Surfcasters hit the beach during break in storms

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Surfcasters hit the beach during break in storms
Even with big waves rolling in, we are still finding barred surf perch on the inside, close to the sand. This beauty came from a local beach in the city of Santa Cruz this week.

by Allen Bushnell

The past week provided a welcome break between storms allowing Monterey Bay surfcasters a chance at perch and striped bass from the beach. The big waves that accompanied our most recent storms have radically sculpted beaches from Santa Cruz to Monterey. It may take a bit of exploring to find your favorite spot, but most of the historical surfcasting beaches should be in very good shape.

Along East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, many of the beaches are scoured down to bedrock. This makes wonderful deep spots for perch to feed, but can also be very snaggy. Expect to lose some gear if fishing over a rocky bottom. Further south, Rio Del Mar, Manresa and Sunset beaches have developed very nice structure with multiple sandbars and rip current areas in which to fish. Even with good structure, big waves can make things difficult with so much water moving. A few anglers have reported better luck on the lower tides, where the holes and troughs are easier to locate.

In Monterey, Chris’ Fishing Trips is got their boats out for a couple trips this week.  As usual, they are catching “too many sand dabs to count,”  and up to 44 Dungeness crab on their combo sand dab and crab forays. Better weather conditions gives Monterey anglers a broader area within which to fish, so we can expect to see those numbers go up once these latest storms die down. Petrale sole and mackerel are firmly on the menu as well for anglers launching out of Monterey Harbor.

On the storm front, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast includes storm and gale warnings as well as small craft warnings for the entire coastline of Northern California. Starting on Thursday and continuing through this weekend, NOAA calls for winds around 35 knots with gusts up to 60 along with swells as high as 17 feet. The Santa Cruz Harbor has posted a boater warning reminding boat owners to “check their vessels and ensure items are securely stowed, lines are secure, fenders are in place, and scupper drains and bilge pumps are clear and functional.” The Santa Cruz Harbor entrance is still sounding at 10 feet, with a skinny channel to the East. The big waves forecast can quickly extend shoaling from the West Jetty across the harbor mouth.  Be sure to check the entrance sounding information online before transiting the harbor entrance this week.

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