Toddler fishing at Santa Cruz Island

Crider

Newbie
Mar 13, 2022
4
3
37
Ventura
Name
Chad rider
Boat Name
Islander Peterson 40
Looking for some advice as I'm not much of a fisherman, but my 3yr old seems to love our half-assed attempts at fishing (trolling a plug on our way to the islands and putting some cheese on a hook while exploring in our dinghy). I'd love to step up our game and see if we can actually catch something worth serving for dinner but I don't know where to start.

We have some restrictions since we sail to the islands so aside from trolling on the way we have to fish from our RIB relatively close to shore and our anchorage (usually Pelican, twin, Fry's, or lady's). We also don't have refrigeration or a freezer and would prefer to not use fresh or frozen bait.

Any suggestions on areas we should check out, how to find a good spot, how we should setup the rig, and types of bait/scents that would work best? Also any other suggestions to pump up a toddler about fishing?
 

Blackfish

Marble collector.
Sep 20, 2005
7,312
7,211
the far reaches of crazy
Name
.
Boat Name
toy
1647239144718.jpeg


Not familiar with your area, but you can slow troll these (Bonita feathers/jigs)at about 2-4 knts.. Bones (Bonita) eat them like kids eat candy.

Or pic up a chum bucket, set up on a reef or kelp area, and let the kid pull on macs and bass using squid strips on a 1/2 oz egg sinker and #2 hook. Report back.
 
  • Like
Reactions: the SLIDER
Upvote 0

pacificscout

Hey! You got any frozen ice?
  • Jul 28, 2012
    7,890
    9,394
    Fullerton
    Name
    Wally
    Boat Name
    16ft Scout EMBUSTERO
    There are pre scented baits such as Glup!
    I personally do not use them as they smell and leave a residue.
    Leadheads and plastics will work from anchorage.
    You can add scent from a bottle also.
    Post pictures for us.
    Good luck.
     
    Upvote 0

    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    17,508
    10,457
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat Name
    several
    Here's a few....my dad had me on Matt Walsh age 4.5, always had a hold of my belt loops
    if winding on a cuda or bass. NOW I've owned
    a few sailboats, and always had fun with bonito feathers like shown above. Trolling between Balboa and Newport pier, insane wide open sometimes. Sail to Catalina, let the feathers out about 4-5mi from Avalon, head left around the quarry...OR if headed to moore/anchor in the middle, head for left of Long Point, and the area in front of Girl Scout Camp to the left of YMCA Camp Fox near Long Pt. Often caught Yellowtail on small blue/white or Bonito on Yellow/Green or Blue/White Feathers. Simple spin rods/reels work.
    At 3 put a PFD/LIfe Vest on him on deck. GL FISHING w/son!!
     
    Upvote 0

    Northeastfshman

    I see OJ
  • Dec 20, 2008
    2,734
    2,950
    San Clemente
    Name
    Brett Weinberg
    Boat Name
    Aleta Azul
    Mackrel, Mackrel and Mackrel.

    That is how to get a 3 year old into fishing.

    Get a chum bucket, drift or anchor anywhere near any kind of structure. Get a small ice fishing sized spinning rod, little hook and a small piece of squid and catch one after another.

    I can't tell you now mcuh this is the right way to get your kid started.
     
    Upvote 0

    UnBelievable

    F.V. UNBELIEVABLE
    Jul 19, 2013
    406
    545
    Mission Bay San Diego Ca. USA
    Name
    Norm Campbell
    Boat Name
    UnBelievable 25’ Boston Whaler Revenge
    All the above are great suggestions. I would purchase 5/8, and 1.5 ounce hookup baits. Also get the mermaids milk to add scent to the bait. I have proven to myself these baits work better that live bait. Simple gear of 20lb test and drop to the bottom. Lift the rod with a jigging motion and let the bait back to the bottom. Try to fish the edges of kelp, sand to rock or gravel or any structure you can locate. When you feel a tap or bump, 9 out of 10 times it’s a fish. Also watch the line on the sink, anything that seems different or a change also indicates a fish. You will be successful on getting something for the table. In short time you will become very successful and master these baits. When you reel up also jig the bait up and let it fall a bit all the way up, if a yellowtail is around a very good chance of hooking that. Best of luck to you.
     
    Upvote 0

    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    17,508
    10,457
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat Name
    several
    OH OH Sailing and anchoring up at
    Santa Cruz Island a different set of tricks.
    No idea if Bonito there, maybe in summer.
    Fairly close, deeper maybe some Whitefish,
    Halibut, Bass. Lot of winding for a 3yr old.
    Maybe w/dads help no problem? GL Fishing.
     
    Upvote 0

    Crider

    Newbie
    Mar 13, 2022
    4
    3
    37
    Ventura
    Name
    Chad rider
    Boat Name
    Islander Peterson 40
    Wow, what great advice... THANKS! I will try these out. Before kids my wife and I did a lot of diving and love spearfishing, scallop and lobster hunting but don't get underwater much anymore so fishing from above and involving the little ones is where we're heading. Thanks for the note about structures...from diving we should definitely know some areas that should have calico bass, sheepshead, and rockfish. We've also caught some Bonito in the crossing between Ventura and Santa Cruz Island using a wood plug or yellow/green feather but haven't tried much with in the past few years and haven't caught anything with our son. I will definitely try out glup and mermaid milk...my wife will much appreciate something in a jar rather than bait that smells the boat/cooler up since we always stay 3-4 nights at anchor rather than going for a day trip.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Tunahead
    Northeastfshman
    Northeastfshman
    I can't stress enough how wrong of a take this is. Calico's, Sheepshead ... hook up baits. That's not for a 3 year old. I have identical twin boys that have been on the boat with me since they were 6 months old and have taken dozens of kids 5 and under for their first fishing trip.

    Mackrel... Mackrel and more mackrel.

    They will all be hooked. It's about them not what you want to catch.
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    Arima-bob

    Ship faced aquaholic
    Mar 9, 2012
    6,075
    5,599
    Too far from water
    Name
    Beeulzebob
    Boat Name
    uh....
    I’m in the mackerel camp. Get him a cheap Walmart special and let him pull on as many mackerel as he can handle. Little kids don’t care what they catch, it’s all about the tug. My daughters were the same, but now they want to target specific species, particularly tasty ones. If I even whisper the word sculpin, they perk up.
     
    Upvote 0

    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    17,508
    10,457
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat Name
    several
    I’m in the mackerel camp. Get him a cheap Walmart special and let him pull on as many mackerel as he can handle. Little kids don’t care what they catch, it’s all about the tug. My daughters were the same, but now they want to target specific species, particularly tasty ones. If I even whisper the word sculpin, they perk up.
    Good idea, but sounds like they don't want
    to slime up the sailboat w/macs maybe? LOL
     
    Upvote 0

    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    17,508
    10,457
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat Name
    several
    Any fish is gonna slime up the deck. That’s what washdowns are for. Being a sailboat, I’m assuming it has a self bailing deck.
    YEP in the cockpit....catching a bunch of bonito
    on mine, some macks in the mix, my cockpit
    drained but was slippry slimey mess even after
    buckets of water/soap. Smelled to high heaven
    too. I'd toss most to people in rental skiffs fishing in the harbor.
    More soap when got docked LOL

    Different on a power boat. I sold sail and power boards some years in Newport Beach.
    Had mine in a slip end of Coronado St. $50 then. Few have washdown pumps.
    THEIR BOAT=THEIR CALL LOL
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    FishinMcNuggets

    I've edited enough I should section this post.
  • Oct 25, 2010
    1,612
    1,431
    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Name
    Mike
    Boat Name
    Avon 2.85 "C-¢"
    Get a Berkeley "Gulp" chum bucket, it should be relatively mess free and very effective. Try to soak it up current from the kelp.

    Honestly, I think the most results would come on a small mustad hook with a strip of squid. We buy it in bulk and break it into Ziploc baggies, some pre-cut into bait sizes. Large splitshot/sm. rubbercore sinkers will get it down where the calicos live.

    Don't be surprised if he gets smoked by big fish on occasion. Might be nice to bring a backup rig, for when the primary one is tangled/busted/spooled.
     
    Upvote 0

    Blackfish

    Marble collector.
    Sep 20, 2005
    7,312
    7,211
    the far reaches of crazy
    Name
    .
    Boat Name
    toy
    We also don't have refrigeration or a freezer and would prefer to not use fresh or frozen bait.

    You're going to need a small cooler to keep your catch cool. Keep your bait in the cooler also. Instead of ice, freeze three or four water bottles (or more ifyou have room), and pick up some frozen squid from an Asian market. They sell it by the box in the freezer section, or you can check the fish counter for fresh dead and buy what you think you will need. Cut the heads off the squid, and cut the body into strips, length-wise. Fill up a small zip lock with the strips and head. Toss the guts and cartilage/bones.

    While you are at the Asian market, pick up half a dozen cans of canned maceral. Take a 2-gallon bucket, dump the macs into the bucket, then fill the rest of the bucket with raw oatmeal. Mash the macs and oatmeal into a thick paste. add a cup of vegetable oil, mix it in. The finish filling the bucket with tap water, mix it in...then put the bucket in the freezer.

    Take the bucket out when you are ready to go...once you get set up on the kelp or reef, cut 15-30 1/4" holes in the lid., tie a rope to the handle, and hang it off the side or the bow of the boat.

    Buying a chum bucket may be a easier, but if you and youyr son make the home made chumbucket together, it will be more fun for both of you. Your son will have a balst smashing the and mixing. Your wife might not like the mess or smell. hahhaha

    1647287910868.png


    shopping

    0b71c0fe-8878-4d91-ac33-ff06ea322db6.9aabbd6410d719b1f2d4d51eb452cea0.jpeg
    854f0653-9009-4117-a907-7df2219a193b.5a339afbeb5855bfab565970a5ddf7c9.jpeg
     
    Upvote 0

    Crider

    Newbie
    Mar 13, 2022
    4
    3
    37
    Ventura
    Name
    Chad rider
    Boat Name
    Islander Peterson 40
    Any fish is gonna slime up the deck. That’s what washdowns are for. Being a sailboat, I’m assuming it has a self bailing deck.
    Yeah I don't have any problem with blood in the cockpit...a bucket of saltwater washes that down really easy. The smelly bait sitting for a long time is a much bigger issue. I'll probably catch and release anything we don't want to eat like mackerel and bonito, although also open to good ways to prepare those...I've just never liked those really oily fish.
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    Arima-bob

    Ship faced aquaholic
    Mar 9, 2012
    6,075
    5,599
    Too far from water
    Name
    Beeulzebob
    Boat Name
    uh....
    Yeah I don't have any problem with blood in the cockpit...a bucket of saltwater washes that down really easy. The smelly bait sitting for a long time is a much bigger issue. I'll probably catch and release anything we don't want to eat like mackerel and bonito, although also open to good ways to prepare those...I've just never liked those really oily fish.
    I don’t blame you on stinky bait. I would do like fishinmcnuggets said and keep your bait (squid, fresh dead fin bait) in ziplock bags in a lunch box size cooler. That’ll keep things from getting funky.
    I personally wouldn’t eat mackerel, but I’d keep some for bait if you want to target something a little bigger. Bonito are great eating fish if fresh. If you can cook them (or just prepare them) on the boat, a little soy sauce is all you need. I’ve been told by many they make great sashimi/sushi, but I haven’t tried it that way. I have put Bonito filets in the frying pan and enjoyed them very much. Just don’t bother saving them for more than a day, and don’t freeze them… mush!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: FishinMcNuggets
    Upvote 0

    Ben Green

    Almost A Member
    Jul 15, 2017
    154
    185
    52
    Malibu
    Name
    Ben
    Boat Name
    Fish
    The kelp sections along Alberts are great for Sheephead, Calicos, WSB and YT... Don't have to travel far in your dinghy if you are anchored in the cove
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Tunahead
    Upvote 0

    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    17,508
    10,457
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat Name
    several
    Yeah I don't have any problem with blood in the cockpit...a bucket of saltwater washes that down really easy. The smelly bait sitting for a long time is a much bigger issue. I'll probably catch and release anything we don't want to eat like mackerel and bonito, although also open to good ways to prepare those...I've just never liked those really oily fish.
    Well good luck fishing with your son.
    Priceless years growing up now.

    I didn't have a problem with bonito and
    blood in the cockpit, unless solo wide open trying to steer with a tiller and wide open.
    Catching fish faster than manning bucket. LOL
     
    Upvote 0

    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    17,508
    10,457
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat Name
    several
    I don’t blame you on stinky bait. I would do like fishinmcnuggets said and keep your bait (squid, fresh dead fin bait) in ziplock bags in a lunch box size cooler. That’ll keep things from getting funky.
    I personally wouldn’t eat mackerel, but I’d keep some for bait if you want to target something a little bigger. Bonito are great eating fish if fresh. If you can cook them (or just prepare them) on the boat, a little soy sauce is all you need. I’ve been told by many they make great sashimi/sushi, but I haven’t tried it that way. I have put Bonito filets in the frying pan and enjoyed them very much. Just don’t bother saving them for more than a day, and don’t freeze them… mush!
    YEP Bonito if bleed immediately, and the
    dark oily meat cut out, fillets make great
    sashimi or poke. Bleed some in a bucket.!
     
    Upvote 0

    Arima-bob

    Ship faced aquaholic
    Mar 9, 2012
    6,075
    5,599
    Too far from water
    Name
    Beeulzebob
    Boat Name
    uh....
    True! Bleed them immediately and put them on ice. Cut out the dark stuff, that’s the awful flavor associated.
     
    Upvote 0

    dwaynesda

    dwayne
    Apr 27, 2003
    1,496
    1,298
    nii
    goog.com
    Name
    go
    Boat Name
    Cabo 216
    We have lots of experiance with the toddlers. They do not care if they are going to eat it. They just want action. Steady stream of chum whether it is cut up sardines or canned catfood, it does not matter. Anchor the boat where it is calm and you have fish on the meter, generally near a kelp bed, start the chum amd when the fish show up to the side of the boat, a little bit of bait on a very small hook will provide all the action you want as long as the chum is kept going. They will be very tired in about 30 minutes but they will remember it for a lifetime. Good Luck!
     
    Upvote 0

    Crider

    Newbie
    Mar 13, 2022
    4
    3
    37
    Ventura
    Name
    Chad rider
    Boat Name
    Islander Peterson 40
    Thanks for all the additional info. I'll definitely try bleeding and cutting out the dark meats for bonito next time we catch one trolling. Probably also try chumming with sardines as Dwayne said off the side of the boat as that's much easier than loading up the dinghy and sounds like a really nice activity while we drink our coffee!
     
    Upvote 0

    Latest posts