Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

(831) 375-5951

Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866


September 15, 2014    Headlines

Rockfish LIMITS
Albacore WAY Offshore

Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported limits of rockfish and 29 ling cod for 29-pounds on the Caroline on Sunday 9-14 with 35 limits of rockfish and 15 ling cod on Saturday on the Star of Monterey. The boats have been heading south towards Point Sur. They have openings during the weekend, but next Saturday is already filled.

Todd Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported 13 limits of ling cod and limits of rockfish on the Caroline on Thursday 9-11 fishing the reefs in Carmel Bay. They were able to find the squid and jig up bait before targeting the bottomfish. They are full throughout the weekend, but there is plenty of room next week.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Monterey Bay anglers got a double-whammy last weekend, with a southern hemisphere swell followed closely by a hurricane swell from Baja, Mexico. When powerful south swells like these roll through, the fish have a tendency to hunker down and go off the bite. Such was the case this weekend, to the dismay of 70 kayak anglers who gathered for the Annual Kayak Connection Fishing Derby on Sunday. This was by far the biggest turnout for the KC Derby, which has been running most years since 2001.
Despite the generally slow fishing a number of notable catches were made for the contest. First place winner Keith Nguyen used a fresh-caught anchovy on a circle hook to fool a shallow water salmon near the West Cliff reefs in 60 feet of water. Nguyen took home a brand-new Ocean Kayak Big Game II kayak for his eight-pound 14-ounce king, and has this tale to tell. “I saw a ledge and marked some bait moving over it. Right then, my pole goes TAP TAP TAP. I thought for sure it was probably a croaker messing with my anchovy, but it looked a little different. I slowly took my pole out of the holder and reeled in line. As my hook set itself, I felt the familiar salmon shakes. SALMON?? I was confused but as the fish surfaced I saw chrome!! SALMON!!! And FISH ON!”
Second place was captured by newcomer Terry Sauferer, with another shallow water salmon, this one going seven pounds and nine ounces. Ryan Bark followed closely for third place with his seven pound four ounce lingcod.
Kayak Connection owners Dave and Jessica Grigsby were happy to host the event and the following BBQ at their Lake Avenue shop. Dave Grigsby, an avid kayak angler himself reported“Kayak Connection had a great time this weekend and we’re committed to supporting the kayak fishing community and the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project for many years past. A very special thanks to Mike Mowrey from Ocean Kayaks for donating the winning kayak and Werner Paddles for donating a Camano paddle to our second place winner! Thanks to Derbymiester, Travis Blymyer for all his hard work and dedication. Hope to see you all again next year! The BBQ was great, but the best part was being able to donate $2,000 to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project.”
As the ocean conditions settle down during this week, a good bet might be to pursue the shallow salmon off Santa Cruz. Rockfish will get back on the chew all over Monterey Bay, and don’t forget the big halibut gathering off pocket beaches both north and south of Monterey Bay.
Send your reports and fishing photos to Bushnell at

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We didn’t have a trip out on Tuesday 9-9, but we went to Carmel Bay on Monday for 16 limits of rockfish and 20 ling cod. He said, “We weren’t able to find any squid in the area, so we loaded up with sand dabs for the lings.” They are full on Thursday and Sunday this week, but there is room the remainder of the week.
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We didn’t have a trip out on Tuesday 9-9, but we went to Carmel Bay on Monday for 16 limits of rockfish and 20 ling cod. He said, “We weren’t able to find any squid in the area, so we loaded up with sand dabs for the lings.” They are full on Thursday and Sunday this week, but there is room the remainder of the week.


The bottomfish beat goes on with the Check Mate returning with 15 limits of ling cod and rockfish on Thursday 9-4 while the Caroline posted a similar score on Wednesday with 20 limits of both lings and rockfish. They are stopping on the small masses of squid to jig up live bait, and the live bait is working wonders for the high counts of bottomfish. The big squid schools have dissipated, and the commercial boats have moved out of the area. Whale watching remains very popular with the mass of anchovies in the bay, and they have been traveling south to Carmel Bay or Cypress Point on their whale watching trips. The water has cooled a bit since the temperatures rose to 64 to 66 degrees after the big push from the recent hurricane in the Pacific Ocean. Chris’s is full over the weekend, but they have room for rockfish trips during the next week.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Sea conditions are settling down now, after a week of big seas and unfavorable winds. Despite the environmental challenges, fishing remained steady for the week, and the coming weekend looks very good for a variety of species in our area.
Local rockfish just won’t quit. Since the season opened in May, it’s been limit-style fishing more often that not, and last week was no exception. In Capitola, Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait counted a good number of limits from his rental skiffs. The prime spots seem to be Boomer’s Reef and Surfer’s Reef for a mixed bag of brown, black, kelp and vermillion rockfish, as well as lingcod up to 18 pounds.
The Mile Buoy and West Cliff areas are still producing according to Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine, though the rockfishing was better on deeper reefs last week due to the swell. Similarly, Point Pinos and Del Monte Beach in Monterey continued to provide limits of medium-grade rockfish with an occasional lingcod or big vermilion for lucky anglers. Best bet, when conditions permit, is traveling south from Monterey toward Big Sur, or north from Santa Cruz towards Ano Nuevo and Franklin Point. The rockfish in these areas get far less pressure, are more numerous and usually much bigger.
Halibut fishing seems to be slowing down as we enter fall fishing conditions. Most halibut this time of year are caught in 60-90 feet of water, off the small sandy areas on our more rugged coasts. Fraser specifically mentions Five-Mile Beach as a good spot last week, and that area would be a good bet for the coming weekend.
As for exotics, a few white sea bass were caught in our area last week, most notably a 55-pound beast brought in by J.R. Taraper of San Francisco while skiff fishing from Capitola Boat and Bait. The Sea Bass have not congregated this year as they did in 2013. This is likely due to the wide spread of spawning squid all along the coast from Malibu to Bodega Bay and beyond.
Local anglers are still dreaming of albacore possibilities. As Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing says “We keep wishin’ and a hopin’ for those albies. The warm water is 130 miles from Moss Landing now. We need some more wind to change things up. We are staying optimistic, though, because it’s only September.” It can happen. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for luck.
Bushnell can also be heard on The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KSCO radio 1080 AM. Send your photos, comments or questions to


Todd Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported excellent rockfish and ling cod action with fresh dead or live squid with the Check Mate returning with 25 limits of both rockfish and ling cod on Sunday 8-31 along with the Caroline scoring 22 limits of rockfish and 18 ling cod. They are full on Labor Day, but there is room the remainder of the week. Whale watching remains fantastic with the huge schools of anchovies holding near Moss Landing. Blue mackerel have also invaded the bay, providing more fodder for the ling cod.

Mackerel have entered the bay over the past week, and shore fishermen are targeting the desired blue mackerel with anchovies or sardines.
Halibut fishing remained best along the Moss Landing beaches, but there have been 10 to 15 boats working the beach at the Monterey Beach Hotel on a daily basis, drifting fresh dead squid.

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

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

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


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