Charter anglers make midweek gamble, hit jackpot

Monterey Bay

Charter anglers make midweek gamble, hit jackpot
It’s always sunny in Monterey! Chris’ Fishing Trips got the Checkmate out on Tuesday to fish deep in the canyon. The boat limited out on both rockfish and lingcod. Then, they did the same thing on Wednesday.

by Allen Bushnell

Most Monterey Bay anglers are still waiting in suspense regarding just how much of a bonanza we’ll experience with the new unrestricted depth regulations for rockfish. The season opened on Monday and coincided with another seaborne storm that rolled into the area and lasted most of the week.  Wind, waves and turgid waters made fishing the deep reefs an unrealistic proposition.  After being battered all winter with ferocious weather, this latest storm seems almost mild. The winds and waves were enough to keep most boats at the dock, however.
One notable exception in the Monterey Bay charter fleet was Chris’ Fishing Trips.  Chris Arcoleo sent his boats out for Tuesday and Wednesday trips. He said the wind was not bad as long as they stayed in the bay. “We just fished the canyon, that’s all, in 400-450 feet,” Arcoleo reported. “The fish were coming up off the bottom. Just quality quality fish- so farchili’s, vermilion and canaries. And plenty of ling cod,” Arcoleo added. Anglers effectively boated limits of lings on the Checkmate both Tuesday and Wednesday. And these are big fish! Arcoleo said most were in the 12-15 pound range, with a good number pushing 20 and one “really good big fish” that weighed in at 25 pounds. So, that sounds like super good rockfishing without traveling very far at all. “There’s a lot of area out there, we’re just covering a teeny bit. We haven’t gone to where it’s ass-kicking yet,” Arcoleo said.
Surfcasters have enjoyed their own bonanza recently. Barred surf perch are filling in at all the usual locations. Actually, a good variety of surfperch are on the bite locally, including schools of calico and walleye. More beaches are hosting big beds of sandcrabs, always a preferred bait for the perch. That small sandcrab could also result in a big striped bass hit. Striper fishing has been very good so striperfar this season, with most of the action coming from beaches between the Salinas River and Sand City. There is very good surfcasting structure on the beaches from Sand City on up to Manresa. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a marked increase of striper catches between Moss Landing and Santa Cruz, including some of the town beaches in Santa Cruz. The bass are hitting perch grubs and worms, sandcrabs and, by all reports, the entire array of striper lures.  These include the classic irons such as KastMasters and Krokodiles, leadhead swimbaits, and of course large or small stick baits like the SP Minnows and Lucky Craft 110.
This weekend should provide excellent fishing for surfcasting and boaters alike. The weather forecast looks good, with high tides predicted around noon. Offshore anglers can work the deep reefs for big bags of quality rockfish while inshore fishers can certainly find quality from the shallower reefs of 60-120 feet.  Halibut have moved in quietly over the past few weeks with few reported caught, mostly because boats have not been going out fishing because salmon season was canceled and rockfish season closed. We can’t wait to see who gets what next week, and where.

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