reel and drop it back into freespool. This worked a lot better than the normal bottom bouncing with sweeps of the rod.
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We were only able to cover a small part of the fishy looking structure around the island before we limited out so I'm looking forward to heading back out there to explore some more later this year.

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Finally saw some signs of surface activity around mid day and went three for four on the surface iron yellows. They weren't big fish but it was a fun way to end a great October day.
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Choonaguy

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How does Matt think the new candy bars swim compared to the old ones? I bought several a little bit ago and I don't like how tady put all that gloss coat on there. I like the ones that seem spray painted
 
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Azarkon

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Robalo bay boats are highly praised for their ability to handle off shore runs. There's a recent trend on the east coast to buy bay boats & then run off shore with them when weather allows. Judging by the amount of small boats I saw at San Clemente earlier this year, it's getting popular on the west coast as well.
 
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get some

So Cal Editor
BD Writer
May 1, 2005
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Erik
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Robalo 226 Cayman
How does Matt think the new candy bars swim compared to the old ones? I bought several a little bit ago and I don't like how tady put all that gloss coat on there. I like the ones that seem spray painted

They work fine for us. Been our confidence jig the last couple seasons.
 
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jeffdalton

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Aug 16, 2005
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21' Parker/Stealth Stix
Good job Eric! :D
 
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7raptor

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Sep 18, 2004
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Nowhere I won't go in my Robalo Cayman, just always keep a pair of grundens in the hatch in case it gets messy. We were one of the caymans at SCI this year whacking big BFT. They're fishing machines, they're not flats boats.
 
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FloMar

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Nice of you to post that 1st PIC with the drop off,
just glad it wasn't in tighter as that's the best Whitefish spot on the island IMO.
A beautiful Red if I do say so myself.
Thankfully, not everyone possesses fish sense.
Locks-in 4 me the normal spot of the yellows off the anchorage.
Quality yellowtail!
You could've just posted the PICS IMO and it would have told the story.
120 feet . . . . 232 feet, close enough. LOL!
Loved your report!
 
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7raptor

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Robalo bay boats are highly praised for their ability to handle off shore runs. There's a recent trend on the east coast to buy bay boats & then run off shore with them when weather allows. Judging by the amount of small boats I saw at San Clemente earlier this year, it's getting popular on the west coast as well.

The Cayman has proven to me there's not much reason for deeper-V center consoles for most guys...if you're like me, you fish once or twice a week on the days with the nice weather. On the nice days with the Cayman I can make it to Anacapa in 20 min, santa cruz in less than 30 and it's done SAFELY. If I was concerned with being out there every day, I'd have purchased a high-quality downEast style boat like a steiger miami or a true north.
 
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Azarkon

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The Cayman has proven to me there's not much reason for deeper-V center consoles for most guys...if you're like me, you fish once or twice a week on the days with the nice weather. On the nice days with the Cayman I can make it to Anacapa in 20 min, santa cruz in less than 30 and it's done SAFELY. If I was concerned with being out there every day, I'd have purchased a high-quality downEast style boat like a steiger miami or a true north.

A similar argument occurred in another thread about running fast center consoles on the West coast. Personally, I think it has a lot to do with tradition. A lot of regulars on the West coast come from a background of commercial and/or party boat fishing, where tough & rough was how you run. By contrast, fishing down in the Gulf of Mexico and off of the Atlantic is more about speed & comfort, with mostly private boats & small charters. It's developed different expectations for what a fishing boat ought to be.

I can understand both sides. Popular models on the west coast like the Parker, Skipjack, Radon, etc. are built for rough seas and heavy use. They let you fish in 5-6 feet seas near the offshore islands and overnight in bad weather. That has its appeal. But there's also the other argument - why would I want to fish in 5-6 feet seas, even if my boat could get me there? That's the logic behind the bay boat trend on the east coast - go out only when it's comfortable, because fishing in a washing machine sucks anyway.

Personally, I see more center consoles out there everyday, though the majority are still Skipjack and Parker style boats. Robalo seems to be making a very strong push in California, and might in time become a house hold name, just as Parker and Albemarle have become.
 
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7raptor

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A similar argument occurred in another thread about running fast center consoles on the West coast. Personally, I think it has a lot to do with tradition. A lot of regulars on the West coast come from a background of commercial and/or party boat fishing, where tough & rough was how you run. By contrast, fishing down in the Gulf of Mexico and off of the Atlantic is more about speed & comfort, with mostly private boats & small charters. It's developed different expectations for what a fishing boat ought to be.

I can understand both sides. Popular models on the west coast like the Parker, Skipjack, Radon, etc. are built for rough seas and heavy use. They let you fish in 5-6 feet seas near the offshore islands and overnight in bad weather. That has its appeal. But there's also the other argument - why would I want to fish in 5-6 feet seas, even if my boat could get me there? That's the logic behind the bay boat trend on the east coast - go out only when it's comfortable, because fishing in a washing machine sucks anyway.

Personally, I see more center consoles out there everyday, though the majority are still Skipjack and Parker style boats. Robalo seems to be making a very strong push in California, and might in time become a house hold name, just as Parker and Albemarle have become.

Agreed. The Cayman is a killer boat and a jig fisherman's dream, and Robalo is one of the bigger boat manufacturers in the country. I'm not the only cayman owner who has asked for them to make a 30' bay boat with a 300 mile range for SoCal. Now all I need is to turn one of these massive storage hatches into a bed for overnights at Clemente!
 
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Mangoman32

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Agreed. The Cayman is a killer boat and a jig fisherman's dream, and Robalo is one of the bigger boat manufacturers in the country. I'm not the only cayman owner who has asked for them to make a 30' bay boat with a 300 mile range for SoCal. Now all I need is to turn one of these massive storage hatches into a bed for overnights at Clemente!

Been looking at the cayman 246. like bow cushions great bead for overnight. like the 226 for fishing closes to boiler rocks. also went on Benny's 2510 and that was a nice boat. A 246 with a 120 gallon tank and a console for dual screens would be perfect. Never thought buying a new boat would be so difficult
 
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hucklongfin

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Jul 3, 2003
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You need a more picturesque fishing partner than Matt who actually looks happy to have caught a fish, uh, just sayin'.
 
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Steelhead1

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I've had a Boston Whaler Outrage 250 center console for about a year now; really solid fishing platform. Definitely more popular on the east coast though.
 
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7raptor

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Been looking at the cayman 246. like bow cushions great bead for overnight. like the 226 for fishing closes to boiler rocks. also went on Benny's 2510 and that was a nice boat. A 246 with a 120 gallon tank and a console for dual screens would be perfect. Never thought buying a new boat would be so difficult

A 246 with dual screens and a 120 gallon tank is called a SeaVee 270z. If you have 150k, order one, they're factory direct. If 100k is more your style, call Erik @ Tilly's and he will style you out on a 246 Cayman!

One thing for sure though - unless you only fish offshore, get a bay boat! We run offshore (43, clemente, everything) with no issues on nice days. We have a huge advantage fishing bites like this year at desperation, and inshore for YT, and bass, of having the GPS anchor on the trolling motor. We were anchored next to the LR fleet in 400' of water. If you want to fish on really shitty days, when the winds are 15+, you don't want a center console.
 
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