Winds Maintain Upwelling Process in Bay

Monterey Bay

Laurence Bedford from Santa Cruz released this big barred surf perch after a quick photo. He fooled the gravid female with a two-inch GULP! camo sandworm.

by Allen Bushnell

High winds were the story of the week along the entire north coast of California, including Monterey Bay. Occasionally reaching gale force, wind waves up to eight feet were generated, vexing many local anglers. When boats did get out they found some pretty good fishing for most of their forays. And, the sustained winds will maintain an ongoing upwelling process that is keeping water temperatures low as well as supercharging the surface with nutrients that serve to hold bait fish and their predators.

John (JT) Thomas, skipper of the Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters experienced ‘night and day” differences to his schedule and catch rate this week. “We’ve been land locked for four days now due to wind and rough water,” he said on Thursday. Miss Beth made it out with clients on Friday for most of the morning. As JT reported, ”Today we fished the Soquel Hole and landed two nice salmon – one weighed in at 25 pounds. We lost four and had two shakers. The wind kicked us off the water before noon. Still, everyone had fun.’ On Saturday, patience and persistence were rewarded. Thomas got to submit a report more to his liking, saying, “We found them! Fourteen nice king salmon up to twenty pounds.” We are seeing an increasing number of silver salmon in the mix. Please release these silvers or any short kings while they are still in the water. Salmon that are netted and especially ones that hit the deck have a tragically high mortality rate. Slide a gaff down your line to flip out the barbless hook.

Despite the low water temps even in the shallows, halibut are moving in steadily. Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait reported a number of flatties weighing into the teens caught near the Mile Reef in Capitola by anglers using a variety of baits, including drifting with fresh dead squid. Both squid and anchovy populations are healthy in Monterey Bay right now. Other anglers reported halibut caught in the “ones and twos” in shallow waters of 35 to 50 feet. We are just beginning to har reports of halibut from some sheltered beaches despite the cool water temps.

Beach trekkers have been getting their perch on lately. Big muscular pregnant females are lurking in the shorebreak area and snapping at sandcrabs, GULP! sandworms and some small lures. Plenty of smaller perch are around to provide action and usually inhabit the calmer deep spots a little further out of the violent sandside wash areas. The big mama fish are quite large enough to make filets, but we’d encourage release of the gravid females to ensure survival of their living young. Surf perch average around 30 young per birth, and can produce over 100 babies at a time. Take a quick picture and release gently. Also remember, if that pregnant female spews out her brood while in your fish bag, each newborn counts as a distinct “fish in possession.” One fish can turn into 31 fish while you’re not looking. If a DFG Warden checks that catch it’s citation time! Striped bass catches are picking up from Aptos area down to Monterey. Most of these stripers are small and skinny.

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