Monterey Bay Conditions & Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Go Fish Santa Cruz is finding lots of halibut for their clients lately, including this 30-pounder for their client “John.'
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

The bigger the boat, the more anglers can be accommodated within COVID restrictions. Chris’ Sportfishing in Monterey has three charter boats in its fleet. the largest, Star of Monterey,” is a 65 foot Westport and carried 26 anglers on Sunday. Fish counting math is easy for Chris’ these days. Simply multiply the number of anglers aboard by the rockfish limit of 10, and there’s your count. The “Star of Monterey” brought home 260 rockfish and one ling on Sunday. The Check Mate had 15 anglers and 150 cod and tow lings. Chris’ Caroline hosted 16 anglers and the bag count was 160 rock cod. on Sunday’s trip. Saturday’s trip on the “Star of Monterey” carried 28 anglers which equaled 280 cod, plus nine lings up to 25-pounds. WE assume that outing made it a bit further south towards big Sur, where the structure is severe providing plenty of hidey holes for the big ling cod.

Private boaters and kayak anglers fishing near Monterey and Carmel reported good catches of rockfish in the nearshore areas, and more big halibut from the broad sandy areas near Tioga road. We received no further reports of white sea bass from Monterey this week, but the general practice for big croaker bite is, “The first rule of white sea bass is, you dont talk about white  sea bass!” If you figure out where the squid schools are, that is a pretty perfect place to try for the sea bass. Jig up live squid if you can. Run one flyline on the surface, and send one line down towards the bottom. Set your drag correctly, and have plenty of line on your reel. Carol Jones at Kahuna Sportfishing reported rockfish limits for every trip this week and up to four lings.

Frank Ealey at Capitola Boat and Bait presides over halibut central right now. A consistent halibut bite continues in his area, from Pleasure Point in 50-60 feet of water down to the Cement Ship and beyond. In the protected lee area of New Brighton and Rio Del Mar, halibut are still feeding close to the beach. Depths as shallow as 13 feet have produced keeper flatties for many boat based anglers this week, as in the past couple months. Again, live bait works best though bounce-ball trolling with a dodger and hoochie is a killer technique. And nothing is more satisfying than hooking a nice hali while casting swimbaits. Skipper John (JT) Thomas fished that area on Tuesday for quick halibut limits. They still had time to hit the reefs closer to Sant Cruz for bags of rockfish as well.

Surfcasters found more, and larger perch along al the beaches of Monterey Bay this week. Striped bass reports are few and far between, but the protected beaches along the inside curve of the bay are still pretty darn good for surfcast halibut. You may have to release a few before hooking a keeper, but it’s well worth the effort. Anglers are doing well with white fluke on a dropshot setup, or smaller lures such as gold KastMasters or Lucky Kraft Flash Minnows.

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