Monterey Bay Conditions & Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

n unnamed angler hoists a hefty white sea bass caught near Monterey. “Ghosts" come and go as the squid spawn. With luck, they’ll stick around for a while.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

The northwest ground swell that hit last week has persisted. Fish seemed to have gotten used to it, because the bite is not bad at all. Rule of thumb for fall fishing season is “go deeper.”

Rockfishing provided most of the action this week. Anglers are getting consistent limits while fishing the rocky areas north of Santa Cruz and south of Monterey. While shallow spots from 30-60 feet of water can produce enough rockfish for dinner, heading towards the deeper reefs will result in bigger fish, and quicker limits. Lingcod are slowly making their way in towards their shallow spawning grounds, but that bite has not gotten hot yet.

Charter boats around the bay all posted limits for the rockfishing they did this week. Chris’ fishing Trips in Monterey counted up to 200 rockfish and up to four lingcod across multiple trips. The Kahuna took a full day trip last Friday and found quality fish while fishing towards Pt. Sur. “Carol Jones reported, “Fifteen anglers aboard the Kahuna came home with limits including 15 canary rockfish, 12 copper rockfish, and 52 vermilion rockfish.” Chris Arcoleo from Chris Fishing Trips posted the usual rockfish limits for all their trips last week with scores ranging up to 200 rockfish and four ling cod. In Santa Cruz, Stagnaro’s Sportfishing counted limits for their full day trip with 20 anglers aboard. Go Fish Santa Cruz continues to travel towards Davenport to fish the deeper reefs up there for big bottom fish and jumbo variety yellow rockfish. The Mega Bite fished closer to Santa Cruz on Wednesday with good results. Skipper tom Dolan said, “The fog and the winds have finally subsided and the fish were hungry! Ran out to our secret reef and immediately started hauling in blues and olives. Finished with early limits so came in closer to shore to give halibut a try.” Private boats are still getting halibut near Capitola, and off the Santa Cruz North Coast beaches in 60-80 feet of water.

In Monterey, halibut are still being caught near Del Monte Beach and up the coast towards Sand City. Most exciting for that area however are the tanker-sized white sea bass feeding on spawning squid this week. Fly-lining live squid is the best bet to hook up one of these monsters, though setting a couple lines near the bottom can produce results as well. Sea bass are known as “ghosts” due to the way they appear and disappear so quickly. They are difficult to hook up and put up an amazing fight. Not to mention that many consider the white sea bass to be the best eating fish in the ocean. If you make a try for these fish it’s critical to remember to give plenty of room to other boats. Flylines often stretch a hundred yards or more from the drifting boats. Never cross in front of another boat’s drift. Also, the commercial squid boats in the area are huge and often cannot see smaller skiffs or powerboats. Bring an airhorn, and make sure your radio is working. Safety first, always.

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