Winter Weather is Still Holding Off

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Last weekend, Go Fish Santa Cruz hosted the fishing crew from Aptos Plumbing. This is one of the prettiest vermilions ever.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing

by Allen Bushnell

Winter weather is still holding off. We’ve had a couple big swells roll through so far, and some windy days. But the NorCal wave train hasn’t left the station yet. Looks like we’re good for the coming weekend and into next week as well, in terms of ocean conditions. Swells are forecast to be six feet or less, and afternoon winds not expected much above 15 knots. Very fishable conditions, especially for boaters who get out early before the winds pick up.

Though winter-type beach structure is not firmly established, fishing for perch both in Monterey as well as the Santa Cruz area has been decent, and it’s getting better. We’re seeing more fish, and the average size is getting larger. Once we get significant rains, the Salinas and Pajaro rivers will open up to the ocean and loose this year’s flood of schoolie-sized striped bass from their spawning grounds. Wintertime and early spring is the best time for surfcasting the stripers.

Private boats and charter operations are doing well on rockfish, lingcod and Dungeness crab fishing. Ken Stagnaro from Stagnaro Charters reminds us that, “Rockcod season ends 12/31/20. We have rockcod fishing trips scheduled all December. New Year’s Day we’ll switch over to sanddabs for a few months. On the

Velocity Friday we had 50 fish, and Saturday we had 150 fish so it picked up a little for the half day trips over the weekend. Legacy ran the 7-hour trips this weekend, and 8 people caught 53 fish. Saturday picked up for 18 people with limits of rock fish for the table.”

Other Santa Cruz boats report similar success. Santa Cruz Coastal’s Rodney Armstrong on the Salmon Streaker reported on Sunday, “Today went great. Lots of fun out there. We had limits of crab for the 3 clients and the rock fish was wide open. Lots of blues and a couple of vermilion.” Tom Dolan on the Mega Bite gave a little more detail saying, “Nice flat calm water today for our Jurassic crab combo. Started with getting our crab at the crab grounds then out deep for the lingcod. Found no love out deep so headed up to Davenport and got some nice fish. Came closer to port and finished up with limits of BIG blues, olives, browns, coppers and a few red pacific snapper to five pounds!” Go fish Santa Cruz continues to make big scores on Dungeness crab and lunker rockfish, working a broad area from Natural Bridges up to Franklin Point. In an understatement, Captain JT Thomas reported “Our combo trips for Dungeness Crab and rock fish are fun and productive.” In Monterey, Chris’ Fishing Trips contiues to catch limits of rockfish and near-limits of Dungeness on their daily combo trips.

Seems the honors this week have to go to Moss Landing’s Kahuna Sportfishing. When owner Carol Jones calls a trip “long range,” she means they are steaming all the way down to the Big Sur area, where fish are plentiful and generally much bigger. Jones said this about Saturday's trip on the big Kahuna, “Just got word from the Kahuna today along with pictures from their long range rockfish trip today. Great weather and fantastic fishing for the 16 anglers. Limits of mostly vermilion rockfish with an average weight of nine pounds.”

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