Red tide not hindering local anglers’ success

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Red tide not hindering local anglers’ success
​Dave Hansen aboard "Grizzly" out of Santa Cruz needed a break after landing this 150-pound bluefin tuna. The fight took Hansen over one hour.

by Allen Bushnell

Chris’ Fishing Trips from Monterey is chugging along, providing coastal fishing access for dozens of anglers every week. They try to head south towards Big Sur whenever possible, as the underwater structure is more defined in that area (Read: Gnarly). It’s perfect habitat for big schools of larger rockfish and lingcod. Chris’ is steadily sending out two boats a day for rockfish limits. The lingcod count is going up as we approach their winter spawning season. This week, the Check Mate counted 17 lings on Friday and 24 for Saturday’s trip.
In Santa Cruz the story is much the same. Despite a persistent red tide condition stretching from Lighthouse Point down past New Brighton Beach, the rockfish counts remain in the limits or near-limits category. Red tide is hugging the beach, with fishing depths out beyond 50 feet mostly clear. Fishing for bait close to shore is still very productive. For bigger fish and quicker limits, savvy anglers head north, to the wild coast above Natural Bridges. On Sunday, Captain Rodney Armstrong at Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters checked in, telling us, “Yesterday we went out for rock fish lingcod. We had seven limits of rock fish and just one keeper lingcod. We did have four or five short lings. The bite was not red hot but a steady pick. There are reports of lots of bluefin tuna in the area. We are running a blue fin tuna trip tomorrow so stayed tuned to see what happens. We have lots of dates open for blue fin as long as they stick around and we get good weather.”
Well, the weather looks good offshore in the upcoming week with low winds and wave conditions forecast. And, there is no doubt the bluefin are out there. BIG bluefin and in big numbers. Skipper JT Thomas on the Miss Beth reports seeing literally hundreds of jumpers at the end of this week on the bluefin grounds. Not that they are easy to hook. Hookup chances are less than 50% on any given day. But, you can’t catch fish if you don’t go fishing. So intrepid anglers are traveling 30 to 70 miles from port on their tuna hunts lately. When hookups do occur, the rewards are gigantic. Private boater Matt Mitchell did everything right last Wednesday, fishing straight out from Santa Cruz on his 24-foot Parker, The Silver Lining. He got bit while slow-trolling a live mackerel and after 45 minutes boated a gorgeous 140-pound bluefin tuna. The big school of bluefin moved slightly north during the latter part of the week, when most fish caught near the “Fingers” area some 10 miles offshore from Davenport. Successful tuna hunters are looking for temperature breaks, birds working on bait and of course, feeding jumpers. Slow-trolled Macks are a proven bait, though many of our hookups have come on fast-trolled Mad Mac Nomad lure

< Previous Report Next Report >

< Previous Report Next Report >

More Reports

  Bluefin fever hit Monterey Bay this week.  After weeks of scouting trips, local anglers were preparing to be disappointed this...... Read More

  Ocean kayak fishing has been around forever, but really started to get popular in our area about 20 years ago....... Read More