Allen Bushnell Fishing Report

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Shane Baxter and his dad, Joe caught their limits of king salmon fishing near Moss Landing on Sunday, They used hot-spot flashers and bait for their hookups.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Allen Bushnell

by Allen Bushnell

After a very promising king salmon opener, mother nature took over with big waves and high winds. By mid-week, very few boats were venturing out into nasty sea conditions. Good news is, the fish are out there! Salmon anglers from across the bay reported mostly limit-style fishing over the weekend and on Monday. Typical in early spring, trolling is the more productive method for finding and netting these wild Chinooks.

As usual the expert anglers did best during the opener. Captain JT Thomas from Go Fish Santa Cruz, found the fish Saturday, and capitalized on the location Sunday. Thomas is optimistic about the 2019 season saying, “The salmon bite is hot. Limits of salmon today!!!! We fished again near the Mulligan’s area catching 10 beautiful king salmon. We lost five fish to sea lions. Still, it proves the salmon are here and on the bite. According to the clients, the weather and water was as nice as it can get!”

Tom Dolan also runs a six-pack charter out of Santa Cruz Harbor. Saturday night, he reported from the Mega-Bite, “Crushed it! Today was our first salmon trip for 2019 and it did not disappoint. We found some bait and birds and worked it all day and found the fish. Lots of fish. We hooked into 17 fish, let one short one go, three came off at the boat and the good news is... we brought home six limits plus crew fish for a total of 13 NICE salmon in the box! Yep, crushed it.”

The bigger party boats are drift fishing (mooching) for the big kings. Despite the fact they can cover less territory, salmon fishing was very productive for them as well. Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss Landing was a happy lady this weekend. Jones reported, “The Kahuna did well on opening day of salmon. 20 anglers landed 20 king salmon. Good action but with the fish deep we lost some.” Launching out of Monterey Harbor, Chris’ Fishing trips sent the Check Mate and the Caroline out to mooch for kings on Saturday. Final scores for the boats were nine and six fish, respectively.”

Todd Fraser from Bayside Marine always gives a good overview on the bite. This week he said “For the opener, salmon fishing was good for some and slow for others. There were a few good scores on the east edge of the Soquel Hole to Pajaro. Sunday the salmon fishing was great on the east end of the Soquel Hole to the Pajaro flats. The majority of the limits were caught trolling 110-190 feet down. The salmon were biting near Mulligan Hill in the same depth of water early this morning.


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