Sanctuary Fish Fest takes place Saturday in Santa Cruz

Sanctuary Fish Fest takes place Saturday in Santa Cruz
Captain Joey Stagnaro on the Kahuna reports ling cod action along with deep water reds are the norm still on Monterey Bay.

by Allen Bushnell

Ben Harris from the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project checked in this week with a great idea for the family this weekend. Harris invites, “Come join MBSTP for Fish Fest at the Santa Cruz Wharf on Saturday, July 29! The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is hosting this family friendly event to encourage hands-on engagement with your local sanctuary while providing info about local conservation efforts. This will be a great opportunity to view the documentary "Southern Range" which highlights the great work being done by MBSTP and our agency partners to conserve salmon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We'll have a table set up to share info on MBSTP programs and recruit new volunteers & members.    A number of local organizations will be on hand to tell sanctuary fish tales, provide free guided fishing for you and your family and share tips on sustainable recreational fishing.”
Fishing all around Monterey Bay has hit its summer stride. Surfcasters are seeing an increase in both number and size of barred surf perch from nearly all the beaches that ring our bay. Hit the right spot at the right time, and you have a very good chance at hooking up with a fish that carries a bit more weight and a lot more fight. Striped bass seem to be making the leap past Moss Landing and some of the southern Santa Cruz County beaches are featuring flurries of activity for anglers using larger stickbaits and topwater jigs. The striper bite from Moss to Monterey remains consistent.  When the waves stay calm for a few days in a row, it’s a good bet right now to cast for beach halibut as well. Look for protected areas with warmer water and low wave action. The dropshot technique is reported to work best for these small flatties, usually with a white fluke or small swimbait. Please remember to release any short halibut quickly and safely with no handling if possible. Keep them in the water if they’re obviously not of legal size.
Bigger halibut are also hitting all around the bay for boaters. Any flat sandy area from 30 to 70 feet of water can be hosting larger fish right now. It’s the height of the season for anglers drifting bait or trolling with a dodger/hoochie setup. Live bait is always the best for big flatties and there is plenty around, including anchovies, sardines, smelt, mackerel and kingfish. It’s well worth the time to sabiki up fresh live bait to lure the big flatties. Using bigger baits (live) will also decrease the chances of hooking up unintended species. Just give that halibut or big lingcod enough time to chew on your offering before trying to set the hook.

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