|i recently found out that i had an interview in socal for graduate school so i planned to go down and fish along the PCH. i actually wanted to overshoot and end up in san diego, so i could take a charter out for some yellowtail, but my plans were foiled when i started to get sick. then my plans got really messed up when i got worse. so, the trip was cut ultra short so i could get as much rest as possible before the interview and get back in time for work.
however, i figured soaking some bait at night near the berkeley shoreline wouldn't be too stressful so i packed up the rods, brought some squid, and went to chill at my favorite spot. btwn my gf and i, we ended up with a few bat rays, a few baby leopards, and my first thornback ray... the guy did not fight very hard, but was super heavy!
my gf could barely hold the guy up!
closeup of the spiky guy
also ended up with a good assortment of leopard sharks pups, around 24" or so.
the next day, we headed out after sleeping in, and stopped by the monterey wharf to jig up some dines... didn't find much, but my gf managed to pull in one that we dumped into a bucket and quickly drove off to find a place to use it as live bait...
unfortunately the dine croaked before we ended up in carmel. so, i rigged up a high/lo with no high and cast out with squid to see if there were any takers. i ended up with a million snags, and my gf asked to take over the rod. after a minute, she asked me what is feels like if a rockfish bites and i told her it should feel like some taps. she points to the rod and i see it jiggling so i say "reel, reel!" as we see her rig come in, it looks like theres some kelp snagged on the end of it, but nope, a nice little rockfish came in.
after no more action for an hour or so, we head on further down to garrapata state park. talk about a fishy looking place!
tide was going out, so we were able to hike down to right along the water, and the wind and swell were down so it was just a beautiful day... with no fish. TONS of snags, i lost a rig on every cast for about 2 hours with no bites. so sun was going down, it was time to call it quits...
drove the rest of the way down the PCH in the dark to san simeon, where we checked into our hotel.
next day, woke up to see hearst castle, but didnt want to pay for a tour, so we decided to continue heading south. right as we exited hearst castle, however, we noticed a small pier extending out into a beautiful azure bay. so we stopped by there and decided to fish for a short time.
the pier was called san simeon pier, and there were 3 other anglers working the pier, 2 with handlines. it was a very clean pier in a very calm and warm cove, but fishless as we left without any bites at all.
we continued our way down south, and eventually ended up at goleta pier, which i decided to try out because of the great review that ken had in his article. we arrived at around 4pm, with the wind absolutely howling. cast out with hi los baited with squid and chovies for a few bites here and there but no hookups. lost a rig here and there because of the kelp, and my gf actually snagged on a 10 foot length of thick orange construction netting floating by. just before leaving, i managed to pull up a teeny baby rockfish, but forgot the camera in the car, so no pic.
as we walk back to the car, we find 2 gentlemen with a tub of big croaker, and ask how they are catching them. they were using sabikis with small strips of squid (we were using #2 hooks on a heavy spinning outfit, so i guess we couldn't finesse the bites). left dissappointed and cold.
next day, took my interview (quite successfully i might add), but was feeling considerably more ill, probably because of the windy goleta pier. however, i really wanted to try out using the sabikis for croakers so we headed back over with the goal of stopping for an hour or so. on the way up to goleta, my gf points out a nice long pier that extended into the water and notes that it seemed to be "fishy looking." so i shrug and say why not... turns out the pier is newport pier.
we park at the base of the pier, and cast out sabikis with squid. my gf is in the water a full 30 seconds, when she strikes, and pulls in a small kingfish.
so for the next few hours, she continues pulling in baby kingfish after baby kingfish, which is great because shes enjoying herself. i fish for a few baby croakers too, and pull in this fish, which i think is a baby corvina or white sea bass? not sure, but am happy to catch something different.
i see something occasionally splash out of the water, so i switch over to a bucktail jig and lose it to a piece of rope that is floating around (?) i should have also tried a topwater spook or something, but the sun was starting to go down, and we were WAY behind schedule.
a double hookup...
we also had a bigger outfit with anchovies that we threw out in hopes of something larger, but the kingfish would steal the bait within minutes... it was insane, they would basically leave an anchovy skull and spine and thats all.
in hindsight, i really should have hooked on one of the small kingfish and used it on a sliding sinker rig.
sunset on the pier.
anyways, we had a delicious dinner at the restaurant at the base of the pier, and left shortly after sunset to arrive home at around 1am. now i am thoroughly sick while at work, but couldn't have asked for a more fun filled past few days.
things i learned on this trip -
1) surfsamurai, frozendog, saltynick, sincoast etc all make shore rockfishing look easy, but ITS NOT! IT SUCKS! lol.
2) one bait rod and one heavy rod makes for better action.
3) fishing while sick makes you forget you are sick until you finish fishing.
4) my gf outfishes me 2:1
*note - all fish released unharmed except for the sardine, RIP.