Catalina Island News

Spring Time is Squid Time

Afishinados Charters

The winds is blowing today.  Last week we had some gorgeous days and a bit of a white sea bass flurry around the moon phase.  This week we are hunkering down and hoping the wind does not blow us off the water.  Spring time.

Spring is generally a fun time.  We are getting on the water and starting to see signs of fish.  It is exciting and depressing at the same time.  Inevitably there will be 10 – 20 boats spread out from the East end up to Silver Canyon in search of the glory fish; white sea bass, yellowtail or halibut.

The excitement peaks if one of those boats gets on the fish.  It usually will not take long for other boats to gather in a tighter area when they see an angler bent.  If one of those boats is a buddy, there is a fifty-fifty chance that a call might come through on the secret channel…or not.

It gets really exciting when you are on the boat that is the one on the fish.  It can get really depressing when you are on the boat that is next to the boat that is on the fish.  But, that is Spring.  Hero or goat.

I should say, that is the current state of Spring.  It was not always like this.  Not long ago, before Calamari (squid) was a delicacy on every Bistro menu, the Spring bite could turn into a full blown foamer. 

Large schools of big fish would swim through this area in search of spawned-out squid and frequently find such at the end of a hook.  You did not need your buddy to tell you, since he and most others were in full bendo, fighting trophy fish.

Of course, there were also A LOT more boats when this was happening.  Instead of the 10-20 we might see a couple hundred boats gathered along the squid grounds and setting up at the magic depth or a high spot.

Pretty exciting stuff.

I tell my customers that ‘the gold in them thar hills’ has been worked pretty hard, but, like the grizzled old minor that continues to work the seam, there are still days when we can hit the mother-load.  As long as the chance for a strike exists, fishing will be exciting. 

Yes, it is true that there will be more days when the magic just does not happen.  But, this is part of the psyche of every angler worth his salt.  When fishing is too easy, we lose interest.  As fishing gets harder, we seem to experience a higher level of thrill on those days when we are the hero.

As a charter operator, we work twice as hard to get our customers on fish, and thankfully Mother Ocean delivers over 97% of the time.  Those are pretty good odds given the challenges of our local fishing scene.

The real test is to ask the restaurant owners.  We literally send about 1000 people per year into our local restaurants to prepare the fish our charter customers caught for the freshest meal that they will ever have.  Can you imagine?  Fresh caught fish cooked to perfection and served with a perfectly matched Chardonnay to end your day…not bad.

But wait, there is more…

Our kelp forests are slowly returning.  This bodes well for the entire fishery and the supporting eco-system.  With more kelp ‘neighborhoods’ comes more bait fish, more crustaceans, more life.  More life supports a broader network of larger critters such as game fish.

The kelp forests also give the sea lions and cormorants another food source other than what anglers catch.  That would be a welcome relief.

But the real story still lies in the lowly squid.  A high protein, perfectly matched food source for nearly every critter that flies or swims…and for many that drive cars.

I just hope that we discover that Calamari leads to cancer or some terrible disease.  That would switch the Bistro menu back to onion rings, and I do not think I have ever heard a word about the sustainability of onions as a food source. 

By Capt. John
KingCapt. John runs Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – – 888-613-7770