Red tide disrupts fishing action

Monterey Bay

Jeremy Koenig from the San Lorenzo Valley found halibut success on the six-pack charter boat Salmon Streaker.

by Allen Bushnell

Inshore waters have warmed considerably in the Monterey Bay. Temps were recorded as high as 65 degrees along the beaches this week. Prevailing south winds for the past few weeks contributed to a massive red tide bloom extending in some spots out to 120 feet of water. The algae bloom is so thick that visibility is reduced to as little as 15 inches on the surface. Needless to say, fish are not biting where the red tide is thick. Some clear areas can be found, and the deeper open ocean spots remain clear.

Charter operations such as Chris’ Fishing Trips from Monterey and the Kahuna from Moss Landing are turning left at Point Pinos where the water remains clear and rockfish limits are still the norm. In Santa Cruz, Stagnaro’s Sportfishing and the six-pack Go Fish Santa Cruz are heading to the north of town. Wilder’s Beach area has featured clear water and a good rockfish bite including blues, blacks, canaries and vermilion. The six-pack vessel Miss Beth made most of their trips this week up to Franklin Point above Ano Nuevo where the water is clear. The boat is commonly limiting out before 10am with quality canaries, vermilion and lingcod in the mix.

Private boaters can find clear areas out past 60 feet of water. Many are bounce-balling or drifting bait for halibut, and still doing quite well on the big flatfish. Just east of the Santa Cruz Mile Buoy in 60-70 feet of water has been fairly consistent for halibut and the Pleasure Point area down to Capitola is producing very well, especially for anglers using live bait. Big schools of medium-sized anchovies can be found for jigging up in that entire area. A good number of flatties were located from the Cement Ship down to Pajaro as well. Salmon fishing is very slow. A few die hard salmon anglers are still giving it a go and catching a salmon or two here and there, usually by the Soquel or Pajaro Canyon edges,

Surcfcasters probably suffered the worst with the heavy red tide conditions lately. Reports this week featured skunks for many experienced surfcasters from all the beaches between Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. The algae bloom stretched all the way down to Monterey, so surf fishing was mostly an exercise in futility on that side of the bay as well. By mid-week, some of the beach areas were clearing up. Perch catch reports increased to two to ten fish for experienced anglers, and a few small stripers were reported from the Pajaro River area.

Hopefully the weather pattern has turned. With northwest winds blowing in the afternoons, and slight offshore winds resuming during the nighttime hours, the red tide should retreat and we can get back to our usual late-summer abundance-style fishing.

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