Santa Cruz Fishing Report

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Tommy Shiekman from San Jose caught this Calico beauty from the Capitola Wharf this week.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

Well, another week, and another big swell. Big breaking waves inhibited surfcasting. Not just the massive amount of water moving through the surfline, but mostly the inevitable kelp and seagrass that makes retrieves a tug of war, and smothers your bait so it’s not really fishing at all. And, it looks like another large swell is forecast for this coming weekend as well.

Still, there are spots where anglers can find clean water. A little beach hopping might be necessary, but it’s worth the effort to satisfy the need for feeling that tug again.

Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine reported, The crab and sand dab fishing is still the best bet here in Santa Cruz. Perch have been biting well on Gulp worms and pile worms.” Bayside often has live pile worms available for purchase. Nothing beats live bait.

Anglers are doing fairly well perch fishing from the Capitola Wharf. Using a standard Carolina rig with GULP! sandworms, or shrimp bits is a sure bet. Try to cast just behind the surf line for the barred, walleye and calico surfperch. Farther out on the wharf where the water is deeper, a dropshot rig or the multi-hook Sabiki rigs with shrimp bait work well. In the deeper water, anglers are more likely to catch one of the big seaperch, like the pile perch, rubberlip or black perch hanging around the pilings for the wharf. We’ve also heard of a number of rockfish caught from the Capitola Wharf this week, in the small to medium size range. Any of the methods mentioned above can work for the rockies, as can whole anchovies, or whole squid on a larger hook or a shrimp fly jig. While rockfish season is closed right now for boaters, it is legal to catch them year-round from shore or man-made structures such as jetties and piers.

Again, if one does not mind a bit of travel, good things are happening in the San Francisco Bay area. Kayak anglers working San Pablo Bay near China Camp Rat Rock and McNear's pier fought heavy currents last week due to the big tidal swings. The rip must have stirred up a lot of bait, because their catch rate was pretty good. Matt Baron from San Rafael reported, “Launched from China Camp beach on my Hobie Outback into some heavy fog looking for sturgeon in San Pablo Bay. It was a flat, calm and glassy morning. I managed to get three different species and enjoyed the flat calm water! When the fog cleared there were over ten boats in my general area! I used live ghost shrimp and caught most of my fish at the top of the incoming tide. The water temperature was around 51-52 degrees. Ended up catching a striper, one leopard shark, and a 36-inch sturgeon.” All Baron’s fish were released and he was fishing in 10-20 feet of water for all his fish. 

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