Chris' Fishing Trips
& Whale Watching

(831) 375-5951

Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866


April 23, 2015    Headlines

Slow Start For Salmon
Solid Rockfish and Ling Limits!

Santa Cruz
The salmon action has been VERY slow inside of Monterey bay with most party and private boaters reports zero to 4 fish the past few days. Rockfishing has been excellent and Chris' in Monterey has been putting their clients into limits of rockfish and solid ling counts the past week.
Out of Santa Cruz Tom with Fish On Sportfishing reported 3 fish for 3 anglers on Wednesday 4-22. Fishing off Davenport Tom said they hooked four fish and landed three to 11 pounds. He was trolling in 320 feet of water. On Thursday 4-23 he fought uphill through some real crappy slop and chop. Dropping in on the same numbers they hooked two fish in the first 20 minutes. They boated the first fish but on the second, his four clients were beginning to turn green and they lost the fish while deciding who was well enough to reel in the fish. Tom said that they had one other take down but they came home before noon due to his clients not feeling well. Tom has lots of room all this coming week. 

With the slow salmon action, the boas outs of Chris’s Landing in Monterey have been concentrating on bottomfishing, and the Check Mate returned with 21 limits of rockfish and 38 ling cod on Tuesday 4-21 while they started off on a salmon trip on Monday, switching over to rockfishing for 17 ling cod, limits of rockfish, and a salmon for 7 fishermen. The Caroline posted 10 limits of rockfish and 20 lings on Monday.

Santa Cruz
The salmon bite picked up north of Santa Cruz on Tuesday 4-21. Tom Joseph with Fish On Sportfishing reported good action 10 miles north out in 320 feet of water. Tom said his threesome hooked 7 fish and landed three to 11 pounds. They were trolling above Davenport where he found great sign of birds and bait and most importantly salmon with three fish hooked and one landed in the first half an hour. Tom said they scratched through the rest of the day losing a few and adding some to the box. There was little pressure in the area and Tom will be back on the back numbers tomorrow. He has room all this week. 

Todd Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported much improved salmon fishing on Thursday 4-16 with the Check Mate returning with 12 salmon to 16 pounds and a bonus thresher shark for 7 anglers. He said, “Captain Tinker had 10 salmon by noon, so things are definitely looking up.”  The boats have been concentrating around Mulligan Hill north to Moss Landing in the heavy bait schools. The Star of Monterey went rockfishing, and they put in 18 limits of rockfish and 40 ling cod. Wednesday’s report was similar on the rockfish front with limits of rockfish and 34 ling cod for 28 anglers on the Check Mate and 14 limits of rockfish and 38 lings on the Caroline.
Tom with Fish On Sportfishing reported solid action on Thursday. His threesome landed five and lost five. Tom said there was no fishing pressure and most boats around him saw limits or very near to limit action. He was trolling in 140 feet of water off the Soldier's Club. Friday was a different stroy. The word got out and over 100 boars were working the area. Tom said that they never stuck a fish and scores dropped to 0 to 3 for private boats.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
The weather wasn’t perfect for fishing on Monterey Bay this week, but good enough that boats could sneak out and get back in comfortably on most daysM With both salmon and rockfish seasons open now, there are plenty of choices where to go and what to pursue.
Tops on the list of course are king salmon. For this first week of season the salmon seem to be scattered throughout the bay, with no consistent concentrations of fish or bait in any one area. King salmon have been caught near Pt. Pinos, in Monterey by the Soldier’s Club, near Mulligan Hill, Moss Landing, and Pajaro as well as right out front of Capitola and the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. A few boats traveled up the coast towards Davenport and scored a few fish as well. Sadly many boats returned to the dock smelling of skunk, and two or three trips for one salmon was not an unusual story this week.
Most boats are picking up one or two fish, mostly by trolling. Many of the fish caught were in relatively shallow water of 70-90 feet. The best score reported to us this week was by Captain Gerry Brookes from Reel Sportfishing. The Doble caught five nice salmon in deeper water off the edge of the Monterey Bay Marine Canyon on Tuesday. Other party boats are reporting scores in the single digits if any salmon at all. Even in the deeper water, the majority of fish are getting hooked between 60 and 90 feet down.
Fishing for the RCG complex (rockfish, cabezone and greenling) has been steady and seems to be improving. The conventional inshore reefs are producing fish from 30 feet of water out to 120 feet. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine weighed in quite a few ling cod this week, and advises fishing South Rock Reef or near Natural Bridges for best results. Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait is seeing some rockfish limits come in on his rental skiffs, mostly brown rockfish with a smattering of gophers, blacks and the occasional vermilion in the mix, along with small legal lingcod. A few private skiffs launching from the Capitola Wharf have traveled south towards Pajaro and returned with salmon.
All we need now to round things out are halibut. Cold-water temperatures seem to be keeping the big flatfish offshore in deeper water. A few weeks ago temps were relatively high on the inshore waters, as high as 59 degrees just in front of the Santa Cruz Harbor. But, a week or two of northwest winds, along with a couple big swells has dropped water temps to the 52-54-degree range. That is great for salmon fishing, not so great for halibut. Hopefully we’ll see some flatties soon as they migrate in towards their summertime haunts.
The Pacific Fisheries Marine Council announced last week that sardines are “off-limits” for West Coast directed commercial fishing this year. The estimated biomass of sardines is 97,000 metric tons this year, down from a high of one million tons in 2006. Sardines can still be legally caught by individual sport anglers and for live bait harvest as well as Tribal harvest and some incidental catch. A cap of 7,000 Metric tons limits this legal catch of sardines this year.
Send your reports and fishing photos to Bushnell at

Moss Landing:
Field scout Joe Simonaro trolled north of Moss Landing in the 55.53 area on Thursday for two salmon, losing another at the boat for two anglers. They were working at a depth of 110 feet on the downrigger in 140 feet of water with a blue hootchie and bait behind a dodger. He said, “We did see a few nets today which was much better than last Thursday when we boated three.”

Tom Joseph with Fish On Sportfishing posted one of the best salmon scores this week on Wednesday 4-15. Trolling off of Capitola in 140 feet he reported 3 salmon to 12 pounds and one barracuda. All of the salmon where stuffed with sarries and came at 60 feet on the wire in 140 feet of water. Tom said they missed and lost two other salmon and water temp was good at 53 degrees. He was very surprised to hook a cuda this early in the season and something that is a good "tell" on what we can all expect in the coming months. Tom is scheduling combo salmon and rockfishing trips through the summer. He hopes to put clients into a couple of salmon and easy limits of rockfish on these trips Sounds like a solid game plan and one where clients will return with a quality catch.  

On Sunday 4-12 Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported lights out rockcod action with 37 limits of rockfish and 37 ling cod on the Star of Monterey fishing the local reefs. The Caroline also put in 16 limits of rockfish and a ling cod per rod while the 21 anglers on the Check Mate came home empty-handed for salmon after landing 2 the previous day for 31 anglers. He said, “Salmon fishing is dead and most boats were skunked with a few picking up only one or two. The conditions look good with plenty of bait and good water color and temperature, but the fish aren’t there yet.” They have plenty of room throughout the week for bottom fishing and salmon trips.


The ling action is off the charts but the salmon bite remains slow. On Thursday 4-9 Chris's Fishing in Monterey had two boats out. The Caroline reported 3 salmon for 18 anglers fishing in the middle Bay. Overall most private boats are reporting 0 to 2 fish each with more nones than ones. Party boats are reporting 2 to 5 fish apiece. The winds have been calm but the forecast calls for winds returning this weekend and a "good stirring" of the local waters is needed to kick start the food chain. There are second hand reports from the Davenport area where private boats are seeing up to 6 fish fishing over both shrimp and sarries. It's never good to see sarries this time of year and reminds this writer of 1983.  
On the rockfish front the fishing is excellent. The Checkmate took full advantage of the new 3 fish ling limits and reported 23 limits of lings adding 3/4 limits of quality bottom fish. Chris's has room weekdays and limited availability on the weekends. Call / plan ahead to get the prime summer dates.

Tom on the six pack Fish On reported better salmon action on Monday 4-6. Fishing off the Soldiers Club Tom started his day with a double and his clients landed both a pair of beautiful 18 pounders in the first 15 minutes. Though the course of the morning they hooked another four fish and lost them all. Tom said he started inside of the fleet off Moss Landing and kept working in to 130 feet where he was seeing better sign but not much in the way of fish in the box. Overall he says conditions are looking better with more bait and birdlife and water temps in the low 50s.
out of Chris's Fishing in Monterey the Caroline had 4 fish for 13 anglers and the Star of Monterey had 2 for 17. 

The salmon season got off to a slow start for Monterey bay anglers on Saturday 4-4. The highliner was the Star of Monterey out of Chris's Fishing with 9 salmon for 26 anglers. The Checkmate had 7 for 27 and the Caroline reported two for 18. The best reported area was out in front of Moss Landing along the north edge of the canyon. There was only scattered bait but the good news is that winds this past week have dropped water temps to 51 degrees. In turn we should start seeing more feed as temps have cooled along the entire coast.
Tom on the Fish On out of Santa Cruz said they lost their only salmon but late in the day they did land a 70 plus point 9 foot threshed shark. Tom was mainly working the Soquel Hole area and said high boat on that side of the Bay had 6 fish but the majority of boats returned with what they left the harbor with. Through 2:30 when Tom came in the F&G counter had only checked in 10 fish. The weather looks to improve on Easter and Tom is thinking of running north.


5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46042



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