Monterey Bay Conditions & Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Halibut fishing has been spectacular this year on Monterey Bay, and should continue for the next couple months. Author Allen Bushnell with another kayak halibut limit from this summer.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing

by Allen Bushnell

This summer seems to be fairly normal for rockfishing. It has remained steady and productive.The salmon bite has been good at times in the Monterey Bay, but nothing spectacular. Halibut, on the other hand, are making a fantastic showing this season. Anglers continue to pull limits of halibut in from all around the bay. It’s good enough in fact that Chris’ Fishing Trips is devoting Mondays and Wednesdays for targeting halibut specifically from one of their three charter boats.

Halibut can be found on any flat sandy area, even in the sand “channels” between rocky reefs. So, not only are the Carmel areas like Point Joe and Point Pinos a possibility, but the broad stretches of flat areas from Cannery Row all the way to the dunes at the end of DelMonte Beach can hold the big flatfish. The best Monterey reports typically are coming from the “hotel” area and up towards Tioga Road for larger halibut. It’s nearly fall now, so the flatties will be moving out towards deeper water slowly. While they may still be found in shallow water, fishing the 45-65 foot areas will become increasingly productive as the next few weeks roll by.

On the Santa Cruz side of the Bay, halibut fishing remains consistent from 35-65 feet of water from the Mile Buoy down past Capitola and the Cement Ship. The Pajaro Dunes area is also holding big numbers of fish. Bayside Marine’s Todd Fraser tracks the private boaters closely and he says, “Halibut fishing was the best bet along with rock fishing. Halibut are still on the bite in Capitola and there are some nice fish being caught up the coast. The big vermilion's and lingcod were on the bite up the coast near Davenport.”

Salmon fishing has been slow of late. A few lucky anglers found fish near Mulligan’s Hill earlier in the week, and we received reports of a fish per rod from the Three Trees area north of Santa Cruz. The salmon were caught by trollers using flashers with hoochies or Krippled bait set-ups. All the fish reported were caught near the bottom in 200-260 feet of water.

We’re seeing an increase of bait activity close to shore, which raises hopes for fall striper fishing. We’re not sure where all the stripers are right now but reports have been few and far between. Barred surf perch are still the best bet for surfcasters. Any of the beaches ringing Monterey Bay can be productive for perch anglers. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Santa Cruz fisherman Craig Pappas obviously hit it correctly this week on a beach in the southern part of Santa Cruz County. Pappas reported, “Barred surf perch have been crushing sand crabs for two days in a row. Caught over 20-plus with half of them 12 inches or bigger.

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