Montery Bay Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Judith Johnson from Pleasure Point hit Sand Dollar beach this week and fooled this big barred surf perch using a GULP! camo sandworm.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

As we move towards springtime, weather and sea conditions are slowly transitioning from wild to mild. The train of huge swells we had in December and January has moved hundreds of tons of sand down the beaches, creating high spots in some places and low spots in others. Fishing was a bit difficult while the big waves were pounding. Add a little gale-force wind and chilly temperatures to that, and you can see why surfcasting fish counts have been rather low lately. But, a new day is dawning. Surfcast reports from beaches in Monterey, the Marina area, south county Santa Cruz and even beaches smack in the middle of Santa Cruz itself indicate more numerous catches, including some hefty slabs. Most of the perch being caught right now are barred surf perch, though we have seen some walleye and calico perch in the mix as well.

The coming weekend forecast is quite promising in terms of low winds and smaller waves. High tides will be in the mornings from Saturday and through the week, with the highest tide occurring Tuesday, 5.10 feet at 6:52am. Surfcasting on the outgoing high tides has been best lately, according to reports. Next week will be ideal for early morning surfcasting, with plenty of water and light winds possible until noon or beyond. All beaches ringing Monterey Bay have good structure right now, with the most dramatic occurring on the broad beaches from Manresa down to Sand City.

Chris’ Fishing Trips is the only charter operation currently running trips in our area. It’s a great opportunity to get out on a big boat with light loads. And, Chris’ can boast of some incredible catch numbers lately. Sunday’s trip on the Check Mate had only six anglers aboard. They caught a total of 120 Sanddabs, and limits (60) of Dungeness crab. Wednesday’s trip on the Check Mate carried 19 anglers. They pulled only 30 crab, but also boated an astounding 750 sanddabs! No petrale sole were noted from Chris’ this week, but they did very well on them last week.

April 1 is the scheduled opener for rockfish season. Salmon season may open as early as April 3. That time will fly, so it’s a great idea to get your boats and gear cleaned and tuned for these openers. In the past few years, we’ve noticed halibut coming in towards the shallow waters earlier and earlier. While April/May is the traditional time to start hunting these big flatfish, a few forays for the flatties might be in order as we move into March.

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