Saltwater Fish Report for 11-1-2019
Allen Bushnell: Let's Go Fishing
by Allen Bushnell
Conditions were quite pleasant for fishing this week, with the exception of just those couple days of freakishly high winds. Fall is progressing pretty much as usual. The best fishing for bigger rock cod is on the deeper reefs, though some smaller schoolies remain in the shallows. Larger lingcod are heading towards shallow water. One welcome difference this year is the numbers of halibut still being caught in relatively shallow water within the arc of Monterey Bay.
Usually by November, most halibut have moved from the protected waters of the bay to deeper wintertime areas. Fall halibut fishing is typically enjoyed by anglers working 60-80 feet of water outside big bull kelp that grows along the rocky shores north and south of the bay. Think Davenport, Scott’s Creek , or the sandy patches outside of Carmel. This year, there are still plenty of smaller halibut inside the bay. The area from Capitola down to the Cement ship keeps kicking out small but legal flatties for anglers fishing there. Anglers fishing DelMonte Beach in Monterey and the Sand City area reported catches of halibut and sand sole in waters less than 20-feet deep this week. It’s weird, but we’ll take it!
Saturday marks the 2019 Dungeness crab opener for sport anglers. The opener includes commercial passenger (charter) boats. Most charters around the bay will be running combo trips for crab and rockfish through the month of December, then transition to crab -only trips, or Crabs’ N Dabs. Although the season is scheduled to close in June, November and December are the best months to find big firm Dungeness in good concentrations. Within Monterey Bay, most successful crabbers work the 180-220 foot depths. Dungeness can be found in much shallower water closer to Half Moon Bay and points further north. Be sure to check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations regarding size and bag limits.
With the lack of ocean swell this week, surfcasting has become less productive. The big beaches stretching around Monterey Bay need some more whitewater action to re-sculpt sandy bottoms. Most perch anglers reported a slow bite with small fish. We received a surprising number of bat ray catches reported this week. It may be that they are moving in closer to shore due to the lack of wave action. Bat rays are edible (some claim) and put up a tremendous fight. Anglers usually snag these rays while retrieving their bait or lure. If they do not snap your line, best practice is to pull out the hook and return them to the water as soon as possible. Caution is advised. Bat rays are a sub species of sting rays and do possess a barbed, venomous stinger, located near the base of their whip like tail. The stinger can penetrate rubber boots and inflict a painful wound. Using a thick towel or piece of driftwood to hold the ray down while removing the hook is a good idea.
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Savvy anglers who favor Dungeness crab are prepping for the season opener on November 2. Crab pots, bait boxes, lead-core...... Read More
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