Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866
December 05, 2013
Good Rockfish Counts on
the Local Reefs
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported continued excellent ling cod action with 15 limits on the Check Mate to go with 15 limits of Dungeness crab and ½ limits of rockfish on Wednesday 12-4. The market-grade squid has moved out from the bay, so they jigged up sand dabs to entice the lings. They are sold out on Saturday and Sunday, but there is room on Friday. The whale watching continues to be spectacular with 30 to 40 humpbacks just outside the harbor feeding on the anchovies. Arcoleo said, “You would think they would be on their way to Mexico by now, so the anchovies must be special.”
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey completed an interview on ABC TV this week in response to the tremendous whale watching in Monterey Bay. He said, “We have had a terrific response to the interview with high demand on all of our whale watching trips, particularly with the video of a humpbacked whale breeching 20 yards from the boat.” The schools of anchovies have moved into the bay, and the whales are sticking around and loading up on the baitfish. The mass of market-grade squid remains, and they continue to jig up squid for ling cod and hard-head rockfish. He said, “Captain Nick Lemon on the Star of Monterey stopped for 20 minutes, and he had bucket-loads of squid,” adding, “The rockfishing at Point Sur was just ‘insane’ as we loaded up with big coppers, vermilions, and lings on the fresh dead squid.” Crab combination trips remain strong, but they are having to pull more and more pots to achieve limits of crab. On Sunday 12-1, the Check Mate and the Caroline posted limits of both ling cod and rockfish with the Check Mate pulling 18 pots for limits of Dungeness while the Caroline returned with ½ limits of crab.” On Saturday, the Check Mate came back with 15 limits of ling cod and 15 limits of crab to go with ½ limits of rockfish while the Caroline had limits of both rockfish and ling cod. They are running combination trips from Tuesday through Sunday, but Saturday, December 7th is already filled.
Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Fishing was a little tougher this week, as we head from fall towards winter. High winds on Friday made for a bumpy uncomfortable ocean last Saturday. Commercial crabbers are complaining of light catches in their traps, and rockfish a bit more scarce for the average angler. That’s not to say there were no success stories from our local fisher folk last week.
Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait sent a good number of skiffs out during the week and on the weekend. Everyone returned with something, and a good percentage of boats had limits or near limits of rockfish, with a few lings in the mix. Best spots in that area seem to be Boomer’s, Adams, Surfer’s and the Mile Reefs. Burrell noted good numbers of black and Bolina rockfish with a smattering of reds as well. There is still plenty of bait close in to shore by Capitola, so using live anchovies is the best bet.
Ken Stagnaro fished locally this weekend. He notes the large volume of nearshore bait as well, though he’s been haunting the South Rock and West Cliff areas, mostly. “We managed limits this weekend, mostly blacks and blues, with a few lings and bottom fish. They are all stuffed with ‘chovies and squid.” Stagnaro adds the whales have moved towards the middle of the Monterey Bay, where there is another big concentration of anchovies and squid.
Jim Rubin on the Becky Ann is working a little farther north, just past Natural Bridges. “We’re still getting full limits of Dungeness every trip, and the rockfishing is really good up there,” Rubin says. Fishing 80-120 feet of water, Rubin notes good catches of big blues, blacks, yellows and vermilion coming from his favorite reefs near Wilder’s Ranch.
While the commercial crab fishermen are disappointed with their season’s start, sport crabbers are doing well. Mike Schell from Bayside Marine reminds us that a sport angler pulling four or five pots with six or seven crab in each has their limit. Whereas, the commercial guys who need to make a living need more crab in their numerous pots to make a good go of things. “It’s a matter of context,” says Schell. “I‘m running five pots, and pulled nine keepers from my first three the other day.” Hmmmm. Maybe he’ll share.
The coming weekend looks very good for ocean fishing. The NOAA weather forecast is calling for very light winds over a two-foot swell. It will be an excellent opportunity to hop on a local charter boat, or rent a skiff or paddle out on the kayak for some crabbing and fishing. For those who want the freshest of crab for their Thanksgiving table, a few of the commercial folk are selling right off the boats, at “S” Dock and “R” Dock in the Santa Cruz Harbor.
Allen Bushnell can also be heard on KSCO radio 1080 AM Fridays at 6:45 a.m. with a fish report. Contact Bushnell at email@example.com
Regulations for the MLPAs are now in effect from Pt Arena to Pigeon Point. Anglers need to know which areas are affected and the regulations and the boundaries of the different zones. Please use this link and be sure to print a map for these areas to carry with you.
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