Chartered the First String for the Rock-Fishing opener for March 1-2 and what a blast we had.
Left with 20 people(4 dropped from the charter) with 5 of them being newbies and headed out to San Nic. Seas were 3-5 feet with about a 10 knot breeze. Tried to maked squid just outside of San Pedro, but no love at all. No one was getting anything. They just vanished. Good thing they already had a few buckets of squid. After two and a half futile hours, we were on our way.
Arrived at San Nic just after sunrise and started fishing in about 120 feet of water on the NE side of the island. Picked at some nice Reds, Whitefish, and other critters and moved around. Captain had told us that we could not keep the Reds due to the regulations out there, and it was hard to set them free. Fortunately, most survived and swam back down. Everyone was using cut-up squid. Picked up a few lings of legal size, but sent them back as well due to them not being in season.
We moved a couple more times in the light breeze and chilly air and then the action was very steady on drifts in up to 150 feet of water. Lots of Reds, Chuckles, Starries, Whites, blue bass, and Sheeps and the bite was steady.
I then put on a 5 oz Braid Sea Fox in purple/blue and sent it down. Holy crap, the Reds loved it. Anything with a big mouth was inhaling it, and even got a couple nice sized whites that I was told would not bite the jig. It basically caught everything but a halibut and WSB. I stayed with it as I kept thinking of that video (I fish the jig; I still have my testicles) and it produced over and over. One friend asked if he could use one as I was getting bit constantly and I told him to help himself. He grabbed a 5 oz Pink Sea Fox, and after some good natured barbs, he let it go. Bingo, fish on. We stayed fishing those jigs the rest of the day. Those poor things took a beating. He was using his just off the bottom, and lifting it up a few inches and dropping it a few. I was bouncing mine off the bottom, letting it sit just off the bottom at times. They were hitting it mostly on the drop. Fast fishing went on the entire day, with more good reds being released. We let go 10 Lings as well. The halibut remained elusive.
By mid afternoon, the sun was out, the winds calmed down and it was absolutely beautiful. My forearms were cramping up and my hands to from lifting and dropping the jig(sometimes went with a 7 oz Braid Thumper Squid, which worked too) and reeling in. Sacks were full of fish.
Them moved further east on the Island to anchor up for lobstering. No joy at all. Octopus, starfish, and some squid. No bugs. Damn.
Wednesday morning, the ocean was flat calm with very light breeze. Moved around and destroyed the whitefish. Captain said he would try a shallow spot(70 feet) for some good sized Sheepies. First pass the current was ripping! My son got rocked after having something on, but a newbie pulled in about a 15 pounder! Tried one more pass and another very nice sheep was caught. 8-10 oz's could not hold the reef due to the current, so we pulled away. My wife managed to lose my valiant jig. Bummer. Weather was beautiful. The rain stayed away from us.
Overall, we had many full bags. We caught a lot of Reds and ended up with 15 lings that were released as well. Never got a halibut though. The ride back was smooth as the water remained flat. The crew was outstanding and Brad was excellent as well. We introduced 5 newbies this trip and they all want to do it again. Will have pictures later as We left back for home right after we got off the boat and in time to get the kids off to school, so now its' bed time and then the vacuum-packing and cleaning reels/rods begins. Damn fun trip.
First String 2 Day 20 75 California Sheephead, 400 Rockfish, 325 Ocean Whitefish
PS: The jigs we got from the shop worked well! Some others bought there as well and a couple visited the store Monday and bought some hoops. The plunger weights i bought worked as advertised. Only lost 1 weight!
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