Monterey Bay Conditions & Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Jessica Birch had a heavy load hauling in this double canary rockfish catch aboard the beautiful Miss Beth.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Miss Beth

by Allen Bushnell

For fishing, as in so much of life, a correct answer to nearly every questions is, “It depends.” Follow-up questions such as- what‘s the swell, how’s the wind, when is the tide, where is the bait and what were you using (and many more) can serve to inform that ambivalent response. This week anglers around Monterey Bay were asking lots of questions. Depending on where they went and when, the gamut from quick limits to full-on skunks were reported by boaters on the bay. We’ve had a week of northwest swell that combined with a long-period south swell over the weekend. Winds have been strong and gusty making for a serious chop on top of that. The combined swell roiled the bottom, created strong currents, made things murky and sent most fish to their hidey-holes or out to deeper water. Knowing where to go under what conditions is often what fuels the charter boat skippers’ success.

Captain John Thomas (JT) from Go Fish Santa Cruz had good fishing earlier in the week fishing near Davenport. He found limits of rockfish for clients aboard the lovely Miss Beth from the deeper reefs. On Wednesday JT stayed closer to Santa Cruz. Searching the deeper water from 100-180 feet, he found the fish and in big numbers. When asked why he was spotted returning to the harbor at 8:15am on Wednesday he replied, “How about full limits for clients and crew in an hour?” OK. Nothing ambivalent about that. Kahuna Sportfishing from Moss Landing commits to longer trips and gets to areas by Carmel and Big Sur where there is less fishing pressure. That means more fish and bigger fish. On Saturday, owner Carol Jones was happy to report, “Rockfish have been biting wide open on our trips to the south. A fish a rod today on the lingcod.” Chris’s Sport Fishing out of Monterey posted the usual rockfish limits for every trip on their three boats the Caroline, Check Mate and Star of Monterey. Monday’s trip did best for lingcod with 14 caught for Chris’ clients.

Halibut fishing slowed during the past week due to the weather and sea conditions. The big flatfish are still here in force however, and we’ll see catch numbers go back up once the weather settles. Salmon fishing has been spotty. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine reported a few salmon caught by anglers trolling the edges of the Soquel Hole. Private boaters reported a small fleet fishing near Mulligan’s Hill and the Marina Sand Plant. Reports indicated the salmon were down deep.

Surfcasters are still catching striped bass from “the usual spots” with more action reported from Monterey County than from Santa Cruz. On a very positive note, surf perch fishing is noticeably better this week. More fish are on the bite, just past the shorebreak feeding on sandcrabs, and the average size is getting bigger as well.

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