Autumn fishing santa barbara

Autumn fishing in Santa Barbara Channel

Autumn fishing santa barbaraThis is my favorite time of year for fishing the Santa Barbara Channel because of the long periods of glassy flat water when a trip to the islands seems like a short comfortable run. Water temps are still up and the food chain is very active. Summer gamesters are still around, winter fish are beginning to bite well, and tuna show up well offshore.

The best albacore bite along the California coast, during some years, is outside of San Miguel Island near the Rodriguez Seamount. Whispering the word “albacore” is enough to send scores of wild-eyed anglers scurrying to sea. These are great fish, promising a valiant fight and excellent table fare.

summer-fishing

Summer fishing in Santa Barbara Channel

summer-fishingAs water temps rise, the surface gamesters of summer ride the warm water currents up the coast and fan out along both the mainland and the islands. This is when we tie on casting iron such as jigs and spoons, and give our drag systems a good test on bonito, barracuda, and the occasional yellowtail.

Calico bass are joined, at this time of year by hordes of big grumpy sand bass scouring the nearshore clambeds and feeding around the inshore reefs. It is quite common to catch a mixed limit of calicos and sandies. The calicos will usually move up higher in the water column, while the sandies generally stay just a little lower. That isn’t a hard rule however, and many individual fish seem to do their own thing with wild abandon. That’s part of the fun of bass fishing. The other part is grinning ear-to-ear at how hard these fish can fight!