While making the move from the middle of the back last weekend with our one fish to weigh for the Western Outdoor News Catalina Seabass Tourney, I noticed something interesting. Very good conditions along a stretch of the island, and solid seabass marks for almost a mile. We did not have the time to stop and fish it properly, but did make a few halibut drifts while I took some mental notes. I knew I had to get back and on this stuff before the world found out, and I did.
Monday morning I called Mike Mundy with the 38′ Uniflite “Mundy Mooring” to see if he could go. He is a member of the Avalon Tuna Club and the Southern California Tuna Club, and I knew both had the coveted 1st White Seabass flags available. Mike could not go, so I called Bob Elliott, owner of the “Fresh One.” Bob knew I would not call if I didn’t think it was good, so he made it happen. We could not go that day, “can we go tomorrow?” he asked. It was the best we could do, and I had to accept that. Turned out to be a good move.
I got down to the “Fresh One” about 8am with an ice chest filled with frozen squid for chum. Bob rounded up his fishing buddies that could take off work and they were due to arrive at 10am. I checked the engine fluid levels and the generator. I prepped the boat and was ready and waiting when the group started to arrive. Everyone was excited, and I don’t think there was a doubt in anyones mind it was going to be good. We just didn’t know HOW GOOD it was going to be.
We topped off the fuel tanks and headed over. I ran the boat a little harder that I usually do, but was afraid the Darryl on the “Marie Claire” might sell the bait he was holding for us. I was in no hurry to fish, as I felt it was a late afternoon/evening bite. I was mentally prepared for a sundowner, but we did not have to wait that long. When we came into the area, the “Mardiosa” was hooked up and picking away at the fish. We looked around for not much, watching Tony closely to see when he would finish up (with limits). It took a while and Tony called in the “Options” for a clean handoff. As Wes slid back I saw he already had one hanging. NICE! These guys had paying customers on board and for sure had priority to get it done. We waited patiently.
Even if Wes had not called us in, I still would have moved and set up on that spot. While Wes was on it we could all see the bite building. It was getting closer to bite time and the fish really waned to chew. Wes had to deal with a seal so it took him about 45 minutes to an hour to finish up and start heading for home. When they hooked their last fish, Wes signaled us to head over, and we did.
Our transfer was not as smooth as the one between the “Mardiosa” and the “Options”. I did not mark a single fish for a long while after Wes left. Anxiety began to set in, as we chummed hard for about an hour before getting our first bite. Walt was on the bow and hooked the first fish, but before he had his fish to color we were all pulling on fish. He called for the gaff and I yelled “you will have to gaff your own buddy, we are all a little busy.” A couple fish fell off and I grabbed my camera. When we finally got the last fish for limits, only about 20 minutes had passed. Ryan got the big fish so a couple of us released the 30# models that were lip hooked and very releasable having been caught quickly on heavy tackle. We were in skinny water so releasing these fish was a snap. We could have caught and release for ever, but called it quits when the 5th fish (last for limits) hit the deck.
I have seen it that good 3 times in my whole life. Anything you dropped down was bit instantly. You hear of guys getting bit on 80#? These would have bit 100#, easy. In the Video you see Bob getting his fish, then Ryan hooking one right under the boat. It gives you an idea of just how good it really was. Enjoy.
Click this link to watch the video: