Monterey Bay Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Dennis Smith from Santa Cruz hoists his limit of salmon caught on tuesday. The larger fish weighed in at 25 pounds!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

Finally, some good news on the Covid front. All three harbors on Monterey Bay re-opened trailer boat launch ramps for general recreational use this week. Santa Cruz Harbormaster Marian Olin announced effective Tuesday, May 19 the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions that sharply restricted ramp usage since mid-March. Olin’s announcement cautioned, “All launch activity must comply with shelter-in-place orders issued by the Santa Cruz County Health Officer and all measures put in place to ensure social distancing, including: No congregating. Launchers must maintain (six feet) distance from others. Wear a mask at all times during launch and retrieval and while in the parking lot, and no ‘non-essential travel.’ Launchers must be Santa Cruz County residents.”

A notice from Monterey County on Tuesday advised, “The City of Monterey Harbor and Moss Landing Harbor District announced today the reopening of their launch ramps to recreation boaters. Both facilities had been closed since late March to comply with the Monterey County Shelter in Place Order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Rockfish and salmon seasons have been open since the beginning of May. Many local anglers are grateful to finally be able to launch their trailered boats and get out for some fishing.

Windy conditions have made salmon fishing difficult this past week. Early mornings were the best bet. Winds of 20 knots with gusts up to 30 rose by noon every day this week. Private boaters are finding the fish, however. Dennis Smith from Santa Cruz got out on Tuesday. “Got two, lost one,” Smith reported. Smith’s big fish for the day weighed in at 25 pounds. While not giants like Smith’s salmon, most fish caught were of a very decent size. Dan Judy on his boat the Annie Baer picked up a 16-pound king within the first 45 minutes of fishing last Friday.

That same day, Matt Mitchell aboard his gorgeous Parker “Silver Lining” reported limits of salmon in the 15-pound range, caught before the winds came up. Go Fish Santa Cruz took a family trip out on the Miss Beth last week. Beth Norton reported, “The salmon are on the bite. Captain JT's girlfriend Jess Birch caught a 14-pound king salmon. She said it felt more like a ton. It was caught using a chrome Krippled Anchovy in 320 feet of water, 40 feet down. They were fishing near the Soquel Hole.” Norton also addressed the possibility of charter operations resuming soon. She said,” We are looking forward to getting the green light for running charters. We hope to hear something soon. Our boat is sanitized, the crew healthy and hoping to get out clients our for fresh air and some sanity during this crazy time.”

Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss landing is also hopeful about a resumption of charter fishing soon. Jones advised, “Some charter boats are running already and others soon to follow up in the Bay Area. We still do not have the green light here in Monterey County. We have submitted our protocols to the county and we’re waiting. We will be taking only 12 anglers on each trip to practice physical/social distancing. All customers who were booked in advance of this crisis will be given the chance to get out first. As soon as we know a date we will post. We're getting ready!”

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