The diversification of the Southern California Fishery is often overlooked because of the hype and focus of the few abundant top water species. The recent boom of giant Blue Fin Tuna has captivated the fishing realm, and before this cow tuna showed up, Southern California was always associated with Yellowtail and Yellowfin Tuna. The diversity of this fishery extends deeper to the ocean floor than many people understand.
The prime example of the diversity of the Southern California Fishery lies on the bottom of the ocean near and in between the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands in California are a group of eight islands known for their thriving fishery. Located off the Southern California coast, they offer rich biodiversity and pristine waters, making them a prime location for fishing enthusiasts. The islands provide ample opportunities for anglers to catch a variety of species, including rockfish, yellowtail, seabass, halibut, calico bass, and more. The abundance of marine life and the unique ecosystem surrounding the islands make the Channel Islands a popular destination for fishing excursions and a haven for those seeking a fruitful fishing experience.
BD Outdoors took a trip out to the Channel Islands, On Deck With The Apollo, for two days of epic fishing. From long halibut drifts in 15 feet of water, to deep dropping jigs 400 feet for a variety of rockfish, this trip showcases the benefits of fishing on Sportboats out of Long Beach, CA.
The Apollo is a 65 foot sport-fisher, recently purchased by Jeff Jessop, Ricky Carbajal and Greg Obymako. This boat has legendary roots in Southern California, it has been a part of the sportboat fleet for over four decades. Under new ownership, the boat no longer stays tied up in San Diego and Puerta Vallarta. The Apollo spends November through June running trips out of 22nd Street Landing in Long Beach, then July through October running trips out of Seaforth Landing in Mission Bay, San Diego. These trips range from Overnight trips to 3-day trips, targeting everything that swims in the Southern California waters. With an upbeat crew and a battle-tested vessel, The Apollo is well-known as one of the best sport fishing boats in Southern California.
Young and old, this crew works around the clock to make sure your time aboard the Apollo is worth every penny. The combined years of expertise and collective mindset to hunt fish sets up anglers in a position to have a stellar trip every time the boat leaves the dock.
Captain Jeff Jessop is a Southern California local with deep roots in the sportfishing industry. He has been a captain on various sportfishing boats in SoCal for the past two decades. He currently runs The Apollo as well as The Amigo. Captain Jeff has the Channel Islands dialed, his expertise of the SoCal offshore fishery speaks for itself. He is a calm, collected captain with a talent for finding, hooking and landing fish.
Captain Greg Obymako got his Captains license in 1992 and has been working on boats ever sense. From sportboats to commercial boats, Greg has worked out of every port in Southern California. Greg has a very positive and upbeat attitude, something very rare among fishermen who’ve spent 30 years on the salty seas!
Captain Ryan Block is entering his third season on the Apollo, but his 15th year as a sportboat captain. He runs the boat part time and spends the other time night driving. In his fishing career, he has fished everything from half day trips to weeklong excursions down the coast. Ryan is extremely levelheaded with an extensive knowledgeable of the Southern California fishery, a great combination for a captain in this industry.
Jay Lorenzo has been with the Apollo for eight years. Under old ownership, the boat would spend the winters in Puerta Vallarta, Jay would go down with the boat and spend his winters in PV. His passion for the ocean drives him to excel as a deckhand and a fisherman. Originally from Puerta Vallarta, Jay loves living life with the Apollo, moving around Southern California as the seasons change.
Jonah Lilly is a Southern California local and lifelong fisherman. He is in his third season on deck, “living the dream”. Jonah adds to the crew’s energy with a highly stoked mentality, always ready to work and put in the time it takes to land fish.
Dominick Duprey has been fishing his whole life, yet this is his first season aboard the Apollo. His well-rounded skill set allows him to mesh with the crew and passengers with ease. Along with fishing, Dominick is in school in pursuit of becoming a firefighter.
Cooper Emery is 20 years old, from Manhattan Beach, CA. His love for the outdoors led him to the fishing industry as a way to make a living by escaping the city. Cooper is energetic and upbeat, he treats all passengers with respect, and he does a great job at boosting group morale with jokes when fishing gets slow. Keep an eye out for Cooper as his fishing career as a deckhand will likely lead him to a captains license in the coming years.
Richie Gill has been cooking on boats in the sportboat fleet for a decade. Before his time in the galley, he had never seen a tuna. His childhood was spent in Illinois, where he occasionally fished fresh water. Richie’s calm demeanour and passion for the culinary arts creates a perfect combo for an all-around great galley cook.
Lori Mueller controls everything behind the scenes for the Apollo operation. Her background in the fishing industry is deep, she has connections all over California. Her father was a sportboat captain, and she has been fishing her whole life. She is always stoked to fish! Lori is pushing for growth in the industry by teaching her children and their peers how to respect the ocean and become great anglers. Keep an eye out for the various charters hosted by her and her son Chance!
CHANNEL ISLANDS AT ITS FINEST
Fishing the Channel Islands is one of the various wonders of the Southern California Fishery. The halibut bite we experienced was second to none! Halibut fishing is never wide open, but we managed to hook and land multiple legal sized halibut, the largest being 26 pounds. We spent the nights chasing down schools of bluefin tuna, but they did not want to bite. This is what makes the islands so special, if the tuna doesn’t bite, you can slide over rockpiles for quality sized rockfish! Everyone left with enough fish for their families!
No burritos or boat burgers in this luxury galley! Not only does Richie make his own bread, he keeps all of the anglers fueled up with consistent mid-day snacks!
There is nothing quite like the Channel Islands. The variety of species that live in these waters is why Southern California is such a desired destination for fishing. Massive thanks to Submission Fishing for supplying jigs and coming along to fish hard with an avid group of anglers. Keep an eye out for the Apollo, whether it be in Long Beach in the off season, or San Diego in the summer! Check out the BD Sportboat page to see more articles in the On Deck Series.