Salmon limits to be had on Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Santa Cruz anglers Heather Bond and Matt Mitchell put some chrome on the deck of the Silver Lining last Sunday. Plus a bonus ling on the way in!

by Allen Bushnell

We’ve seen better salmon fishing on Monterey Bay, but not a whole lot better and not for quite a while. Limits are here for the taking. With proven tackle and techniques and just a little luck, private boaters and charter operations reported limits of fine king salmon on a daily basis this week.

These fish are high and hot, feeding mostly on krill. Red flashers seemed to be a key for many anglers trolling the big canyon edges. Matt Mitchell on the Silver Lining checked in on Sunday as well. Mitchell was pretty enthusiastic, saying, “We just limited out in two hours! Landed four out of five. Three on chrome crippled ‘chovies behind a red flasher, and one on a blue hoochie behind a red flasher. Everyone is limiting! Fishing is going off!”

Joe Baxter and his son, Shane, have been hitting it hard while these fish are here. Baxter reported, “East edge of the hole three days straight, limits before 10 am. We got six Friday, eight on Saturday and six Sunday on our boat the Meat Hunter. We’re fishing 40 to 80 on the wire. We are basically in the middle of the bay. There is a line where the dirty water meets clear water . The fish are mostly concentrated on the dirty edge. Flashed bait, spoons and hoochies. The fleet is there. They have been there since the opener.”

Charter boats are doing well also. The big boats are averaging around a fish per rod, while six-pack operators are counting mostly limits with their smaller loads.

On Sunday, Chris Arcoleo from Chris’ Fishing trips reported, “Nick had 19 for 26 anglers on the Star of Monterey and Tinker had a four-man charter on the Check Mate that ended up with six fish. On Friday we slammed them! Nine clients on the Caroline got 18 fish we had limits then. Tinker had 27 for 16 anglers. They’re coming in all sizes. Yes, the bait is mostly krill, though there has been some small squid in the mix as well. There’s nothing major on the bait scene but there’s lots of salmon in the Avila/Morro Bay area right now, and those fish will be coming through Monterey Bay eventually.”

Since last weekend we had a couple tough days due to a huge number of jellyfish near the canyon edges. On Monday, Captain JT Thomas aboard the Miss Beth told us, “We fished the Eastside of the Soquel Hole today. The jellyfish were an absolute madness. Deckhand JP outsmarted them. He worked the lines to keep them in the water. The clients landed 11, lost three and had one shaker.

Apparently, the jellies were no longer a problem by Wednesday when Thomas reported, “We fished the west edge of the big canyon. The bite started slow but after the bait came up the salmon started to bite. We were scratching a fish every 30 minutes and ended up with a double. We were back before noon with eight nice salmon.”

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