SANTA BARBARA — Weather was good early in the week near Santa Barbara, allowing anglers to work the surf zone and harbor entrance for halibut. Others made successful trips to the Channel Islands for lingcod and very large rockfish.
The salmon opener on the Santa Barbara Channel was slow at least in part to gale warnings and rough seas. Some boats sloshed around out there but found it was difficult to present lures and baits effectively. Even so, a few fish were caught.
ISLAND LING — Loc Tran of Los Angeles is shown with a 17-pound lingcod he caught at Santa Rosa Island aboard the Stardust out of Santa Barbara.
Halibut in the surf kept anglers happy during much of the week when flatties were caught from the Rincon to Goleta Beach. Small swimbaits were common offerings as well as Lucky Craft 110 Flash Minnows. Lee Hatler at hook, Line and Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara said, “We have a new secret weapon at the shop. We started carrying sanddab softbaits that are incredibly lifelike and our customers are finding that rigging them Carolina style and pumping them along In the surf makes them flutter off the bottom in a really enticing manner. We have several colors and a few of the best are salt & pepper, black and glow. These things are also working great on rockfish and lingcod in deeper water. Between these soft sanddabs and our Lingslayer, our customers are heading out incredibly well-armed for lings.”
The WaveWalker and the Stardust worked coastal areas such as the 4-Mile and also made runs to Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands where rockfish were plentiful. Capt. Tiffany Vague on the WaveWalker said, “The chucklehead (copper rockfish) were incredible off the front side of Santa Rosa Island and we picked up a number of 4 to 6 pound reds, too! Those fish were plenty willing to bite squid strips or jigs but people that wanted to target lingcod used diamond jigs, Lingslayers and our new sanddab softbaits. The sanddabs come with leadheads or just the body which our passengers pin on dropper loop rigs.”
Surf perch anglers haven’t missed a beat or a strike. The Rincon produced great surf perch catches. Other hot spots included the Cemetery, East Beach, Hope Ranch Beach and Goleta Beach. Carolina rigs baited with Gulp! sandworms in camo color continued to rule the surf. Chuck Theriot of Santa Barbara scored a 16 inch barred surf perch at Goleta.
Calico bass began to make their presence felt at coastal kelp spots and shallow reefs. Eddie Barajas of Santa Barbara cast out a swimbait off of Carpinteria to catch (and release) a 23 inch calico bass.
Jaime Diamond of Stardust Sportfishing in Santa Barbara said, “We had an amazing week of 1/2 day fishing. We caught lots of big reds and other rockfish, sheepshead, lingcod, whitefish, and a few bass in the mix too. Martin Corona of Santa Barbara caught a 12-pound sheepshead. We suggested people bring their bass gear, since we have been fishing shallow, and this week on our 1/2 day trips we suggest the same. 3/4 day fishing is great bringing in big quality reds and lingcod with a good bunch of whitefish too. Bring both your bass gear and your rockfish gear. Fish are slamming the squid strips, plastics and other lures about the size of small/medium baitfish."