Kanoa Sharp, denizen of the nighttime beaches, with a hefty local striper. He said, “It’s been a season … definitely enjoying it.” (Contributed)
Ocean fishing remains steady on Monterey Bay as we move into fall. Weather and sea conditions were somewhat confused last week, with some very windy days, some overnight winds and a mixed swell from the South and West.
Most boaters could head out to the deeper reefs where quick limits have been the norm all season. Inshore fishing for rockfish and lingcod is now closed for the year, but a number of boats fished shallow in hopes of catching halibut, white sea bass or the thresher shark.
The charter boats continue to post limits of fish for their clients. Chris’ Fishing Trips from Monterey had limits for every trip last week, up to 220 cod on Sunday’s trip aboard the Check Mate. The six pack charter Santa Cruz Coastal’s Rodney Armstrong reported on a duo of good days fishing outside the 60-fathom line.
On Monday, Armstrong said, “Lots of big chilis today. Another wide-open action day. We had clouds of about 200 feet of fish under the boat. Absolutely insane to see how many fish were under the boat.”
On Wednesday, this reporter observed the beautiful Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz returning to the Harbor before 11 a.m.. Considering their travel time to and from the deepwater areas they are fishing these days, I’d say they enjoyed very quick limits.
Skipper JT Thomas reported “We fished the deep waters today with Harry and his team. The caught limits of quality rock fish including vermillion, canaries, green spots and chili peppers.”
Sizable halibut are still being hooked in waters of 40- to 80-foot depths. The most productive areas include the Mile Buoy area in Santa Cruz, North Coast Beaches above Santa Cruz, Capitola and the New Brighton area and the Sand City Area and Tioga Street, near Monterey. These areas also happen to be holding the most significant amount of bait lately. Not only big mass schools of anchovies, but quite a few good groups of Spanish Mackerel as well.
The anchovy crisis within Santa Cruz Harbor has abated. Harbor officials were able to turn off the aerators last Friday. The powerful south swell may have something to do with all the anchovies fish finding their way back out to open water. A die-off was averted thankfully. One possible reason for the massive anchovy influx to the harbor that occurs every few years could be predators driving them into the shallows. We saw huge schools of anchovy in the surfline the week before last, with quite a few hungry stripers feasting. When the strong swell hit over the weekend those predatory fish moved further from shore.
The powerful combination of south and west swells didn’t do our surfcasters any favors. Casting beyond the breaking waves was a challenge, and the amount of kelp and seagrass in the surf made surfcasting problematic, if not impossible, at most beaches. The water is clearing up now, and it’s a great time to hit the beaches as stripers continue to feed nearshore and the surf perch get bigger every week.
Allen Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to email@example.com