Mole Tips?

StripeDoc

Active Member
#1
I am heading to Avalon for Labor Day (will be proposing in Catalina to my girlfriend on 8/30 - luckily she doesn't read this board!)

I will definitely be bringing a travel rod and plan to spend at least a couple hours fishing the Mole.

I have read all of Ken's website postings and what I can glean from the messageboard on Catalina fishing but wanted to see if anyone had any specific advice on what to target during that time of year. My understanding is there will be local fish (opaleye/half moon/wrasse/small calico) but wanted to see if there would be an opportunity to target pelagics or larger calicos. Peas on light leaders w/ small hooks seems to be a standard move but also wanted to check on getting live bait - do sabikis work there or should I try to bring worms (will be tough flying from SF) or secure something like market shrimp on the island?

Anything folks have here would be hugely appreciated - I am trying to squeeze a few hours of fishing into what will be a girlfriend (hopefully fiancee!) heavy weekend and would love to maximize my time!
 

Red Fish

Well-Known Member
#2
Being from the SF Bay Area, I will offer a few brief observations from fishing there with PFIC a half-dozen times. Ego Non Baptizo, Mahigeer, and David from PFIC have been there more frequently as they are So-Cal residents.

-Okay, sabiki will definitely get live bait for you from smelt, to sardines, to mackeral. If you can, have a couple different sabikis: some with feathers, some with skirts, some with different-sized hooks. For instance, I have noticed sardines don't like the sabikis with green beads. And sardine is the absolute best baitfish you can get if you can.
-If you can't bring any fishy baits with you, or don't want to, you'll be okay. Synthetic baits like gulp worms or shrimp could potentially work. There is some frozen bait at the bait shop on the Green Pleasure Pier: squid, anchovies, and perhaps market shrimp. Shrimp seems to be best for sheephead, with ghost being best and market shrimp a close runner up. Squid will work too, especially cut in rectangular strips for calico (kelp) bass too.
-Lures are good bet and work well: torpedo weights with and eye on either end are good for casting (attach to end of line and the other end about 5' of
mono or flouro to a bonito fly (or rockcod fly with smaller hooks of 2/0) or 3" swim bait. Big #5 or #6 spinners (like Mepps) work well for mackeral and bonito as does small Krocadiles. White bucktail jigs with worm tails like Mr. Twisters or B-52's will work for calico, halibut, and possible white sea bass or yellowtail. Of course throw these in areas clear of kelp and even the harbor or Sandy Beach.
-That primarily covers your bases. Remember, the Mole and Green Pleasure Pier are public piers, no license, and 2 poles per person, so the people with you can fish too if they want. And, try to bring a collapsible bucket (the collapsible metal/mesh baskets can work) or just a small one to hold some water and about 25' of small rope to get water. Remember that the water is clear so if you use braid, bring some clear monofilament for leader material. And, opaleye are generally vegetarians but I caught some big ones on ghost shrimp. Thin wire circle hooks work well.
 
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Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#3
The resident fish are pretty much always there. The pelagics—bonito, mackerel, and yellowtail, are there some months and some years and absent others. I have only seen yellowtail actually caught at the Mole a few of the years I went. Bonito show up most years and generally the warm-water months as well as early and late in the day are the times. Then again sometimes they don't follow the rules at all. Labor Day though will see some of the warmest waters and so should offer a chance for bonito and maybe yellowtail. The mackerel (Pacific mackerel) are the hard ones to figure. I've fished the Mole 42 times and only caught Pacific mackerel on 11 of those trips. At the Green Pleasure Pier I have caught them 15 times on 54 trips. It's surprising given that they are usually the number one fish taken on SoCal piers.
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#4
Lots of information regarding fishing on Catalina Mole by some of us who visit there more than others are posted here.

However, most visitors have different time schedules. Unlike me who spends the whole day and some of the night hours fishing.

First off---Since you are there with your future better-half, maybe she can join you for some fishing. Or even sitting under moonlight on the pier. Nights on the piers could be romantic.


Second— Get some frozen anchovies on the island. Cut the head off, then in thirds. Cover the rest with rag from the expert robbers (otherwise known as seagulls).

since you are flying with limit on what you can bring, forget about live bait. Put 1 ½ or 2 oz. sinker on the bottom with one hook (6, 8, or 1/0) about 20” above the sinker. Use 1/3 bait on the hook.

For action try bonito fishing at the Mole (not GPP) using Cast-a-Bubble or torpedo rig. If your lure at the end of line is heavier than your sinker, chances of your line fouling up are increased.

Thus, make sure your sinker is heavier than the lure. A feathered (buck tail) hook is best. Chartreuse and white, yellow and red, blue and white (in that order) work well.


Barbra at High tide Trading may have Cast-a-Bubble rigs. Tell her you are on PFIC. She also has bait and some basic fishing items.

If you have specific question, go ahead and posted here and we will try to help with the answers.
 

Reel Newbie

Well-Known Member
#5
Spark plug disposable sinkers? Last time I was there, the bottom on the left side corner had plenty of snags and a rocky bottom. There’s a whole kelp about 20 feet to the left of the corner, and that will snag bonito lures and other rigs. Catch a live bait with a pea or shrimp on a less than size 10 hook about 3’ under. Small split shot and a small bobber might help to tell where your bait is. I believe it was a senorita or a smelt that egononbapitzo was using for calicos. Throw that on a live bait rig and hope. Small size 10 or so sabikis tipped with shrimp will also catch smelt, can’t remember if he used a bobber or not. Whitefish, sculpin and calico will also bite on strips of squid.
Good luck and here’s to your proposal.
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#6
Due to high possibility of snags, I recommend not to use Sabiki or cast bait rigs at the Mole. Bonito rig yes and as far as you can, but not bait rigs.

Bait rigs straight down at either Mole or GPP.
 

EgoNonBaptizo

Well-Known Member
#7
Fishing for smaller stuff is the main fishery at the Mole and GPP during the summer, as the larger fish are leery or are too occupied by the submarines/glass bottom boats. For this I would use a small steelhead bobber (the clear ones) with a swivel as a stopper, and a 3" 4-6 lb fluorocarbon leader and a size 8-10 hook. Use frozen peas or small chunks of market shrimp, and let the bait sink freely by putting your reel into freespool or opening the bail. Watch your bait carefully and set the hook immediately upon seeing a fish take your bait. If you are using peas, use a single pea per hook, and chum whenever you throw your bait in. Set your drag lightly in case a big opaleye or sheephead eats your bait.

Sometimes there is a good whitefish bite off the Mole. For this, I would use a single dropper loop rig with a size 6-4 light wire hook. Use strips of squid or chunks of market shrimp (preferably shell on and not deveined). Cast out as far as possible past the kelp, and set the hook only when you feel a strong take. This rig also works at the GPP for calico and sheephead.

There is a decent fishery for larger calico and sheephead in the late summer-fall as the tourism begins to wind down. You don't necessarily have to have live bait to catch them. Catch some mackerel, sardines, anchovies, or even smelt if you have the time and freeze them individually (saran wrap then putting into big ziplock bags works well). If you are able to catch smelt (even the big ones) use them as live bait. Rig up chunks or live bait on a carolina/fishfinder rig if you will be fishing straight down by the pilings. If you want to cast out, use a 3-way rig or a single dropper loop with a 4 oz weight and cast out as far as you can, past the kelp. Set your reel into freespool and turn the clicker on (if conventional) or loosen your drag (if spinner). When theres a running take, let the fish eat before setting the hook. Lock your drag down and brute force the fish out of the structure.

If you see that enormous calico by the pilings, try flylining a live senorita wrasse or blacksmith. I recommend releasing her as she is a big resident breeder that rarely moves from that spot. (says the man that has eaten countless sheephead and calico from that pier)

If you see boils, tie on a 2 oz megabait/p-line/coltsniper jig, cast past the boil, and then fast retrieve straight through. Or you can try the bonito splasher method mentioned above.

If you happen to have a fishing license, the short walk to Pebbly beach can be rewarding. There is usually a good whitefish bite when you cast out far, and there is an excellent leopard shark and shovelnose fishery in close. Use fishfinder rigs with chunks of mackerel here.
 

StripeDoc

Active Member
#8
Wow there is a ton of good info here - thank you everyone. Better half (Mel) does enjoy fishing with me - we caught a bunch of leopard sharks together at night in Bolinas under the stars over the 4th and it was indeed romantic. If there is fast action she will be into it but still need to spend most of the weekend doing kayaking / snorkeling / beach club stuff :)
 
#9
I fish lures almost exclusively, 42g colt sniper caught me a beast of a bonito last October,
0661DB91-4B00-4058-A4CB-7E380B1E3553.jpeg should be some good ones around on Labor Day. Skip the bobber/splasher rig and fish metals if targeting bones/barracuda (bring pliers!) I catch a few calico on various lures but they are smart and well fed so not the best target. The local fish such as blue perch, calico, sheephead and others can all be caught on small pieces of cut bait,(squid is my fav) light line and as light a wt as you can get away with will catch the most fish, bigger wt farther out for a chance at bigger fish.
PS. I registered in the forum just to chime in on the mole, love fishing there. Good luck with the girl I’d suggest proposing on the beach or somewhere romantic, not while fishing. My wife still said yes but I haven’t lived it down 5 years and counting, haha.
 
#10
I fish lures almost exclusively, 42g colt sniper caught me a beast of a bonito last October,
View attachment 978 should be some good ones around on Labor Day. Skip the bobber/splasher rig and fish metals if targeting bones/barracuda (bring pliers!) I catch a few calico on various lures but they are smart and well fed so not the best target. The local fish such as blue perch, calico, sheephead and others can all be caught on small pieces of cut bait,(squid is my fav) light line and as light a wt as you can get away with will catch the most fish, bigger wt farther out for a chance at bigger fish.
PS. I registered in the forum just to chime in on the mole, love fishing there. Good luck with the girl I’d suggest proposing on the beach or somewhere romantic, not while fishing. My wife still said yes but I haven’t lived it down 5 years and counting, haha.
Holy crap! I didn’t know they got that big - almost looks like a skipjack tuna
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#12
Twins22,
Welcome to PFIC. That is a very nice catch. Maybe we meet at the Mole someday.

I agree about not proposing while fishing.

However, respectfully disagree about the splasher (Cast-a-Bubble) not being a good rig for bonito or barracuda. I have even seen yellowtail caught with it. There are not too many exciting times as seeing a bonito trying to hit feather behind the splasher.

The megabit, though an effective lure does not provide the fun of the surface action that the splasher does.
 
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Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#13
About proposing during Catalina trips, I know of one in person and one from my friends who work for Catalina Express.


I was going to the island and a young couple were sitting next to me. Midway to the island they left and went to the outside seating. When they came back, the future groom, showed me and others sitting across from him a recording on his phone. He had proposed and had arranged for someone to record it.

She had said yes. Everyone within hearing of his story was congratulating them. Nice way to start a vacation on the island.


The second one was told to me by the lead staff of CE at the Mole.

On the way back from the Avalon on a CE a man had proposed. They lady had said NO! The man losing his mind had jumped into water while boat was on the way. The Captain had to make a “U” turn and look for the overboard. Later the Coastguard was called and the man was rescued.

He was taken to jail for his action!!

The moral of the story, DON’T BE THAT GUY.


Wishing you and yours a great trip.
 
#14
Update: she said yes!

It’s been a wonderful weekend so far. But now for the bad news: the Mole is closed!

Barbra at High Tide Traders broke the news - apparently its under construction for the next 8 months. I went out there and sure enough there is fencing blocking the entire outer area with big “NO FISHING” signs.

I am staying in Hamilton Cove and have been fishing off the small private pier here. Small pieces of market shrimp on a size 6 hook above a 1 Oz torpedo has gotten me calico bass up to 14”, a nice female sheep head, blue perch, seniorita, wrasse, and tons and tons of garibaldi. Lots of anchovies in the water, but have not broken out the lures / live bait rigs yet as I’ve mainly been messing around while the lady swims. Have never seen water this rich with fish before!
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#16
Glad that she said yes.

Thank you for the update.

I will call the Harbor Master on Tuesday to get more information.

It was long time due.
 

EgoNonBaptizo

Well-Known Member
#17
Shame that the Mole is closed. Is the Hamilton cove pier only accessible to residents and people staying in that area or is it like Paradise cove with a fee and license required?
 
#19
Shame that the Mole is closed. Is the Hamilton cove pier only accessible to residents and people staying in that area or is it like Paradise cove with a fee and license required?
Update: caught two additional species at Hamilton (ocean whitefish and blacksmith) and continued to catch tons of fish on shrimp / squid. Lost a very large halfmoon right at the dock which was unfortunate.

I went to the GPP this morning with a cast a bubble, long leader and snelled no. 6 hook with frozen peas as I saw a fellow catch a nice opaleye there the other day. Chummed and used a single pea with no weight and caught kelp bass up to 15” (at least 3 were legal) on almost every cast, but no opaleye! Will have to come back with even lighter line / smaller hooks...

Re: Hamilton pier, it is a dock and it does require a fishing license according to some folks I spoke to (I have one). Believe it is residents / guests only as the whole community is gated, but saw people doing well on kelp bass / half moon / whitefish yesterday on the inside portion of the casino jetty, which seems like the best spot at the moment if you’re willing to climb down the rocks.
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#20
Thanks for the report.

I like to put three peas on a small hook and hide the hook.
I always put a few peas before dropping the hook.
Furthermore, I make a chum with old peas and mixed bead crumbs. The boat rental or Barbra sell black chum, which I also add to the mix.

The market sells a bread crumb powder that is used to coat chicken. Similar to old "shake-an-bake".

Tight lines.