Went Out Rock Fishing and Back Side of Catalina with Wagner Charters


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My sister got me a birthday gift of a Charter fishing trip with Wagner Charters out of Huntington Beach.

Met the boat at 6:00AM and promptly boarded. Took a long trip out to deep water for some rock fishing. Fished rented Penn Battle 2 Reels paired with Shakespeare Tiger rods with 50lb mono line at a depth of over 350 feet. Rigs were 2 hook high low rigs with 8 ounce torpedo weights. We would drop all the way down to the bottom and reel up 3-4 cranks to keep from snagging rocks. We were fishing cut squid on the top hook and a live sardine nose hooked on the bottom hook. Almost immediately rock fish would bite but with that deep with the stretchy mono line, the bites were difficult to feel.

We brought in lots of rock fish. Salmon grouper, copper rockfish, and pacific white fish. It was like reeling up a bag of rocks. Plus I was feeling sea sick. Not my favorite part of the trip but I understand why they do it. Easy fishing and guaranteed good sized, tasty fish.

We left and hit the back side of Catalina and started fly-lining live sardines. This was the most fun part of the trip for me. We hooked up on 9 bonito (keeping 6) and pulled in 8 or more Calico Bass with 2 being keeper sized.

Here are some pictures. He took the picture of the fish just as we were pulling into the final spot so all the fish we caught there are largely missing. Also included are three of the meals that I cooked with the fish. Ceviche with the Pacific Whitefish, Fish Tacos with the Salmon Grouper and Pan Fried Calico Bass with cilantro rice.

Thanks to my sister for getting me such a generous gift. And thanks to Wagner Charters. They did a perfect job guiding us. We didn't give them any input for the trip as we were all offshore newbies, so we took their standard back side of Catalina trip. Now that we've had the first experience we're already planning the next one!


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Great report! Great pictures! Your food presentation is outstanding. Thank you for the report.
Thanks! I've been really inspired by the Youtube Channel Outdoor Chef Life. He is a former professional sushi chef and went fulltime Youtuber. He makes some beautiful dishes with fish caught mostly out of the San Francisco Bay Area