March 10, 2014

Newport Beach; Party Barge Style

Work took me to Southern California last week, so I did what any fishing addict would do... Find a way to get some fishing in. The conference wouldn't allow me to get out during the day, but I found that Davey's Locker out of Newport Beach offered trips from 7 to midnight on Friday and Saturday. They even offered a coupon, so the price for getting on the boat, license and tackle was almost half off. I couldn't pass that up!
I headed down Friday after the conference to find Newport Beach almost deserted. I found it odd for a Friday night, but It made it nice to walk around the uncrowded shops.  I also had a bite to eat before the trip that was excellent.
Newport Beach was almost empty.

Enjoying some stuffed orange roughy before the trip.

getting geared up at Davey's Locker for the trip.
There were around 30-35 anglers on the boat. It was a 35 minute ride to get the the structure we were going to fish. The deck hand were busy getting gear ready and giving advice on the way out.  I am a rookie when it come to this kind of fishing, so I asked questions the whole way out. what should I feel for, how to tie the knots they used, how to present the bait, etc. My goal on this trip was simple: catch as many species as possible!

The first hour, I didn't catch a thing. A few other anglers pulled in a few fish, but it was slow!. The captain moved us a short distance away to a new spot. soon the fish started biting. The Key was to make sure you could feel the weight bouncing on the rocks. That way, you knew you were in the zone. Once you set the hook, you had to reel! If these fish bit, and then got in the rocks, you were toast. There was also a young sea lion that was stealing all the bait as anglers cast out. He actually got hooked three different times by other anglers, but luckily got off without having a hook stay with him.

My first fish of the night was a blue perch. I followed that up with several sculpin. The crew advised everyone not to touch the sculpin because of there poisonous barbs along their back and bottom fins. They said it felt like a hornet sting That lasts for hours. I found that if I dropped my bait straight down, I would get sculpin after sculpin. The other side of the boat were getting into sand bass, so I went over to see what they were doing different.

Fishing stories abound on the ride out.

My first catch of the night; a Blue Perch.

Young Sea Lion that loved stealing bait.

The trick to getting the bass was to cast out as far as you could, let the bait hit the bottom, and then slowly reel in. Sure enough, my first time trying it produced my first calico bass. I also managed a gopher rockfish casting out as well. what still seems strange to me is the left side of the boat caught nothing but sand bass, and the right side only caught calico bass.
Once the trip ended, I had caught the most fish with 12, and the most species with 4. but the biggest sand bass won the anglers pot at the end of the night. I love trip's where I add multiple new species to my catch list!

Calico Bass


Gopher Rockfish

Sand Bass

The crew filleting tonight's catch.


  1. Cool looking fish! it's always a good time when the Capt puts you on the fish. I spent 12 hours offshore on a cod trip Sat that pretty much ended up being an expensive boat ride. oh well, thats the name of the game. Maybe I should try the pacific?

    1. Definitely try the pacific. It's never done me wrong. To bad about that cod trip. I hope the ride was enjoyable at least.

  2. I've been out of Newport on several occasions and it's always been a fun time.

    1. I want to try some day trips the next time I'm in that area. They told me different species bite during the day compared to their night trip.

  3. Looks like you Really killed it, Rick! Great job! I have to do more ocean fishing, especially off of a boat!