Again, six of us from Indiana made the trip to Cedros to fish Friday, October 18-Monday, October 21. This was my 9th trip to the island. 3 of the guys from our group were first-timers; I love taking guys to Cedros as everyone is in awe of the world class fishing, majestic views from Cedros Outdoor Adventures’ lodge and sheer beauty of the island/marine life.
As always, we had great fishing on this trip. The fishing for yellowtail was off the hook. We had to stop keeping yellowtail by Saturday afternoon because we had so much yellowtail. You can catch yellowtail all day long, although the morning bite was especially phenomenal. On the date of arrival, we just used jigs, and caught a lot of yellowtail without even using bait. We blacked out our tank with mackeral each morning, and the yellowtail showed a preference for the mackerel slow trolled. We used the salami sized mackerel to deter the Bonita from taking the bait. The yellowtail also readily took jigs, although they had a noticeable preference for the mint colored jigs. The yellowtail fishing on this trip was unusual in that it seemed that a greater percentage of the yellowtail were really big in the 30-35 pound class — that is real work bringing up yellowtail of that size.
Although we devoted our mornings to catching yellowtail, we tried to fish something different each afternoon. On Saturday afternoon, we took a roughly one hour boat ride over to Chester’s Rock just south of Punta Eugenia on the mainland. This area has a huge kelp forest. The calico fishing was awesome with one of our pangas catching over 100 calico in afternoon session. On several occasions, we had as many as 10 other calicos following a caught fish to the boat. The calico at Chester’s Rock readily took plastic swim baits, unlike the calico at Cedros Island where calicos have gorged on the red tuna crab for the last two or three years and do not readily take swim baits. Two of the first-timers on our trip were bass fisherman from Indiana, and they described the calico bass as “smallmouth bass on crack.”
On one another afternoon, we fished for California Sheepshead. One of the first-timers on our trip had seen pictures of the California Sheepshead, and wanted to catch this unusual but beautiful looking species. We told our guide, and he took us to a special location where we caught exclusively Sheepshead. We used cut bait on a dropper loop, and were catching California Sheepshead on almost every drop. For a while, we were doing catch and release on the Sheepshead! Sheepshead have always been an incidental catch for me, so I was quite surprised to learn that there are places where you can just catch Sheepshead in large numbers.
Although people come to Cedros Island for the world class yellowtail fishing, the variety of fish to be caught at the island allows one to experience a lot of different types of fishing when visiting. We usually go in October as we have traditionally caught dorado and yellowfin tuna during October, in addition to the other species that inhabit Cedros. Apparently, Dorado were caught in the week previous to our vacation, but had moved out of the area. Last year in October, we caught white sea bass upwards of 60 pounds. We will be back next October to experience the variety of species that inhabit Cedros Island during that time of year.