My work schedule finally freed up and I got the chance to fly out to Los Angeles to visit my girlfriend. This trip, we made sure that we made a little bit of time to go fishing. The first stop that we made was to explore Malibu Creek State Park. We had a lot of trouble finding information on whether or not they allowed fishing in the park, but after asking a park ranger, we quickly learned that the creek was off limits but fishing was allowed at a little lake in the park called Century Lake.
We hiked a little over a mile through some beautiful landscapes to discover this gorgeous little lake (which was actually deceptively deep).
There wasn’t much shore access on the lake, but I found a little rock to fish off of and hooked my first fish (which promptly came unhooked just as I was trying to land it).
But I continued tossing around my little jig and was happily rewarded with a lovely little bluegill.
I worked my way down the bank and enjoyed the lovely scenery.
I even found a second little bluegill right off of some submerged branches.
Right as we were getting ready to leave, I saw a new target: some bigger bluegill starting to bed in the shallows.
I danced jigs around their beds, and they would nibble but not fully take the lure. So I switched tactics. Instead of jigging the lure, I would set the jig right in the center of the bed and just let it sit there. The bluegill would swim over, stare at it, go nose down on it, nibble it, then get frustrated and actually bite the lure.
With this lovely bluegill, we decided it was time to hike back and get some lunch.
We then went to Malibu Pier to see if we could catch any fish there. Luckily, there was a little shop at the end of the pier where I bought some 2 oz. lead weights and a package of frozen squid.
We started on the sunny side of the pier near the deeper water, mostly because that was one of the only places where I had some decent room to play a fish if I caught a larger one. After watching everyone else around me hook a few fish, I finally got a bite and reeled up this little California Scorpionfish.
We stayed put at that spot for another hour, but I didn’t manage to get another bite. In the last 30 minutes, we decided to move to the deepest (and shaded) part of the pier. Instead of dropping the bait straight down like I had been, I started casting it out as far as my light line would let me. I immediately hooked into my first ever California Lizardfish.
Look at the chompers on this little guy!
I continued fishing this spot and hooked into my first ever Barred Sand Bass. The other anglers at this spot kept hooking into Mackerel, but I just couldn’t manage to get one this time.
The last place we went fishing at was the Santa Monica Pier. Once again, we stopped at a bait shop right at the end of the pier and purchased bait. I was hoping for squid, but the shop only had Anchovies left (which actually worked way better than squid). We set up on the end of the pier and before I was able to hook a fish, a Sea Lion swam up begging for bait.
After he swam off, I was able to fish without the fear of him eating my catches and dropped my bait down. The first fish to bite on the Anchovies was a little Queenfish.
This trip, I was determined to catch a Pacific Mackerel and decided that fishing directly on the bottom was not the solution. I quickly discovered that suspending my bait halfway up the water column resulted in the largest number of bites from Mackerel.
After catching a few of these little guys, I switched back to fishing the bottom to try to get some other species. I found a little deep spot by a pier piling that held a large number of Kelp Bass.
I even got my girlfriend to catch a fish, her first Barred Sand Bass.
At this point, I wanted to just catch one last little fish before calling it a day, another little Barred Sand Bass.
With this last little fish, my trip was coming to an end. It was a great adventure and I was lucky to have great company to spend it with me. I ended the trip with a total of 6 new species for my list and only a mild sunburn.