April 1 Rockfish and Lingcod Opeaner

Monterey Bay

A very satisfied client aboard Go Fish Santa Cruz’ Miss Beth hoists a Monterey Bay king salmon during the 2018 season.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lets Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell
3-28-2019
Website

Next Monday April 1, it all starts again. Fishing season opens for rockfish and lingcod and
we can expect some good numbers for the reports next week. April 6, the following Saturday marks the 2019 salmon season opener. Official abundance predictions from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Fisheries Management Council suggest it may be a doozy of a season.

Chris Arcoleo at Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey is paying close attention to predictions and has high hopes the paper numbers will translate to fish on the end of his lines. “The DFG is calling for calling for a really good year. The numbers are as high as they’ve been in years. Last year the San Francisco boats did really well, especially towards the end of the season. From Half Moon Bay and up. They smacked them up there. Let’s just say it looks as good as it has in years for salmon in our area this year. We know there’s fish out there now because we’ve been picking them up on our sanddab trips. We expect a good year but we’ll just have to see. Arcoleo continued, saying “We’ll be running salmon and rockfish trips every day, every day.”

The Kahuna in Moss Landing is all set to go. Owner Carol Jones and skipper Brian Cutting will be heading out for rockfish starting Monday April 1, and breaking out the salmon gear on opening day April 6. One advantage the Kahuna has is their central location on the bay. It’s an easy run for them to head south towards Monterey or north towards Santa Cruz, depending on where the schools of salmon might be.

Ken Stagnaro from Stagnaro’s Sportfishing Is excited for the 2019 season. He reports, “April 6, 7, 8th! We have salmon trips Saturday, Sunday and Monday.” With two boats in the Santa Cruz Harbor, the Velocity and Legacy, Stagnaro’s can fish for both rockfish and salmon on any given day. On weekends, they often run two rockfish trips per day. Their twilight trips can be a blast. Clients can fish for four hours into the sunset, then go home for a fresh fish fry.

An excellent alternative to the larger sport fishing operations is to book a six-pack charter. These smaller boats are often faster and more flexible in terms of where they can fish and their ability to check out different spots during a day of angling. Fewer clients on the boat also means more individual attention and often quicker limits of quality fish. Tom Dolan runs Meg-Bite Charters out of Santa Cruz Harbor. Dolan often allows the client to call the shots in terms of target species, and always does his best to make sure his anglers go home with fish, even if it means switching gear and tactics mid-day.

John Thomas, also known as “Captain JT,” is all set with wintertime maintenance and improvements on his beautiful Island Hopper 31 Miss Beth. This year’s improvements include new long-range fuel tanks that will come in handy if we get to chase albacore tuna later in the year. JT is a salmon and halibut specialist though he loves to load up on big rockfish and lingcod as well.

As a friendly reminder to private boaters, remember it’s always safety first. Please be sure your boat equipment is checked and tested. Fuel systems, bilge pumps, trailer bearings and brakes, and especially the GPS unit and VHF radios aboard are all vital for safe and productive fishing excursions. Double-check your lifejackets and flare gun. Oh, don’t forget the drain plug, and a spare.



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