Let's Go Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Cabezon, Cabezon
Grizzled veteran Andy Towne from Santa Cruz caught this six-pound cabezone while using a Spiderman fishing pole aboard the Kahuna last Sunday.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kahuna Sportfishing

by Allen Bushnell

Around Monterey Bay, rockfish are the most abundant species and boast the highest catch rate. Keeper rockfish (and lingcod) can range from one to over 30 pounds. For some experienced local anglers, rockfishing can become rather “ho-hum.” But, there are ways to bring big action and adventure to the task. Kahuna Sportfishing out of Moss Landing is a leader in this practice.

Owner Carol Jones and Captain Brian Cutting book specialized rockfish trips on a weekly basis. The Kahuna is becoming famous for taking “long-rage” trips far down the Big Sur coast, where few boats fish. The bottom structure past Point Sur, near Gorda and Limekiln is ideal to foster big schools of huge bottomfish. Quick limits of trophy sized vermilion are a common result on these trips.

Another Kahuna brainstorm are their shallow water rockfish trips. Fishing the rocky Cypress Point area, Cutting gets the big boat in close to shore, where hordes of blue and olive rockfish are eager to bite on everything offered. Last weekend Jones reported, “Anglers had a blast fishing very light rods....in fact kiddie rods...no really! Olives were chasing small and top water artificials of every kind possible. Fun fishing for sure watching fish grab your lure. NO BAIT. Don’t need it, don't want it!” We can personally attest to the frantic fun of a shallow water trip aboard the Kahuna.

The big-game front is heating up as well. Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait reported, “Fishing is good. You should be here.” On Wednesday, Burrell said “The water is flat and clear, bait is in. Anchovies & mackerel. People are actually sight-casting for halibut in the shallows, and they are stacked up around the Mile Reef. Stay away south swell!”

The halibut story is the same all around Monterey Bay. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine confirms “There are halibut up and down the coast in 40-60 feet of water.” Big flatties will respond to a number of approaches. Live mackerel, anchovies, smelt or kingfish are all like candy to a hungry halibut. They will also bite on swimbaits, casting irons or trolling bait, hoochies and even surf-style minnow lures. The best bait in the bay is live squid if you can find a spawning pocket.

If you do find a concentration of squid in 50-80 feet of water, don’t leave the area! Reports of larger white sea bass in the area are on the rise. Santa Cruz private angler Matt Mitchell caught a few of the bass outside of Pleasure Point last week. Each was in the 20-30 pound class.

Deploy live squid anywhere from the surface on a flyline to the bottom with a sliding egg sinker. Make sure your drag is tightened. White seabass are famous for making an incredibly strong, straight long distance run on hookup. Just hold tight till you can turn the fish and don’t be surprised if a few more blistering runs ensue.

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