Monthly Archive for June, 2010

My 2nd published writing

On February 14, 2010 before dawn during a new moon my wife and I launched our kayaks into the silence of the night. Armed with a light weight 8-20lb medium action bass setup each, a medium action 15-40lb inshore setup, a tackle box full of artificial baits, small cooler of fresh squid and a homemade portable fish finder, on two rented kayaks we embarked ready for a full day of island fishing. The water on the surface was calm as we paddled out of the Isthmus but underneath the surface the ocean was alive and the marine life abundant. It would be another great day of fishing Catalina Island.

We have made it tradition to visit the Island a few times a year and typically go during off-season months of February, May and September. These months at Two Harbor are quite and we often feel we have the island to ourselves as we paddle and fish the rugged coastline enjoying our time fishing for big grumpy calico bass, WSB and Halibut during the winter and chasing Yellowtail during the later warmer months of summer. During this last trip we planned the days perfect and had a wide-open calico bite spending three days catching toads, the 6-10 pounders were on the chew.

Not only were we treated with great bass fishing we also were joined by hundreds of dolphins migrating past the island to feed. Throughout the day we found ourselves surrounded by pods swimming with us, going under our kayaks and jumping along the side of us as we paddled. It is at the start of sunrise when this world comes alive that you truly understand how beautiful and special this place is and the best part for us is it’s only a little over an hour boat trip to get to this wonderful destination. Located a little more than 20 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina is the perfect destination for southern California kayak fishermen with plenty of places to fish, camp and explore whether targeting bigger game fish or enjoying a day of great calico fishing I promises you will enjoy your trip to this paradise so close to our mainland.

Getting There

There are two main ferry services that go out to Catalina Island.

The Catalina Express has ports in Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. Services go to both Avalon and Two harbors. They will not bring your personal kayak but will allow you to bring 2 large bags up to 70lbs per person, a carry on and fishing poles under 7ft. Their service is more like an airport where you are expected to be able to carry all of your stuff on and off and at times can be more strict about baggage weight. We use this ferry when the next ferry I’m going to discuss does not offer direct rides to Two Harbors. We typically bring 1 large ice chest and 3 large dive bags or cheaper military grade duffle bags full of our fishing and camping gear, then carry on a couple backpacks for extra personals.  http://www.catalinaexpress.com 800.481.3170

My 1st choice to get to the Island is Marina Del Rey Flyer which for a fee will take your personal kayak out to the Island and also caters more to the Catalina adventurer. They will help you load and unload your gearwhich means you can bring a bit more luggage and they don’t worry about weight. The downside is they are a small service and don’t always offer trips out to two harbors during the off seasons. http://www.catalinaferries.com/home.html 310.305.7250

If neither of these boats are scheduled to go to two harbors when you would like to be there you can take one of their ferries to Avalon and catch the Safari bus from there to Two Harbors. This is a great way to see the interior of the island and they will transport all the gear you arrived with. 310.510.2800

Kayak Rentals:

Two Harbors Dive & Recreation rents sit-on-top Ocean Fishing Kayaks. They have both Prowers and Tridents equipped with four rod holders. They are very friendly and will work with your schedule 310.510.4272

Places to stay and fish:

Two Harbors Campground: Located in the town of Two Harbors. Features showers, toilets, picnic table, fire pit and BBQ. Also walking distance to the Two Harbor grocery store, restaurant and bar. From here you can easily fish the Harbor Reefs, Bird Rock, Ship Rock and the High Spot between. 310.510.8368

Catalina Cabins: Available November through April when the seasonal employees are not staying in them. They are simple and comfortable. Bring all your own cooking utensils because they are not provided. They do have gas grills and electric stoves to cook on, showers and Toilets. From here you can easily fish Harbor Reefs, Bird Rock, Ship Rock and the High Spot between. 310.510.2800

Parsons Landing: This campground is secluded beach camping and you must load and paddle all your gear there. It is a 4-mile paddle from Two Harbors. Parson’s landing campsites have picnic tables, fire rings and chemical toilets. The rangers will also deliver wood and water to you during your stay. 1 bundle and 2.5 gallons of water are included per night. Fishing includes Arrow Point, access to the west end of the island, Emerald bay or just fish the ridge right in front of the camp. 310.510.2800

Little Harbor: Located about seven miles east of Two Harbors this beachfront campground has picnic tales, bbq and fire rings, showers, freshwater, and chemical toilets. The good thing about Little Harbor is you can arrange delivery of all your camping gear by the ranger or put it on the Safari bus then paddle out of Cat Harbor on the backside of Two Harbors to the campground. On your rout to the campground you pass prime fishing grounds. 310.510.2800

Boat-In Camping: Boat-In campsites allows you to enjoy true seclusion along the northeast shore. There are 17 sites at nine locations located on the coastline between Two Harbors and Longpoint also accessible from Avalon, these campsites can only be reached by boat or kayak and you must pack in and out all your equipment. You must bring all food, water, camping, and cooking equipment with you. You must also bring a porta-potty or buy individual landfill-approved potty-bags. You should treat this like backpacking and pack accordantly. Sites include Rippers, Paradise, Lava Wall, Gibraltar, Cabrillo, Goat Harbor, Italian Gardens, Long Point and Willow Cove. For more information visit this website http://www.ecatalina.com/about-boat-camping.html . There are many good fishing spots on your way through this area of the Island. You can fish from the Isthmus to Long Point. Make sure you talk to the dive shop about the small marine preserve just east of bird rock. Also be aware the there are currently proposed MLPA’s at Long Point and Bird rock that if passed will limit the fishing grounds by the Boat-In sites greatly. Currently as I write this they are open to fish. 310.510.2800

Yes there are hotels on Catalina, most on Avalon and one at Two harbors called the banning house. You can find more hotel information at www.visitcatalinaisland.com

Stores: There is a small grocery store at Two Harbors plus a restaurant and bar. I do recommend you supporting their local economy by purchasing groceries and ice for your trip at their store although be warned beer is overpriced and sold individually not by the pack or case so if you enjoy fine micro-brews like myself you may want to BYOB. Avalon has a Vons not much different than any other Vons on the mainland.

Equipment List: The equipment you bring really depends on where you choose to stay. We always bring all our fishing gear, a ice chest, camping gear and cooking utensils. When we stay at Two-Harbors campground, the off-season cabins or Little Harbor we bring more stuff since the rangers will help you get it to your site. When we stay at Parsons or the Boat-In Camping spots we pack light and ensure everything will fit in and on top of the kayaks. You should bring dry-bags.