BY MERIT McCREA
VENTURA/OXNARD — With the daily bag limit for white seabass now at three fish, the Channel Islands fleet saw some wide-open seabass bites with many boats bagging full limits of chromers for all anglers and crew, then busting off fish on the way out of the area.
That was the word from Bob Valney, owner of the Seabiscuit out of CISCOS. For the past week, boats had been loading bait at Anacapa Island, some staying for there for a chance at croaker locally and others making their way west to fish off Santa Rosa Island and other areas. The overnight fleet had been consistently finding a few fish each day plus perhaps a mossback yellow or two and even a couple to a handful of the huge halibut the island is known for before heading on to fill up on rockfish and whitefish.
Then one of the several seabass zones went Richter Wednesday with the Ranger 85 putting 56 on deck. Thursday the Seabiscuit had limits (30) for 10, 9 halibut and a monster yellow.
Friday they were back and limited before 6 a.m. — 66 for 22 anglers plus limits for all crew too. The Mirage had 48 for 16 and the Pacific Islander had 69 for 23. The Ranger 85 put on limits for Day 1 of a 2-day Seeker-sponsored trip, ultimately able to score the rest for full limits for both days or 228 total seabass.
Boats fishing locally also saw some seabass with 15 for 15 on the Aloha Spirit and 12 for 10 aboard the Island Tak.
Out of Ventura Harbor Sportfishing the Endeavor finished with limits on day two of their 2 dayer at ‘Rosa — 120 seabass for 20 anglers.
At Hook’s Landing the New Hustler had put on limits for 23 Thursday (69) and would score 60 more for 22 anglers Saturday.
Out of Sea Landing in Santa Barbara, Thursday the Coral Sea was on a 3/4-day trip at that island and ended up with limits of seabass for 26 and 4 crew, or 90 seabass plus a pair of barracuda. But Friday afternoon the west winds started to take over. Saturday saw the Seabiscuit get 41 plus 3 halis for 20 anglers, the Greylight get 12 for 4 and the Mirage with 12 anglers get 27 seabass, 3 big yellows and a halibut.
By Sunday the persistent west winds took full control of the zone back and the overnight boats were relegated to fishing more protected waters. They still managed a few seabass but mostly relied on the abundant rockfish resource.
All along with these robust seabass scores, the overnight boats also loaded up on the rockfish and whitefish. Valney said the fleet had been loading up on squid at Anacapa Island along the way. One day earlier in the week they’d been in seabass bite there when black seabass came and took over. They hooked some 27 that kept on going and busting tackle, getting just one estimated at 240 pounds to the top before letting it go. The barracuda have been thick at that island.
The seabass bite there tapered some this past week though.
Mike Thompson at CISCOS reported, “Fishing has evolved quite a bit since our last report. It went from pretty-darn-good to doesn’t-get-any-better! Boats fishing both the local and outer islands have been trading punches and putting up some pretty outstanding numbers of white seabass.”
He noted that the squid-getting had gotten quite a bit better through the full moon. “All 12 boats at our landing or running full speed, doing trips starting at 4 a.m. and leaving every hour on the hour until 8 a.m. Then there are the overnight trips that depart nightly at 10 p.m. plus twilights are now running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. for the summer,” said Thompson.
It was busy at all the landings. Santa Barbara boats Stardust and Coral Sea posted rockfish limits almost every 3/4-day run plus some getting a pile of whitefish on top.