|This is a scouting/recon report about the Two Harbors in Catalina. It has fishing as well as other topics, like lodging and camping information.
As usual it is very detailed to be used in future to rekindle old memories when the Alzheimer’s sets in!!
Two Harbors fishing trip.
I took an advantage of the promotion given by the Catalina Express with providing a round trip to Catalina; free of charge.
It required travelling on one’s birthday to the island, but the return could be within 30 days.
Skipper Jones and I had talked about going to the Two Harbors many times. However, due to shortage of lodging there, our schedules never allowed it.
I figured I will give it a try this time.
I took a chance and called the reservation office at the Isthmus Harbor. Melissa at the office was a great help to answer all of my questions, book the reservation and help us if we needed.
She was actually on our boat, but I had no idea that it was her. Up to then I had only contacted her via phone and Email.
The only lodging available was a tent that had six (6) cots in it.
I sent out PMs and Burger and RedKorn said yes, and Burger brought his dad too.
I think the name Two Harbors must have been derived from the fact that there are two harbors within 15 minute walking distance from each other. Isthmus harbor and Cat Harbor.
They are sort of back to back.
FRIDAY MARCH 23, 2012
There was only one boat going to the island, and it was departing at 4:05 PM. No getting up at 3:15 AM on this trip. The best part was that it was the big Catamaran from the
Long Beach terminal and not the small single hull boat out of San Pedro.
The return boat left the Isthmus harbor at 2:00 PM on Sunday, and it was the smaller single hull one.
Summer schedules may be different.
To be sure I had room on the boat; I made reservation long before the trip. I even made for the guys to be sure they have a spot.
On the way to the Catalina Express terminal in Long Beach, via the Paul’s Bait and tackle in San Pedro to pick up ghost shrimp, I stopped at a small German village called Alpine Village.
1-The Goulash soup was great and filling, so I had to save the Lux and cream cheese for the island.
2-I had a scare when I saw a huuuuge crowd at the terminal with sleeping bags and backpacks.
However, it turns out that they just got back and not going to the Two Harbors. That meant I was first in line again.
Burger and his dad along with RedKorn joined me not much later.
3-The powerful jet engines were quickly moving us away from the mainland toward the island, once we passed the jetty at Long Beach.
I bought some playing cards on board and we played 21 during the crossing. Although I had taken my pills, I had to go outside to get some fresh air to make sure I did not get sick. It helped.
When we got there, the first order of the business was to register and get our tags for gear transport.
We also bought fire wood and later wished we had bought lighter fluid the same time!
4-This truck transported all of our gear including the fire wood to the campsite and back to the pier. A $1.00 charge per item for round trip was well worth it.
My dolly including all of stuff on it was considered one item.
5-The small platform in front of the pier is where our boat let us out.
6-We endured some steep climbing on the way to our campsite. Fortunately we were traveling light.
We made the climb several times during the outing. It got easier as we got familiar to the climb and knew what to expect.
7-This spot was just below our campsite. We did not get to fish it. I will do it for sure next time.
8-There were only three tents available. We had this one. There were a couple behind us, and the third one was vacant.
Hind sight being 20/20, I should have moved to that one so I could sleep away from all of the snoring. It was like sleeping in a bear’s hibernation den!
I do snore as well. The second night I used ear my plugs, and was able to get some sleep.
9-A propane lamp and stove along with gas was provided as part of the tent rental.
The beds were comfortable and we saved money by using our own sleeping bags. $15.00/day charge would get you linen if you wish.
10-This tent had a roof problem and was not rented.
11-These are empty frames for the tents. I imagine they are setup in the summer.
12- Looking toward the mainland.
A potable water faucet and sink as well as Port-A-Potty units were close to our tent.
13-Looking west at a type of campsite that one brings everything.
Once we unpacked and settled, we took our fishing gear headed to the Plaza to get some dinner. The trail this time was downhill.
14-The only eating establishment in town at the Plaza. In the front they serve breakfast and lunch.
Very good food and reasonable for an island.
15-The only restaurant in town is also connected to the only bar in town. They serve dinner.
16-This is the only “watering hole” in town.
17-The happy campers after a nice dinner.
The ticket agent gave me a blue ribbon to wear that indicates it is my birthday. I thought maybe I will get some kisses, but no such luck.
THE WORD HAS IT THAT THE CATALINA EXPRESS HAS EXTENDED THE “FREE ROUND TRIP ON YOUR BIRTHDAY” PROMOTION FROM APRIL TO DECEMBER OF THIS YEAR.
CALL THEM TO BE SURE. IF SO YOU MUST GO OVER ON YOUR ACTUAL BIRTHDAY (BRING ID), BUT YOU CAN GO BACK IN UP TO (30) DAYS.
After dinner, we went for our first fishing session. The platform was lit and rest of the island was dark, so we opted to fish there. It removed one more pier from my “to fish” piers list.
18- The crew is ready to do battle with whatever takes their bait!
Mr. Erick (Burger’s dad) caught a legal and a short calico bass. Burger caught some large chub mackerel. We saw a lot of bait fish, sea lions, dolphins and a small angel shark.
19-My only fish of the night. A short calico bass with ghost shrimp.
I toured the available facilities for future references.
20-As part of facilities was this laundry room with a cart full of used books to read while waiting for your wash to finish.
21-Clean coin operated showers.
22-Well worth the money to take a hot shower.
Around 1:00 AM we headed to our tent via the steep climb. Many short breaks had to be taken.
SATURDAY MARCH 24, 2012
We were back in town around 9:00 AM.
24-The gang is getting ready in front of the Visitors office.
25-A nice breakfast got us started the right way.
26-The main Plaza of the town. Full of palms and other plants and trees.
27-Burger liked this huge plant. “Feed me Morris”.
We headed toward the Cat Harbor to do some serious fishing. Halibut was the target. Stories of 40 LBS barn doors were heard.
28-Looking south on the way to the Cat. Harbor.
29-The Cat Harbor in the distance.
30-Lots of trees and greenery on the island.
31-Everybody is taking a picture of someone else. Burger just finished his shot.
We found a bench to put our gear on, and decided to fish that spot. The shovelnose guitar fish that were in the water had no idea that Mr. Erick has arrived.
32-We set up “shop” at this bench. Looking toward entrance of the Cat Harbor.
33-One of the many shovelnose guitarfish that Mr. Erick caught.
34-It is best to fish this place during the high tide. Our timing did not allow that. We saw many fish jumping, but could not ID them.
I was casting lures for halibut all day.
35-Mr. Erick had the SNGF dialed in. One after another.
36-One more time.
Burger kept one smaller SNGF to take home for dowaito to make a print from the fish.
37-This was another location that we fished. It was closer to the harbor entrance.
38-Water looking so clear.
39-Looking toward the closed end of the harbor.
40-Eel anyone. I know someone who is envious of this catch.
41-We are three wild and crazy fisherman from LA.
42-At the end of this peninsula, sits an abandoned building belonging to no one!!
43-We were told that this abandoned building belonged to the Catalina Yacht Club at one time.
Somehow it seems at the present, no one owns it.
44-It had a little pier that I fished from.
45-The entrance to the Cat Harbor. Very fishy, but with lots of kelp.
46-The water looked good, but it was kind of hard to get to it.
47-We took a rest on this bench and took in the view while having a snack.
48-Burger is scouting the area for sight fishing.
49-This is not a surface of the moon. It is a ghost shrimp bed.
50-Due to the low tide, we could see the entire area full of ghost shrimp holes.
51-Next time I am bringing a pump.
52-Any direction has its own beauty.
53-The end of this bay had the large population of the ghost shrimp.
54-I would think that the high tide comes all the way to the grass, covering the vast ghost shrimp bed area.
55-I landed this 18” halibut with a calico color swimbait. A one before that got away.
56-RedKorn caught this sole (I think), or as he called it shole.
57-He asked me to release it.
58-We were told that this spot which was opposite of earlier spot, was a great place for halibut.
59-Looking toward the closed end of the harbor.
60-Across the harbor, where we were earlier.
61-Mr. Erick caught and released a small bat ray.
62-The brown spot in the middle of the picture is a buffalo.
What did the buffalo say to his boy as he was leaving?
Around 6:00 PM, we headed to the restaurant for some well-deserved dinner. We had skipped lunch, so everyone was good and hungry.
63-RedKorn and yours truly spoiled ourselves and ordered a prime rib dinner. This was the smaller cut!
One more uphill hike after dinner and we rested for a while at our camp.
64-A Raki party before more night fishing on the second night.
65-After much hard work, we finally got the fire going with the help of our neighbors.
We eventually left for another night fishing session. Mr. Erick stayed behind to rest.
We fished the platform, but this time the only activity was a seal that was feeding. No bites.
One last hike of the trip with many stops and we were in bed. This time I used my ear plugs, and got some sleep.
SUNDAY MARCH 25, 2012
It the morning we packed and left everything except the fishing gear to be picked up and transported to the pier.
We pretty much stayed at the café to have breakfast and stay out of the rain.
66-While we were waiting for the boat to arrive, Burger and I did some last minute fishing in the rain.
No takers, though the tide was very high.
Here is some more information about the Isthmus Harbor.
67-The staff at the only general store are very friendly and accommodating.
68-A very well stocked store.
69-Plenty of liquor if you so desire.
70-A small fishing section is there too.
71-Frozen food section.
72-Some frozen bait is also available.
The other lodging that is hard to get are the cabins. Here is some information about them.
73-This is the inside of the cabins that is available in winter.
74-It is very small, but I won’t be there to stay in the cabin except to sleep.
It also has a small refrigerator.
75-The seating area is out doors.
76-A community B.B.Q., stove, and a microwave are available for use by the cabin guests.
77-Not far from the Plaza either.
78-Free showers and clean bathrooms.
79-A nice little community.
Well I have to GO back. Thus, I reserved two cabins for two nights in November. This time I am traveling light. Staying at the cabin, eating at the restaurant, and pumping ghost shrimp for bait.
80-A last look at the island before we leave.
81-Our camp at a distance.
82-Happy campers are sad to leave, yet glad to go home to the comfort of their residence.
I will be picking up some new gear that will make the outing even better.
It will be hard to wait, but anytime I have a bad day, I will imagine standing at the banks and fishing.
I hope the report will give you an idea of what to expect if you so desire to go there.