Last week, I talked about my Urban Halibut Hunt in San Francisco that happened on my way back down to SoCal. After that successful mission was accomplished, it was only another 5 hours or so and I was home Saturday afternoon. Sunday night, I was back out on a sportfishing boat…
Trip Report – Overnight to San Clemente
Sunday night (July 5th) I got on the Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro. Capt. Bob Vierregger (right), who famously led the Full Moon Fever trip aboard the Fortune, is now plying his craft on this vessel. It was one of only a few trips still available during the week that held the opportunity to catch the elusive white seabass. Their trip that returned Wednesday night was the apex of their successful seabass week. That trip saw them catch 60 seabass for 24 anglers. Subsequent counts portended a growing issue…rockfish with only a couple seabass. They had been fishing at San Nicolas Island. Weather conditions changed, making them adjust their gameplan. The trip previous to mine opted to go to San Clemente where Bob hit it big with 73 yellows and 40 calicos for 24 anglers. If they fished inshore for yellows and bass, there still might be a shot for a seabass, and it fulfilled my longing to get out for more of these kinds of trips this year.
I departed Sunday night with high anticipation…
Monday morning we rolled into the front side of a foggy San Clemente Island. Quickly, Bob found some yellows. One guy on the bow throwing iron connected with one as we were setting up. I had opted to go with my 30# bait stick, but by the time we were able to deploy baits on the school, they had already dissipated. Duly noted. I had been talking with my buddy George Spano about catching yellows on the surface iron. I told him that our approach before we set up to fish bait would’ve been the perfect time to throw iron. I took my own advice and waited by the bow for the next opportunity.
Bob quickly found another school (or was it the same school?). This time I was ready with my jig stick in hand. While Bob was instructing the deckhands to throw bait, I waited for my opportunity. Fish started boiling. I wasn’t in the best position to cast at the boiling fish, so I did the next best thing and made a blind cast toward the kelp line. I started to wind. One, two…BIT! Better to be lucky than good. I fish 40# mono on my jig stick and was able to make quick work of it.
First surface iron yellow for me for 2020!
The best bait bite started around lunchtime and continued through the end of the trip. We were tight to the kelp. It had been a steady pick for a while, and Bob had come down from the wheelhouse to see the action firsthand. He was on the bait tank throwing steady ones and two’s into the starboard/stern corner. Fish could be seen boiling where Bob was landing them.
“For God sakes! Would someone please put a bait in the corner!”
I dropped one in, waited about 5 seconds, and was bit. I looked back at Bob. “Great! On the bass gear. Now get it!” Ha! It took a little longer, but I did for my second fish. The bite lasted long enough that I was able to switch to my 30# bait setup and get another one.
We had another flurry to end the day. I was able to get two more. The final count for the boat was 27 yellows for 24 anglers. Most of the fish were say 13-16-pounds, but the jackpot fish was a solid 25-pounder! In addition to the yellows, the bass bite was solid throughout. I got my first legal in the afternoon but already had 3 yellows. I released it but came close to a limit of legals by the end of the trip. I added a bonus sheephead, aka That Damn Fish that I did keep. No seabass for this ride, but an excellent trip nonetheless. Thanks to Bob and the crew for a great day of island fishing!
Malibu Bean Burritos
I mentioned in my Coming Home article two weeks ago that I was looking forward to doing some surf fishing as soon as I got home. As I write this article on Monday morning, I’m coming off 2 days fishing the beach in Malibu. I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice to say it’s gone very well. There were abundant sand crabs to be found and several spots that featured troughs and holes. Wherever there was a combination of those two things (bait and structure), there were fish waiting to be caught. I caught a few perch over the two sessions, one yellowfin croaker, and the rest were big corbina (aka beans). Not being able to do this style of fishing over the last 4 months, left a big hole to fill in my fishing heart. I’m going to do as much as I can during this visit. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and if you waited too long to book a trip on a boat, it offers an excellent on-demand fishing option. I highly recommend you do some too.
All for now. Good luck if you get out there.