Sentinel fish Report 7/31/08

by Allen Bushnell
(831) 426-4690

Wind and waves were calmer this week, which made for comfortable fishing. Local anglers continue to enjoy a good bite for a variety of species in the Santa Cruz area. The weather forecast for the coming weekend indicates light winds with a medium mixed swell, which should sustain excellent fishing conditions.

With king salmon season closed this year, many of the serious local anglers are instead pursuing halibut in the nearshore waters. Luckily, this season has featured an abundance of the big flatfish, and gorgeous live bait available from Bocci Boy at the end of "S" Dock at the Harbor. The good halibut bite continued this week on the flat sandy areas from Capitola to Four-Mile Beach. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine has been weighing in 20-30 pound halibut every day this week. "The best bet is still trolling or drifting bait in 30-60 feet of water," Fraser says. He fished Monday off West Cliff, and brought home six smaller halibut on The Easy Money.

Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait got out on Monday as well, and managed a 17-pound flatty from the Soquel Point area. While halibut are being caught along the entire stretch of the Capitola area, Soquel Point seems to be the hot spot. Numerous fish in the 14 to 30-pound range were caught there last week. Pier anglers are also getting lucky with the flatties, with legal fish brought over the rail nearly every day this week in Capitola. White Sea Bass are still in the area, as evidenced by Mike Burkett's 30-incher caught from the kelp on Saturday. Burkett released five shorties before landing his keeper. Thresher sharks continue to be caught near the Cement ship. Look for the boiling bait, and you will find the threshers. Remember, these small sharks are juveniles. Catch and release is a time-honored sportsman's practice.

Rockfishing remains strong on both sides of the bay. Charter boat skippers continue to fish the south side of the bay for big olives and assorted schoolie rockfish, and the bite is improving on the reefs near Santa Cruz as well. Stagnaro's Sportfishing has been hitting the local reefs all week with daily limits posted for as many as 31 anglers aboard.

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