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Tale Of Two Trips – Fall Fishing For SoCal Anglers

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  Sitting here in my post-foodfest coma and just found out my trip tonight, the would be 6th annual Ling-a-palooza (sponsored by Lingcodjigs.com) aboard the Pacific Islander has been cancelled due to high winds out there on the water.  Hearing that a lot of trips are getting cancelled up and down the whole coast.  I guess this is the first big blow of winter. Good thing I got out earlier in the week.  Here’s what I saw out there…

San Nic on the Eldorado

As you might have guessed from the name, the whole goal of Ling-a-palooza is to target lingcod.  Capt. Steve Virtue of the Pacific Islander is who introduced me to targeting lings throwing big swimbaits and jigs in shallower water.  If you’re used to rockfishing as a strict double dropper deal, you really want to give it a try.

I went out last Friday night for an overnight on the Eldorado headed to San Nicolas Island.  I haven’t gone rockfishing much this year due to a lot of cancelled trips up north and just everything else that’s been going on fishing-wise.  I felt like it was a good idea to get in a little tuneup.  My buddy, Mark Smolak, who was also going to be on Ling-a-palooza, had the same idea and joined me.  As an added bonus, they had been seeing a little bit of yellowtail out there and had live squid onboard.

Crewmember Roland Sion with one of those big whiteys

As it turned out, we didn’t see any yellows on our trip, but Capt. Jeff Villapando did a great job of putting us on top of fish.  It was a consistent pick from just before dawn, until just after lunchtime.  Quality rockfish, sheephead, lings and whitefish were the story of the day…especially the whitefish.  Larger models.  Large enough that one angler thought he had a yellow and let the whitefish drag him around the boat!  I got several short lings, but persevered and finally managed getting one of the nicer fish over the rail.  It pulled drag a couple times and was a nice shade of blue.  Overall, a nice relaxing rockfishing trip.  Thanks to Jeff and the crew for a good time.

Northern Baja On The Grande

Up on the bow with David and Rob Chao

When I got back from my trip and had a chance to browse through all the reports, I noticed one of the hotter trips going on was aboard the all day San Diego boats fishing in and around the Coronados Islands.  Yo-yo yellows were the order of the day.  In my opinion, yo-yo fishing for yellowtail is a blast and something I just don’t get to do enough.  So when my buddy, David Lee, hit me up Tuesday night asking if I wanted to join him on the Grande to go after them, I was in.

The Grande used to do overnight and longer trips, so they have bunks.  I had to leave my place at 2am to get on the boat, so I was out cold after getting setup.  I woke up to find us closer to the beach, than the islands.  I was surprised to see birds working out in front us with yellows pushing up underneath.  I went back to the rack to switch to my surface iron setup.  We got a couple shots at them on top, but they mostly sank out without responding.

After that brief morning topwater action, the trip turned into the run-and-gun, sonar school style of fishing that we came in expecting.

The first couple stops were straight larger grade bonito, but the yellows eventually got with the program.  We’d get one or two per stop and move on chasing them again.

I made the prediction that the day would continue on in this way and the trip would be made by one or two big stops on the right school of biters. That’s pretty much how it went.

It would take toward the tail end of the trip to have those better stops, but even then they weren’t mega. I started out with a full size Candy Bar heavy and ended up going through a CP105, a 200g flatfall, and a 100g colt sniper, with none of them finding their intended target species. It got to the very end of the day, that I gave in, fished a high dropper and scored my one. Dave got 2 on the jig. Rob had one that was lost at the gaff. Not the wide open day we hoped for, but still fun to get out there and see it. The clouds started rolling in toward the end of the day and maybe the change in pressure changed the bite?  No lack of fish though. Give it a few days to settle back in and I expect it will go again. Thanks to Capt. Alec Stockfelt and crew for a solid trip.

All for now. Good luck if you get out there.