Middle of Transition Betwwen Summer And Fall Fishing

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Mike Hicks from Capitola Boat and Bait hold a big Fine Scaled Triggerfish, caughtwhile using a Lazer Minnow near Capitola this week.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fishing The North Coast

by Kenny Priest

We are in the middle of transition between summer and fall fishing patterns. Conditions are actively changing and bringing a few surprises to area anglers along the way. Most exciting perhaps is news brought to us by Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine.  Fraser reported, “There were three big albacore caught at the Guide a few days ago!

The Guide Seamount lies north of Santa Cruz and over 60 miles offshore.  Sea surface temperature maps show a large amorphous body of warm water over that entire offshore area. What’s missing from the SST’s are the critical “breaks” where the clear warm water meets darker cool water that holds bait. Fingers are crossed that this might mean albacore fishing for our area. But, cooler heads believe the occurrence is of a more random variety, like the few bluefin tuna caught closer to shore earlier this summer. We would love to be wrong about this assessment. Fort Bragg, Eureka, and southern Oregon have been enjoying a fantastic albacore bite just 15-20 miles offshore for the past six weeks or so. That pattern seems to be the “new normal” for these pelagic fish and their migration destination from the Western Pacific for the past number of years.

Halibut are still hanging around the Capitola area according to Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait. Anglers are catching the big flatfish with a variety of baits and lures from the wharf area, down past the Cement Ship and towards Pajaro. 30-70 feet seems to be the optimum target depth for these halibut. Juan Martinez from our local West Marine store pulled in  a 16-pound striper using shrimp flies and squid just outside the Marina in Capitola. Most unusual was a big triggerfish caught by Boat and Bait staffer Mike Hicks while jigging with a Lazer Minnow lure from one of the rental boats.

Rockfishing remains very consistent, though fish are slowly moving towards deeper waters as the season progresses. Beth Norton from Go Fish Santa Cruz filled us in on last weekend’s trip saying, “Captain JT took the clients to fish the deep today near Davenport. The clients caught limits of rock fish including blues, coppers, yellow tail, blacks and BIG vermillion!” In Monterey, Chris’ Fishing Trips posted their usual numbers for both boats the Caroline and Check Mate. They caught rockfish limits up to 200 fish on every trip last week as well as up to five ling cod.

Weekend weather conditions look favorable. A new northwest swell is expected, but looks to be rather mild. Winds will vary up to 20 knots , according to the forecast, but they are always lighter in the morning.  So. get an early start, catch a bunch of fish quickly and keep your eyes on the horizon for whitecaps, your signal to run back to the barn.

Find "Fishing the North Coast" on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com.

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