2010 PFIC/UPSAC Catalina Get Together

Date: April 27, 2010 —To: PFIC Message Board — From: Ken Jones — 2010 Subject: Catalina Get Together

Day 1 —  Wednesday, April 21 — Arrived in Los Angeles a little early and decided to head over and say hi to Ginny at Wylie’s Bait and Tackle in Malibu. A blustery 40 MPH wind was blowing sand from the beach and preventing all but the hardiest anglers from giving fishing a try which allowed Ginny and I to exchange fishing stories for over an hour. She donated two rods and reels for the derby along with a couple of pullover caps while I picked up some lug worms to go with the frozen bait in my cooler (Morro Bay sardines, shrimp, and squid). Headed over to Hashem’s amidst the continuing fury of an April wind.

Day 2 — Thursday, April 22 — Thursday, April 22 — The wind had calmed…to a degree. Left Hashem’s house at 7 AM and headed to Paul’s Bait and Tackle in San Pedro to pick up some bait for the Get Together. Ghost shrimp, squid, and anchovies joined the peas already in his big cooler (and I bought an extra cup of blood worms). On to the Ferry Landing and figuring out how to get all the various materials on to the boat. But we did it. Ross joined in the fun and the trio headed across the channel. Although the crossing was a little rough, apparently it was nothing like the ride that Scott and Steve survived the night before.

We pulled into Avalon Harbor and spotted Scooter and SteveO at their favorite spot —“SteveO’s Corner.” Talked to Scott and Steve for a few minutes and then headed off to the Hermosa Hotel, Hashem pushing his big cart, Skipper pushing his pier cart and pulling Hashem’s heavy cooler. After several stops we made it to the hotel, checked in, and then headed out to the Green Pleasure Pier.

My worries were proven right when the action proved less than stellar. We had seen slower than normal action on a March visit and it continued. Not bad action, just so so action. Fished from 1—7 PM before stopping and getting ready for dinner at Antonio’s with Scooter and SteveO.

Fish catch (for me, I don’t know Hashem’s total): 29 kelp bass; 13 rock wrasse; 5 senorita; 3 sheephead; 1 ocean whitefish; 1 jack mackerel; 1 jacksmelt; 1 garibaldi. Many decent sized fish but nothing really large.

Dinner was great but more fishing was in store. We all headed back to the Green Pleasure Pier at 10 PM in search of the big fish. Scott had hooked two bat rays (?) while fishing the pier with us late in the afternoon and we expected better action during the nighttime hours. But the fish seemed off their feed. I pulled in a decent-sized sculpin but the “shark” anglers only had a couple of hits which were soon over as the fish took the lines into obstructions on the bottom. There’s a lot of “stuff” on the harbor’s bottom and the fish found it. Hashem’s bait was visited by a couple of lobsters but again they were “no see-ums.” Fished until 11:45 and called it a night.

Fish catch: 1 scorpionfish.

Day 3 — Friday, April 23 — The second would prove to be the best day as far as fishing. Scott and Steve caught MANY bonito, Hashem caught (I believe) at least a couple of bonito and the bottom fish were biting. Unlike the weekend days, the Mole was relatively open and ghost shrimp produced some big opaleye while the combination of ghost shrimp and sea worms produced a plethora of species, thirteen in all which is what I always like.

We fished from 6:30 A.M. till 5 P.M. and were pleased to see a number of new faces. First off the morning ferry was Eugene who planned a day on the water in a boat with Ross. They headed out around 8:30. Coming in on later boats were Redfish and Sylvana, the various members of the Liu family (James, Dora, Amanda, Warren and Elaine), Cole (Corki) and his mom, Bill and Diana Burhans, Smith and Brandon Choe.

By the afternoon PFIC “pier rats” had claimed the Mole and the fishing continued strong. At 5 PM we broke to prepare for dinner.

Skipper’s fish Total: 19 Kelp Bass (including an 18-inch fish; ) 13 Opaleye (including several that should have hit 3 pounds); 7 Senorita; 5 California Scorpionfish; 4 Garibaldi; 4 Rock Wrasse; 4 Sheephead; 3 Jacksmelt ;1 Halfmoon; 1 Kelp Rockfish; 1 Treefish; 1 Giant Kelpfish; 1 Spotted Kelpfish

Dinner was at Mi Casita where we enjoyed some good food and companionship while watching a DVD of the first eight Get Togethers. Tired out from a hard day of fishing, most were ready for bed after dinner.

Day 4, Saturday, April 24 — This day would primarily be devoted to the Derby and the various components that accompany the Derby.Early on, instead of hitting up the fish at 6:30 we had a leisurely breakfast at Jacks, the place to go for  breakfast in Avalon and I had my usual Hawaiian Special (linguica, eggs, French toast made with Hawaiian bread, and coconut syrup—umm good!).Then on to the Mole where Hashem set up the tables and the banners. Steve, Scott and Robert were fishing but things had turned slow; the bonito were mostly missing. Hashem and I would be the judges and not fish.
Soon after, James showed up with the food prepared by the culinary talents of the Liu Family—corn dogs, chili, fried rice and pasta. MORE than enough for everybody.
The Derby, as often happens, was fairly slow with a steady mix of mostly small fish making an appearance (unlike the 2009 Derby that saw several large fish were caught). Often the fishing is better AFTER the Derby and it would prove true once again.

Derby Results:

Category One — Sport Fish:  Adult Division — First Place: Scooterfish (Scott Geerds) —  Second Place:  SteveO (Steve Barcellos) — Junior Division: No winner

Category Two — Bottom Species: Adult —First Place: Kelp Angler (Eugene Kim) — Second Place: Nancy Burley  — Junior Division — First Place: Warren Liu — Second Place:  Amanda Liu

Category Three — Perch and Perch-like species: Adult Division — First Place:  Redfish (Robert Gardner)— Second Place: Tomas Gabaldon — Junior Division— First Place: Warren Liu  — Second Place: No winner.

Category Four — Greatest variety of species: Adult Division — First Place: Tomas Gabaldon — Second Place: Tie—Ryan Gabaldon and Redfish (Robert Gardner) —
Junior Division — First Place: Warren Liu — Second Place: Amanda Liu

Awesome Angler Award: Adult Division — Corkie (Cole Symansk  — Junior Division—Brandon Choe

Following the Derby there was the Award Ceremony and the Raffle, both of which have been reported by others

Funniest moment of the day, or at least I thought so, concerned Ross and Hashem. I walked over to buy some raffle tickets from Ross who proceeded to count out my tickets. About that time Hashem walks over and hands over $20 to buy raffle tickets. Ross counts out the tickets and hands them to me. Hashem says, “what gives, why are you giving him my tickets?” Ross says, “no, the skipper just bought these.” For two days Ross and Hashem had been kidding each other and I though Ross was playing a prank. Hashem says again, “I gave you the money.” Ross says, “no, that was Skipper’s money.” Both were assertive but not aggressive and I was waiting to give up the tickets. Finally Hashem hands Ross another $20 and Ross counts out his tickets. I’m watching Ross and thinking when are you going to give him back his money? Hashem says “I did give you the money.” Ross says, “no you’re wrong.” As Hashem leaves I say to Ross, “when are you going to give him back his money?” Ross says, “what, did he give me the money?” I say sure but was playing along while Ross says he had actually made a mistake. We tell Hashem but he decides to keep the tickets. The tickets that Hashem bought with the extra $20 contained the winning ticket for the custom wrapped rod made by James/GDude. Hashem should have thanked us.

As for the raffle, there were many nice gifts and a variety of winners but those results are for someone else to report.

As for the fishing after the Derby, it wasn’t too bad for the bottom fish although the bonito stayed away.

Skipper’s Results (fished 3;30-6 PM): 6 Blacksmith; 6 Jacksmelt; 5 Kelp Rockfish; 4 Kelp Bass; 2 Rock Wrasse; 2 Senorita; 1 Pacific Mackerel; 1 Opaleye ;1 Garibaldi;1 Blackperch; 1 Giant Kelpfish

That night we got together one last time at Antonio’s for some good grub. I was tired and went to bed while Steve, Scott and Cole planned to fish the Green Pleasure Pier for a few hours. I’ll leave that story to Hashem.

Day Five, Sunday, April 25 — By now everyone seemed REALLY tired. But you still need to get up early to get fish. Right? We were back on the Mole at 6:30 but now the bite had slowed and you really had to work for fish. Hashem joined Steve and Scott casting for bonito while Robert (Redfish) joined me at the corner. He was casting for bonito along with putting out a big bait hoping for a big fish—white seabass, shark, etc. He did catch a big fish but not on the big bait. Instead he hooked and landed a 4.7 pound bonito on his fairly light rod, a fish just slightly smaller than the hog caught by Steve on Friday. I was content with the usual, while mainly seeking out the opaleye. Of course after a half hour or so we were joined by the “regular” opaleye hunters who crowded righjt into the corner. Sort of like a trout opener but we all knew how to avoid tangles. Still it was not the fishing I like to do.

We fished until 8:30 and then decided to have breakfast before heading back to the hotel to check out. As at every Catalina visit we sampled the EXCELLENT food at Jack’s, a Catalina tradition and one that seems as good today as when the Get Togethers began.

It was back to the Mole at 11:30 when the skipper headed down to the right corner of the Mole in pursuit of a moral eel. However, once again the fang-toothed beastie eluded capture. One of these days! Fishing was fairly slow on Sunday but I got a chance to fish with Robert and sample the always interesting Catalina variety, in this case 12 species of fish.

Skipper’s Fish Total: 6 Sheephead; 5 Garibaldi; 5 Kelp Bass; 4 Opaleye; 4 Halfmoon; 2 California Scorpionfish; 2 Kelp Perch; 2 Rock Wrasse; 1 Kelp Rockfish; 1 Senorita; 1 Jacksmelt; 1 Blackperch

We caught the 6 P.M. ferry  and this time had a nice, sooth ride. Nevertheless, we were a tired group when we arrived back to the mainland.

Posted by scooterfish — This is the unabridged version of my trip to Catalina for the 2010 event. I apologize in advance for the absence of pretty pictures. Believe it or not, I did bring my nice camera, but it never left my hotel room this year for various reasons (the primary one being that I was too busy fishing!). I think the pictures that have already been posted by others pretty much cover all the bases. Long report, so grab your favorite beverage and come along for the trip!

Departure and Day One (Wednesday): 4:30 CST wakeup. On the road by 4:45am…. 1 hour drive to the airport. Arrived at airport with plenty of time to spare. I could not find my scale at home, so I had guesstimated the weight of my check-in bag after removing 2lbs of lead last night, but I ended up still one pound over, so I travelled with a pound of leads in my carry-on! This prompted extra attention from the TSA, but they calmed down when I told them they were fishing weights. They must have looked awfully strange on the X-ray. Savage turbulence on the way into Salt Lake. Easy flight to Long Beach from there after a 1 hour layover.

Steve was already waiting at the baggage claim, and my luggage and rod tube came out first, which is always a bonus. Headed straight for the Long Beach Downtown landing. Upon arrival, we tried to check in and were told the 2:00 boat was on hold, and they were possibly cancelling the boats for the rest of the day due to wind and swell!! After about an hour of waiting in limbo, they announced that they would “try” to cross the channel. It was a wild ride. We were upstairs in the Commodore lounge, and we sipped our adult beverages while the boat rocked and rolled through the 12+ ft swells. Took 1 hour 20 minutes because of the weather, but we were fine. The upstairs bar did not fair so well. They lost part of the contents of the bar and a cart full of snack food… Stepped off the ferry and immediately spotted my first Garibaldi. Always impressed at the water quality at Catalina, just impossibly clear water chock full of marine life. It seems it would be impossible to be skunked here (although Gordo keeps trying! j/k Ross) Unfortunately, the weather was nasty when we arrived, with 30+ sustained winds and gusts over 40. We still attempted to fish the Mole for pelagics after checking in to the Hermosa, but we only managed 10-15 casts with iron before we gave up. Debbie from the snack shop approached me at some point and tried to pay me $10 to feed “her” pelican (with a highly original name “Pelly”) . Turns out it is the same pelican from last year that was so aggressive. She informed me that “she doesn’t do that anymore (the aggressive behavior)” and then proceeeded to tell me that the bird had ten hooks in her beak last week… Duh! It has hooks because you have trained it to take food from humans. Some people simply do not get it. She tried twice to stuff two $5 bills in my hand and I refused it again. She eventually left me alone, and we left to find a good meal of fried cheese, pizza and beer at Antonios. After dinner, we headed back to the room to organize our gear and prepare for the following morning.

Day Two (Thursday): Next morning we headed to the Mole. Conditions were overcast with light wind. Good conditions for casting, but not necessarily for fishing. I suspect that the extreme wind and heavy rain the night before had the fish hunkering down elsewhere for most of the day on Thursday. I managed to scratch up one 2lb bonito and a few jumbo Jack Mackeral. We eventually switched to baitfishing with squid for the Mole kelp dwelling critters, mostly Calicos with a few legal and borderline legal fish mixed in until Mahigeer, Gordo Grande and Ken showed up on the 10am boat. They were loaded for bear as usual, although Hashem did scale it down a little bit from last few years gear-wise. Said our hellos and continued fishing, with little action that afternoon. We later joined the crew over at the Green Pleasure pier for more legal/near legal calicos and a couple of legal sheephead. At some point a large (12” or so) flying fish jumped up and glided 15 feet or so across in front of us. Such a cool animal to see! The five of us all met up at Antonios for dinner that evening. After a short after dinner break, we headed for the Green Pleasure Pier to do some night fishing. It was a bit of a learning curve to try and cast the Torsa lever drag reel with a 6ft heavy rod. I had more than a few serious backlashes, and I farmed the couple of hookups I managed to get by breaking off on structure. After a couple of hours, we called it a night and retired back to the room for some much needed sleep. It ended up being really cold that night, and we woke up with our room feeling like an icebox at 6:00 am, which was ample motivation to get out and try for some more early morning bonito fishing.

Day Three (Friday):  Friday ended up being the best day for bonito fishing, as far as numbers go. The only significant difference in conditions I could identify were that it was sunny and clear from first light (not overcast for ½ the day like most days) and it was about a day and a half after a pretty nasty storm/swell episode. The fish were hungry, the weather was perfect, and the bite was on. I ended up losing count after at least 15 bonito and at least a dozen or more jumbo (2.5lb+) Jack Mackeral. Technique was a little different this year, with the most consistent rig being a 1-3 oz torpedo sinker tied to 4-6ft of flourocarbon with a chartreuse fly or feather at the business end. Very easy to cast and cover water with. More distance than a splasher with less effort, and less effort to retrieve, and more versatile in that it can be used from the surface to down deep very effectively. I saw no bonito landed on splasher rigs this year the entire week, and only one or two mackeral caught with the splashers. I never even rigged mine up! Large bonito were only seen twice, one caught by Steve-o on Saturday morning (4.9lb) and one caught by Redfish on Sunday morning (4.7lb) both caught on the torpedo/feather rig during the early morning bite (6:30-7:30am). Almost all the other bonito caught this week were in the 1.8-2.5lb range.

Steve and I spent a decent part of Friday afternoon at the GPP with ken, gordo and hashem catching calicos and sheephead before taking a nap prior to the group dinner.
We had the group dinner at the Mi Casitas that evening and watched a cool video slideshow that Ken and his wife had put together chronicling all the last 8 years of Catalina events. Lots of good memories there. Dinner was good with an open menu plan this year, which seemed more flexible and less complicated than previous years. We were very tired after the dinner, and opted to call it a night to rest up for the derby.

Day Four (Saturday, Derby Day): We arrived early at the Mole, 6:15 I think. The Mole was virtually empty when we got there and I think Eugene (Kelpangler) showed up shortly thereafter. Steve hooked his big bonito and fought it for a good five minutes on his Lamiglas, and I scored an assist landing it from the ramp. Really nice football shaped fish, that was thick and healthy.Unfortunately, he seemed to have lost his school and there were no others that size around for the taking. Eugene snapped a couple of great pics and back to the deep it went. Although I did not hook into any big bonito this year, it was awesome to watch both Steve and Redfish catch theirs. We continued fishing for bonito and jack mackeral, with sporadic action. The 8:00am boat arrived and a large group of anglers got off the boat and immediately took over nearly half the MOle (left side to the corner) when they arrived. Ultimately there was still plenty of room for our smaller group this year. Hashem, Skipper, Gordo and others showed up a bit later than usual as they spent too much time talking politics at breakfast.  The derby was different this year in that there would be no “overall” winner as in years past. Instead, there were 4 divisions representing different fish. I focused on what was called the “Topwater” division, which included Bonito, Mackeral and Barracuda. Fishing was definitely tougher this year, with the fish showing up less predictably, with no definitive pattern. For most of the derby, I was actually leading the Topwater division with a “monster” 1lb mackerel. At one point, it looked like that would be the winning fish, but derby fishing time was extended 30 minutes. Steve hooks up on a Bonito that surely would put him in first place and is playing it in, I hook up right as he is landing the fish, and I bring in a slightly bigger 1.8lb Bonito and land it. Steve was in the lead for about 30 seconds before I took it back for the win! His 5lb bonito from the early morning would have easily taken the prize, but did not count because it was caught about 3 hours before the derby started. (sorry Steve-O!).

The Derby ended and quite a few trophies were handed out for the various divisions, etc. During the Derby we enjoyed lots of great food and drinks generously provided by the Liu family, my personal favorite was fried rice made with bacon (delicious!). Bonito and Macs were active for a short while after the Derby (which always seems to happen like clockwork EVERY year right after the Derby, or while we are doing raffle and prizes). We fished into late afternoon before heading back for a hot shower and rest before nighttime.

After grabbing a quick early dinner at Antonios, Steve and I headed out to the Pleasure Pier for another shot at the big monsters that we know lurk there. Corki was already out there soaking a slab of fresh mackeral. I set up my heavy rig and figured out a simple, but not ideal way to cast my rig because I spent about a third of my time last time out fixing nasty backlashes. I ended up engaging the lever up just a notch from freespool, which means I am casting with a light drag (almost imperceptable) but just enough to slow the spool down and prevent overruns. Not ideal, but with the heavy spool mass and hundreds of yards of 50lb and a short rod, it is a tough rig to cast. We figured out very quickly that you did not have to cast far to get a bite. Quite a few hookups with really big rays that we could not tame. I had breakoffs on structure, breakoffs because of excessive drag pressure, and one run I’m pretty sure the hook pulled or possible tore straight out when I buttoned the drag down. It will take me a little while to get used to fishing a larger lever drag like this. It required quite a bit more finesse than a star drag in that you have much more adjustment range, and can easily switch from freespool to max drag or anywhere in between instantly (which can be problematic). We had some free entertainment at one point when a seal decided to try and snack on this lone flying fish that had been cruising back and forth in front of us (we were trying to figure out what it was, looked like a 12” smelt). The seal charged the fish and it “flew” away repeatedly, smacking it’s tail on the water’s surface as it glided. This went on for about a minute and in the clear water you could see the seal doing incredible manuevers trying to catch the fish. Never did see if he was sucessful or not, the seal or the fish! At some point Corki hooked into a 70+ pound ray that he was able to get to the dock before releasing. It tried to get him in the kelp (about 30lbs of which came in with the fish), but he was able to lock down the reel and pull it through. I am now convinced that some of the rays there are huge. I talked to several locals, divers and fishing regulars over the course of the week that reported spotting huge rays in the 6-7ft wingspan size in the harbor recently. They are definitely there, and they are beastly. I had one run that completely bent my Tallus 50lb rod when I engaged to “strike”, and during the run I increased to the max drag setting (which was around 20+lbs at the time) and the fish never slowed even a bit. I felt the line go over the dropoff and onto the rough rocks and POW! Another breakoff. This would be another year where I was outclassed by these monsters, and I will be better prepared next year (if I can make it next year). Retrieving my last cast of the night I brought in a nice legal calico, but I didn’t even know it was there because my gear was so heavy.

Day Five (Sunday): Sunday was a mellow day, a little on the slow side for the pelagics, but consistent. We were able to spot a pair of cruising Yellowtail outside the kelpline, but they breezed through and were gone as quick as they came. It looked just like the pair that cruised by last year, same place, same direction, same speed, same size… Some guy who was fishing for bonito (who looked like a typical So-Cal pinhead/deckhand) tried to tell me they were not Yellowtail, they were in fact “Tiger Perch”. I told him they sure looked like YT, but he stuck to his Tiger Perch claim. He says they are like Opaleye, but they are bigger and have spots. I thanked him while quietly calling bull&*%T to myself. Some research tells me that there is such a family of fish (Tigerperches or Grunters) but they are exclusive to the Indian and West Pacific Oceans. So, I’m betting all my money on YT, but you just never know… We also saw a couple of schools of flying fish getting chased by fish in front of the Mole’s left corner, but no takers when we followed up with casts.

We had originally planned to fish the GPP that night with Redfish, but we were too exhausted and planned to get up early so we could fish for a couple of hours before our 8:00am boat. We did run out to the GPP sans gear to check on Red, and he was already fishing. He had a strong run the pulled off immediately after the hookset (hook pulled most likely, heavy gear, heavy drag). Redfish rebaited after that, and we waited about ten minutes before the exhaustion and cold set in. We headed back to the room and did not see Red again before we left (hopefully he didn’t get pulled in by something!). I’m interested to find out if he ever was able to bring anything in there.

Day Six (Monday):  Unfortunately, Steve’s alarm, which was set for 4:30am, neglected to go off, and we did not wake up until 6:45am. This left us no time to fish, and we had to scramble to pack our remaining gear and get down to the landing in time, otherwise I would miss my flight. Boat ride was smooth and glassy, we saw several pods of porpoises during the first half of the ride, and then the water slowly changed from crystal clear blue to green, and eventually to a diluted poop color by the time we reached the Long Beach harbor. I found it depressing to make the crossing back to the mainland. I always find it hard to leave Catalina, such a pristine environment with such outstanding fishing opportunities, and Long Beach Harbor is far from the prettiest place in the world as far as aesthetics go. Quite a contrast, perhaps too much contrast.
We made it back to LB airport and Steve dropped me off and headed for his parent’s house. My bag was overweight by 2 pounds now (that trophy is heavy ya know!). I rearranged some things into my carry-on to avoid the overweight luggage charges, then I killed a few hours napping and reading and enjoyed a pair of Bloody Marys before my flight, which was uneventful and got me to New Orleans 30 minutes early.

Back to life and back to reality… Scooterfish

ps… I plan to augment this report later with some musings about gear for Bonito, a first-person rod review for the Shimano Tiralejo, a bad review for the Penn Captiva 4000 (can you say “wind knots?”), and some plans in the works for the heavy fish next year.

Posted by Steve-O — Great report dude.. that about sums up my week so I’ll simply say it was a blast as always. I am always honored to fish with this group. Even if the fishing is slow it’s always a good time especially when the “Pick on Mahigeer Hour” starts! which usually last the duration of the time he is on the island with us. Good laughs, good friends, great place! Was nice to see all of the Regs as well as meet some new faces this year.

I was a little bummed I couldn’t get my alarm in order for one last chance before we got on the boat on Monday. But such is life. We’ll be back… and that you can count on!

Scooterfish… Couldn’t have been there with out you! Thanks again buddy! as stated before.. a bright spot in the 2010 memories!

Till next time, Tight lines to all!


Posted by GDude — UPSAC — Pierfishing.COM Catalina Classic 2010

April 2010 — This is UPSAC’s 9th Annual Pier Fishing Get Together at Catalina. Truly a Classic Event now, and perhaps only Ken Jones, President, and myself, Treasurer of UPSAC are the two remaining Charter members that have attended all 9 events. Dora and Warren hold the 2nd place awards with 8 consecutive years attending. We usually stay at the Hermosa Inn, renting a Cottage with kitchen for the weekend to help cook for the potluck the day of the derby.

Dinner on Friday night was again at Mi Casitas, one of the best Mexican places on Santa Catalina Island. Service, as usual, was excellent. We cooked a special Spanish rice with egg and bacon, corn dogs, chili, and penna pasta with beef/marina sauce for the Saturday lunch on the Pier, and Saturday night’s dinner was at Antonio’s Pizza.

Warren won big this year in the Junior Division with 5 species caught and 6 fish. Amanda came in second with 3 species and 4 fish. Dad was helping tie hooks, unsnagging and occasionally casting just months after shoulder surgery. The annual gather usually produces lots of bonito, which were hot on Friday, with James taking 2, but slow Sat/Sun. But we did take a few big mackerel. We’re already looking forward to next year.

Date: April 7, 2010 — To:PFIC Message Board — From: scooterfish

Final prep for the Catalina Get-Together 2010! I arrive on the island in 14 days!

Life has simply not allowed for much fishing time this year. My two young kids (1 and 2 ½) have occupied the majority of my free time, which is limited to say the least! I might have been able to fish 4 or 5 times all year last year, and ironically 3 of those trips were with California visitors (Redfish and SteveO). Even with the very low frequency of trips this year, fishing is still my favorite hobby. PFIC is my favorite armchair fishing site, and I still read just about every post made here. I am still learning new tips and ideas from this site after more than 10 years here, and now living clear across the country.

I, like many of us resort to tackle prep and tackle-ho-ing when I am unable to get out for long periods of time. I know I have spent many hours prepping for this trip, and I still somehow feel like there might be some scenario for which I am not properly equipped! I am currently in the final process of trying to lighten the load a little bit, which is probably the hardest part for me. I always imagine that that one item/lure/rig I removed will end up being a crucial mistake and impact my trip in some way. I understand why some people (like Mahigeer) bring tremendous amounts of gear in order to be prepared for any contingency or fishing situation that may arise. When travelling across the country by plane, I unfortunately cannot show up with the kitchen sink… My goal with this trip is to be able to fit all of my terminal tackle (weights, lures, line, extra spools, etc) into one manageable backpack (no easy task!)



Here is a list of the tackle as it stands:

Tray #1: 40- 4” Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad in Space Guppy pattern (Chartreuse/clear/saltnpepper); 12- 4” Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad in Glow/Green Tail; 8- 4” Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad in Opening Night (Pink/Green/slvrsparkle); 24- Assorted 3” BH Swimbaits; 24- 2” Chartreuse Plastics (Mann’s I think); 4- Chartreuse/white Skinny Deceivers flies 2 size 1, 2 size 2

Tray #2: 1 dozen 3/4 oz trolling sinkers with swivels built in; 2- 2oz casting jigs prismatic silver; 2 -1 ½ oz casting jigs prismatic silver; 2- 3/4oz casting jigs prismatic silver; 1- 3oz sling jig, clown pattern; 3- 1oz chartreuse slab jigs; 1- ¼ oz Spro bucktail, white; 2 3 1/8” X-rap hardbaits one silver, one olive green; 1 4 ¾” X-rap hardbait olive green; 1 pack brass and glass rattles; 1 bag of 50+ Spro Power swivels in 30lb and 50lb sizes; 1 bag Norton Speed Clips; 20 1/8oz weighted swimbait hooks; 2 A-OK tackle 1 ½ oz Stubby Hex lures; 2 Point Jude Po-Jee 1 ½ oz tins; 50+ assorted jigheads, shad style 1/8oz-3/8oz

Tray #3: 8 3 1/2”, 1 1/4oz Magnum Launcher Floats; 3 5” Magnum Launcher Floats; 1 Lansky Hook Sharpener; 1 box assorted worm weights 1/16-1/2oz; 2 bags containing assorted clouser and deceiver pattern flies, rubber band flies, and straw flies; 1 pkg. Pre-cut Gulp Squid scent strips

Tray #4: 12 Slydo snap clips; Assorted conventional live bait hooks, size 1-2/0; 30 heavy duty swivels, non-Spro; 8 2oz trolling sinkers with swivels built in; 8 1oz trolling sinkers with swivels built in; 24 1/2oz bank sinkers; 14 1oz pyramid sinkers; 10 1 1/2oz egg sinkers ; Circle hooks ranging from size 16 all the way up to 7/0; 2 flourocarbon sabiki, says size 4, look like size 12 hooks or so (small)

And in Storage Pockets: 4 Gulf Coast Style Popping Corks with rattles and titanium wire shaft; 1 spool 26lb knottable wire leader (surflon); 1 spool 40lb knottable wire leader (surflon); 2 spools 50lb Stren Mono leader; 1 bag 50 red eyed green sparkle beetles; 24 mr twister chartreuse/silver sparkle curly tails 3”; 2 spools 25lb test P-line CFX fluorocarbon leader; 1 spool 15lb test P-line CFX fluorocarbon leader; 1 spool 15lb test Suffix Invisiline fluorocarbon leader; 500 yds of 20lb Powerpro line; 300 yards 65lb Powerpro line


I’m bringing a total of four setups: (1) Shimano Sustain 4000fe mated to a Shimano Tiralejo 9’ 1-3oz surf rod. Spooled with 20 or 30lb powerpro. (bonito rig for splashers and tins); (2) Daiwa RegalXi 2500 size on the G-dude 8’6 surf rod. 10lb Powerpro mainline with 30yd topshot of 20lb powerpro. (bonito rig for splashers and tins); (3) Shimano Curado 300dsv on a 6’8 Falcon LowriderXG heavy rod with 30lb Powerpro. (kelp rig for calicos, etc.) also will be utilized for jigging up nighttime live bait at the GPP, possibly casting for halibut on the beaches in the early mornings; (4) Shimano Torsa 16 on a Shimano Tallus 6’ heavy rod. 50lb Powerpro, with provisions for upgrading to 65lb if need be. This will be my nighttime setup for huge “whatevers” that might be lurking at the GPP, what we think were probably huge bat rays.
I feel like I have most of the bases covered here… If anyone notices anything that is obviously missing, or can think of any must –haves not listed here, please feel free to comment. My main quarry will be bonito and barracuda this year. I also have a plan for nailing some large calicos, but the details are to be kept under wraps at this moment… I will also have some heavier leads for the big rig, but will not be travelling with them if I can work out the logistics with SteveO in advance. I think I am well prepared for bonito far, close, deep, shallow or surface. The bite looks good as far as boat reports for the frontside of the island go, with plenty of 2-4lb fish, and occasional 8+lb fish mixed in (bigger fish on iron mostly). We always have a shot at WSB and YT also, so I might mix it up a bit and try for them as well…        Looking forward to seeing old friends and new faces… So far it looks like a smaller turn out for this year, probably due to the economy and other factors. It was a stretch this year for me, but it has been a hard year and I feel like I deserve it! Until then, Catalina Dreamin is what I will be doing! Scooterfish


Posted by the frond


Great googley moogley —All I can say about that lol


Posted by iamfisherman


Well you be my best friend if I go?


Posted by Mahigeer


CATALINA FISHING LIST — Fishing license, Tooth brush/paste, Cast bubble, Head lights, Prizes? Batteries.Vitamins (day/night). Scale, Fish cage,  x2 IPod, Clipboards, Cart, wheelsx4, clips, tool, liner Speakers x2, Yellow bag, Spin casting, Deodorant, Pens, Bait casting rods/reels, Banner x 2, Swim baits, 8oz sinker, Swiss army knife, Bottled water, White, long zip-ties, Prescription glasses, Live bait nets,  X 2 Comb, Reading glasses, Square net, Sun Glasses, Note pad, Needlenose pliers, Hooded sweater, Ruler, Small split sinker, Soft carry-on case, Snap swivel Beanie hat, Belt, Rod tube, Sunglass hat, Fishing towels, “Mahigeer” hat, Fish grabber/scale, Non- fishing cloths/shoes, Bread, Fishing vest, Trash bags, Toiletry bag, Batteries, Small bucket/rope, Extra contacts, Colored zip tie, Lindy no snag sinkers,  Contact lens, juice, Raffle tickets, No snag hooks, Handkerchief, Megaphone, Extra sinkers, Golf balls, Travel papers, Tie-strap, Fishing pants/ shirt/shoes, Cutting board, Ticket, hotel reservation, Bonita hooks, Money, D.L. ,Kaiser, 2 C.C., Bike chain/key, Cell phone charger, Wipes, Shorts, Fillet knife, Small cooler, Telescopic rods, Wind breaker, Bait, Short, fly, long “T” neck sweater, Uni-goop, G-Loomis, backpack, Warm jacket (Catalina), Ghost shrimp, Long bobbers, Underwear, Frozen peas, Telescopic net, Socks (white/dress),  Moss, Styrofoam box,  Pajamas/sweater, Chum moss, Camera, shirt, Dry fish food


Posted by gordo grande


I guess I better go get my tackle box together, huh?


Posted by Ken Jones


Here’s my list:

1. Two rods and reels
2. Some sinkers and hooks
3. Bait
4. Bait knife, fillet knife, pliers
5. Clothing including a hat
6. Sun tan lotion
7. Pier cart
8. Me


Posted by scooterfish


Ken: I like the simplicity of your list…  Iamfisherman: If you show up, I would certainly fish with you, no guarantee on the best friend thing though. You can use anything I have in the bag… Mahigeer: I am looking forward to seeing in person some of the unique items you have packed.. Spin casting Deodorant Pens! Snap swivel Beanie hat! Wipes Shorts! Telescopic net Socks (white/dress)! and “sweater Chum moss” is definitely something I must see. Did you knit yourself a pretty green sweater out of opaleye moss?!

Gordo: Get your act together man!  See y’all there….


Posted by fishinfanatic


Will I be under gunned with only bringing two trays and three rod and reel combos?

Rods/reels: (1) Daiwa Regal 1500 with a 6 ft rod with 6 pound test; (2) Shimano Corvalus 300 with a 9 ft rod with 15 pound test; (3) Daiwa Sealine 20 with a 8 ft rod with 20 pound test; (4) extra reel, Abu Garcia Ambassador 4600 with 12 pound test.

Tray 1: 6- 2 ounce sinkers; 8- 1 ounce sinkers; 10- 1/2 ounce dixie sinkers; 20- size 8 hooks; 15- size 6 hooks; 15- size 1 hooks; 10- size 2/0 hooks; 10- size 4/0 hooks; 12- bonita flys in green, red white and yellow

Tray 2: 8- assorted leadheads from 1/4-3/8; 10- assorted 3in. big hammers; 8- 3 1/2in. bass assasins; 4- 3/4 ounce spoons; 3- 1-2 ounce mega bait jigs; 3- rapala x wraps; 2- 544 5 in. surface irons; 3- weedless bass jigs with grub trailers.

Miscallaneous: 10- bonito splashers; 1 spool of 20 pound fluorocarbon; 1 spool of 25 pound fluorocarbon; 2 fish rags; knife; needlenose pliers; 1 poncho (you never know); extra line spools in 6, 12,15 and 20; bait (2 pounds market shrimp; 1 bag of frozen peas; 2 pounds of squid)


Posted by Ken Jones — A final Catalina checklist
This assumes an overnight stay and a primary interest in onshore fishing


1. Reservations for the Catalina Ferry.
2. Reservations for a hotel.
3. Notification to PFIC/UPSAC if coming to the Friday night dinner at the annual Get Together.

Accessories for a Catalina fishing trip:

1. Single suitcase (since you’ll have enough other fishing equipment).
2. Light, layered clothing. Typically nights and mornings can be cool at Catalina while daytime requires little more than shorts and a T-shirt or light shirt. Afternoon winds can be chilly at the Mole and may require a windbreaker, light jacket or sweater. Casual clothes for dining.
3. Spare undies and outies.
4. Extra socks (although it’s considered cool to go sockless on Catalina).
5. A poncho if there is any chance of rain.
6. Watch.
7. Reading glasses if a certain age.
8. Required pills and/or vitamins if a certain age.
9. Copies of insurance form, especially if a certain age.
10. A minimum of two credit cards and extra moola.

Miscellaneous items for the room and trip:

1. Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, comb, etc.
2. Cell phone charger.
3. C-Pap machine if you’re a Roncador.
4. Writing pen and pocket note pad.
5. Sea sick pills for the ferry if you get sea sick (although I do and have never gotten sick on the ferry).

Miscellaneous Items needed for fishing:

1. Pier cart to haul the equipment from the ferry to the hotel to the GPP to the Mole to the hotel, etc.
2. Some type of tackle box or containers to hold equipment and a rod holder to protect the rods during the trip on the ferry.
3. Small bait cooler to keep live bait live, fresh bait fresh, and frozen bait frozen.
4. Frozen ice packs (various types are available). Additional real ice can be obtained from the hotel’s ice machine or from Vons.
5. Small Zip-Lock bags or baggies for fish fillets.
6. Bucket or some type of container for all the miscellaneous “stuff” that will not fit in the normal “tackle” container(s).
7. Polarized sunglasses.
8. Sun screen, at least SPF 50 but the stronger the better.
9. Baseball cap with extension to cover the back of your neck or sombrero-type hats; something to give your face and neck protection from the sun.
10. A crushable hat or ski cap if fishing at night.
11. Hand warmer — only need during the winter or very windy conditions.
12. Gloves — a cheap pair of work gloves can come in handy.
13. Flash light and/or a headlamp if you intend to fish at night (several models are available).
14. A lighted magnifying glass if you intend to fish at night and are over a certain age.
15. Camera.
16. Binoculars.
17. Snacks, i.e., Power Bars/Clif Bar energy snacks. A snack bar is on the Mole (although a little expensive) while restaurants are found on the GPP with a mini-Vons not too far away.
18. Bottled water, soft drinks or an energy drink (only one energy drink).
19. Thermos — if planning to fish at night.
20. Tide book.
21. Copy of California Fish and Game Regulations booklet.
22. License—if you plan to fish shoreline areas.
23. Hand towels aka rags. Buy cheap ones, bring several, and throw dirty ones away at the end of each day if a little too smelly.
24. Hand cleaner or a baggie of baking soda. It can be used to wash the fish smell off of hands (to a degree).
25. Extra trash bags

Fishing Equipment

1. Fishing rods and reels for the following conditions:
A. Light tackle for the small to medium-sized species at the GPP and the Mole (kelp bass, sheephead, opaleye, halfmoon, rock wrasse, mackerel, jacksmelt, etc.
B. Specialized set-ups for opaleye?
C. Medium tackle for casting artificials for bonito/barracuda at the Mole.
D. Heavy duty tackle if seeking out the big ‘uns at the GPP and Mole; the big bat rays, etc.
2. Line — Fluorocarbon is best at the GPP. Braid is used by many as the main line at the Mole with a fluorocarbon leader.
3. Sinkers — A variety of sinkers; 1-2 ounce torpedo sinkers for the GPP; 1-4 ounce sinkers at the Moledepending upon rod/reel and fish being sought. Use torpedo sinkers or other varieties that will not get caught in the kelp.
4. Hooks — A variety depending upon the bait and fish being sought; Kahle hooks for ghost shrimp, small size 6 or 4 baitholder hooks for the perch-like species, larger baitholder or C hooks for other baits.
5. Lures — Bring a variety; most often used lures are those for bonito and barracuda at the Mole. Bring bonito splasher rigs and flies (cast-a-bubbles, poppers, golf balls); spoons, i.e., Krocodiles and Kastmasters; casting jigs such as MegaBaits and Buzz Bombs; assorted swimbaits (leadheads w/ Big Hammers or Fish Trap).
6. Needlenose pliers for removing hooks and cutting line.
7. Sharp bait knife, fillet knife, and cutting board if planning to fillet fish.
8. In-water enclosed basket to keep fish alive while fishing.
9. Drop net to bring large fish up to the pier. Only use a treble gaff if seeking out rays or sharks that you intend to keep.
10. Screwdrivers — A set of small Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers (SS).
11. Nail clippers — for trimming line (SS).
12. Tape measure.
13. Elastic thread — useful if bait is not staying on the hook
14. Club or rubber-headed mallet to subdue big fish if you’re fishing for big fish.
15. Fish scale and or grabber (i.e., Boga Grip).
16. Small bucket with a rope to get seawater,

Bait: The only bait generally available at Avalon is frozen bait (although sometimes a boat with live squid will show up).

1. Live ghost shrimp — especially good from sheephead and opaleye.
2. Live saltwater worms (pileworms, blood worms, lug worms) — especially good on the smaller species (bass, rock wrasse, blacksmith, kelpfish, smelt, and salema but also good for opaleye at times.
3. Frozen peas — especially good for opaleye but have taken almost every one of the smaller species at the GGP and Mole.
4. Frozen anchovies or sardines —especially good for larger kelp bass but will also attract other species. Sometimes torn apart by smaller species.
5. Frozen squid — good for sheephead, ocean whitefish, bass and halfmoon. Better bait at night.
6. Chum.

7. Fish additives (fish attractants) can be used but are rarely needed.


DomPFA = Dominating Positive Fishing Attitude


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