Captain Tom Joseph 408 348-4866

Captain Brad Miller 831 566-9407

January 06, 2012    Headlines
Rockfish Closes Crabbing Still Good

Sonny Arcaleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported outstanding action for sand dab and blue mackerel on their combination trips. On Wednesday 1-4, 8 anglers and 2 crew put in limits of Dungeness in addition to bucketloads of sand dab and ‘football sized’ blue mackerel. Arcoleo said, “These mackerel are in the 3-pound range, and they are busting up the sand dab gear.” The commercial boats are cleaning up on the mixed schools of mackerel and sardines, and they were reported to bring in over 100 tons on Wednesday.
One place that you can obtain fresh mackerel or sardines for bait is Sacramento Pro Tackle where Dennis Phanner has made the run down to Monterey to bring fresh bait back to the valley. The sardines are very large averaging 3 to a pound, and the captain said, “I haven’t seen this quality of sardine in years.” They are putting the fresh bait into 2-pound baggies, but the bait will be either frozen or sold within days. Phanner hopes to head back to Monterey to get one more load before the west coast sardine quota is met which should be within three weeks.

Santa Cruz Area Report from Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Sentinel

I decided to take my own advice last week and end the year with a fishing trip for myself. The liberal rockfish season of 2011 ended at the close of December, so last Saturday was the final chance for lingcod, cabezon or rockcod. I was all set to take my own skiff out for the hunt on Saturday when I got a call from Captain Mike Baxter.
Formerly the skipper of the famous Wild Wave out of Shamrock Charters, Baxter now operates a Farmer’s Insurance Agency in Santa Cruz. Despite his change of vocation, Baxter remains an avid fisherman and occasionally substitutes for Ken Stagnaro on the beautiful Velocity. He was going in the morning; did I want to come along?
Let’s see- increased range, no launch fees, working off Stagnaro’s chart of rockfish reefs, hot coffee in the galley and camaraderie on the deck? I’ll have to think about it. When Baxter mentioned the possibility that deckhand Chris Victorino might make some Dorado tacos for lunch, the deal was sealed. Include me in, please.
Leaving the Harbor before seven, we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise, with brilliant red skies above the crystal clear Moss Landing smokestacks. The ocean had a slight chop over a rather large swell, but the 60-foot Velocity smoothed out our ride as we traveled north towards Davenport. The bite had been inconsistent over the past two weeks, mostly as a result of the large swell powering through our area. We found the reefs, and we found the fish, but the darn cod wouldn’t bite. Baxter skillfully held the boat over reefs in 90-120 feet of water. We could see the rockfish congregating over the humps in the reef, but couldn’t get any takers.
As we moved down the coast, we tried reef after reef with little result. Finally, around Wilder’s Ranch, just north of town, we found Jim Rubin on the Becky Ann who reported some good action at the spot. Rubin had already pulled limits of Dungeness for his clients, and was filling his fishbox with good-sized Blacks. We settled in nearby, and commenced to fill our own gunnysacks with a variety of rockfish. The bite was slow but steady, with mostly yellowtail rockfish, blacks, blues and a few gopher cod in the mix. All the fish were on the small side with the exception of two lingcod caught by one lucky angler on the bow. As for my “rail-mate” Eric Dyer and me, we caught limits of ten fish but kept maybe six or seven each, just enough for a family dinner.
When we returned to the Harbor in the afternoon, Baxter’s sharp eye picked out a small grey whale ahead of us. Most of the tired anglers rushed to the bow and tracked the whale as it passed in front of us. “No extra charge for the whale watching, folks!” It was another great day on the Bay. It will be springtime before we can fish rockcod again, but in the meantime we’ll keep busy with sand dabs and crabs, and steelhead and surfperch, and maybe the giant squid, or shore fishing rockcod. Any day fishing is a good one.
Bushnell can be heard with the fish report on KSCO 1080AM Friday mornings at 6:45. Please send comments, questions and photos to


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