Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

(831) 375-5951

Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866


October 27, 2014    Headlines

Rockfish LIMITS
Crab Opens Nov. 1st
Albacore WAY Offshore

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported ‘smashing’ the rockfish despite the big swell that arrived on Sunday 10-26. They are jigging up the small Spanish mackerel before targeting the rockfish. The Caroline scored 27 limits of rockfish and 15 ling cod on Sunday while the Check Mate returned with 20 limit of rockfish and near limits of ling cod with 37 lings. Saturday’s scores were incredible with 23 limits of both rockfish and ling cod on the Check Mate, 33 limits of rockfish and ling cod on the Star of Monterey, and 21 limits of rockfish and ling cod on the Caroline.  Three boats combining for 77 limits of rockfish and ling cod. Chris’s will not be running fishing trips on Monday, but they have a trip on Tuesday with the possibility of Wednesday and Friday as they get ready for the crab opener. They have room during the week after November 1st, but the first few weekends have limited room.

The rockfish bite continues with 13 limits of both ling cod and rockfish on the Caroline on Thursday 10-23 with 18 limits of rockfish and 30 lings on the Star of Monterey. It was similar action on Wednesday with 18 limits of both lings and rockfish on the Check Mate. Bottom fishing couldn’t be much better.  They begin their rockfish crab combos on November 1st. Wekend space is selling out well in advance.

Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Winter is on its way. Hopes are high that the coming winter pattern will bring desperately needed rain to recharge our lakes, streams, rivers and underground aquifers. So far so good with a few low-pressure systems already tracking towards our area from the Gulf of Alaska, though little moisture was gained in our area. The waves have been big, though. Another early-season northwest swell pushed through this week, pleasing the surfers. Another positive factor is this indicates the high-altitude Jetstream is not yet blocked from our area as in seasons past. The Jetstream can direct low-pressure storm systems across our shores, bringing precipitation.
An accurate long-term forecast is difficult if not impossible to locate at this time due to the myriad of variables that can affect our weather. Most important is whether or not an El Nino will develop to our south this winter. While we have no confirmation yet, analysts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expect warmer ocean temperatures along the equator. This often translates to a wetter winter for our area.
In the meantime, we’ve had plenty of fair seas for fishing. Rockfish and lingcod still top the charts, with limit style fishing reported by all the party boats, and many private boaters as well. Stagnaro’s Sportfishing will continue to fish for rockfish as well as Dungeness crab once the season opens on November 1, 2014. Skipper Ken Stagnaro plans to continue a wide range of opportunities aboard the Velocity and the smaller six-pack boat, Sea Stag. “Cod fishing has been very consistent with limits and near limits being caught on our local reef. The half-day trips aboard Velocity are running every weekend and select trips during midweek. Also, coming in November we will offer codfish and Dungeness crab combo trip on our smaller boat the Sea Stag Six.”
Chris Arcoleo and company in Monterey have three boats running and reported rockfish limits this week as well as a few lingcod limits. Chris’ travels around the Pt. Pinos corner to the rocky shores of Carmel and Big Sur for big fish, and plenty of them. Monday and Wednesday trips on the Check Mate garnered full limits of rockies and lings for all anglers, while Sunday’s trip caught limits of rockfish and averaged about one and a half lings per rod.
It’s a great time to travel for fishing now. San Francisco Bay is choked with striped bass, the Delta Region and Sacramento River have upstream salmon, northern rivers such as the Trinity and Klamath feature salmon and steelhead, and the mountain lakes have big trout fattening up for winter. This weekend, a local crew of kayak anglers tested the waters of Almanor Lake near Chester California. They found tons of pond smelt bait balls, the occasional big Eagle Lake-variety rainbow, big hook-jawed brown trout and even a few landlocked Chinook salmon. The fish were caught on a variety of lures, worms, and small jigging irons.
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Chris Arcoleo at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported 12 limits of both rockfish and ling cod on the Check Mate on Monday 10-20. They didn’t have a fishing trip on Tuesday, and there is limited room throughout the rest of the week. The small Spanish mackerel are the key to the high ling counts.

Keith at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported the swell hasn’t affected their rockfish action, and after not having a rockfish trip on Wednesday, the Caroline put in 15 limits of both rockfish and ling cod on Thursday 10-16. He said, “There are schools of small Spanish mackerel in the bay, and the anglers jigged up the live bait, “adding, “The larger rockfish and ling cod went crazy over the mackerel.”

Santa Cruz Report by Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Despite the large northwest swell that steamed in from the Gulf of Alaska this week, fishing remained consistent all around the Monterey Bay. Rockfish and especially lingcod are the most common prey, though a few halibut were reported caught last week from North Coast areas, and patches of spawning squid towards the middle shoreline of the bay have attracted a few white sea bass.
For a quick go-out, the Del Monte Beach and Lover’s Point areas of Monterey are still producing decent scores of rockfish, as are the West Cliff reefs in Santa Cruz. For bigger bags of larger fish, heading down towards Carmel and Point Sur or north out of Santa Cruz towards Ano Nuevo is recommended.
Most die-hard anglers in the area are gearing up for one of the year’s best events, which is coming up soon. At 6pm Saturday November 8, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout project is hosting their Annual Albacore Feed. Working in conjunction with the Castroville Rotary Club, this will be the 37th consecutive year for this banquet. Famous not only for the delicious tuna dinner, the benefit also features door prizes, silent auctions, raffle items and project demonstrations of various efforts of MBSTP through the year. Tickets will be available at the door, and raffle prizes or donations are currently being accepted via
Topping the list of goodies at the Albacore Feed this year are two casting rods and one fly rod, hand-made by Vic Meserli Custom Rods. The rods feature Diamond Black Rattlesnake pattern wraps, top-grade materials and are worth well over $800-$1000 each. Meserli will even inlay the winner’s name if desired.
MBSTP relies on the Albacore Feed every year to help support its unceasing efforts to preserve and increase native steelhead and silver salmon in our coastal rivers and streams. Board Chairman Mat Rowley is proud to announce continuing success within the Project. “We have acclimated and released over one million young salmon into the Monterey Bay since 2010. Our marked fish are caught along the entire west coast from Santa Barbara to Alaska by commercial and sport fishermen.”
Though current drought conditions are making a challenging proposition even more difficult, Rowley is optimistic. “We are meeting the challenges of rearing fish with minimal water supply. Our fish are healthy and growing well. To ensure that our valuable year-old Coho brood fish enjoy uninterrupted, high quality rearing conditions—we will truck them to Warm Springs Hatchery at the base of Lake Sonoma. They will come home to the hatchery when they are ready to spawn. This ‘better safe than sorry’ action may not be needed next year, even if the drought persists. A new water recirculation system is being installed that will reduce the water supply needs of our Coho brood-fish substantially.”
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Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported limits of rockfish and limits of ling cod for 18 anglers on the Star of Monterey on Tuesday 10-14, so the big swell didn’t affect the rockfish action in this section of the coast.

San Luis Obispo
Rockfishing is the only game in town with the absence of late season albacore so far this season. Limits to near-limits are the rule with a few ling cod filling the sacks out of both Morro Bay and Port San Luis. At Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Sea Angler returned with 168 assorted rockfish, 48 vermilions, one cabezon, and 5 lings to 6-pounds for 22 anglers. Their ling cod count has jumped up to 4185 for the season, an increase of 219 during the current week. Out of Morro Bay, the San Pedro Special retuned with 180 assorted rockfish, 50 vermilions, and 12 ling cod to 9-pounds for limits for 23 passengers while the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing scored 11 vermilion and 99 assorted rockfish along with 9 ling cod for limits for 11 anglers. Virg’s has started John Rowley’s Biggest, Baddest Ling Cod Contest’ with $1 from each fare for 30 weeks being placed into a pool for the Grand Finale for the top 30 anglers on December 6th. The Fiesta is featuring Lady’s Day every Wednesday with trips off for lady anglers. The next two-day trips out of Virg’s Landing will take place on October 25/ 26th and November 15/16th for $235.00/angler.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported continued good rockfishing with 36 limits of rockfish and 14 lings on the Star of Monterey on Sunday 10-12 with 12 limits of ling cod and limits of rockfish on the Caroline. Saturday’s trip on the Check Mate produced 21 limits of rockfish and 36 ling cod. They have been using a combination of live sand dabs or live squid for the lings and larger rockfish. They are basically filled on all trips this week with the exception of Tuesday and Friday. Their first crab combination trip is already filled on Sunday, November 2nd.

Franklin Point. Moss Landing’s Kahuna headed towards Big Sur on Monday for 23 rockfish limits. 54 of those fish were preferred vermilions, and they took full limits of lingcod as well. Chris’ Sportfishing worked the same area for similar results over the weekend. They brought home limits of rockfish and limits of lings for each of their trips Monday through Wednesday.
Salmon are still on the menu in Santa Cruz, available to anglers who troll 80-150 feet of water near Natural Bridges, according to Todd Fraser from Bayside Marine. Fraser added some good albacore news for us to digest. “There were some albacore caught near the Gumdrop today but I don't think there were any big scores.”
With any luck this weather front will have a positive effect on local offshore currents and bring some tuna down our way as well.
Send your reports and fishing photos to Bushnell at


The tuna are beginning to show waaaaaaayyyyyyy offshore and Tom Joseph on the FishOn should be given extra credit for finding the first "confirmed" fish of the season. There have been many rumors
over the past week or so of fish caught and "my buddy said" but we haven't been able to confirm a single one until today, Monday 8-12. Tom ran with two other boats out of Half Moon Bay. The others stopped on a break outside the Guide but Tom kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny. Tom said that the water temps at the Gum Drop were good but the water color was green and dirty and temps at 63 were too warm. He went through a "river" of cold water where temps dropped briefly to 54 degrees and then they hit another break where it jumped to 58 degrees and then a mile later to 60 degrees. It was there (37.35 and 124.25 or 105 miles from Half Moon Bay) they found the fish. They landed  six with a 35 pound average including two that went 42 and 44 pounds. Huge, make that incredibly big albacore for this early in the season. Tom said the two other boats worked outside the Gumdrop with one boat hooked 16 and landed 6 and the other landed 12. Tom burned 104 gallons of fuel and returned with just 12 gallons to spare. There has been some great reports of bluefin off southern Cal and albacore off Central Oregon and hopefully both meet in the middle off out coastal waters in the coming weeks. Tom will be running daily weather permitting through October. He is currently based out of Half Moon Bay but could return to Santa Cruz depending on where the best action is found. 408 348-4866

Golden Gate Salmon Association Backed Science Convinced Feds to Truck Salmon During Drought
In a huge win for salmon, sport & commercial anglers and farmers the Golden Gate Salmon association announced Monday 3-10 that a study that they paid for has convinced the US Fish and Wildlife Service to truck their baby fall run salmon from Coleman hatchery to Suisun and San Pablo bays. In addition, this science looks to have 100% of all the state hatchery fish from the Feather, American and Mokelumne hatcheries also truck past the problems (pumps) in the Delta.
Recent studies from 2007 to 2112 have shown that over 94% of Fall run salmon smolts released from Coleman never even make it too San Pablo Bay. In fact over 50% of Coleman released fish never survive the first 50 miles of their down stream migration. The Golden Gate Salmon Association paid for a study to clearly shows that trucking especially during the current drought is the ONLY WAY that we can ensure that there will be enough salmon to a have a salmon season in 2016. Without these measures we could see: No ocean sport or commercial salmon season in 2016 and possibly 2017
With these measures we could see a viable if not huge return of Fall run salmon three years from now. Longer term this could support the goal of a fall run of nearly 1 million fish returning the to the Central Valley rivers.
Please see the Golden Gate Salmon Association news release just below. I encourage all readers to support this incredible origination that has just done the impossible. Their science based approach to trucking salmon could be the biggest benefit to this fishery in decades.
Mike Aughney
eds Agree with GGSA Call to Truck Millions of Hatchery Salmon
Contingency plans respond to extreme drought condition

California’s largest salmon hatchery may end up trucking its production this year to the Delta or San Francisco Bay for release due to the extreme drought conditions. Ordinarily the Coleman National Fish Hatchery releases its fish each year into the upper Sacramento River near Redding. From there the baby salmon migrate hundreds of miles downstream to the Delta and, under favorable conditions, on to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific.
Coleman is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and raises approximately 12 million baby salmon annually to help mitigate the impacts of Shasta Dam and federal water operations in the Upper Sacramento River on native salmon stocks. After being presented with overwhelming evidence by the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA – , the USFWS has agreed to transport most, if not all, of its 12 million Coleman Hatchery juvenile salmon the bay or western delta unless expected drought conditions change markedly for the better.
The USFWS made the announcement at a meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council in Sacramento. The Service acknowledged the arguments GGSA has methodically advanced since December that the continued drought presents a uniquely hostile situation that threatens the survivability of Central Valley Chinook salmon, including the hatchery salmon. GGSA maintains that low, clear, hot river conditions will likely wipe out the hatchery fish if they were dumped into the river.
“GGSA worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to move these fish rather than dump them into a drought stricken river where they’d most likely perish,” said John McManus, executive director of GGSA. “We’re grateful they heard us out and gave this issue the consideration it needs. What this means is we’ll likely have a much better salmon fishing season in 2016, when these fish reach adulthood, then we would have otherwise gotten. This could mean the difference between a shutdown of the fishery in 2016 and a decent year.”
California’s state-operated hatcheries truck much of their production annually for release in the Delta or Bay and the state took a leading role to truck even more this year due to drought impacts on Central Valley rivers. State and federally raised hatchery fish could make up most of 2016’s salmon harvest and spawning escapement.
USFWS’s plans are contingent on the amount and quality of the water in the Sacramento River when the fish are ready for release in April, May and June. The Service told the PFMC meeting it would take a significant "precipitation event" to reverse the plans to truck their fish. Drought conditions are expected to dominate in the Sacramento River and its tributaries in April, May and June.
“Transporting the baby salmon in tanker trucks and releasing them into the bay or western Delta will give them a fighting chance at reaching the ocean,” said GGSA treasurer Victor Gonella.
In addition to hostile river conditions, baby salmon this year are facing the added risk of being pulled to their deaths through the Delta Cross channel, a manmade canal built to divert water to huge pumps that send it to agriculture. Normally the Cross Channel Gates would be closed to allow salmon passage at this time of year but are now being opened when possible to dilute salt water accumulation in the interior Delta caused by the drought.
“Although the drought is creating extremely hostile conditions this year, many years are low water years and the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to transport salmon whenever low water conditions exist in the future,” said GGSA secretary Dick Pool.
A member of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council reports the Council will be drafting a letter to the USFWS requesting that it consider a similar approach in the future should drought conditions persist or again deteriorate to levels requiring action.
“As more and more fresh water is extracted from the Sacramento River and Delta for delivery to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, the salmon’s migration corridor downstream and through the Bay-Delta estuary has become a deadly gauntlet,” said GGSA vice chairman Zeke Grader who is also the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “Add drought and the Central Valley rivers and Delta become virtually impassable for salmon.”
GGSA was joined by member fishing groups in working to get the Coleman fish trucked. Members of Congress including Representatives Jared Huffman, Mike Thompson and John Garamendi, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, George Miller and Mike Honda also supported the efforts.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually and about half that much in economic activity again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishing men and women, recreational anglers (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, fishing guides, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen, a Native American tribe, businesses, restaurants, fishing guides, environmentalists, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley rivers that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon.


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