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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 6:07 am | Fair and Breezy 53º


Captain’s Log: Squid Spawns Gather Big Schools of White Seabass, Halibut

Reel in flavor with fresh-caught fish

Fresh white seabass are good looking and tasty.
Fresh white seabass are good looking and tasty. (Capt. Nick Tharp)

This is the time of year when fishing people feel their blood boiling with excitement, and there is ample reason for that right now.

Squid spawns are underway, which gathers big schools of hungry white seabass and halibut. All of that, of course, gathers fisherfolk who just love bringing back such fresh, delicious meat home to the family.

Squid spawns are in full swing at the Channel Islands with hotspots being Anacapa, Yellowbanks, Chinese Harbor, Christies, Eagles Nest, Bechers Bay, and the front side of Santa Rosa Island.

Great schools of white seabass are chewing their way through the spawning squid by picking up the spawned-out, dying squid that are easy to catch.

Below the squid spawns, halibut move in to also pick up the spawned-out squid. Both species are there to gorge and grow in one of the major food chain-eating sprees in all of nature.

Knowing that brings a keen sense of immersion into the harsh realities of the natural order and on charters aboard my charterboat, WaveWalker, I like to talk about that to help people understand the life-and-death struggle going on below the boat.

Fishing for white seabass and halibut, and even yellowtail, is fairly easy in the midst of a squid spawn. Jig up some live squid, pin it on a hook and fish anywhere in the water column.

I use a dropper loop to fish a few feet above the bottom, a dink hook or sliding sinker rig to fish the mid-column, and under a bobber or balloon to fish near the top of the water column.

Many experienced anglers and all charter boat-crew members can help a novice with these techniques. Then, hang on for a great battle.

Many folks don’t know or perhaps forget what a huge difference it is between bringing home packaged meats, which are usually many days old, from the store and bringing home freshly caught seafood to be prepared and eaten while fresh and tasty.

The taste difference is astounding. Between that and the adventure and fun of fishing, consider getting out on the water yourself enjoy smacking your lips over the rewards.

If you can’t get out there, call up a fisher person you know and do some creative bargaining.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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