Fishing is Still Going Strong in Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Many Santa Cruz boaters are not aware The Harbor’s “No Wake Zone” and five knot speed limit extends beyond the jaws of the harbor on a line all the way to Lighthouse Point.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

This week’s weather was more cooperative than the forecast indicated. Fishing is still going strong on Monterey Bay. Halibut are still on the bite in favored areas. They continue to creep out to deeper water. Rockfish remain plentiful on the local reefs near Monterey and Santa Cruz, but the bigger boats are finding wild success “around the corner.” For Monterey that means the Big Sur area awhile the Santa Cruz boats find bigger fish and quicker limits to the north near Davenport or even as far as Franklin Point.

On Sunday, Bayside Marine owner Todd Fraser reported, ““The weather was nice today and anglers took advantage of the good halibut and lingcod bite near Four-Mile and Davenport. There were halibut caught in the 40-pound range today. The lingcod and rockfish are keeping anglers busy near Davenport. The area near the Cement Ship is still producing some nice halibut. Surf perch are getting bigger near Rio Del Mar. “

Charter boat reports support Fraser’s analysis. Chris’ Fishing trips in Monterey reports limits of rockfish on every trip, with a bonus of ten lings up to 20 pounds last weekend. The Kahuna steamed down to big Sur on a long-range excursion. Owner Carol Jones was pleased with the results saying, “15 anglers landed limits of nice quality shallow water rockfish...always a blast! “” The Kahuna catch included lots of the favored red rockfish- vermilion and canaries. Meanwhile on the other side of the bay, Go Fish Santa Cruz headed north. For Sunday’s trip Beth Norton reported, “Captain JT and Deckhand JP took the clients to fish at Franklin Point. Limits again of rockfish. The bite continues to be really good. The clients caught BIG vermillion, blues, browns, coppers and olives.”

We checked in this week with Santa Cruz Port Director Marian Olen. Harbor staff have performed exceptionally well operating under difficult COVID rules and restrictions. “Fall is the most beautiful weather time in Santa Cruz. We are still very busy. COVID-19 has changed how people recreate and exercise. We have observed a noticeable increase in the popularity of stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking as a result. While we appreciate and support the activity, it is important to ensure that boaters operating hand-paddled craft follow traffic guidelines when operating in the harbor. Stay to the right of the channel, keep moving and do not congregate in large groups. This is critical to ensuring boater safety and to avoid conflicts with sail and power vessels. Likewise, operators of sail and power vessels are advised to proceed with caution in the harbor and go slow in all areas of the coastline frequented by hand-powered craft. Pursuant to Santa Cruz Municipal Code, the area between Abbott Lighthouse at Steamer’s Lane and the tip of the west jetty is a designated 5-knot speed limit zone. Please be safe and respect others when out on the water.”
Also of concern are the many businesses located at the harbor. Olin notes that as we move into winter, “supporting local businesses is more important than ever. With the arrival of fall, and winter fast approaching, we appreciate your support of the local fishing fleet, H&H Fresh Fish, harbor restaurants including Aldo’s, Café El Palomar, Crow’s Nest, Java Junction and Johnny’s Harborside, charter operators, bait shops, kayak and SUP rentals and all other harbor businesses. Please remember to respect others by wearing a mask and socially distancing when in public spaces.”

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