Author: Colby Uva
Thinking Of Taking A Fishing Trip In California? Try Santa Barbara
A few hours north of LA lies a sleepy fishing town with a North Pacific feel minus the cold. Santa Barbara has a small port surrounded by mountains and is famous for its up brow film festivals, with small feature films boosted by major hollywood celebrities. Your family will love the town, and you will make it out fishing and catch fish.
Without the immense pressure of larger cities like San Diego or LA and with plenty of water to fish, you won't be disappointed. The nearby channel islands are within sight of shore, promising excellent rockfishing, lingcod, bass, and yellowtail. The rockfish in Santa Barbara are much bigger than down south, probably because of so much less pressure on a large habitat area.
Fleets of of commercial fishermen regularly target herring and squid here, showing that the waters are nutrient rich. Larger scale commercial fishing for halibut , white sea bass, swordfish and thresher sharks also occurs here. So if if offshore and big game fishing is your thing, it is an option here.
Hire A "Cattle" Boat To Go Fishing In Santa Barbara
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to go out, or have brought your own gear and like setting up your own gear, you may want to check out one of the local "Cattle Boats" . Stardust Sportfishing is just minutes away from downtown.
Fishing From Land Santa Barbara
For those on a budget or simply those who enjoy the beach, the surf fishing is also promising. You are on the pacific coast highway so you have plenty of coastline to explore as well as beach campgrounds less than 30 minutes away. There are plenty of surf perch and even landbased sharkfishing opportunities. You may want to check out Refugio State Beach.
Trailer Your Boat And Launch In Santa Barbara
Two minutes from downtown there is a launch ramp. That gives you easy access to the nutrient rich waters nearby. If you are coming just for the day park and FISH! If you are coming for several days, be sure that your lodging arrangements allow for you to park your boat and trailer before heading up.
The ramp is open 24 hours and has hourly parking for $2.00 and daily parking for $12.00.
Hire A 6 Pack Boat To Fish In Santa Barbara
Just walking in the harbour you may be able to find a 6 pack boat available for charter. However it is usually a good idea to call and book with these guys ahead of time. Try one of the charter boats below:
Santa Barbara Sportfishing- This boat mainly targets rockfish, lingcod, and sheepshead. They offer 1/2 day, full day, and specialty trips. Take a look at their website to get more information.
Santa Barbara Sea Charters - This boat is a 41 footer that splits its time between whale watching and fishing. They catch white seabass, rockfish, lingcod, and more. Take a look at their website to get more information.
So whether you are driving the pacific highway, or looking for somewhere to fly to for the weekend. Come to Santa Barbara to enjoy centra California and catch some fish.
Below Are A Few More Of My Trips And Experiences That Have Introduced Me To Southern California Fishing
My First Impression Of SOCAL Fishing In January - When I first got to Southern California I really didn't know what to expect. My mobility was limited without a car, so I joined fishing clubs and got tips from local anglers and friends that had fished in San Diego. I spent the first few months Airbnbing and that allowed me to be near the action to see what was going on without having to p as a fortune for ubers. (Also see ubering as a fishermen).
Coming from Florida I had always seen pictures of Cow Tuna lining the rails of big long range boats. It seemed so far, and so expensive for a young fisherman, actually out of reach. Before coming over here I did all of my research to learn about all the boats. It still astounds me the scale of the operation at H&M Landing & Fisherman's Landing. It's the most impressive fishing fleet I've ever seen.
Each boat is there own full on hospitallity business. They are basically floating hotels who compete on amenities, "restaurants" as most have their own chefs and of course the most important "fish counts" which are regularly updated on the landings websites.
When I first came to San Diego I fell in the love with the marlin club building. It was fricking awesome. There is nothing like it that I ca think of in Miami. It's a piece of history. Fishing history that is actually preserved, and that's something to speak of especially in 2020.
Anyways I went down there so often that eventually the weighmaster Roger asked me if I wanted to come speak at the club. So I did I gave a speech about the concept of Spend More Time Fishing which after much research I have found is responsible for most of the major innovations of the world from the conquest of much of The Roman Empire to the fricking lightbulb. As a matter of fact I found this out later but one of Andrew Carnegie's biggest scandals was when a fishing club that he was a member of "didn't keep up with" a damn they had bought and it killed thousands of people.
Oh back to fishing on a center console in San Diego. Yea I met Will at the club and he invited me to go fishing on his 18 foot Boston whaler out to the canyons for tuna and that was my first offshore experience in a private boat. Click the link up top to see that report.
Every year from January to February rockfish season in US waters closes for them suckers to spawn. You can still target them, but you will need to head south down into Mexican waters. By getting on a 3/4 day trip out of San Diego you should have plenty of time to get down there. What is nice about the trip is since it's a little specific, most people on the trip are decent fishermen and so you will have a pretty good crew to fish with. My first trip for Mexican rockfish was with JD on the Fisherman III , check it out at the link above.
First Full Day Trip Out Of San Diego
My first full day trip I actually drove down. From Dana Point with my fiance Fiona to fish on the Liberty. We saw a ton of tuna but only one was caught, lucky for Fiona the crew hooked it and handed it to her because she was the only girl on the boat. While it was tough for me to watch her catch a bluefin before me after I cleaned the 40Lber at the house we had Sashimi for us and a ton of family members who visited. I hooked one on and iron on the surface but he pulled the hook.
After months of moving , tradeshows, setting up a new warehouse etc, I finally made it out on my first over night trip in Southern California aboard the Fury (I highly recommend this boat and Cpt. Marcus it's new owner). It was some of the most insane fishing I have ever experienced. While I had hoped for bluefin the quantity of yellowfin we caught more than made up for it. It was so wild in fact that at one point I switched to a 12Lb set up just to have fun with the yellowfin. We ended up leaving them biting because our boat full of 30 people had limited out. Take a look at the link above to read about that trip.
Fishing clubs are probably one of the best inventions in the fishing world. Fishing clubs are a great way to warn about a local fishery and its ins and outs. By joining a fishing club, not only will you learn more about that type of fishing, but you also meet new fishing buddies to go fish with, and learn of exclusive deals on tackle, trips and more. The link above is list of all of the fishing clubs in Southern California. If you want to fish out here. Join these clubs and get involved.
In March to take a break from moving Fiona from DC and busting our asses in the warehouse we took a trip down to Ensenada to fish and relax. Click the link above to learn more about that trip.
My article is mostly about the fishing aspect but the goal of Bullbuster is to help you spend more time fishing. If you have a family a lot of time that means getting them involved. Fiona wrote a great article covering this perspective with a Things To Do In Ensenada Mexico article.
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