santa barbara spring fishing

Spring fishing in Santa Barbara Channel

santa barbara spring fishingWe take our salmon fishing mighty seriously on the Santa Barbara Channel. That’s because this is as far down the coast as salmon are caught in appreciable numbers. The season begins about early March and gets going strong by April. The bite frequently lasts well into June and sometimes beyond. These are the best salmon of all – kings (Chinook). Smaller fish are 12 to 15lbs, and they range up to over 30lbs. When one of these magnificent fish hits the deck, high-fives and backslaps are in order!

There are two basic methods for catching these salmon; mooching and trolling. The big open-party sportboats must mooch because they have too many people aboard to troll. Mooching entails anchoring or drifting over big baitballs and lowering a bait on light line and a small hook. The light tackle makes catching a big fish alot of fun. I prefer trolling because I know that over the course of a season I can hook up with more fish for my passengers by covering some territory and dragging irresistible objects in front of the salmon. Downriggers and weight releases can be used with equal effectiveness. A flasher blade imitates a school of baitfish, and the bait or lure trails along behind.

santa barbara channel

The Santa Barbara Channel fishing

santa barbara channelAt each season of the year the wild and spectacular Santa Barbara Channel provides quality sportfishing options. It ranks as a premier fishery on a “seasonally adjusted basis” (to borrow a term from the financial world). This article is intended to serve as a guide to help you explore and enjoy this Southern California “stand-up” style fishery all throughout the year.

Resources abound for tapping the potential of this vast fishery. Sportfishing fleets of big partyboats and private-charter services run out of the four harbors along the seventy-some miles of mainland coast between the boundaries of the Channel, Point Dume and Point Conception. Three of the harbors are in close proximity to one another along the Ventura County Coast. The fourth is a little further up the coast in beautiful Santa Barbara, which allows closer access to the wild west end of the Channel where the fish don’t get much pressure. The four Channel Islands are prime fishing destinations from these ports when the weather permits. Good fishing piers are available, and two of them (at Goleta and Gaviota) have hoists for launching skiffs.