Anglers make best of confusing weather patterns

 Anglers make best of confusing weather patterns
Captain Tom Joseph from Fish On Sportfishing has no problem going 70 miles offshore to catch tuna like this 178-pound bluefin he and his clients boated last Saturday.

by Allen Bushnell

Monterey Bay area anglers continued to make the best of things this week despite confusing weather patterns, fish movements and upcoming government regulation changes. Warm tuna water continues to hold steady offshore and conditions have allowed more boats to get out to the grounds on the hunt for bluefin or albacore. 
No albacore were reported caught in the past week, but a number of the smaller tuna-like bonita were caught in the middle of the bay by anglers working the deep canyon in front of Moss Landing. Other bonita were reported from the Monterey area, closer to shore. A few bluefin tuna were reeled in by fishermen working the “Fingers” area about ten miles offshore rom Davenport. Additional bluefin catches were reported by boats launching from Half Moon Bay to fish the weather buoy area. Captain Tom Joseph from Fish On Sportfishing took a couple clients out on Saturday and hit the jackpot. “Today we fished tuna out of Half Moon Bay and our two-man charter boated one bluefin weighing 178 pounds,” Joseph was happy to report. On Tuesday Joseph struck again, bringing home a 50-pound tuna with his clients of the day. An additional exotic report came from private boater Dave Roncarati who was fishing near the Davidson Seamount and dropped jigs down to some “big fish marks” about 150 feet down. Roncarati and crew pulled in a rare Opah, or moonfish. The weather forecast looks promising for offshore fishing over the weekend. Hopefully we’ll see some more tuna action while these water conditions last.
Deepwater rockfishing is still going very strong. Quick limits and quality fish have been the watchwords for the entire season. J.T. Thomas on the Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz reported this week saying, “The rock cod bite continues to be HOT. Our clients had early limits of big rock fish including yellow tail, green spots, Boccaccio, widows and vermillion.” Nearshore fishing also remains productive with plenty of browns, blacks, blues and ling cod caught from local reefs near Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey and Santa Cruz. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted last week an “in season change” for nearshore rockfishing. DFW announced, “Newly available recreational data from the Mendocino, San Francisco and Central GMAs (Groundfish Management Areas) for the second week of August showed double the estimated recreational take and indicated the 2023 quillback rockfish harvest limit specified in federal regulations has been exceeded.” As a response, the DFW is closing nearshore rockfishing early this year. As of September 1, “Shelf rockfish, slope rockfish and lingcod may be taken seaward of the 50-fathom boundary line.” 
Surfcasters are seeing an improvement all around the bay as baitfish move closer to shore and the sandcrab population swells. Perch are getting bigger and more numerous, and the larger-variety stripers are making an appearance as well. The big bass seem to be slowly filtering in to the areas north of Moss Landing . Quite a few stripers in the 20-pound class or larger were caught this week by anglers working the beaches from Pajaro to Santa Cruz.

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