Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

(831) 375-5951

Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866


May 17, 2016    Headlines

Rockfish and Lings
Salmon Slow but a Few Around

Keith Stemler of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “We had three separate pods of orcas out in the  bay on Thursday 5-12 and there were between 30 and 40 of the killer whales overall in addition to numerous humpback whales gorging on the abundant krill. The Check Mate went out with only 4 anglers on Thursday as six passengers decided not to call or show, and they were rewarded with limits of rockfish and ling cod. Wednesday’s trip on the Check Mate resulted in 14 limits of ling cod along with 1/4th limits of rockfish. They are filled through the weekend, but there is plenty of room next week.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report by Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Fishing is getting more consistent on Monterey Bay for most of our varied species. With luck, the uptick this week will continue.
Inshore water temps are still unusually cool, remaining in the mid-50’s. That is very low for this time of year. Typically, the water warms in spring to the high 50’s and even low 60’s, which encourages rockfish to feed and also brings halibut closer to the beach. Despite the cold water we are seeing better fishing for both these species.
Anglers trolling hoochies or squid in 60-80 feet of water are starting to hook up halibut. We received reports of big flatties caught from Capitola, in front of the Santa Cruz Harbor and even off the pocket beaches along the north coast this week. Drifting live or dead bait for halibut in those 60-70 foot depths over a sandy bottom would also be a recipe for success in the coming weeks. We would also expect to see the flatties moving into to increasingly shallow water as the next few weeks progress. There is plenty of bait available all around the bay, mostly Spanish mackerel and sardines. Both work very well for catching halibut, rockfish or lingcod.
Salmon fishing has picked up considerably this week. Sunday was a good day for most anglers that fished near the Soquel Hole and Moss Landing canyons. A good bite also developed just off Natural Bridges in 200 feet of water. The salmon are feeding on krill, sardines and the occasional anchovy. Further reports indicate salmon were caught between Four-Mile Beach and Davenport by anglers trolling deep. The fish were mostly near the bottom this week. Hopefully this big scattered school will stick around and continue to provide salmon actin for the anglers of Monterey Bay.
Surfcasters are still having a field day with the striped bass bite. Beaches all around the bay are producing good-sized stripers as well as the smaller schoolie bass. Central bay beaches remain the most consistent for stripers, but they can pop up anywhere. This week’s reports included good numbers caught in Sand City as well as from the Capitola Wharf area. Many anglers are fishing for stripers at night. Best bet seems to be timing the bass fishing for an incoming high tide. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine advises HairRaisers and KastMasters as the best lures for stripers, but topwater poppers, Krokodiles and the Daiwa SP Minnow are working to fool the big bass as well.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We cancelled on Thursday 4-28 due to the weather, but Captain Tinker on the Check Mate put his clients onto 16 limits of ling cod by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, and they tried for rockfish after this will minimal success. The water is cold after the recent winds, but there is krill everywhere. The boats on the other side are picking up some salmon, and the fish are coming up higher in the water column from 150 feet down. They were as deep as 400 feet previously, and they will continue to move up with the northwest wind pushing in. Schools of thousands of striped bass are moving up and down the beaches, and most of these fish are undersized with the occasional bass to 20 inches or so. The schools have been coming by the wharf.” Chris’s is taking a salmon trip on Friday, and they are filled through the weekend on all trips, but there is plenty of room next week.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Once again, weather played the leading role in the story of Monterey Bay fishing this week. A large swell didn’t help things, but mostly it was the extreme winds that kept anglers at the dock and the fish hunkered down.
Prior to the weekend windstorm, salmon anglers found a few fish here and there, mostly in the deep canyon areas. The Soquel Hole produced averages of zero to five fish per boat, and a few boats caught fish near Pajaro and off of Moss Landing. In general, the salmon bite is slow. It is well worth a few trips though, to get a fish or two for the table or the smoker. Most salmon reported caught this year are wild fish, and this early in the season is the best time to get them. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced sport salmon fishing in our area will close on July 15 this year, due to low return counts and disappointing ocean salmon abundance reports.
Big waves tend to keep halibut scattered in deeper waters. We received no reports of halibut caught this week. High winds also have the effect of lowering water temperature, another negative factor for halibut fishing. With a few weeks of calmer waters and lower winds we can expect halibut to move in to shallower waters and begin to congregate in the near shore flat sandy areas. 
Rockfishng and lingcod are still on the bite however, and it will only get better from here on out for this staple fishery in Monterey Bay. Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey reported limits of rockfish and up to 30 lingcod per trip for multiple days on multiple boats last week. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine tracks the private boaters operating from the Santa Cruz harbor and says, “
. The rock fishing was good near Natural Bridges in 80-100 feet of water. There were some nice lingcod caught at South Rock.”
Surfcasters are still doing very well all around the bay for surfperch as well as striped bass. Most of the bass caught are “schoolie-sized,” measuring under 18 inches but we are seeing an increasing number of legal fish caught as the season progresses. The stripers might be found on any beach, with reports of fish caught from Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz, and Del Monte Beach in Monterey over the past few weeks. The best areas are more central beaches on Monterey Bay, from Rio Del Mar down to Sand City. Local angler
Ryse Jauregui sent in a photo of a legal striper he caught south of Rio Del Mar on his first surfcasting trip this year. “First day fishing for them. First one of the season. You got to get out there (they are) starting to get bigger. All I've been using is a pencil popper. I'm three for three right now,” Jauregui reports. Surface poppers, SP Minnow, Krokodile and KastMaster lures have all been successful for catching these stripers in the surf. GULP baits rigged for perch are hooking a few as well as the classic live sandcrab presentation.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

Keith Semler at Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported their boats have been catching live bait before heading to the reefs, and they have been able to jig up a combination of live mackerel or sand dabs. The passengers have been focusing on the lings, and the Check Mate returned with 3/4th limits of rockfish in addition to 37 lings for 14 passengers on Thursday 4-21. Wednesday’s score was even more ling-centric with 37 lings and 1/3rd limits of rockfish for 20 anglers on the Check Mate. They are filled over the weekend, but the weather on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday may change some plans.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel 
The winds came down this week, which made for decent fishing conditions along the shores of the Monterey Bay. The ocean is still on the cool side, so we have yet to see halibut show up in any numbers.  But, fishing for rockcod and lings is good and getting better on local reefs and the more remote locations.
After a very slow start, king salmon season is starting to pick up.   Depending on the day, some anglers are catching their limits while others are still getting skunked. Veteran salmon anglers have been catching kings with some consistency.  Leroy Cross, fishing from his boat the Triple Cross reported 11 salmon caught for 12 hookups last week. Anglers on the Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters enjoyed a fine day of king salmon fishing Sunday, bringing home seven beautiful salmon for four anglers aboard.
Todd Fraser from Bayside Marine was one of those lucky anglers and says, “We fished the Soquel Hole all day in flat calm water. The salmon were biting Blue Kajikis down deep all day long.”  Fraser also notes anglers found success during the week using UV Krippled Anchovies and Chartreuse FBRs . Straight bait and commercial-type spoons are also working on the salmon.  Early mornings may find these fish near the surface in the 50-75-foot range, but by late morning most are deep, down to 250 feet. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council announced last week that salmon season in our area will close after July 15 this year, so book your trip while you still can.
Inshore fishing is improving, though we have yet to see much in the way of halibut action.  It’s still early in the season.  Rising water temperatures and a break in the swell action will bring the big flatfish in.  There is plenty of bait on the inside.  Right now, humpback whales can be sighted feeding on big schools of mixed mackerel and sardines, both of which are halibut candy.
In Santa Cruz, South Rock, Natural Bridges and the reefs near Wilder’s Ranch have been consistently producing nice sacks of rockfish and lingcod. In the Monterey area, the bottomfish are still holding in the deeper water. The area of scattered reef outside Del Monte Beach in 70 feet of water was fairly productive for anglers using shrimp fly jigs and swimbaits on Wednesday.
Bigger boats that can make the trip south towards Big Sur are going to find more and bigger fish as well as a more consistent bite. The same conditions can be found north of Santa Cruz by Franklin Point, though reports from Davenport and the Scott’s Creek area indicate a scarcity of rockfish right now.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to


Keith Semler at Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued excellent rockfishing in the local reefs with the Check Mate coming in with 3/4th limits of rockfish along with 30 ling cod for 25 anglers on Sunday 4-17 along with the Star of Monterey posting 10 lings in addition to 32 limits. On Saturday, the Caroline returned with 22 limits of rockfish and 15 lings with the Star scoring a whopping 56 ling cod and 30 limits of rockfish. They are running rockfish trips throughout the week.

Moss Landing:
Private boater report by Howard L. of Morgan Hill
decided to try Sunday because a long time fishing friend was really busy with contract work last week and next week. We dropped 5 crab pots north of Moss Landing and proceeded north towards Soquel Hole. We stopped about 4-5 miles south in a large fleet and began trolling. Right around the high tide change over, we had several bites and got an 11 or 12# fish onboard. We had several serious hook ups during the morning, a leader broke off and some mangled anchovies that were trolled.
 We saw a few fish caught and boated near us but had no other strong hook ups. The weather was great for fishing. At one time Roger counted 104 boats in the fleet. We did see an occasional fish show up on sonar, however the one we boated did not show on sonar. Usually they were pretty deep. The radio chatter had several boaters fishing at 250 to 300 get very large fish biting. we were getting out of the water at 1300. The boat next to us at the dock was able to land 4 fish. Some reported as many as 6 fish.
Our fish was great on the BBQ tonight! “

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report by Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel 
Ocean fishing conditions in the past week have ranged from pure flat glass to grumbling chop with heavy winds. Towards the end of this week, another large northwest swell rolled in as well. Despite the uncertain conditions, fishing has been consistent across a variety of local species.
Top on the list of course, are king salmon.  Sport anglers are getting the bite dialed in now that we are two weeks into the season. It is still somewhat slow. The Soquel Hole area has been most productive across the week with anglers catching fish on both the east and west canyon edges.  Most boats boats are averaging 0-4 salmon with the occasional report of up to six fish. The Pajaro and Moss Landing canyon anglers are also hooking up in about the same ratio. Mulligan’s Hill and Soldier’s Club on the Monterey side of Moss Landing provided reports of salmon success a couple days last week.
Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine advises, “The fish are being caught shallow in the morning and around 150-220 feet down in the mid-morning. The bite has been the best early in the morning and slowing down in the afternoon.” Straight bait, hoochies behind a flasher or salmon spoons all have been successful this week in fooling the big kings.
We received no reports of halibut caught this week, but rockfish and lingcod are definitely on the bite.  This time of year, one need not travel very far to find good concentrations of bottomfish. In Santa Cruz, fishing the Mile Buoy area or South Rock reef almost guarantees a nice bag of fish for dinner. Stagnaro’s Sportfishing is spreading the joy while operating two big charter boats out of the Santa Cruz harbor.  Owner Ken Stagnaro says, “Cod fishing has been very solid. The full day trips have been getting their limits with quite a few lingcod. A half-day cod trips have been getting half limits to three-quarter limits on most trips. This summer our new boat the Legacy will be featuring weekly trips to Franklin Point.”
Chris Fishing Trips in Monterey posted limits of rockfish for all their trips this week with lingcod scores ranging from one to three per angler.  Randy’s Sportfishing has similar reports from their boat The Chubasco- limits of rockfish and up to 15 lings per trip.
Perch fishing from the beaches remains strong.  Incoming and high tides are the best to fish for the barred surfperch.  We are seeing a heartening number of small striped bass in the mix as well, with a few keeper stripers that measure over 18 inches. Unconfirmed reports indicate a few stripers of the bruiser variety were hooked and landed this week, in the 11-18-pound range. Pencil poppers, HairRaisers or swimbaits can attract the near shore striped bass, and they have been right up on the beach.. In the “exotics” category, Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait reported a barred sand bass caught from a Capitola reef this week.  Angler Brian Rodriguez used cut anchovy bait for this rare fish.  A common game fish below Point Conception, the barred sand bass is rarely seen in Monterey Bay.  Perhaps this is an indicator of more exotics on their way for summertime fishing? We can only hope so.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

Monterey Bay Salmon Opener:

Opening day was slooooow for salmon anglers in Monterey bay. On Saturday 4-2 Tom on the Fish On reported that there were a 15 to maybe 20 fish caught in the whole of the Bay. Tom who is a salmon "grinder" said they never got a solid hookup. Fishing around Soquel Hole in the morning Tom said he heard  "three boats that had one, two that put out radio reports of two and  the rest were like us looking for that first fish that never came". Tom said that other than five or so fish taken at Soquel Hole in 240 feet a few other fish landed off Pajaro and Moss landing along the edge of the Canyon there were maybe 25salmon landed in total. Back in Santa Cruz harbor Tom said the DFW fish counter had just checked in 5 fish through 3:PM. Tom is going to move up to Half Moon Bay where he will be running salmon trips and then salmon rockfish combos beginning April 15th. 

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported a slowdown on crabbing with an average of 5/6 Dungeness per angler on Saturday 3-26. They will be crabbing until the end of the week, pulling the pots before the rockfish opener on Friday. The water temperature has dropped to 59 degrees, and with the northwest winds coming in, some darker water is showing up in the bay along with more krill. He said, “There are plenty of sardines along the beaches from Monterey on up in 15 to 20 fathoms of water, and small striped bass are bunched up in large schools along the beaches.” They are sold out for Friday’s rockfish opener along with both weekend days with the salmon opener on April 2nd.

I went out on Wednesday 3-16 with Captain Tinker Neece of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey, and he ran a great trip composed of the Wednesday regulars. After loading up with sand dabs taken from the depths at 340 feet, we pulled the pots for 20 limits of crab with the need to measure only a few of the Monterey:
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported a slowdown on crabbing with an average of 5/6 Dungeness per angler on Saturday 3-26. They will be crabbing until the end of the week, pulling the pots before the rockfish opener on Friday. The water temperature has dropped to 59 degrees, and with the northwest winds coming in, some darker water is showing up in the bay along with more krill. He said, “There are plenty of sardines along the beaches from Monterey on up in 15 to 20 fathoms of water, and small striped bass are bunched up in large schools along the beaches.” They are sold out for Friday’s rockfish opener along with both weekend days with the salmon opener on April 2nd. 200 Dungeness. The weather was absolutely spectacular, and it was an outstanding experience. Where else can you get off of the boat, have your crabs cooked, and have the choice of several restaurants within a few feet of the shop. Nowhere in California. They have room throughout the weekend, and they are already filled for the salmon opener on April 2nd. Rockfishing starts on April 1st, and owner Chris Arcoleo is contemplating keeping the crab pots in the water for combination trips. The limiting factor will be all of the boat traffic from the salmon boats.

Santa Cruz/ Monterey Report by Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Over 300 surfcasters, family and friends gathered last Saturday at Portuguese Hall for the 12th Annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby.  This is the biggest tourney on the West Coast for the smallest saltwater gamefish.
Conditions were tough for the competitors this year, with rain, wind and heavy surf in most locations.  As expected, there were more than a few “skunks” in the mix.  But as usual, a good number of hefty perch were brought to the weigh-in station by the one p.m. deadline. For the second year in a row, the Grand Master trophy was captured by a barred surf perch. The Derby features parallel divisions for the classic BSP surfperch, and the sometimes larger “sea” perch such as black, striped and rubberlips.
Chris Tran from San Jose has attended all 12 of these yearly events.  This year was his turn to shine, as no one brought in a fish as big as his two-pound six-ounce BSP.  The fish measured 15 inches, and was caught from a popular southern Santa Cruz County beach.  Tran also reported a number of small striped bass caught in the area, and managed to bring in a legal striper himself.
Other top scores on the leaderboard were Richard Gilliam with a 13” BSP for first place in the Flyrod Division; Larry Grossi with a 14-inch perch winning Senior BSP Division; Trish McGrath with a 13 -inch striped perch in the Women’s Seaperch; Samara Cortazzo 13-inch black perch for Junior Seaperch, and her sister Camille Cortazzo placing first in the Junior BSP Division with a 14 7/16- inch barred surf perch.
Perch Fishing from the beach should continue to be productive all spring and into summer. It is always a great alternative for an easy fishing trip.  No boats, motors or expensive equipment needed.  Just hit the beach with a spinning rod and find your spot. Keep trying and you will catch them. 
As noted above, a good number of small striped bass were caught from various locations around the bay on Saturday.  Since then we’ve received reports of stripers from the shore at numerous locations, including Santa Cruz’s West Cliff area, and Monterey’s Del Monte Beach. Most stripers caught Saturday were on bait or artificials while perch fishing.  Since then, anglers specifically targeting these bigger fish report success with shrimp bait, SP Minnow jigs and Krokodile lures.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey went out on Tuesday and Wednesday 3-8 for a combined 32 limits of Dungeness crab along with bucketloads of sand dabs. They will be operating over the weekend, weather permitting.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
The latest information from California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife indicates salmon season will likely open as usual, on the first Saturday in April for all of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. In a bonus announcement, the DFW is opening fishing for the RCG Complex (rockfish, cabezon and greenling) on April 1 this year, giving us an extra month of rockcod and lingcod fishing compared to prior years.
Highlighting the fishing news for Monterey Bay this week, however, is Saturday’s 12th Annual Sandcrab Classic Perch Derby. Entries are closed for this year’s derby with nearly 350 anglers from California and beyond vying once again to bring in the biggest perch and take home the prestigious Sand Crab Master trophy.
This is a community event that supports efforts of the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project to protect and enhance native populations of anadromous salmonids in the greater Monterey Bay area. Multiple divisions include Seniors, Juniors, Women’s and Fly anglers, with trophies for all and recognition for barred surf perch as well as other varieties of surf and sea perch.
As we all know, the weather has been less than comfortable the past two weeks, with big rains, high winds and huge surf. All these conditions contribute to creating potential fishing spots for surfperch in Monterey Bay. The forecast on Saturday March 12 is for possible rain later in the day.  Forecasters are also predicting a powerful long-period swell from the west, in the eight-10-foot range.
Low tide is at 7am on Saturday and high tide is at 12:30pm.  The weigh-in deadline for the Derby is 1pm, so participants will fish an incoming tide all morning. Find your spot early, and pay attention to potential holes and areas that might hold perch later, during the higher tide.  With a long-period swell, particular attention need be paid to safety. Sneaker sets are common as well as unpredictable, and with these steep beaches, anglers can be overcome easily.  It pays to fish with a friend and exercise an abundance of caution, especially if fishing with the kids.
A few hardy souls braved nasty conditions this week in search of surfperch.  We received reports of big slab-sided barred surfperch caught from beaches on the south side of Moss Landing, as well as from the numerous State Park and municipal beaches that line the center portion of the Monterey Bay. One need not travel so far however.  There are great perch fishing spots right in Monterey, from the Commercial Wharf, the Coast Guard Pier and the rocky headlands circling towards Carmel.
In Santa Cruz we have the Cement Ship, Capitola Wharf and the Santa Cruz Wharf, all of which can and do produce good catches of surf and sea perch.  Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait reported anglers with hefty stringers of mixed perch this week.  The fish were caught using shrimp bits just behind the surfline, and included barred, calico, walleye and shiner surfperch.
Good luck to all at the Derby this weekend and remember to Have Safe and Be Fun.


Todd Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported the Check Mate returned with 17 limits of Dungeness crab and plenty of sand dabs on Sunday’s 3-6 trip. They have cancelled for Monday, and they will be running the combination trips weather permitting for the remainder of the week.

Santa Cruz:

It’s finally on the near horizon with the 12th Annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby this coming Saturday out of Santa Cruz. The annual event is a fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. The weigh in will be held at 1:00 p.m. at the Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz on 216 Evergreen Street. The event is sold out, but meal only tickets will be available at the door for $10.00. 

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued outstanding Dungeness crab action with 20 limits of crab along with plenty of sand dabs on the Check Mate and 9 crab apiece to go with bucketloads of sand dabs on the Caroline on Sunday 2-21. Saturday was much of the same with a combined 40 limits of Dungeness crab on the Caroline and Check Mate. He said, “The ten crab limit has resulted with the potential for waste with one family taking home 40 crab and wondering what they are going to do with all of them.” They have room throughout the week and into next weekend on the crab/sand dab combination trips. The crab have been large, averaging 2 pounds apiece.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing trips in Monterey said, “Crabbing has been outstanding, and we are finding quality limits of Dungeness on every trip. The crab have a hard-shell, average around 2 pounds, and are loaded with meat. We have been finding an average of around 25 crab per pot, and our fishermen are picking up close to 50 sand dabs within an hour as a bonus to the crab.” They are filled Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but all next week and the weekend are open for sand dab/mackerel/crab trips.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
We received great news for sport anglers this week from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dungeness crab season is now open in our area.  Rock crab remains closed.
Continued testing show Dungeness crab coming up clean in our area. The
 determination has been made that Dungeness crab caught south of Point Reyes in Marin County “no longer poses a significant human health risk from high levels of domoic acid,” according to the Office of Environmental Health. Commercial crabbing remains closed until a larger area is available, in order to avoid concentrating commercial Dungeness harvesting in the restrained area.
Because there has been no sport or commercial crabbing this year, the catch rate this week was fairly phenomenal. Longtime local angler Leroy Cross slipped out and back to the Santa Cruz Harbor a couple times last week. Cross says,” There is an abundance of crab in the bay. We did a six-hour soak that easily provided limits for three and an overnight soak that provided enough crab for us to be selective in our limits.” Jack Teresi on the Nancee Leigh soaked his pots for three hours early this week and averaged 11 crab per pot.  Again, easy limits for the boat selecting larger male crab only. 180-270 feet of water is the preferred depth for crabbing near Santa Cruz, and we have received good reports from the Soquel Hole area north to the waters off Natural Bridges.
The Santa Cruz Harbor entrance is still shoaled, though a skinny channel is developing along the east jetty.  The channel is navigable for small craft at high tide, but Harbor officials do not recommend transiting the harbor mouth until such time as the central channel is fully opened. Boaters who do so are acting at their own risk.
In Monterey, the story is much the same. Private boat reports were not available, but Chris’ Fishing Trips, and Randy’s Sportfishing have ben running “Crab N’ Dab” trips all week. Chris Arcoleo has been posting carbon-copy fishing reports all week that state “Lot's of Sanddab & Limits (150) Dungeness Crab for 15 Anglers on the Check Mate. Lot's of Sanddab & Limits (100) Dungeness Crab for 10 Anglers on the Caroline.” Randy’s Sportfishing is enjoying the same amount of action, limits of crab and a many sanddabs as a client may want to keep.
The story is much the same further north.  Captain Jay Yokomizo on the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville has been setting his strings along the southern Marin County coast. On a one to two-day soak in 60-120 feet of water, Yokomizo reports “18-80 crab per pot.  40% are females that we do not keep. We easily select limits of big Dungies for all anglers aboard.”
The weather will improve for the weekend, but there is a significant swell in the marine forecast. Stay safe and double-check the DFW regulations on crabbing. 

 Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to


Chris’s Fishing Trips out of Monterey had a great weekend with plenty of sand dabs along with 13 limits of Dungeness crab on the Check Mate on Sunday 2-14 while the Caroline put in 7 crab per person along with bucketloads of sand dabs. On Saturday 2-13, it was limits of crab all around with both the Check Mate and Caroline returning with a combined 23 limits of crab along with plenty of sand dabs. Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Opens South of Point Reyes
The Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Thursday 2-11 that the recreational season for dungeness crabs has opened for all waters south of Point Reyes. The CDPH has found safe levels of domoic adic in all tests conducted for the past several weeks of crabs south of Point Reyes including Half Moon Bay and Monterey bay.
Other tests over the past two weeks show that levels out of most northern ports are also safe but there are still a few areas including Salt Point and Ft Bragg where some crabs are testing above federal action limits of 30ppm.
The commercial dungeness crab season remains closed state wide but should reopen once all northern ports test "clean" over the next two weeks.
Party boats out of Half Moon Bay, Emeryville and Monterey are currently scheduling crab trips. 

Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported Thursday 1-29 that they have not had any trips for sand dabs and mackerel over the past several days. They will be running the sand dab trips on an intermittent basis depending upon weather and interest.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
A break in the weather and smaller swells provided Monterey Bay anglers with much-needed opportunities to hit the beach this week. Surfcasting for perch is getting better with more, and bigger fish being reported caught.
One of the best aspects of surf perching on Monterey Bay is the amount of sandy space we anglers have to enjoy. Exploring new spots or hiking a mile or two down the beach away from the parking lot guarantees not only solitude but the opportunity to find the perfect beach structure that holds feeding perch.
Marina fisherman Robert Lonsinger usually fishes towards the Monterey side of the bay, and has reaped rewards lately with a strategy of extended hikes and starting early. Lonsinger targets the bigger holes and inside troughs on beaches towards the middle of the bay. Even when the waves are big, these spots can produce well. Of course, we all shoot for the largest fish possible, and Lonsinger is no exception saying, “
I think perching has been good everywhere. (I look for) Lots of big holes and rougher water. I think only the big fish can deal with it.” On Wednesday he retained a near-limit of big barred surfperch, with the largest measuring 15 inches, pretty much the upper end of BSP size.
A new swell is forecast to move in this weekend, with waves forecast in the eight-10 foot region. Don’t let the high surf keep you from surfcasting. Take an opportunity to walk the long beaches and find some fantastic structure with big, feisty perch just waiting for you to cast. And, be extra careful of sneaker sets that can knock you off your feet.
The big swell this weekend is likely to deposit more sand in the Santa Cruz Harbor entrance. This week, the Harbor dredge operations were able to clear enough of a channel that a few boats transited the Harbor entrance. According to Port Director Lisa Ekers, the transits were not without worry.
Ekers reported “The Shana Rae and the Misty Dawn, both fairly deep-draft vessels, successfully exited the harbor this week, but watching them do it was both a nail-biter even for the most experienced boaters. These professional skippers know their vessels' capabilities and the fickleness of the ocean extremely well - even so, they only risked it at a +5 foot tide with the Harbor Patrol and Dauntless there to guide and assist if needed. Both vessels were perilously close to the east jetty and timed their escapes perfectly with the swell. The Port District is still not recommending transiting the entrance until the federal channel is restored back to safe depths, and can't guarantee that the Harbor Patrol will be available for assistance, so please - 
don't put your vessel, yourself or others at risk.”

Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

Crab Update: November 21st
There is some good news on the Dungeness crab domoic acid (DA) levels results posted by the CDPH. Tests this past week show dropping DA levels out of all ports south of Ft Bragg with some ports testing "clean".
 In a nutshell federal guide lines call for a DA level of 30ppm or lower to be considered safe. They take 6 to 12 sample crabs and use both an average of all samples and the percentage of the combined tests for their final results.
The most recent tests were conducted off Half Moon Bay, Monterey Bay, San Francisco, Bodega Bay and Crescent City.
Off Monterey bay tests conducted on November-12 showed an average DA level of 21ppm but 14% of the crabs still tested above the action level of 30 ppm. In comparison test in Monterey on October-31 showed an average of just 17ppm with 9% being over the action level. A slight increase with most crabs testing safe.
Half Moon Bay saw great results on the November 16th test with an average DA of just 11ppm and 0% above action level.
San Francisco also saw safe results with an average of 10.7ppm and 0% above the action level.
Off Bodega Bay they took samples in two locations on November 16th, Point Reyes and the Russian river. The six samples taken off the Russian river showed an average DA of 25.8 with 50% testing above the action limit. In comparison tests on October 31st showed an average DA of 45ppm with 83% of the crabs tests above action levels.
They also tested off Point Reyes (I believe this was a new tests site and we don't have any earlier results) and here they found an average DA out of six samples of 51pp or 66% of the crabs testing above the action level.
Fort Bragg was last tested on October 30th and showed safe levels with an average of just 6.5ppm and no crabs testing above 15ppm.
Test results from this past week off Crescent City have not been released likely due to bad weather keeping the test boat in port. The most recent tests off Crescent City, Trinidad and Eureka in late October showed DA levels averaging 66ppm with nearly 100% of the crabs testing above the action level. We expect that tests will be conducted off the North Coast ports this coming week. We will post results as soon as they are available.
With the exception of Brookings all Oregon crabs have tested well below action levels for tests conducted in October but apparently they have closed their season until further testing is done.
Shellfish warnings have been lifted off the Central coast so it looks like the toxic algae blooms that caused this have died off.  This algae sinks to the bottom and becomes mixed with the sediment. In turn it is consumed by clams and worms and other things that crabs eat and the reason it takes longer to flush out of the crabs.
The current plan (I believe under the guidelines of the CDPH) calls for testing to be conducted every two weeks until all ports test below 60ppm. Once that happens there will be weekly tests until all ports see a DA level of 30ppm or below (federal safe standard for the viscera 20ppm for the meat). Once the CDPH declares the crabs safe to eat then it will be up to the Director of Fish and Wildlife to open the season. It's a big ocean and with just limited testing being done I'm sure that the CDPH will be conservative before they declare "safe crabs".
The commercial fleet has asked for a state wide opener with a 7 seven day recreational season followed by a full opener for the commercial fleet. There will be some politics in the decision making process especially if crabs off the Central coast show safe DA levels and levels remain high on the North Coast.
All in all good news as DA levels are dropping out of most ports. If tests this coming week off the North Coast show improving DA levels we could all be dumping gear by mid December. We are doing our best to understand and report on this very important issue but are too learning about something that we (and many biologists) don't fully understand how and why this algae puts off DA.
Until the crab season reopens party and private boats are reporting great rockfish and ling action with sponsors like Rick Powers in Bodega and the Smith family in Berkeley and the Emeryville Sporting seeing big sacks and in many cases LIMITS of lings. Come out and enjoy a day on the water and support those who make this site possible. This site would not be possible without their and many other's support.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing was aware of the recent crab testing with only one of 11 traps out of Monterey Bay being high in domoic acid. He is optimistic that the season may start sometime between December 1st to Christmas Day. Ling cod action remains outstanding with 25 ling cod and 3/4th limits of rockfish on the Check Mate on Tuesday 11-10. He said, “We are filled Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but we have had around 60% cancellation rate since the crab closure. The cancellations have been filled since the excellent ling cod action continues. They have been catching live sand dabs and mackerel for the lings, and there were 10 ling cod over 20 pounds up to 27 pounds on a recent trip with the fish coming into the coast to spawn.

Now that everyone knows of the crab closure it's time to get back to basics while we await clean crab tests. The rockfish and long cod action has been solid out of all ports. We at least have fish and chips on the menu and I'm betting that crab reopens in time for Christmas Cioppino. 
Washington state reopened most but not all of their ports (after a four month closure) to crabbing about two weeks ago and hopefully we reopen here soon as well. They (Washington state) have a very transparent system where they were posting lab results of their tested crabs on a port by port basis. I will be sending a letter in asking the Department of Fish and Wildlife that we do the same here in California.
I have spoken to several party boat captains today and all are saying their customers are being very supportive. Their regular clients are all on board to chase rockfish and lings and telling them " we will be back again when the crab season reopens".
We here at USAFishing will be staying on top of the crab test results and will let readers know as soon as the crabs are safe and the season reopens.
There are some bogus rumors out there that crabs currently in the market are unsafe to eat. NOT TRUE. A few local markets and restaurants have crabs available that are coming in from out of state. These crabs have been tested and are safe. If you pick a couple of at your local market (my go to market GG in Petaluma had live and cooked crabs for 7.99 a pound last weekend) they are safe.
We will be concentrating on rockfish and ling reports in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and be ready to get out after Dungeness crabs soon!

Crab Season Delayed Due to Toxic algae bloom

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted the following email / news release late Tuesday 11-3 warning the public that tests this past week have confirmed that Dungeness and rock crabs are testing above action levels for domoic acid levels in both the meat and the viscera from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara.. While this is a warning from the CDPH, we expect that on Thursday  Fish and Wildlife will officially announce a closure to the sport Dungeness crab season for this coming Saturday November 7th to protect the public's health.
Tests are being preformed weekly and we could see the season reopen in a few weeks or a month or more. Most waters off the Washington coast were shut down for the past four months but most have now reopened as tests show there that the crabs there are safe to consume. As our coastal water cool and the associated algae blooms die off we too will see our local crab stocks become safe to eat.

We want to remind readers that the rockfish and ling action has been excellent out of all ports and the season is open on the central coast through December. All of our sponsors will be running rockfish / ling cod combos though the end of the year and they can all use your support until the crab season reopens.
Hopefully the crabs clean up soon and we all get to enjoy some on the table come Thanksgiving or Christmas. This writer is a huge crab fan and while I am disappointed this is the right thing for both CDPH and DF&W to do.
If anyone was to become sick from consuming unsafe crabs the resulting PR would be devastating to the commercial fishery. Be sure to support your local favorite party boat operator during this time and stay tuned for an announcement that the crab season has reopened.

Related stories

Anglers can also get updates on the California Department of Public Health shellfish Hotline at 800 553-4133

CDPH Issues Warning About Dungeness and Rock Crab Caught in Waters Along the Central and Northern California Coast

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today advised consumers not to eat Dungeness and Rock crabs caught in waters between the Oregon border and the southern Santa Barbara County line, due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin.
Recent test results have shown persistently high levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab and rock crab, which have been caught along the California coastline. The levels have exceeded the State's action level for the crabs' body meat as well as the viscera, commonly referred to as crab butter, and therefore pose a significant risk to the public if they are consumed.
CDPH in conjunction with other state agencies will continue its sampling efforts to monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and rock crabs until the levels subside and no longer exceed the State's action level of 30 ppm in the viscera and 20 ppm in the meat. Domoic acid accumulation in seafood is a natural occurrence that is related to a "bloom" of a particular single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia. The conditions that support the growth of this plant are impossible to predict, and it is unknown when the levels found in crab will subside. The health advisory will be lifted once the levels are no longer above acceptable levels.

Keith Stemler of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported limits of ling cod amd 15 ling cod for 7 anglers on the Caroline on Thursday 10-29 in very windy conditions. The combination of the big swell and the wind made for less than ideal fishing conditions. The Star of Monterey returned with 33 limits of rockfish and 10 lings on Thursday.  Their first weekend availability for crab combination trips is December 5/6th with November 17th the first weekday.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Offshore tuna anglers are keeping a close eye on weather reports for the coming week. The weekend reports indicate winds will be building on the bluefin ground ten miles offshore, with a forecast of 15 knots and a building swell to six or seven feet. Monday’s forecast is worse, predicting winds to 25 knots. Early mornings may be fishable, but caution is advised.
The run of Bluefin tuna continued this week much as it has for the previous three. Anglers have reported zero to six tuna boated, with many more “zeros” than catches. Skipper Tom Joseph has fished nearly every day on his four-pack charter boat Sara Bella. Joseph is slow- trolling live mackerel on the surface, and using his downriggers to bracket the water column from 50 to 150 feet down.
On Tuesday, Joseph reported,
 “Friday the 23rd our party boated three blue fin from 44-53 pounds. Today’s fish came deep. It’s hit or miss, no bluefin at all on Wednesday.  Just seven sharks that cut our lines. I’ve been fishing every day almost, and we’ve got 18 bluefin tuna on the Sara Bella this month, ranging from 35-65 pounds.”
Most private boaters are taking multiple trips to the canyon areas about 10 miles offshore from Davenport before hooking up with one or two of the big powerful tuna. Captain Jack Teresi on the Nancy Leigh had three hookups Wednesday, and managed to bring one fish over the rail.  Persistence is a key in taking advantage of this unusual opportunity of big tuna relatively close to port. Old salts consider a Monterey Bay bluefin bite like this to be a “once in 25-year” event.
Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine keeps track of the bluefin bite, and adds a number of tuna were caught this week off Point Pinos in Monterey.  Schools of bonito are also swinging through the Monterey Harbor area, as well as near Pajaro Beach and Natural Bridges. As with bluefin hunting, bonito anglers look for surface activity and birds or dolphins feeding that might indicate a bonito school.
A few commercial squid boats have been netting squid from Five-Mile Beach up towards Davenport. Some lucky anglers have worked this area for an occasional white sea bass, using squid or live mackerel as bait.
And, the rockcod bite remains consistently good all around the Bay.  Todd Arcaleo at Chris’ Fishing Trips reported rockcod limits for nearly every trip last week, and averaged 20 lings on each trip as well. Stagnaro’s Sportfishing in Santa Cruz reports similar results. “
Our last all-day cod trip went north. We caught limits of great quality blues and blacks, six lings up to 28 pounds and quite a few big reds and a nice cabezone.” Stagnaro’s six pack boat Sea Stag VI is available for bonito trips, and will start rockfish/Dungeness crab combo trips on opening weekend, November 7th.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to

Santa Cruz:
Tom Joseph on the four pack Fish On continues to post the top scores for all boats chasing bluefin inside Monterey bay. On Friday 10-23  Tom put his clients into three landed all in the 45 to 50 pound class with a couple of other missed fish. He was again working 10 to 12 miles outside of Davenport along the Monterey canyon wall and said he saw great sign and tuna marks on his meter throughout the morning. He is slowly figuring out this once in a life time fishery and today said he changed up his whole setup. We promised we would not give up any vital secrets but what he did do differently today was stack his troll jigs for the first time and he hooked fish far deeper than he has in the past. In a nutshell Tom said he saw solid fish marks at 50 feet and deeper and approached them like he was salmon trolling not tuna fishing. It paid off with three exotics in the box. Tom has room a few days this coming week but the word is out he is the hot skipper and the one with consistent BFT scores.

Santa Cruz:
Tom Joseph with Fish On Sportfishing was back out after bluefin on Wednesday 10-21. Trolling along the Canyon wall off Davenport in 900 to 1000 feet of water Tom was working over good meter marks in sloppy conditions. They hooked and landed one bluefin that dressed out at 48 pounds and missed one other good take down that was either a shark or a BF and released one blue shark. Tom said he was seeing consistent tuna marks under the boat but they just didn't seem to want to come up and play in the chop and slop. He will be back out tomorrow and has room later in the week.  

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported Sunday 10-18 little change on the rockfish front with  33 limits of rockfish and 35 ling cod on the Star of Monterey on Sunday with the Caroline returning with 21 limits and 25 lings. He said, “Live mackerel are still plentiful, and there are bonito everywhere with Captain Tinker Neece on the Check Mate putting out a troll rod on a whale watching trip, and they hooked a 15-pound bonito within minutes.” They have room on rockfish trips throughout the week. He added, “There are yellowfin tuna off of the coast here, and the skiffs are starting to find them amongst the schools of dolphins. Experienced fishermen are also posting some great scores on bluefin tuna by dropping down a live mackerel on a heavy weight to 200 feet in depth and trolling at a fast salmon troll. They have been going to school on episodes of ‘Wicked Tuna’ in order to modify their techniques.”
Those unable to hook tuna are finding solid action for bonito with up to 20 fish within an hour with quads and triples. Commercial fishermen are also cashing in on the bonito inside of the bay. By the way bonito are a top bait for dungeness crabs.

Santa Cruz

Tom Joseph had another great bluefin score on Sunday 10-10 despite the crappy weather conditions. Tom jigged but live mackrel and got the downriggers in the water by 8:AM. With the sloppy conditions there were no jumpers to help get him dialed in but he did find an area with lots of meter marks. He dropped the downriggers much deeper than he normally does and it paid off. Despite the slop and chop they hooked five and landed three going 38, 44 and 48 pounds gutted and gilled.  Tom said they had to fight a big swell and 10 to 12 knots of wind but they got the job done. Tom has room daily this week.

Tom Joseph on the Fish On has been refining his bluefin tuna skills the past few days. From the looks of things he is starting to get dialed in and employing some southern Cal tactics to put some quality bluefin in the slush. On Tuesday 10-6 Tom reported they hooked and landed one 65 pounder.
On Monday 10-5 they hooked three and landed two going 35 and 49 pounds. Tom spent the weekend trolling fresh caught live mackerel on the surface. What he found was fish coming up on the troll rigs but they were so boat shy they would not get bit. Being a salmon captain he broke out the downriggers and some very light gear on Monday and that is when he started to find some success. Trolling closer to salmon speed (compared to jig speed) at two to three knots with his live mackerel under the surface they hooked three fish on Monday. Today Tom was again jigging up live mackerel off Soquel Hole at first light and had they salmon downrigger/ bluefin gear on a spread just 12 miles from Santa Cruz and 8 miles off the beach at the Fingers by 7AM. Tom wants to say to all readers these are tuna but the ARE NOT albacore. Albacore tactics of jigs trolled on the surface will not bring biting bluefin. While a few private boaters have hooked up using live mackerel on the drift Tom feels the key is to get in front of the jumpers and offer them a live bait under the surface. Tom is a quick study and looks continue to refine his bluefin play book in the coming days. He has lots of room and will be targeting bluefin tuna in the coming days out of Santa Cruz.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported beautiful weather and excellent rockfishing on Thursday 10-1 with the Check Mate scoring 40 ling cod and 14 limits of rockfish at the local reefs. They are jigging up live mackerel and loading up on the lings. The whales are ‘unbelievable’ and videos of the whales can be seen at Chris’s Fishing Trips You Tube sight. They also observed a sea turtle on Thursday, and this occurs around once per month. The turtle was feeding on jellyfish. He added, “The water is so clear that it is unreal.”

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
|Time flies when you’re having fun.  It is now October, usually the period when our fishing season begins to wane. Instead we’re happy to report some big news.  As in big halibut, big lingcod, big ocean salmon just up the coast and most incredibly- bluefin tuna not far offshore.
Anglers from Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Half Moon Bay are chasing Bluefin schools about ten or twelve miles offshore from the Pigeon Point area down to mid-Monterey Bay. While the schools are big, the fish are “small,” in the 30-50-pound range.  Pacific bluefin tuna can weigh over 900 pounds when fully matured. Many of those who ventured out to the tuna waters report seeing dozens of jumpers and even some surface feeding schools. However, getting these fish to bite is not easy.
Todd Fraser from Bayside marine has been following the tuna bite closely and says “There were a few 35-50 pound bluefin caught in the same area near Davenport in 300-600 feet of water. The bluefin have been finicky possibly due to the moon or the red crabs they are eating.” Fraser reports at least one angler found success, catching a 50-pound Bluefin while flylining a live mackerel into a feeding school.  Others are trolling plugs, lures or baitfish.
A long with this amazing influx of tuna we are also seeing big schools of bonita, a close tuna relative, in the shallows.  According to Fraser, the bonita have been caught near the Soquel Hole, as well as in 90-140 feet of water off Natural Bridges. Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss Landing is waiting and hoping the tuna bite will develop over the next week or two.  Owner Carol Jones is eager to chase some tuna, but the weather and tuna feeding patterns have to cooperate.
Lingcod are still on the munch on most of the Monterey Bay reefs. As is usual for fall, the bite is deeper than summertime, from 60-120 feet of water. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish remains very productive for all Monterey Bay charter operations, with Chris’ Fishing Trips, Stagnaro’s and Randy’s Sportfishing all reporting limits or near-limits of rockfish and lingcod this week.
Halibut are becoming more scattered in the deeper waters between the reefs, along the flat sandy areas. But they are worth the search.  This week saw the “Halibut of the Year,” caught by Jim Biakanja near Four-Mile Beach. Using fresh-dead squid as bait, Biakanja pulled in a monstrous 45-pound flatty. “Forty-five pounds and six ounces, to be exact,” Biakanja quipped.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions

It’s all about rockfish and lings out of Monterey with the Check Mate out Chris’s Landing in Monterey returning with 45 ling cod for limits along with limits of rockfish on Tuesday 9-15. On Monday, the Caroline put in near limits of lings at 30 for 18 anglers along with rockfish limits.

Keith at Chris’s Landing reported limits of rockfish and 8 lings for the Caroline on Thursday 9-10 for 15 anglers to go with 23 limits of rockfish and 8 lings on the Star of Monterey. The water temperature in Carmel Bay has dropped to 57 degrees, but it is still warm at 63.1 degrees near Moss Landing.  Whale watching continues to be incredible, and Keith is posting new videos to their youtube station on a daily basis.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
A persistent mixed swell continues to affect Monterey Bay fishing, especially in the inshore areas.
Despite less than ideal conditions, a number of good catches were reported this week, and the weekend weather looks to be more benign.
Topping the list was a nice white sea bass caught by Tony Fischer that weighed in on the Bayside Marine scale at nearly 20 pounds. Fischer also caught a barracuda on his outing, making his local trip rather exotic.
Bayside owner Todd Fraser reported on general fishing conditions for Santa Cruz saying “The rock fishing started to get better now that the swell has dropped. The anglers found some nice rockfish and lingcod near Four-Mile and Natural Bridges. Halibut fishing should start to get better this week. Sea bass are still being caught near the Mile Buoy and Capitola in 60-90 feet of water. The sea bass are feeding on mackerel and there are some barracuda in the mix.
Monterey has been affected less by the two-weeks of long-period swells. Kayak angler Ken Chitwood was fishing 60 feet of water off Del Monte Beach Sunday when he hooked up with a monster halibut that taped out over 40 inches and weighed 34 pounds and some change. Quite a feat from a 15-foot plastic boat! Other anglers have reported a sporadic halibut bite in that area, using live bait, frozen anchovies or trolling hoochies behind a dodger.
Big Ken Chitwood with a big 34-pound California halibut.
Surfcasters who put in their time are finding barred surfperch up to 14 inches, and striped bass up to 20 pounds. The perch are hitting on GULP sandworms as well as the classic motor oil red flake grubs. Stripers seem to prefer the Daiwa SP Minnow lately, though the usual pencil poppers especially in red and white are always a good bet for surfline stripers. These striper schools move quickly, following bait balls. The best beaches seem to be those on either side of Moss landing, up to Manresa, and down to Sand City. Best time for fishing them is dawn or dusk, or even nighttime fishing when the moon is out.
Tropical conditions in Santa Cruz provided great results for Tony Fischer, with his white sea bass and a barracuda Sunday.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to<

Same situation out of Monterey – The Caroline stayed local for 17 limits of rockfish and 28 ling cod although the wind has been blowing hard. Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing said, “There are tons of anchovies here, and there are so many whales and anchovies in the bay. “ They posted a short video of the incredible whale watching at their Youtube Channel at It’s really impressive. They are filled through the weekend for rockfishing trips.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
A combination of long-period northwest and south swells has persisted all week, and slowed Monterey bay fishing to some extent.  Deeper waters are still producing well, and we are seeing an increasing number of ‘exotics” in our local waters.
Local Angler Travis Blymer reported a 36-inch barracuda washed up on the beach near Pleasure Point mid-week.  While not unknown for Santa Cruz or Monterey, these fish cruise through only occasionally in warm water years such as we are experiencing currently. A surfcaster working the beach near Franklin Point also reported catching a small yellowtail jack pulled in from the surfline. Not knowing what it was, he released the fish successfully.
“Cod fishing remains excellent,” says Ken Stagnaro from Stagnaro’s Sportfishing in Santa Cruz. From the charter boat Velocity, Stagnaro reports “limits of nice blues and yellows with a few big reds and lings coming in daily.” Despite the mixed swells this week Stagnaro has found decent fishing near south rock and the deeper reefs (80-120 feet of water) along West Cliff and outside of Wilder Ranch. This is a typical fall pattern with more fish on the deeper reefs, more “schoolie” type fish and occasional “big boy.” 
Swimbaits and jigs such as MegaBait diamond jigs can be very effective for the big reds and lingcod on these deeper reefs this time of year. The Monterey and Moss Landing boats from Chris’ Fishing Trips, Randy’s and Kahuna Sportfishing are also finding limit-style fishing for rock code south of Point Pinos, with a similar mix of schoolie rockfish, larger bottom fish, and the occasional lingcod. No halibut were reported caught since the swell started this week, but a few white seabass up to 60 pounds were caught near Capitola during the days of the full moon last week.
It’s getting late in the season for salmon fishing, but the diligent angler still has a chance. At Santa Cruz Harbor, the jetty anglers have been picking up a few fish every day, using Mad River pink worms.  Half Moon Bay reports indicate schools of salmon are still moving through that area with catches occurring just outside the harbor, and up to Pacifica, near Linda Mar Beach and off the Devil’s slide area.
Salmon fishing was best this week off the Marin Coast, where anglers cashed in on mild sea conditions, massive amounts of bait and schools of salmon fattening up before making their run into the San Francisco Bay and on up to their river spawning grounds. Captain Jay Yokomizo took a select group out on The New Huck Finn Tuesday to the Duxbury Reef area. Six fishermen aboard put their limits in the boat by 11 am.  The fish hot, and an equal number came off the hook before netting. Yokomizo was trolling with two-pound balls, and cable-baited anchovies for the steady bite.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to


The wind kept the party boats close to the harbor as Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “We stayed down at Carmel Bay on Sunday 8-30 as the wind came up in the afternoon blowing up 30 knots by the time the boats were back in the harbor. The Check Mate returned with 26 limits and 20 ling cod while the Caroline had 22 limits of rockfish and 20 lings.” On Saturday, the ling counts dropped off to an average around a dozen per trip, but rockfish limits were the rule for all three boats.

Arcoleo added, “There are so many whales in the bay that two whales have even come into the harbor where the boats are and feeding on the inside of the rockwall. The anchovies are en masse in the marina, and I just spent the last hour watching the anchovies and blue mackerel swim around the dock with the whales in the harbor.” The BBC has been filming  a feature the past three weeks, and Arcoleo gave them footage of a pod of orcas catching a harbor seal and feeding it to a baby orca. The feature is called “Big Blue Live ,” and Big Blue Live will air live on PBS 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 with another live feed to the West Coast from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. A week before the PBS broadcast, the BBC will air its live broadcast and be streaming online. the epicenter for north coast anglers. In an emphatic confirmation of our weird warm water year one lucky fisherman pulled in a yellowtail jack this week, a fish that is semi-tropical and typically does not travel much further north than the Channel Islands near Santa Barbara.
Rockfishing trips off the wild coasts of Big Sur and North Santa Cruz are of the guaranteed limit variety. We are seeing more of the schooling type of rockfish such as blues and yellows as fall approaches, though the bigger hardhead bottom fish are willingly taking bait and swimbait or iron lures as well. Big vermilion are not unusual, but be careful in your fish I.D., as the canary rockfish get big as well, and it’s easy to confuse the two. Canaries are illegal to keep.
The charter boats are all reporting limits, as they have all summer. Chris’ Fishing Trips and Randy’s Sportfishing from Monterey continue to work the reefs off Point Pinos and Point Joe. Chris’ reported full bags of rockcod and averaged two lings per rod on all their trips last week. Randy’s presented similar reports with full rockfish limits of blues, blacks and reds, “a few lingcod” and a bonus blue whale sighting on their Sunday trip.
We have been waiting all summer for the halibut to come into shallow water. Looks like they ain’t gonna do that this year. Weird. Halibut counts are up this week, and most if not all were found in 50-70 feet of water. From Manresa to Capitola, to Lighthouse Point and the sandy areas off the north coast, anglers are hooking and catching nice halibut in the 15-30-pound class. Live bait still works best, but swimbaits will do the trick and frozen squid always is a good bet for the big flatfish.
Salmon fishing was pretty much nil for Monterey Bay this week. A few kings are still being caught by diligent anglers on the Santa Cruz Harbor west jetty who are using Mad River pink worms on the incoming or high tides. Half Moon Bay is still hosting a decent salmon bite. Our man on the spot, Captain Tom Joseph from Fish On Sportfishing had three salmon trips last week. Friday they got a double hookup on their first drop, and ended with a fish per rod for the day. Sunday was slow with only one fish for the boat. On Tuesday, things picked up again for Joseph as he relates “
Today our charter boated four salmon and a couple came off.”
The coming weekend could go either way. Weather reports indicate a northwest swell of two to four feet and wind waves outside of the bay up to two feet, with wind forecast from five to 15 knots. The mornings should be very fishable, but keep an eye on the horizon and be ready to run for cover when the wind starts to pick up. As always, have safe and be fun.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to


5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46042



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