Enterprise-3/4 Day 7/31

#1
I'm sorry that this is my third report that has nothing to do with pier fishing, and I'm hoping to do some more pier fishing for the month of August.

After looking at some of the fish counts from the 3/4 day boats fishing Catalina Island and hearing reports of Bluefin Tuna and Mahi-Mahi being caught in the Catalina Channel, I decided to hop on the Enterprise out of Pierpoint Landing, Long Beach yesterday. I arrived at the landing at about 5:15 AM. The tide was low and outgoing, and I did not see any anglers fishing off of the Long Beach Finger Piers or the jetty. As I was boarding the boat, I noticed a dead White Croaker and an undersized California Scorpionfish floating in the harbor that had probably been there for a while. The croaker looked like it had been a catch-and-release that went wrong, while the sculpin looked like it had been the victim of a predator, such as a bird.

We stopped off at the bait barge, where we loaded up with sardines and anchovies. The ride to the barge was very beautiful, as the sunrise gave the other boats in the harbor a reflective glow. I wish I had taken pictures, but my camera storage was too low. At the barge, I fished with a small metal jig (forgot the exact model) that I had purchased from Daiso Japan with 30 lb braid and a 10 lb flurocarbon leader. I saw several baitfish schooling just below the boat. I had hooked a small Pacific Bonito that I lost at the rail, and landed two foul-hooked Jacksmelt and a Pacific Chub Mackerel that would become live bait for the trip. Other anglers were also fishing, with one bonito being caught with a small surface iron. That bonito ended up being the only one landed for the day.

We first stopped at Huntington Flats to fish for sculpin. During the trip, we ended up fighting through lots of shorts (and tangles). The spot was very crowded, as we were surrounded by five other sportfishing boats (something that I haven't seen outside of tuna season). I was ultimately able to land a couple of sculpin. Bucktail jigs with a 16 oz torpedo sinker, 65 lb braid, and a 25 lb mono leader seemed to do a great job of weeding out the very tiny sculpin, but their teeth resulted in my bucktail jigs being turned into leadheads. Meanwhile, anglers using bare squid strips were not as successful, as the short sculpin would pick their hooks clean. Even though the recommended sinker size was only 10 oz, I feel that the 16 oz sinker did a great job of preventing my rig from being blown around in the current, while the other anglers were chasing their tackle around the boat.

Afterwards, it was off to Catalina Island. I used a trolling setup with a Cedar Plug, while the crew tossed out a couple of setups with large, blue Rapalas. We didn't see any sign of tuna or mahi-mahi on our way to the island. We arrived a little north of Two Harbors near Camp Emerald Bay. The crew began to chum the sardines, while we fly-lined anchovies. The hook of choice was a size 6 live bait hook, but because the only size 6 hooks that I had were baitholder hooks, I was forced to use a size 4 live bait hook with a 1/4 oz egg sinker, 65 lb braid, and a 25 lb flurocarbon leader. The bite was slow, with only a few short Calico Bass and Pacific Barracuda being caught. One bonito was caught by a private boater fishing nearby, but the school did not seem willing to bite.

After receiving word from nearby sportboats of a lack of action, we made a move to Bird Rock to target rockfish. While the bite was very good, we were told to use live anchovies, as most of the rockfish were extremely small. I used a double dropper loop rig with a live anchovy on a size 4 live bait hook on the bottom, and squid strips on a size 6 baitholder hook on top, with my 16 oz torpedo sinker and a 25 lb mono leader. Lots of rockfish were caught at this stop, but most of them were very small. I was able to catch two rockfish on the squid, with several missed bites on the anchovy.

We tried once again to fish the island, where we moved to a remote part of the island near the north end. The bite was more active, with boils around the boat. However, these boils ended up being undersized Calico Bass and Pacific Barracuda, and not bonito. I attempted to continue fishing the bottom for rockfish or Halfmoon, where I received several hits on the squid strips, but my size 6 baitholder hook was too large. I attempted to use a lighter setup, with a single dropper loop with size 12 mosquito hooks, a 5 oz torpedo sinker, a 10 lb flurocarbon leader and 30 lb braid, but it was impossible to reach the bottom due to depth and current. I gave up on bottom fishing and switched over to fly-lining.

About a half-hour later, at about 3:15 PM, it was time to return, and we began our trip back to Long Beach. We attempted to troll again on the trip home, but did not see any sign of pelagics. Our jackpot winner was a massive California Sheephead that was caught at the first stop on a fly-lined anchovy (I'm surprised, as I assumed that sheephead only ate shellfish). Overall, it was a slow day with a lot of tangles, but the crew did their best and the other anglers were a fun bunch to talk to, making it a fun day on the water.

As we arrived back to Long Beach, the tide had risen, and so did the city. The Long Beach Finger Piers (and even a few of the public docks) were packed with anglers throwing various sabiki rigs and swimbaits, although I am unsure of their success. We arrived back at about 6:15 PM, where I traveled over to the Berth 55 Fish Market for a dinner of fish and chips with clam chowder. By coincidence, I met Sergio from Angler Chronicles, who was just arriving for an overnight trip on the El Dorado.

Tips:
-Baitholder hooks are not effective for fly-lining
-Always use a heavy sinker when bottom fishing to maintain control of line
-Avoid fishing near the stern of the boat to reduce the risk of tangles
-If a fish is too small to be caught on a size 6 hook on a cattle boat, it is likely not worth targeting

Total Fish Count (for the Boat): *The boat did not post an official fish count, so this is only based on my observations
-44 Anglers
-88 California Scoprionfish
-At least 40 Rockfish including:
-3 Boccacio
-3 Vermillion Rockfish
-1 Starry Rockfish
-1 Flag Rockfish
-1 Half-Banded Rockfish
-1 Treefish
-20 Squarespot Rockfish
-9 Green-Striped Rockfish
-1 Rosemary Rockfish
-7 Calico Bass
-3 Pacific Barracuda
-3 Jacksmelt
-2 California Sheephead
-1 Fantail Sole
-1 Pacific Bonito
-1 Pacific Chub Mackerel
-At least 100 undersized California Scoprionfish
-At least 20 undersized Calico Bass
-At least 15 undersized Pacific Barracuda

My personal fish count:
-2 Jacksmelt
-2 California Scorpionfish
-2 Rockfish including:
-1 Rosemary Rockfish
-1 Squarespot Rockfish
-1 Pacific Chub Mackerel
-6 Undersized California Scorpionfish

I'm sorry about this, but for some reason, it will lost let me post pictures.

Link to the 976TUNA report for the trip.
 
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