Malibu to Santa Barbara March 25

by Chuck Melber

Alan Perry's 54 pound Santa Rosa Halibut

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I'm glad to hear that many of you took full advantage of what this past weekends weather had to offer. As I sit here nursing the poison oak rash of the century, I envy each and every one of you that was able to get out to the islands and pull on some fish. I tried for some perch while backpacking the coast in Point Reyes, but alas the fishing gods would not co-operate and I was forced to battle the wind to no avail. Last week was a big one, so lets take a look at what we have got going on.


First, Island conditions. If you have been watching the fish counts like I have, you know the sport boats in running out of Channel Islands Harbor have not had a ton of luck with the bass yet. And that is no fault of their own. The water on the east end of Santa Cruz has taken a dip and for the most part is in the mid 50's, a temperature that would keep any fish laying low, and waiting for things to heat up. Depending on how this cold front moving through plays out, expect the cool temperatures to persist for a little while longer. On a more positive note though, with the cold water, you can expect some stellar cod fishing, especially like what has been seen as of late up at Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands. The Rockfish, and Whitefish have been darn near wide open since the beginning of the season, and with the Lingcod opener around the corner, you can only expect things to get more exciting.

Thats one big But!:

Top Catch of the year (so far) honors go to Alan Perry of Thousand Oaks for his enormous 54 pound California Halibut. Alan has long been struck with what many call Halibut fever, spending the vast majority of his time on the water targeting these wily and delicious predators. I personally have never caught a legal, yet every time I have been on his boat he has done everything in his power, to make it happen for me. Allan is one of those fishermen who always seems to be saying “just one more drift” and that mentality rewarded him this past weekend.

Allan and long time fishing buddy Rudy Scott (they met as members of the Pacific High School Angling Club in 1966), took full advantage of last weekends beautiful weather and made the trek from Channel Islands Harbor over to the Eagles Nest area on the back side of Santa Rosa Island. Allan knew full well that there was some wide open Cod and shallow water Whitefish around, but as always, the name of the game was Halibut. When Eagles Nest didn't work out, they made a quick move over to Bechers to see what it had to offer. Once again, the boys were greeted with not even a short bite, frustrating to say the least. Just as they were getting ready to throw in the towel and make some drifts for Rock Cod, Allan decided they needed to make one more drift in 60 feet of water to see what would happen. With baits down, and lunch getting dolled out, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, Alan's clicker goes off. Food is forgotten, cold beers are left to warm in the sun, and the two leap into action. 

Right off the bat Alan knows its a fish of large proportions, Santa Rosa is known for kicking out big, mean Halibut, and this fish was no different. The limiting factor in this situation would be Alan's light set up, for he was not expecting a fish like this to bite. He was fishing 20 pound mainline with a 5/0 light Mutu circle hook. He played the fish slow and steady preying she wouldn't bite through his 15 pound leader, and Rudy would get a chance at an easy gaff shot. The plan worked out masterfully, she came up without too much fuss, Rudy laid the gaff in deep and hoisted the Halibut aboard. Two simple words can sum up the reaction onboard that morning, “Holy S#*T!” that fish was big. Prior to that day Alan's biggest Halibut was a respectable 30 pounds, a mere pipsqueak to the one laying on deck. Too big to fit in the cooler or fish hold, they jerryrigged a cooling system with a sleeping bag and ice, and headed for the barn.

After the shock wore off they were able to track down a certified scale to weigh the fish up. Many figured the fish would weigh in somewhere in the mid 40's, but no one took into account how thick it was across, and when the fish was hoisted up it tipped the scales at 54 pounds even. It fell short of the all tackle record by four pounds, but has a shot at the 20 pound line class record. Good Luck Alan, and I hope you get another like it someday soon.

Weekend Weather:

With a bit of wind this weekend, I don't think we will be seeing the same conditions we saw last weekend. It still is a little ways out, but it looks as though the lower islands, Cruz and Anacappa, may be facing up to 25 knots of wind during the day while Rosa and Miguel can look forward to gusts of 35 knots. Definitely not very fun fishing weather.

Until next week tight lines and screamn drgas.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, reports or photos for next weeks report at 

Good day of Cod Fishing on the Offgasin

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