Kayak fisherman Aaron Treadway hauls in 39.95-pound halibut

Monterey Bay

Aaron Treadway hoists his biggest halibut ever, caught near Black’s Point Santa Cruz this week. The fish weighed in at 39.95 pounds!

by Allen Bushnell

Finally, the weather conditions are settling in to what we consider a more “normal” summertime pattern. We’re getting a slight breeze around sunrise that dies down for a few hours of calm and glassy seas before picking up again from the west or northwest. How hard it blows after that determines how long we can stay out fishing. We had a few days this week that were nice until noon or later. The weekend forecast looks even better with maximum winds expected to be no more than ten knots or so, over an almost negligible swell.

Halibut fishing remains strong on Monterey Bay. On Thursday, kayak fisherman Aaron Treadway won the battle with his biggest flatty ever. While drifting dead squid just outside the Santa Cruz Harbor Treadway recounted his catch, “It felt like I was hooked into a tree stump. Then it starting shaking and yanking my rod down, so I knew it was a fish…. a big fish! I just didn’t realize how big. Head shakes throughout and it wouldn’t come off the bottom. I kept tension on and slowly, slowly worked it up. Then it would head back down. But I kept the line tight and slowly but surely gained foot by foot to get it up. Didn’t know how big it really was ‘cause it was vertical and I was looking at the head. When the fish flattened out, that was when I was like, HOLY COW! This thing is huge! Gaffed it, which did not go through of course, and into the boat it went.” The halibut weighed in at 39.95 pounds on the scale at Bayside Marine a couple hours after the catch. Halibut are biting from 30 feet of water out to 70 feet these days. Any flat sandy area of the bay could produce.

For a guaranteed catch, rockfishing is the best bet right now. Private boats and charter operations are hauling in limits from the medium and deeper reefs. Shallow reefs should produce as the annoying south swell continues to slowly die out. Six-pack charter Go Fish Santa Cruz has been working the north coast spots lately, near Davenport. The fish are bigger there and limits are quicker. Skipper JT Thomas reported Monday and Tuesday trips caught limits of a great variety of rockfish including vermillion, browns, blues, yellowtail, blacks and coppers. Monday’s trip also netted a nice Petrale sole from that area. On Wednesday, the beautiful Miss Beth fished for halibut near Capitola, and caught three nice flatties and released one silver salmon. Thomas reported, “We threw back one silver salmon. Not sure why it was in 50 feet of water.” Stagnaro’s Sportfishing operates two bigger boats from the Santa Cruz Harbor, and often does multiple trips per day. Owner Ken Stagnaro gave his overview for the week saying, “The Velocity was coming home with half to 3/4 limits with a few ling cod starting to show up. Over the weekend, anglers on Legacy caught limits of rockfish on seven-hour trips and 3/4 limits on the afternoon twilight trips. On Tuesday they caught early limits of rockfish for 8 anglers aboard.”

Kris Victorino , skipper for Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss Landing finally got an opportunity to head the boat towards Big Sur. The trip is long, but the fishing is fast. Victorino was happy to report, “Saturday we got limits for 19 at Big Sur. Twelve lings to 15 pounds. Sunday saw limits for 13 at Big Sur. Lots of vermilion and coppers, plus 11 lings to 10 pounds. And one 15 pound halibut.“ In Monterey, Chris’ Fishing Trips reported limits of rockfish for every trip this week aboard the Check Mate and the Caroline. Chris Arcoleo the Godfather of Sole commented on this week’s action saying, “Salmon has been kinda slow for us. A couple here a couple there. We caught two giants on the rock cod boat this week, Forty pounds or more, had to throw them back because of the gear. Fished quite a bit at Sur this week. It’s been good. Catching lotsa vermillion lotsa yellows and a few lings down there.” We received private reports of calico bass caught near Cannery Row in Monterey this week. when asked if he was aware of any other “exotics” in the area, Arcoleo said “no,” and then added “I’m just wondering where the bluefin are.” With water temps rising in Monterey Bay and apparently plentiful amounts of bait, we shouldn’t be surprised if tuna fever hits NorCal soon.

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