Halibut Are on The Bite in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Fishing aboard the beautiful Miss Beth, Los Gatos angler Matt Gallagher cuaght this hefty halibut after a full morning of rockfishing on the north coast.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

Last weekend’s weather and sea conditions were not ideal for fishing on Monterey Bay. Minus tides in the mornings, a new swell and windy conditions with gusts up to 30 miles per hour kept many boats tied to the dock and frustrated the surfcasters as well. As the week progressed, the weather straightened out and the fun began.

Salmon fishing has slowed down considerably. Many boats are getting skunked or at the most, returning with one fish for a hard day’s trolling. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine keeps good track of the salmon fishing action around the bay. Fraser said, “The weather got better the last few days so anglers tried for salmon again. There were a few fish caught near the bottom on the west side of the Soquel Hole in 200 feet of water. The Pajaro area had cool water but no action. There were some salmon caught near the bottom at Mulligan Hill.”

The big commercial bait boats are working near Capitola right now. There is a significant squid spawn occurring in that area, and many anglers are finding nice halibut in 40-70 feet of water from Pleasure Point down to Rio Del Mar. A few white sea bass were reported caught near the squid spawns, let’s hope they continue.

Halibut are on the bite in Santa Cruz near the Mile Buoy as well. The bait balls in that area are comprised of small anchovies, which are very hard to jig up. There’s plenty of kingfish croakers that will bite on a sabiki rig, however and they are excellent live bait for halibut. Rockfishing is a mainstay, of course and the charter boats are doing well.

Beth Norton from Go Fish Santa Cruz reported on Wednesday, saying ” We fished locally this morning and caught a few rockfish before moving up the coast to fish near Davenport. There they caught vermilion, blues, blacks and olives. The wind came up and Captain JT headed back to Santa Cruz where they fished for halibut. They hooked seven halibut and landed three.” Tom Dolan on the Mega Bite reported, “Was supposed to be a salmon trip but since salmon are scarce our party opted to go for Jurassic Park fishing instead. Brilliant move! Loaded up on live bait then headed out our lingcod to then nearshore for limits-plus of big olive, blue, black and canary pacific snapper. Wild day and fun fun fun!”

Ken Stagnaro on the big Velocity out of Santa Cruz has been mixing it up as well. Stagnaro listed a number of fishing trips with light loads due to the Covid restrictions. “We had ten people on Friday and caught four salmon. Saturday and Sunday were slow.” All of the Stagnaro’s half-day rockfishing trips got limits for the clients aboard.

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