Santa Cruz Sportfishing Report

by Allen Bushnell
(831) 426-4690

The water is warming and local anglers are finding the action heating up as well in some of our regular springtime fishing spots, though many of the deeper local reefs are not producing as yet.

Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait says the water temperature has increased to 56 degrees this week, and skiffs from the Capitola wharf are catching "lots of cod." Success is found mostly by fishing shallow, targeting the kelp bed edges edges by the pier or near Pleasure Point. Burrell cited one father and daughter combo who bagged two lingcods skiff fishing for 20 minutes near the Wharf. He says the deeper reefs were slow this week. "We are waiting for the bait to come in, to attract the bigger fish." Despite the lack of bait, a good number of halibut have been pulled over the rail at the Wharf, including one keeper on Tuesday that weighed in at 8 pounds. A skiff fisherman caught a nice 14-pound flatty on Sunday. He was working the kelp edges in about 20 feet of water, and using a white shad-tail one-ounce jig, according to Burrell.

The wharf perch bite has been "off and on," Burrell says. "Early morning and sunset seems to be when the bite is on for split-tail and walleye perch," Burrell said, Surfcasting is getting better as well, Burrell says. A 20-pound striper was caught from Capitola Beach this week, by an angler using frozen anchovies, and the Cement Ship area has featured a number of leopard sharks and a report of a 50-pound thresher caught.

Stagnaro Sportfishing's Velocity found the sunset bite last week as well. On Saturday, skipper Ken Stagnaro was working the West Cliff reefs on his twilight trip and things were going rather slowly. "It was hit-and-miss until we got a nice little bite right at sunset," Stagnaro said. "We caught about 100 fish in 30 minutes." Happy clients went home with 1/2 limits or better of Vermillion, Bolinas and black rockfish in the two to three pound range. One legal lingcod was also caught on the twilight trip.

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