A Day Aboard the Gentleman
by: Jeff Jones 11/22/2013
My first trip aboard a mid-sized day charter, the Gentleman had somewhere around 30-40 anglers and more comfort amenities than the previous boat I was on (Island Tak; 12 anglers) from Channel Islands Sportfishing out of Ventura Cty., but also more ‘Combat Fishing’ conditions. As with most things, you get what you pay for, too.
In the end it was not bad conditions on the Gentleman, even though the anglers were basically shoulder-to-shoulder around the whole boat. Everyone was cooperative even when tangled and it looked like everyone caught fish, too.
The only real option was to drop straight down as we were over about 300 feet of water. I was only tangled a couple of times with other lines but noticed others near me and around the boat were getting tangled frequently. That said, the crew members were very good about quickly getting anglers untangled and back to fishing when it did not get resolved quickly by the fishermen. Being new to this type of fishing I really don’t see how a line from one side of the boat can so often get tangled with a line from the other, as I witnessed many times. I tangled only once with each of the anglers next to me but fail to see how that line from the opposite side could have gotten twisted with mine when I so infrequently was tangled with the guys only a foot to my right or left. I know that the current, and just as often a swimming fish, will move the lines around but almost everyone was using the appropriate size weight for bottom fishing in the current, though it was obvious who was using too light a weight as they were the ones getting tangled more often. Perhaps a minor difference in weight size can make all the difference in the tangle factor.
This trip was all bottom fishing; letting the weight drop to the bottom, pausing a few minutes, and then reeling up 5 cranks of the handle at a time and pausing at each level, until you find depth the fish were feeding at on that particular spot. Usually between the bottom and 20 cranks was where the bite came. We changed spots several times.
I asked as we left Channel Islands Harbor what we would be doing that day. Rockfishing deep with dropper loop rig was the answer. On the previous trips we never fished deeper than 90 ft. and cast swim baits as often as bottom fished. This trip was all deep and I only used one outfit: a Penn Jigmaster 500L and Penn Bluewater Carnage Rod, spooled with 50 lb. Spiderwire Invisi-braid and a 30 lb. leader of Berkley ProSpec 100% Fluorocarbon. I started with one hook on a dropper loop but eventually went to two loops and hooks, one with cut squid and the other with one or two live anchovies. The crewman recommended a 10 oz. torpedo weight but all I had was 8 and 12. I tied on an 8 oz. weight and 2/0 hook. As we neared the first stop, and talking with a fellow angler who had been on the Gentleman recently who said I would be better off with the 12 oz. weight, I changed to the heavier. This may have been the reason I did not tangle lines as often as others, if they were using lighter weights.
As predicted the catch was mostly rockfish, with some salmon grouper, sand dabs, and a couple of short ling cod, too. I think the first fish caught at the first stop was a 30-inch shark. On this trip we travelled south along the coast and the fishing time was spent within sight of Point Mugu, Malibu and Point Dume.
The Gentleman has features that my previous trips did not, though it also has drawbacks that the other did not have, the biggest being the number of people. The Gentleman has a grill and cook to make breakfast, lunch or snacks at a price, and cold beverages, too. It has an inside cabin with benches and tables, but only room enough to seat about 15 or so people, so everyone does not get a seat. It has an upper deck with a few seats, too. The Gentleman has a wider deck all around, so walking behind anglers along the side-rails is easy, and a bait tank forward and aft.
This day the boat was full likely because of a special run by Channel Islands Sportfishing; it was two-for-one day and the usual price is an affordable $65 each!
Already have my next trip planned before the end of the year!
Blog content © Jeff Jones
Flyrodn, CO 11/23/2013 7:18:32 AM
Interesting story. I've often thought about fishing a charter, but not being able to work flies or at least lures has held me back. Looks like all had a good time. I assume the catch gets split equally among all.
Jeff Jones (Bassnfly), CA 11/23/2013 9:47:21 AM
On this trip casting would have been problematic, and fruitless, being we were fishing so deep. On the two previous trips we were casting 1/2 to 1 oz. jig-heads with swimbait bodies to shallower water, mainly for calico bass, just as often as we were dropper-loop fishing for rock fish, ling cod, or whatever else came up (you never know what will be on the end of the line!) Casting a fly rod from a full charter boat (crowd fishing) would likely hook someone else more often than hooking into a fish.