Surfcasting in Santa Cruz Has Been Tough Until You Find The Right Spot

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Alex Velasco and perch pup Saki gleaned bounty from the sea this week. Three big perch, one dungeness crab and eight pounds of mussels along the San Mateo coastline.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

Once again, we enjoyed fairly decent weather conditions for fishing the Monterey Bay this week. There has been a pretty consistent swell all week, which is going to build over the coming weekend, but it does not seem to affect our catch rate, as most boats are going for Dungeness crab or sand dabs, in deeper water.

Launching out of Santa Cruz Harbor, Go Fish Santa Cruz’s 31-foot Island Hopper Miss Beth continues to make successful forays out to the 200 and 300 foot depths to pull crab pots and fish for sand dabs. Most anglers use sabiki rigs with #8 or #10 hooks for the ‘dabs. The tasty flatfish are small, but you can pull four or five up at a time, and there is no limit to the number we can keep. Owner Beth Norton quipped this week, ““Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters took the clients crabbin’ and dabbin’ today. First, they pulled eight crab pots to get limits of big Dungeness crab – sixty of them. Then Captain JT took them to fish near Pajaro in 200 feet of water to some delicious sand dabs. Some of the sand dabs were big. The crew called them slab dabs.” Stagnaro’s Sportfishing is also running trips for sand dabs from Santa Cruz. Their big boat Legacy can take 30 clients each trip to fish for the tasty sand dabs. Earlier this month, owner and skipper Ken Stagnaro reported, “Anglers on board Legacy brought in about 40 dabs per person. Delicious with a light panko-crust and lemon! We'll be running the morning sand dabs trips now through April.”

Surfcasting has been a struggle for some, while others found the right spot at the right time for big rewards. Alex Sigala is a dedicate surfcaster from Salinas. He expressed a bit of frustration this week saying, “I fished Marina the other day for three big take downs that I missed. Water was pretty churned up with big currents. Haven't had much luck at my local honey holes.“ Alex Velasco, on the other hand, headed to the wild beaches of the north coast for a change-up. Velasco and his faithful fish dog Saki took a day-long perch walk along a few San Mateo beaches this week and found some real quality. Besides picking up a legal Dungeness crab from the surf line using a cast snare, he also reported, “Martin Luther King Holiday and my third perch walk this month! Got a slab 14 ½ inches and pulled a mussel- eight pounds worth!

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