Decent weather and reasonable seas made for a good week of fishing on the Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Tom Niccum from Coyote Bait and Tackle hoists another jumbo barred surf perch caught from a Monterey County beach this week. Niccum shares his secret bait: A Honey Badger BAits Super Slayer2 in Motoroil2 color. Seems to work!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

Decent weather and reasonable seas made for a good week of fishing on the Monterey Bay. The coming weekend looks very fishable as well. In Santa Cruz, Stagnaro’s Sportfishing continues to run sanddab trips on the weekends. They have reported some good numbers with light loads on their flagship Legacy. Last Saturday a half-day trip netted 280 ‘dabs for 17 anglers aboard. The previous Monday brought in 260 sanddabs with only seven anglers on the boat.

In Monterey, Chris’ Fishing Trips is running during the week when they can, as well as every weekend. Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching said, “We had a great trip on Friday with 450 sand dabs, 70 petrale sole, and 13 crab for 13 anglers. We also had 400 sand dabs, 10 petrale, and 22 crab for nine anglers on Sunday. The loads are light during the week, but the weekends have been sold out in advance on the combination trips.” Arcoleo has been capitalizing on the petrale this year. His technique includes fishing deeper waters, “You have to get out to 50 or 55 fathoms,” Said Arcoleo. “There’s no limit on the number of fish you can keep and we can use modified sand dab rigs. Usually we go with six-hook rigs, using 4/0 or 5/0 hooks.  A little piece of squid on each hook. We’ve had three or four really good days this year, and we’re not fishing for them every day. You gotta be able to fish them with not much wind or swell. If it’s too bumpy they just don’t bite. We find them in the flat sandy areas deeper than 300 feet.”

Jeremy Streig, a wholesale buyer and owner of Harbor Pride Seafood, who sells to fine local restaurants and markets, loves the petrale sole saying,”not a lot a guys target the petrale, but it’s one of the best fish in our local waters. It has light, mild and flaky meat. With some rice flour, salt and pepper it’s one of the best out there for table fare.” Many sport anglers will go out to the 200-foot area for sand dabs. It might be time to go just a little bit deeper for the bigger and more valued petrales, as we wait for halibut to come in, and for rockfish and salmon seasons to start.

Good news from the Santa Cruz Harbormaster’s office indicates progress on clearing the severely shoaled entrance channel at the harbor. Last week, the office issued an update that included this information: “The dredge crew has been working an extended schedule over the last several weeks to restore depths in the Santa Cruz Harbor federal entrance channel. Over the weekend, the crew was able to significantly deepen the outer sandbar between the jetties. The federal entrance channel is now passable for most small craft.”

The Office also cautions, “While depths in the entrance have vastly improved, hazards still exist. Mariners are advised to plan ahead and use caution when attempting to transit the entrance. Shallow areas with breaking surf remain and depth conditions are subject to rapid change. All mariners wishing to transit the entrance should know their vessel’s draft and are strongly encouraged to check conditions in advance of their voyage, including the current sounding, as well as tide, surf height, weather, and wind forecasts.

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