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 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!

Anti-fishing campaigns

PETA’s (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) active anti-fishing campaign has been successful in Europe, and now it has brought its “trunk show” to the U.S. PETA claims more than 450,000 members among its allied associations. One of the organization’s goals is to stop sportfishing at all costs because PETA considers it cruel. PETA has mapped out a tremendous PR campaign that encompasses every possible angle, and it has established a network of protesters that is unbelievably persistent and testy.

PETA’s multi-pronged program is based on anti-fishing propaganda, protests and even more aggressive, if not belligerent, tactics such as, throwing rocks in streams and when anglers are fishing, using SCUBA divers to disrupt tournaments (by scaring off fish and even cutting lines), defacing fishermen’s vehicles with anti-fishing slogans, etc.

Two great examples of how anglers working together can produce noble achievements

1. The Ban the Nets project, which virtually eliminated commercial fishing in Florida, is a great example of how angling groups and individuals can work together. The Save Our Sealife committee conducted a very effective petition drive on November. 10, 1992 by collecting over 200,000 signatures outside the poling sites in Florida. This might be the most successful one-day petition effort ever in America. Florida Sportsman and its publisher Karl Wickstrom were important players in this fight.

Ban the Nets had tremendous assistance from many outdoor writers, numerous associations and federations including Florida Conservation Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Tropical Audubon Society of Miami, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and others. The result: An overwhelming victory on November 8, 1994, when 72 percent of the people voted to ban the nets. The formula for success includes sportsmen, magazines, outdoor writers, grass roots campaigning and associations working together.