Expect the Unexpected in September

Monterey Bay

John Bartch and Randy Denham are all smiles while hoisting their live-bait limits while fishing with Captain Joe Baxter on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell
9-4-2020
Website

Expect the unexpected in September. As we move into fall fishing season, just about anything can happen! September usually has the warmest water and we are often graced with long days of clear skies, low winds and smooth seas. This is the time of year we see more of the southern California species, such as calico bass, bonito and barracuda biting our bait, especially near Monterey and Carmel. A white sea bass bite would not be surprising, nor would a resurgence of bluefin tuna near the deep submarine canyons of the bay. Who knows, maybe we’ll finally see some albacore tuna come within striking distance this fall.

Though rockfish start moving to deeper waters, lingcod begin to move in in preparation for winter spawning. While the bottomfish are heading deeper, September can also feature incredible shallow water bites with the schoolie rockfish such as yellows, blues, blacks and calico.

The sport boats around the bay continue to report limits or near-limits on all their trips. Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey caught limits of rockfish (190) and one lingcod per rod on Tuesday’s trip aboard the Check Mate. On Monday, the Star of Monterey matched that limit of 190 rockfish but only caught seven lings. The Kahuna from Moss Landing took 13 anglers out on a full-day trip Saturday. They all returned with their limits of rockfish, and four bonus lingcod.

Private boater Joe Baxter confirmed the halibut bite is still strong in the Capitola area. Along with fellow fishermen John Bartch and Randy Denham, Baxter cashed in on the big flatfish on Sunday. “It was insane! We got five keepers and 12 shorts fishing in the Capitola area. Water was grease. It's the best I've seen in years!” Baxter attributed the non-stop action to the quality live bait they jigged up in the morning. “We had the best live bait all day,” he reported.

Joey Stagnaro from Stagnaro Sportfishing had similar comments in regards to rockfishing the deeper reefs north of Santa Cruz this week. "It's the best I've ever seen!" Stagnaro exclaimed. Full-day and half-day trips on the Velocity and Legacy are slamming big red rockfish from the deeper reefs. Fishing generally in 120-160 feet of water on the reefs just north of Santa Cruz, Stagnaro is astounded with the number of big vermilion and canary rockfish his clients are pulling up. "Every day we're seeing big fish, in the six to nine-pound range!"



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