Santa Cruz Saltwater Report 02-07-2008

by Allen Bushnell

Conditions are improving for steelhead locally, and shore anglers willing to hunt for them are finding the perch.

Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait says the water is "a bit too clear" for the barred surfperch in Capitola. "They like a little agitation in the water," Burrell says. Despite the clear conditions, a few bared surfperch were reported in near the Capitola wharf this week. More exciting for Burrell are the larger walleye perch beginning to bit off the end of the wharf. As the season progresses, the Capitola Wharf is an excellent spot to catch walleyes, rubberlips, black and rainbow perch as well as the barred surf perch. Bill Rawson, formerly of Shamrock Charters, reported good fishing last week from a North Coast beach near Waddell Creek. Rawson used grubs near the reef line to catch big barred perch in the 13-15-inch range.

Don't forget poke poling for rockfish. Wintertime features big minus tides that expose large areas of reef. When the water is this low, anglers can wade out to the reef and use a pole or stiff wire tipped with a hook and usually baited with squid to catch rockfish, cabezone or monkey-faced eels. Local anglers John Hunter and his son Zealand have practiced poke poling this year for big rewards. "Zealand got a 16 ??-inch cabezone recently, and we have caught all manner of rockfish this year. It's good eating!" Hunter quipped.

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