Sunday, July 29, 2018

Channel Islands Fishing

       Back in Los Angeles, I went on another awesome fishing trip with my Uncle, Shlome, and Jacob. We had tried out a 3/4 day boat that leaves from Oxnard, CA and fishes the Channel Islands. The boat's name was The Gentleman. The Channel Islands are an archipelago off the coast of southern California. They were formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, the same time that the Santa Monica Mountains were made. The Channel Islands are protected by Channel Islands National Park. Most of water that is protected by the park prohibits fishing, but the National Park does allow fishing in certain areas next to the islands.

       We woke up at 2:30 AM and were eager to start fishing. We got to the landing and rented our rods, reels, and tackle. Our main rig was a Dropper Loop Rig that we would simply drop to the bottom to catch whatever would bite. The boat left at 6 o'clock. We were on our way.

       It was really foggy for most of the morning. We scoured the skyline for the islands as we came closer to our spot. After about an hour and 15 minutes, I pointed out Arch Rock, a natural arch that happens to be the first rock you see when going to the Channel Islands. It is like a gateway to the Channel Islands. After Arch Rock, we passed by the island right behind it, Anacapa Island. We were passing the Island now, but we would end up fishing next to it later. Our first spot was near a beach on Santa Cruz Island, the biggest of the archipelago. Because we left at 6 o'clock, we were rather late. There were many other boats already at the spot. The current was strong at this spot, but we caught fish right away. In a matter of minutes, Jacob had caught the first fish of the day, an Ocean Whitefish! Soon after, I had a fish on! I had felt nibbles, gave a sharp jerk of the rod, and had felt the vibration and pulling of the fish! This was the way I had fished with Annette on Sea Legs before. I reeled it in and caught another Whitefish! But, just as I brought it up, it fell back into the water. It was still a catch! Then, we had all moved to the hull, where we would be fishing for the rest of the day. I felt some nibbles, jerked up, and sure enough, I felt a big tug! I reeled in some, gave Jacob the rod for a bit, and then told Shlome to finish the job. We brought in a Blue Perch! Everyone helped to bring that one in, and it was a great fish. After that, the three of us had each caught Whitefish before we moved to another spot.

       The next spot was around the eastern tip of the island along the cliffs of the north eastern side. It was about 5 minutes away from the last spot. At the eastern tip of Santa Cruz island, there is a hole in the rock due to erosion by the ocean. Also due to sea erosion, there were numerous sea caves in the rocky cliffs. Soon after we started, Shlome caught a Whitefish! After that fish, the bite was slow. But then, just as we were preparing to leave, Shlome reeled in another Blue Perch! By then it was about 11:30 AM, which meant that there was still a lot of fishing time left. We crossed over from the eastern side of Santa Cruz Island the western tip of Anacapa Island.

       We were now fishing next to the rocks that make the western point of Anacapa Island. The first one to catch a fish was Shlome, and he caught a Whitefish. The next person to catch a fish was me, and I caught a Sheephead. The California Sheephead is a fish that I have never caught before. It lives in Kelp Forests all over California. The males have a black head and tail with a pink stripe on its body, and the females are pink all over. I had caught a female. The last fish to be caught was a Whitefish by Jacob and I! Lots of Barracuda were being caught here, especially with jigs that were just casted and retrieved. Because I had no jigs, I was going to use a sardine. I changed my rig to just a hook and a sliding sinker on top of it. I threw the sardine out and fixed the birds nest in my reel while the bait was in the water. We were using baitcasters, so casting was hard, especially with these saltwater ones. I reeled in the slack in my line just in time to feel the Barracuda bite. I tried to set the hook, but I was too late. We moved to the next spot, which was about a minute or two farther out from the island.

       The last stop of the day was a bit farther from the island, but much deeper. It was over 100 feet deep, and Anacapa Island was right in font of us! I changed back to a dropper loop rig with two hooks, and one of the deckhands taught me how to 'backpack' a sinker. He took the thin metal ring attached to my trolling sinker and cut it with his pliers. he then attached another 4 oz trolling sinker to it by putting one of its rings on the cut ring of the other. Then, he hit the cut ring back into the sinker with his pliers. The cut ring was full again, as it had been hit into the sinker, and it was attached to another, to make an 8 oz weight. I dropped my baited hooks down, reeled up the slack when it reached the bottom, and instantly felt faint nibbles. I pulled the rod up and I felt a vibration. I reeled in, unsure of whether I had a fish on or not. It was heavy, but that could have been from the weights I had just put on. I was surprised to see that there were two fish on my line, both on my two hooks! They were Brown Rockfish, or Boxspotted Rockfish, called so because of the dark square spot on their tails. The next fish to be caught was a Mackerel by Shlome. Then, Jacob had caught a small, foul hooked SeƱorita fish. SeƱoritas are found in Kelp Forests in Southern California and Mexico. They are part of the Wrasse family, and are related to the Sheephead. Then, not very long after, Jacob and I had a double hookup. We had both brought in Vermilion Rockfishes, or Orange Roughies as the deckhands called them, at the same time! We lipped them and put them in our bag along with our other fish that we were taking home to eat. The next two fish to be caught were a Whitefish by Shlome and a Whitefish by me. Then, Shlome caught a Sand Dab, a type of flatfish that I had caught before. before we had packed up to go back to the dock, two nice fish were landed. Jacob and I had reeled in a nice Blue Rockfish, and Jacob had reeled in a nice big Whitefish himself. Usually, a fish's stomach rises when it is reeled up from deep where there is lots of pressure. The Blue Rockfish's stomach came up, and we could see what it had eaten. We were able to pull out a shrimp and a crab! We left the spot and ended the trip extremely happy and satisfied.

       We learned lots of things on this trip, including different species, about the use of jigs, how to backpack two sinkers, and more. The crew on the boat was awesome and helped out a lot. This was a great trip and I can't wait to do it again. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Orange Lake Series

This post is on the fishing sessions on my trip to Orange Lake Resort in which I had caught fish. I fished different lakes throughout the trip, but unfortunately, I didn't catch as many fish as I had hoped, especially considering the fact that I fished multiple times in the 5 out of 7 days while I was there. Still, the 7 total fish (4 for me, 3 for Jacob) were fun to catch and definitely worth it.

July 8, 2018

Jacob and I started fishing at Circle Lake, a lake in the resort with a bridge on it that connects an island in the middle to the land. Jacob was fishing with worms under a bobber, and I was fishing with a Texas-rigged Zoom Trick Worm soft plastic lure. It was Watermelon Red colored. Jacob had never caught a Largemouth Bass before, and he was eager to catch his first. Jacob started fishing from the bridge, and I started casting my Trick Worm on the island parallel to the bridge, a few feet away. Before long, something crazy happened. I saw a splash in very shallow water next to the bridge, so I went over to check it out. I couldn't see anything, but I decided to cast in the area just in case whatever made the splash was in the area. I was retrieving the same way I retrieved it for the rest of my trip: twitch, twitch, reel up the slack, pause. As I was bringing the Trick Worm closer, I could see a small fish going after the lure. I felt something on the end of the line, and believe it or not, I had caught a baby Largemouth Bass that was about half - 3/4 the size of the lure itself! Because it was so small and because I wasn't expecting it, it wasn't hooked very well and came off a few seconds after I had brought it out of the water. Still in disbelief, I casted again in the same area to try to catch it again. I did not hook it, but I did see it go after my lure. A minute later, I saw another juvenile Bass right next to the island I was standing on. I called Jacob over and told him that he was about to catch his first Largemouth Bass. He slowly dropped the hook baited with a live nightcrawler into the water, and after a few seconds, the Bass came right at it. It ate the worm, and Jacob hooked it and reeled in. He had caught his first bass! He lipped the Bass, something he had also wanted to do, and released it. It was very exciting. Although we did not catch any more fish, we did find a school of Bream that stole a lot of our worms. The school of Bluegill would eat anything that penetrated the surface of the water. Unfortunately, our hook was too big to catch them. We left when we ran out of worms. It was a successful and fun trip in which Jacob had caught his first Largie and we learned about the school of Bream there. We were definitely going to try again.


July 10, 2018

Today, I woke up early ready to fish. At around 7:15 AM I was walking toward a lake that I had fished before but hadn't caught anything at yet. There are some trees in the lake, which is good for bass fishing because it provides structure, and Bass stay near structure. I was fishing with my Baitcaster reel, which is a type of reel that's new to me. I was using this reel because the Baitcaster is mostly used for Bass fishing and is preferred by most Bass fishermen. One of my goals in fishing is to learn about different types of fishing and to try (and succeed in) them all. To not be a fisherman that focuses on only one method. My goal was to catch a Bass on my Zoom Trick Worms and a Baitcaster reel, by myself. Then, I would prove that I can Bass fish and that it is a method that I have succeed in. I started to cast at the north side of the lake through some trees. Although I had been practicing using my Baitcaster reel in my backyard, I was not experienced enough and I accidentally casted into one of the trees on the first cast. It broke off my hook and lure. I had forgot to ring extra hooks and lures, so I walked all the way to the house to rig up again and back. By 8:15, I was back at the lake. I was slowly working my way around the lake to the south side, casting and retrieving. I wasn't catching anything. I met another Bass fishermen, Chris. I was talking to him and he gave me some tips on using the Baitcaster, ways to upgrade my gear, and more. After he left, I saw a small, round, bay-like area on the south edge of the lake. It had a small tree in the middle and it looked like it had fish, so I casted there. After about 15 minutes of casting and retrieving, I wasn't expecting a fish, as I had never caught one by myself before, and according to Chris, who had tried both topwater lures and artificial lures at the lake, said that the soft plastic worm wasn't catching fish. But, after a good cast, as I was about to reel in the slack after twitching the rod, I saw the line move to the right. I reeled in, and I felt a tug and saw the flash in the water. Fish on! I reeled it up and caught it! A Largemouth Bass! I pumped my fist in the air in excitement. My first Largie on the Baitcaster and Trick Worm! I have successfully learned how to Bass fish, especially using plastic worms and a baitcaster reel! As far as Bass go, it wasn't very big. But, a fish is a fish, and this one's a grown Largemouth Bass! I felt very accomplished having caught a Bass using new methods to me. It was 9:23 AM when I caught the fish. I packed up and went back to the house, feeling very exuberant. I did it.


July 11, 2018

On the last day of fishing on this trip, Jacob and I returned to Circle Lake with hopes of finding the school of Bluegill and catching some. From what we saw last time, the Bream in that school were pretty big. I rigged up a much smaller hook and baited it with a piece of live nightcrawler. We waited for a little bit for the school to come, but soon after, the school had arrived. In total, we had caught 4 Bluegill, two each. We would have stayed, but the typical Florida storm that comes out of nowhere was approaching, so we decided to end our fishing session. Jacob and I had a lot of fun catching the school of Bream to end the day.


Fishing on this trip was brutal. I woke up and left early to walk to a fishing spot multiple times, we lost some gear, had to deal with tangled lines, (especially with the Baitcaster reel) and only had 7 total fish to show for it. Even though we didn't catch so much, the fish we did catch were awesome. Jacob's first Bass, My first Largemouth on the baitcaster and Trick Worm, and a few big Bream. Definitely a successful trip. Stay Tuned and Tight Lines!!!