Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

(831) 375-5951

Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866


July 26, 2015    Headlines

Salmon Still Slow
Solid Rockfish and Ling Action!

Still a tremendous rockfish bite with the Check Mate out of Chris’s Landing on Thursday 7-23 putting in 27 limits of ling cod with several of the lings in the 15 to 20-pound range in addition to 6/7 rockfish per rod south at Point Sur. The whales are thick at Point Sur, but they are starting to thin out in the Monterey Bay area. The Caroline stayed local for 26 limits of rockfish and 22 ling cod. They have some room on Sunday. Salmon fishing is limited to a few fish taken by moochers near Moss Landing since the fish are holding along the bottom.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
This week’s local fishing included a good measure of the weird and the wonderful, as well as some notable catches in the Monterey Bay.
Beach goers and anglers alike have noticed a light green or turquois coloration of the inshore water lately. A Sentinel Sunday edition article by Jason Hoppin Sunday explained the phenomena
 is a result of an uncommon plankton bloom. The single-cell phytoplankton shed reflective limestone scales resulting in intense coloration of the water.
Sunday also featured uncommon weather conditions along our coast. A hot, muggy atmosphere blanketed our region.  The conditions were a trailing effect of Hurricane Delores that spun its energy off the coast of Baja California earlier in the week. Beach goers and anglers were treated to the occasional rain squall plus a thunder and lightning show. Anglers in the Pacifica area reported torrential rain accompanied by multiple lightning strikes on the ocean surface. At least one fishing vessel in that area absorbed a lightning strike.  Fortunately there were no injuries.
Fishing remains very productive for a variety of species in Monterey Bay.  Rockfishing, which has been “limit-style” for a few months now, is getting even better. A heartening development is the preponderance of schoolie fish closer to the beach.  Big clouds of blacks and yellows are hovering over the inshore reefs at 40-50 feet, while the larger groundfish can be hooked a bit deeper, from 80-120 feet. Chris Sportfishing submitted their usual reports, limits every day for every client aboard their three boats. Ditto for Randy’s Sportfishing in Monterey. Stagnaro’s in Santa Cruz is boasting full gunny sacks even on their half-day trips to local reefs in Santa Cruz. Kahuna Sportfishing obviously have been heading towards Pt. Sur, as their reports include full limits, half of which are vermilion, and include copper rockfish plus limits of lingcod.
Salmon fishing took an uptick this week, with anglers finding better concentration of kings near the Soquel Hole, fishing deep in 250 feet of water. A few net-pen kings are milling outside the Santa Cruz harbor. Anglers using Mad River pink worms are catching a few every day from the west jetty at the harbor.
Halibut catches are becoming more numerous, though most are still in deeper water, unusual for this time of summer.  Most boats are working 60-80 feet of water, and the hot spots range from Pajaro up to Five-Mile Beach. Squid boats were gathered near Davenport over the weekend, and there are some tanker white sea bass cruising our area. Big fish honors this week go to long-time kayak fisherman “Kayak Rod.” Using a live mackerel, Rod hooked and landed a monstrous 55-pound sea bass near Pleasure Point on Thursday morning. 

The rockfish and ling action remains solid. On Tuesday 7-14 Chris' Fishing in Monterey had one boat out. The Caroline reported limits of both rockfish and lings (36)for their light load of 12 anglers. They are running rockfish and ling trips daily and maybe salmon if they pop back up.

It's mid July and that time of year that this writer takes the family up our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. This is the "one" annual trip that the entire family and close friends all look forward too. We will be chasing sockeye, kings and will be jumping on board with Captain Steve Smith for lings and halibut.
We realize that many readers get upset when reports here are not updated but being a free site we don't have the resources to hire extra hands. At the same time this writer needs an occasional break where I can spend some time with my family doing what I love best. We have provided these free reports for the past 21 years. That will change in the near future as we are looking at going to a subscriber plan where we can pay some of our writers like Dave Hurley more than the current "beer budget" they are on. Our goal is to be able to update reports daily and expand the content on the entire site. We will share our plans with readers as they develop.
We will be leaving the laptop at home and will return with full reports on Sunday July 26. 
In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!
Mike Aughney

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing reported continued excellent rockfish action with a boatload of tourists on Tuesday 7-7  putting in 26 limits of rockfish and 54 ling cod off of the local reefs. They had 22 rent rods on the boat, so that tells you how good the fishing is. They are using fresh dead squid for the rockfish and lings since the schools of squid are en masse off of Point Sur. The commercial squid boats are mopping up the market-grade calamari. He was hoping the salmon would move in with the squid, but so far this hasn’t occurred. They have room throughout the week, but Saturday is already filled.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing reported continued incredible rockfish and ling cod action with  15 limits of rockfish and 22 ling cod on Thursday 7-2 on the Check Mate along with 28 limits of rockfish including 52 vermilion along with 58 ling cod on Wednesday. The boat has been running halfway down to Point Sur along the coast. He said, “I think the upcoming El Nino is bringing out the incredible bite as all of the bottom fish are loading up with as much food as they can get. This happened last time there was an El Nino, and the bottom fish just go crazy before it comes. The school fish such as blues had a hard time keeping up with the food supply, even eating kelp.“ They have been able to pick up live squid on occasion for the rockfish trips, but the schools of squid are inconsistent in the bay.  A few salmon have been caught near Moss Landing, and they have a salmon trip on Saturday. The private boats are picking up a few fish while mooching. Commercial season is currently closed. The anchovies are still thick in the bay, and the commercial quota has been reached. They have room on Sunday, but Saturday is sold out.

Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel 
Pursuing the art and sport of fishing is often like solving a riddle. There are so many variables beyond those of time and attention spent on the water. Every year is different, and we are just getting some of this year’s puzzle pieces now.
Typically, anglers in Monterey Bay enjoy limit-style salmon fishing when the season opens in April, and it tapers off as summer progresses. This year salmon fishing has been hit and miss since the opener, and sadly remains so. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz was happy to report some success for salmon anglers who worked their gear deep this week. “
There were some scores of one to two fish a boat in 180-220 for the few anglers that tried the shallow water before the Soquel Hole,”
 Fraser reported.
The best “local” salmon action is to the north near the Golden Gate and Stinson Beach areas. Tom Joseph, owner of Fish On Sportfishing and skipper of the Sara Bella has been launching his four-pack charter from Half Moon Bay to target these salmon schools. “We’re doing real good working the area near Stinson. These fish have hung out for three or four weeks now,” Joseph said.
Halibut usually starts out in April as well, and remains productive through September. This year the halibut have just now begun to show up, and local anglers are grateful. We are seeing an increasing number of halibut reported caught on the flat sandy areas from 40 to 60 feet of water. One lucky fisherman pulled in a legal flatty on the Capitola Wharf this week, which is a pretty good indicator these fish are finally coming in shallow. Whole squid or frozen anchovies work well for the big flatfish, and getting a halibut to hit on a swimbait is always a blast. Live bait is always a sure thing for halibut and the bay is choked with mackerel, easy to jig up with a sabiki rig.
Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss Landing predicts that halibut will come “flooding into the bay” over the next few weeks, and has scheduled a halibut charter for this coming Monday. “We are starting to see some squid in the bay now. The seiners have been catching squid all week,” Jones said. Halibut love to eat squid. Another piece of the puzzle clicks into place.
Kahuna Sportfishing and the big Monterey charter boats at Randy’s and Chris’ Fishing Trips have posted nothing but limits for their rock cod trips during the past week. Working the Point Pinos to Carmel stretch has been productive. Even better, the Kahuna and some of the other boats will travel to the Point Sur area for quick and easy limits of larger grade cod.
Meanwhile, another curious factor, which draws no complaint from local anglers, is the sustained striped bass bite from the mid-bay beaches. Working the surfline at dawn and dusk, preferably on a higher tide, can result in a once in a lifetime striper hookup. You may have to go ten times or more before getting that fish, but most surfcasters would agree it is well worth it. Joseph Baxter solved the riddle recently while casting a Mike Fixter “Pencil Popper” plug on an incoming tide near La Selva Beach. Baxter hauled in a 27-pound striper from a surfline feeding frenzy. Baxter said “You could see ‘em just outside the surf busting the bait,” Well done Joe.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to


Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing reported the salmon bite slowed down a bit on Monday 6-15 with the Check Mate picking up 6 salmon for 13 anglers. He said, “Tinker marked thousands of fish under the boat, and they thought they would get them, but they were clearly off of the bite.” They are salmon fishing on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday with open loads. picking up to 14 salmon.” The striped bass are still around, and there have been fish in the 15 to 20-pound range landed from the beaches, but most of the stripers are in the 3 to 5-pound range. The schools are more reluctant to bite this week for some reason, and last week, all of the stripers were jammed full with sand crabs.  salmon boats found the salmon earlier in the week on Tuesday with two boats returning with 35 and 40 salmon apiece. Arcoleo said, “The fish were all nice and healthy in the 8 to 10-pound range, and they were packed with anchovies.” After boating five salmon and losing a couple of Tuesday, they went back out on the Caroline on Wednesday, but they were unable to land any salmon.” Chris’s is full on Saturday, but there is room on rockfish and salmon trips on Sunday.

 Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Weather and sea conditions played a major factor again this week with fishing for most species on the slow side. The Monterey Bay experienced blustery winds, but mostly it was a powerful south swell that kept bottom fish hunkered down and off the bite.
Salmon seem to be scattered around the bay.  They are here, but hard to find and harder to hook. According to Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz, private boaters caught the occasional salmon near Soquel Hole on Saturday while trolling, but by Sunday that area had too many jellyfish. Fraser reported, “
The salmon were hard to find but a few anglers did catch one or two while trolling. The purple haze hoochies and the watermelon Krippled Anchovies worked the best.” Fraser added that fishing for rockfish and lingcod was productive for boats traveling up the coast towards Davenport, and a few salmon were caught in that area as well.
Monterey anglers faced similar challenges and reported similar results. Wednesday’s trip on the Check Mate from Chris’ Fishing Trips netted limits of rockfish and eight lings for 11 anglers aboard. Chris’ Caroline was skunked for salmon on Wednesday, but they reported five salmon on the previous day’s salmon trip aboard the Check Mate. Randy’s Sportfishing in Monterey also keeps plugging along despite the weather, reporting, “
Cloudy, gray, cold and windy conditions made today's fishing a challenge. After hearing of these challenges we cancelled today's whale watching trip. The 10 fisherman aboard Chubasco toughed it out and returned with Limits (100) of cod and eight lingcod.”
Monterey Bay Kayaks hosted their annual MBK Kayak Fishing Derby last Saturday with 60 kayak anglers competing for biggest fish honors. Generally, fishing was slower than usual for the Del Monte Beach area, though a number of lingcod in the four to nine-pound range were weighed in. Ocean Kayaks provided a brand-new Old Town Predator 13 fishing kayak as first prize.  The Predator was taken home by Santiago Ramirez from Aromas who took first place in the derby with his 11-pound five-ounce lingcod, caught using mackerel as bait. Second place was captured by John Rice from Placerville with a 10-pound three-ounce ling, and third place by Brian Gardner of Lodi with his 9-pound 15-ounce lingcod. Rice won a new Werner paddle, and Gardner a custom NRS kayak tackle kit. Monterey Bay Kayaks has sponsored the annual derby for over ten years, and all proceeds are contributed to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service.  Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

The salmon action picked up on Tuesday 5-5 with not fast action but party boats seeing some red meat in their boxes and private boats reporting up to a fish per rod. The Check Mate out of Chris’s Landing put 4 in the box by 8:45 a.m. with another two lost on the surface. They ended up with a total of 5 salmon to 11 anglers, and Chris Arcoleo said, “The salmon are being caught in the bay today, and we are putting together salmon trips during the week in addition to bottom fishing.”

On Sunday 5-3 Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported excellent bottom fishing with the Check Mate heading south to Point Sur for 71 ling cod and an average of 8 rockfish per sack for 28 anglers. The rockfish have been hard to catch at Point Sur, perhaps due to the overwhelming amounts of ling cod in the area. They are scoring with standard rockfish gear with a number of hitchhikers as they haven’t had to jig up live bait. Few anglers are working bars.
The Caroline stayed local with a small charter for 7 limits of rockfish and 20 ling cod. The striped bass bite along the beaches remains solid for plug casters in low light conditions. They have plenty of room throughout the week on the bottom fish trips. Salmon fishing continued to be very slow.


5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46042



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