Santa Cruz Area Fishing Report

Barred Surfperch
This big barred surf perch was reeled in at a mid-town beach by avid fisherwoman Kelly Borges early last week.

by Allen Bushnell

Continuing storm fronts moving through our area provide hope for a reasonably wet winter. In the short term it makes ocean fishing more difficult, but the long term benefits make it well worth it. The weekend forecast looks to be dry. A west swell is expected to build through the weekend, reaching up to 10 feet by Monday. 

An immediately positive result of recent storms is the beginnings of winter structure along the beaches. The big swells and heavy currents move tons of sand down the beaches, creating gullies, troughs and rip currents along the way. All these deep spots close to the shoreline are ideal feeding habitat for surfperch. Currently the bite is good, and getting better!

Kelly Borges from Santa Cruz spent a few hours at a local mid-town beach, dialing in her techniques for big fish. Borges was rewarded with an impressive 1.63-pound barred surf perch for her efforts. With the big swells, it’s best to try and locate a spot that is relatively seaweed-free. And, timing your casts can be critical. Try throwing just past the last (biggest) wave of the set, it will give you more fishing time between waves.

Another local Santa Cruzan, Matt Mitchell headed down to the long beaches south of Capitola on Wednesday. Mitchell reported, “Found a few fatties at the big beach. There are a lotta good holes!” An advantage of fishing the big broad beaches towards Watsonville is they usually feature an outside sand bar that causes waves to break far outside. As the whitewater rolls in, it passes over deep spots, troughs or holes on the inside that hold feeding fish. This time of year, striped bass might also be caught near the Pajaro and Salinas Rivermouths, as the stripers wait for access into fresh water for spawning.

Todd Fraser from Bayside Marine reminds us we can purchase our 2019 California Fishing license early. Avoid the rush! And avoid worry when you plan your first fishing trip of 2019 only to realize you don’t have a valid license.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers license and specialty report card purchases online, so it’s easy to plan ahead and buy now. Your license receipt printout is valid as a basic fishing license, but the report cards must be official DFW printed versions (steelhead, salmon, sturgeon etc.). DFW will mail the “official” documents to you, usually within a week.

< Previous Report Next Report >

< Previous Report Next Report >

More Reports

It was nice to see some rain in our area, finally. And, it ain’t over yet. The National Oceanic and...... Read More

The first couple of storm systems will be moving through the Monterey Bay area this week and weekend. Thunderstorms can...... Read More