Joined: 10 Sep 2003 Posts: 2159 Location: Malibu, CA
Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 5:47 pm Post subject: Catalina Island Weekend Report and Pictures
What an amazing trip! Left the Catalina Express Terminal at San Pedro at 10am and arrived at Two Harbors well before noon. Rolled the gear down to the end of the pier, consolidated our kayak and fishing gear, had a burger and a beer, loaded the coolers with ice and off we went. The kayaks were already waiting for us at Cat Harbor on the backside via the Two Harbors Dive & Recreation Center. They have several kayaks but our available platforms of choice are their Ocean Kayak Prowler 15s (angler editions). They have six Prowler 15s, all of which come with rear and front flush mount rod holders, kayak seats and paddles.
We had heard of a recent halibut bite around Cat Harbor but decided to begin our 4 mile journey south to Little Harbor.
The entire stretch is scenic and very fishy. The whole route can be done (weather permitting) in about 2 hours. Since we’re fishing along the way it usually takes us about 4 hours.
There were plenty of calico bass caught along the way with Rhino snagging a female sheephead we had for dinner the following night. Along the route we ran into the guys from Booyaa. They were in super tight to shore prefishing the Western Outdoors white seabass and halibut tournament. Apparently the fish had been showing in fairly good numbers, many being picked up close to shore.
Little Harbor is nature-made and protected by a reef which rises out of the water along the perimeter of the harbor entrance. The harbor is split into two areas by a small rock hill, Little Harbor camping on the north side and Surfer’s Beach on the south side.
The north side is totally protected with ripple waves rarely exceeding the 2-3 inch range. After landing the kayaks we headed to our assigned site to set up camp. The Little Harbor campsites begin just about 75-100 yards from the waters edge and extend inland about ¼ mile. Since the weather wasn’t ideal I was quite content staying in one of the sites a little further inland. The campsite was awesome! Lots and lots of room, amazing scenic views, our own water faucet for rinsing gear, a huge fire pit, 2 tables and one of the most hospitable rangers I’ve ever met. Firewood, charcoal, lighter fluid, propane and even batteries can be purchased via the Ranger.
After a long night of barbequing, beverage drinking and strategy building it was time to call it a night. Jeff assured me that the alarm clock was not needed because whether we liked it or not, the birds were sure to serenade us a wake up call in the morning. Someone must have given the birds the day off because we woke up unassisted. Our alarm clock this morning came in the form of a bit of anxiousness and anticipation of having a shot at the elusive white seabass.
After some pressed gourmet coffee and oatmeal it was time to head out for a full day on the water. I believe Saturday was the official start of the WON tournament. A couple of boats entered in the tournament were fishing only a few yards offshore just in front of the Little Harbor campgrounds. I struck up a nice conversation with one of the guys fishing off the corner stern of one of the boats. He mentioned something about anglers catching halibut in super tight to the shore. I thought it was worth a few casts but our main target was white seabass. I believe it was on my second cast I nailed a plump female (halibut that is). It couldn’t have been more than 2 minutes that went by from the time he mentioned halibut in close to the time I hooked up. Maybe 5 minutes later I was holding up a halibut by the gaff saying something smartass... “kinda like this?”
The fish was well over 30” and was caught on a 5” Fish Trap purple chovy in about 10ft of water. Not a bad way to start the morning. We fished the area for a few more minutes before heading outside to work the kelp line for signs of seabass.
Photo courtesy of the Rhinocam
Jeff and I had discussed heading out to Farnsworth Bank, a pinnacle located 4 miles offshore. The yellowtail and just about any other schooling fish seem to find their way to Farnsworth at one time or another. The conditions were fishable but the weather seemed a bit inconsistent and a little bit unpredictable to warrant the 8 mile roundtrip paddle offshore. We continued to fish the kelp for calicos hoping that it was just a matter of time before we got into some of the larger white seabass we'd been hearing reports of.
Rhino points out that there are some birds working an area just about a mile north of our current position. I went into high gear and paddled straight out to the area, Rhino stopping just for a moment to tie on a MegaBait. With my irons still stowed inside the front hatch, I was only armed with a Fish Trap swimbait and a MegaBait LA Slider. Upon my arrival the birds were sitting on the surface as the excitement seemed to have settled back down. I stayed quiet and motionless for about one minute as I looked around for Rhino’s current position as well as any new surface action. Seemingly out of nowhere, the water erupted all around me. Huge yellowtails boiling 360 degrees around my kayak….I’m shouting to Rhino…more like shrieking as I begin to toss my available swimbait in front of, on top of and behind the school. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have an iron rigged and ready for them. My heavier stick was rigged for live macks….the only problem being that we had yet to make bait. DOH! Needless to say, and you can see where this is going, there were no hookups. Rhino missed the fury but had the right jig on. I made it to the fish but had not stopped to tie a more suitable jig like an iron. With all of the noise and turbulent water the yellows were kicking up, the swimbaits just couldn’t get their attention. That was the last time we saw them come up. Both of us were kicking ourselves for not having iron already tied on. Since I only brought 3 setups and Rhino 2, we rethought our rigging.
You have to be ready at all times for just about anything. With only a few outfits available you need to certainly weigh your priorities. Our focused pursuit for white seabass more or less compromised our preparedness for the yellowtail.
Another afternoon of bass followed by an effortless breakdown of camp and an adventurous paddle and fish back up to Cat Harbor. A system was coming in fast from the southwest so it was time to make waves, no pun intended. The wind was more or less at our back so the return trip required little more than some paddle strokes here and there to correct our heading. With about 2/3s of the route back to Cat Harbor complete, Rhino noticed a secluded beach and suggested we should investigate. What a neat little beach…it should be called “Lobster Float Beach” for the amount of floats which littered the shore. I didn’t locate any buried treasure but the shore was filled with a variety of quartz and other neat stones.
Whether you go to Catalina via the guide route or experience it on your own, you’ve got to taste this place from the kayak angler’s perspective. It’s one thing to fish it from a boat just offshore and another to lodge, launch and fish from the island. The round trip boat ride from Long Beach or San Pedro is around $50/ea. You can go to Avalon or Two Harbors. Avalon is nice with a lot to do but is quite touristy. Generally speaking, the fishing is better via Two Harbors. You can fish either the front side or the backside of the Island. There is camping at Two Harbors as well as of course Little Harbor where we stayed for our previous kayak fishing excursion. Cat Harbor and Little Harbor are connected by a thin stretch of land known as the Isthmus, the narrowest point on the island. It’s truly amazing to me that you can walk from Two Harbors which is located on the front side, and end up at Cat Harbor on the backside a ½ mile later. An awesome place so close to the mainland and yet it still feels like you're a world away.
Looks like a fun trip. Those yellows would have put the iceing on the cake, Might have to get out on one of those trips. Do you have to rent boats or is there a way to get your owne over?
Joined: 14 Mar 2005 Posts: 17 Location: seal beach
Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 9:42 am Post subject:
Jason, Great report and pictures, awsome halibut congrats. Brought back memories of last November fishing with you Jeff and Mark. Definatly have to work in one of those trips this year again. For those of you who haven't made the trip the people are the best and there are always fish of one kind or another. On my trip we caught mostly calico but they went to 5lbs, great fun.
You guys suck.
Glad you had a good time anyway...
Only thing missing was cabo wabo & me! Thats Right.
(Catalina camping & fishing is now on my list of things to do)
Reading your report kind of made me feel like I was there. Sorta kinda. he he
How many rods & reels / what set up would you guy recomend for Catalina? I dont wanna get 'Munsoned" _________________ In God We Trust
Joined: 12 Sep 2003 Posts: 891 Location: Simi Valley
Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 7:44 am Post subject: Catalina continued in June, 9th-10-11 @ Two Harbors.
I always enjoy the Little Harbor trips, very rugged coast, and very fishy waters. Our next Catalina trip back is next month. We will base opperations out of the Two Harbors camp site, and fish out of either harbor, depending on where the fish are.
Great time Jason, another memorable trip. You did a fantastic job with the photos and write ups.
Be sure to sign up for a Catalina trip this summer! Contact myself or Jason, to get on the list for one of the trips. TL Rhino
Joined: 10 Sep 2003 Posts: 2159 Location: Malibu, CA
Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 10:38 am Post subject:
Hey Jas, are those your Daiwa Luna's? How do you like them, I'm ready to break down and buy a Calcutta or one of those.
I'm very pleased with the Daiwa Lunas. It's basically their high end Millionaire CVZs juiced up to better handle saltwater. They've added a couple other new features and improvement as well. The side plate casting adjustment is also new- see Luna info below. I've only been out with the Lunas a couple of times but I used the Millionaire CVZs for the last few years and have caught everything from bass and lingcod to yellowtails and thresher sharks on them. I'd prefer a beefier conventional for targeting the larger pelagics but you never know what you're going to catch when you're tossing plastics around kelp beds. These reels can definitely handle big fish if they have to.
Simple Casting Adjustment Magforce®-Z quickly adjusts to any skill level by simply pressing and turning the sideplate.
Fast Takedown Sideplate For spool changes and quick maintenance
Frame and sideplates machined from solid bar stock aluminum
Five CRBB Super Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings plus roller bearing
Free-Floating Spool for maximum casting performance
Magforce®-Z automatic magnetic anti-backlash control (Centriflex automatic centrifugal system on 300 size)
Ultra-smooth, multi-disc drag with Daiwa’s exclusive fiber composite and stainless washers
Dura-Loc™ pinion for solid gear engagement
Rugged, six-point drive train support
Machined aircraft aluminum spool
Cut proof Titanium Nitrided stainless steel line guide
Spool click on 300 size
Hard anodized to resist corrosion
Joined: 10 Sep 2003 Posts: 2159 Location: Malibu, CA
Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 11:00 am Post subject:
Do you have to rent boats or is there a way to get your owne over?
It can be difficult to get your kayak to Catalina. You break it down and have it freighted over. I don't know what that will cost you. Btw, the Two Harbors Dive and Rec Ctr have other kayaks for rent besides Prowler 15s. They offer a reduced daily rate when you rent for multiple days.
Let's see, a week would be nice.
Nah, maybe 10-days.
Zed...a week out there would be good for the soul. Let me know when you'd like to get out there for a week and when. I can see myself doing a week out there sometime this summer and maybe again in the fall after lobster season begins. Looking for yellowtail and wsb in the day and hunting for bugs 1/4 mile from the Two Harbor campground at night. Fall is more likely as camping resos for the summer usually should be booked several months in advance.
How many rods & reels / what set up would you guy recomend for Catalina? I dont wanna get 'Munsoned"
Cabo Thunder, it of course depends on what you're targeting...how heavy of a lure or rig you're using, etc; This trip I brought along 2 heavy bass outfits (15, 20#) and 1 conventional with spectre and 30lb topshot. I think for the next trip I'll bring 2 conventionals and 1 (15-20#) bass outfit. If you were someone less interested in chasing yellowtail and white seabass, possibly concentrated on the calico bass, you might bring a majority of med-heavy bass outfits and one conventional setup.
Joined: 27 Sep 2004 Posts: 46 Location: Yorba Linda
Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:19 pm Post subject:
Man, I'm cornfused. Forgive me, my mom dropped me on my head when I was young. Which campsite did you stay at? Two Harbors or Little Harbor? According to the map, and if i'm not totally lost (which I will admit I probably am), how the hell did you get your gear from Cat Harbor to Little Harbor? Or Two harbors to Little Harbor? How much gear can you take on the Express? Oh, and one more ?. Your fishfinder setup is cool!!! I'm sure it's yours and not from the rental. I have been checking the pics though for a transducer cable and can't find one. Is it a suction cup deal?? Sorry again for the questions. If you saw my helmet you'd understand.
Joined: 20 Feb 2007 Posts: 3 Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:40 pm Post subject: Portable Fish Finder
The Humminbird 535 Portable you're using seems to be a nice product at a reasonable price. I'm looking for a portable to use with my canoe (15' plastic Coleman) on Lake Tahoe. I've been eyeing the Bottomline Fishin' Buddy 2202, since it would easily attach to the gunwale using the included C-clamp. These two fish finders are similarly priced. However, the Humminbird has more features. Furthermore, online reviews of the Fishin' Buddy indicate that the C-clamp can easily break if over-tightened. Also, the screen on the Fishin' Buddy can't be placed independently of the transducer and C-clamp. Since I've never seen the Humminbird, I am unable to determine whether it could easily be used with my canoe. I called Humminbird's technical support, and it instantly became clear to me that the person had never actually used a fish finder, and was unable to tell me anything beyond the description in their web site. In fact, the person had to first look the product up in the computer before even telling me that much. So, I'm asking all of you.
Robert _________________ 15' Coleman Canoe on Lake Tahoe and surrounding lakes.
Joined: 21 Feb 2007 Posts: 73 Location: ^^Lucky Charms. Get it?
Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:25 pm Post subject: no bait when the yellows are boiling
Hey Jas, this is a little trick i worked out in La Jolla a couple years ago. I found a school of macs and was trying to make bait. I didnt bring any artificials with me cause there had been bait everywhere for a week. All i had was my 6lb outfit, my 30lb outfit, and some pre-cut squid strips. When i threw out my 6 lb rod with a strip of squid on it, i hooked my 1st mac. halfway in it got nailed by a big yellowtail and snapped my line. This happened two more times, and i still didnt have any bait. My solution was to take my 30lb outfit, run a #6 baitholder onto my 1/0 like a stinger, and put the squid strip on the smaller hook. I cast into the boil, nailed a mac on the stinger, and left it out there. Voila! Instant bait. I landed 2 'tails over 20lbs like that. You just have to make sure to let the tail run with the bait long enough to get to that front hook, and you are in business! _________________ Check out - http://www.DarbyOGillBand.com - For the best Irish Drinking Band in Las Vegas!
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