At each season of the year the wild and spectacular Santa Barbara Channel provides quality sportfishing options. It ranks as a premier fishery on a “seasonally adjusted basis” (to borrow a term from the financial world). This article is intended to serve as a guide to help you explore and enjoy this Southern California “stand-up” style fishery all throughout the year.
Resources abound for tapping the potential of this vast fishery. Sportfishing fleets of big partyboats and private-charter services run out of the four harbors along the seventy-some miles of mainland coast between the boundaries of the Channel, Point Dume and Point Conception. Three of the harbors are in close proximity to one another along the Ventura County Coast. The fourth is a little further up the coast in beautiful Santa Barbara, which allows closer access to the wild west end of the Channel where the fish don’t get much pressure. The four Channel Islands are prime fishing destinations from these ports when the weather permits. Good fishing piers are available, and two of them (at Goleta and Gaviota) have hoists for launching skiffs.
When fishing opportunities arise in your always-too-busy schedule, I invite you to come experience this fishery. The Santa Barbara Channel and Channel Islands are my beat. I own and operate WaveWalker Charters, a private-charter 6-pack service in the Santa Barbara Harbor. I fish these waters year-round. I write fishing articles for several publications on a regular basis, and put on seminars about fishing the Santa Barbara Channel. I know these waters well. The following is how I slice the seasons and hook-up my charter passengers with some quality fish and good times.