Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

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Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866


May 22, 2015    Headlines

Slow Salmon
Solid Rockfish and Ling Action!

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported continued terrific rockfishing with both the Star of Monterey and Check Mate running down to Point Sur on Thursday 5-21 for 36 limits of quality rockfish along with 93 ling cod (15 shy of full ling limits). That’s good fishing. They are filled throughout the weekend, but there is plenty of room next week. They even have a salmon boat out on Saturday, so Monday’s report will give us a better idea on the salmon action in Monterey Bay.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Weather and general sea conditions are improving slowly, and there’s plenty to fish for in the Monterey Bay.  Mornings have been generally calm, with winds picking up early and blowing hard in the afternoons and I to the evenings. 
The biggest buzz on the bay is the surfcast striper bite.  Beaches from New Brighton to Del Monte offer the possibility of striped bass in the surf, with the most consistent locations closer to Moss Landing. Surfcasters are hooking bass up to 13 pounds but most are in the 20-26-inch range. The classic red and white pencil popper seems to be the lure of choice, but any big popper or surface lure can do the trick.  Rubber-tailed swimbaits or metal lures such as KastMasters and Krocodiles have also been successful, as long as the particular beach is clear of kelp and seaweed. While high tide is the preferred choice for surfcasting stripers, anglers are hooking up on all tides including dead low. Early morning and late evenings are the best times for the striper hunt, but the steady winds make sundown fishing difficult.
Anglers are still catching salmon in various spots around the bay, but the bite is slow and the fish are scattered. We are not seeing any significant concentrations of anchovies or sardines. Most bait balls on the near shore are comprised of small mackerel, with a few sardines mixed into the bunch.
The good news is, these big baitfish are perfect for attracting lingcod and larger variety rockfish.  Fishing the reefs is proving to be very productive up and down the Bay.  Carol Jones on the Kahuna from Moss Landing reported on last weekend’s trip, saying,”
 Another awesome rock fish/ling cod trip down the coast today with 13 anglers landing easy limits of rockfish and ling cod.”
The Kahuna travels down past Point Pinos for their big bags of rockfish. Chris’ Fishing Trips reported limits of rockfish and limits of lingcod for four days out of five, fishing in that area this week.
Water temps remain cool in the shallows, around 54 degrees. This is the most likely reason we are not seeing many halibut so far this season. Veteran angler Mark Davis set the bar this week though, catching a 34-pound halibut near Capitola using live mackerel for bait.
Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing Guide Service.  Please send your reports, pictures or questions to


Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported ‘stupid’ rockfishing with 17 limits of rockfish and 27 ling cod on Tuesday 5-19. The rockfish were quality with several coppers and vermilions in the sacks. They have some room on Friday, but the weekend is already sold out. He said, “There are scattered reports of salmon in Monterey Bay with commercial boats 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.

On Sunday 5-17
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported fantastic rockfishing south towards Point Sur with the Caroline loading up with 15 limits of rockfish and 45 ling cod for limits while the Star of Monterey posted 33 limits of rockfish and 36 lings. The boats have availability throughout the week.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “We haven’t had a boat out for the entire week, but we are going on Friday 5-15, Saturday, and Sunday and we even have a full salmon boat on Saturday.” Commercial salmon fishermen have been finding as many as 15 salmon per trip, and the fish are loaded with krill and anchovies, leading Arcoleo to state, “They must be coming in from the outside.” The water temperature is 51 degrees, and the conditions all look good. There are also reports of salmon in Morro Bay with commercial fishermen picking up 20 to 30 salmon before this week’s blow out.
Striped bass have invaded Monterey Bay, and Arcoleo said, “There were at least 500 stripers of various grade trapped by harbor seals in the marina during the day this week, and there were some 15 to 20-pound fish in the mix.” The main school of striped bass appears to have moved up the coast as shoreline fishermen are finding good action off of Marina and beaches in the north county.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported phenomenal rockfishing on Sunday 5-10 south at Point Sur on both Saturday and Sunday with the Star of Monterey loading up with 40 limits of quality rockfish and 25 ling cod on a single drift before having to return to Stillwater Cove for passenger experiencing chest pains. Fortunately after arrival at the hospital, the fisherman only suffered a bad case of seasickness. Arcoleo said, “The fish were biting like crazy with big yellows and vermilions along with the lings.” Sunday was much the same with the Check Mate finding great action at Sur in the morning before the wind started blowing 25 knots. They ended up with 25 limits of rockfish and 39 lings before the wind blew them off. The Caroline went salmon fishing on Sunday, and they found bait ‘en masse’ near Moss Landing. The fishermen were hooking anchovies on their hooks while drifting through the bait, but the fish were reluctant to bite with only three salmon for their efforts. They have room throughout the week with the exception of this coming Saturday.
Striped bass are thick along the beaches, and there were between 15 and 18 bass taken off of the wharf on Saturday night. The stripers are coming in at night to feed on the bait fish attracted by the lights.

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported Thursday 5-7, “The weather has been very rough, but the Check Mate was able to get out to the local reefs for 11 limits of rockfish and 8 ling cod on Thursday. There is a big swell out there, but the rockfish bit good today. The swell affected the lings, after putting in limits of rockfish, they came in due to the rough weather.” The commercial 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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