Channel Islands (Ventura County)
The Channel Islands in general have been outstanding for barracuda, especially during warm-water years. They may not be quite as consistently productive as the Coronados Islands farther south, but they are hands down the finest fish habitat this side of the border.
Santa Rosa Island is not only big, but getting there requires a long trip. This combination means that anglers must have a clear plan of attack. What do you want Halibut Rockfish Maybe a chance at landing a big bluefin tuna in the late summer Each significant fishing area offers something a little different. The northwest end between Sandy Point and Brockway Point is a good example; the shoreline and sea bottom are quite rocky and hold large numbers of rockfish, lingcod, sheepshead, and occasionally white sea bass. The southwest end in the vicinity of Bee Rock is similar, harboring significant numbers of rockfish and some kelp bass. If you want halibut, there are several excellent spots to try, including the southeast side of Bechers Bay. These are among the better places for halibut anywhere in the Channel Islands. Another good halibut area is on the southeastern side of the island, just west of East Point. When varieties of tuna start roaming throughout the area, they often use the Santa Cruz Channel around the southeastern side of the island as a gateway. The Gap, the fertile area between the two islands, is a great spot for rockfish. Or try Talcott Shoal, and don't overlook Ford Point.
Santa Cruz Island is the biggest of the four Channel Islands, and its proximity to the coast makes it a much more popular destination than the other islands here. When the wind is down, there is good rock fishing nearly all along the northern shore, best in the vicinity of Double Point and Arch Rock and near the reefs between those island points. When the wind is up, boaters instead duck to the southeast side to get protection from the north wind and also to get decent rock fishing.
Other decent spots at Santa Cruz are Chinese Harbor, Prisoners Harbor, Willows, Yellow Banks, Alberts, and Platts. The bonus appeal here is for bonito, yellowtail, and occasionally larger tuna, which sometimes roam in schools on the southeast side of the island, as well as in the Santa Cruz Channel (near Santa Rosa Island to the west). Some years the tuna show, some years they don't. Keep tuned in, and when they show, don't miss out.