Fishing has turned red hot for halibut and white seabass on the squid spawning grounds off Southern California's Channel Islands. The sportfishing passenger boat, Mirage, has just returned from two-day trip at Santa Cruz Island to its home port of Channel Islands Harbor with an incredible catch consisting of equal counts of white seabass and big California halibut.
These fish are feasting on squid in the wee hours of the morning, and that's when the best fishing occured using dropper loops with heavy sinkers and live squid for bait. According to a report on bloodydecks.com, most of the school-size croakers and halibut were caught aboard the Mirage well before any other boat arrived in the area.
This brings up a good point: The best island skippers in Southern California start their trips the day before, getting to their spot the afternoon or evening before, scouting out the area, catching squid in the dark, and figuring out where they want to be at first light the next morning. Boats that show up that morning are often a day late and a dollar short. The fish have already come and gone.
So if you plan to get in on some of the action at the Channel Islands, plan a two-day trip, so that you are set up on the anchor on the squid grounds and ready to catch fish at first light.