CCA CAL and Hubbs, Seaworld Research Institute (HSWRI) along with some very dedicated anglers went out on May 18th, 2017 in search of California Halibut for broodstock.
HSWRI just installed their new tank and wanted to supplement the halibut caught last November. It was important to have this trip before Memorial weekend (when all the prices go up and fishing season really opens up) so I put this together in a just about a week. CCA chartered the Point Loma out of Point Loma Sportfishing with Captain Fred Huber. This trip was a limited load as the Point Loma is a smaller boat with a limited galley.
CCA of CAL sent out notices to everyone and started getting reservations. We held some spots for the HSWRI staff and filled the rest. When the boat was full we had 15 anglers plus myself and 2 HSWRI staff.
Captain Fred upgraded us to the 1/2-day boat Daily Double so we had a much nicer ride and plenty of room. We left at 6:30am to partly cloudy skies with Capt. Chad at the helm, with Capt. Fred in the galley and David and Andrew on deck. We picked up a mix of anchovies and sardines and headed for the fishing grounds. During our meeting in the galley the captain explained the trip, rigging techniques, the HSWRI process for handling and documenting fish and then held a great raffle.
We set out to rig up and were quickly at the grounds looking for the perfect zone to fish. Capt. Chad put us on a couple of spots and the fish started to bite. We pulled up sand bass and calico bass and finally a halibut was caught. Before lunch we caught 3 halibut but only kept 1. The others were fin clipped and documented then released. We moved around to quite a few spots but the halibut didn’t want to cooperate.
While we waited for fishing to heat up, we broke for lunch and the group had some awesome food prepared by captain, owner, and on this day, cook, Fred Huber. Towards the end of the day, we found a productive area and started to have much better luck. In the end, we boated 18 halibut and kept 8 for the hatchery program.
The trip returned to the dock and everyone helped “sling” the fish to a waiting HSWRI truck that transported them to the Mission Bay facility. Today’s broodstock was on it’s way to the same grow-out tank that holds the previous trip’s halibut catch.
Overall, we had a great boat and crew (Thank you Daily Double and Captain Huber) and an awesome group of anglers. It was fun meeting new people, sharing stories at the rail and making history as we help HSWRI with the new halibut broodstock.