Santa Cruz, Monterey salmon back on the chomp

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SANTA CRUZ — Carol Jones from Kahuna Sportfishing had good news on Sunday. “It was dead slow yesterday, but we went for salmon today. And, we got some fantastic action this afternoon! We landed eight nice fish with a lot of missed opportunities. We were fishing near the Pajaro Hole. The salmon have been high in the water column all season. Right now, they are all up and down the weight scale, with a few shakers here and there as well as some big fish in the mix. Thursday’s big salmon weighed 23 pounds dressed!” Down at Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching in Monterey, owner Chris Arcoleo weighed in a 30 pounder this week. On Sunday, Arcoleo reported, “The skiffs are getting some limits. Today we caught three and had to release about seven or eight silvers.” This week’s weather was cooperative enough for Arcoleo to send the Check Mate down to Big Sur for big rockfish returns. “We’ve been at Point Sur the last few days and it’s been fabulous. The last four days we got limits with a lotta olives, coppers and vermilion but not too many lingcod,”Arcoleo reported.

We received similar reports from boats launching from Santa Cruz. Tom Joseph from Fish On Sportfishing reported salmon fishing for three days in a row this week saying, “Our party of four boated four salmon to 10 pounds and released 12 shakers and one silver, but we had plenty of chances for limits. Saturday was another great day. Three anglers caught six salmon with the largest at18 and 20 pounds. We released five

shakers. On Sunday Joseph reported, “Today our three anglers boated three salmon to 15 pounds and released two shakers. Go Fish Santa Cruz caught salmon on Thursday, then went north for rockfish on the weekend. Anglers aboard the beautiful Miss Beth enjoyed limit-style fishing from Davenport up to Franklin Point. Beth Norton reported for Go Fish, saying, “The clients caught a variety of rock fish including BIG vermillion, coppers, canaries, browns, olives and blues.”

There are still tons of anchovies in Monterey Bay as well as blooms of market squid here and there. The water temperatures remain low due to the wind-generated upwelling from our deep submarine canyons. As the water warms within the bay, we will see halibut fishing pick up in the shallower waters and from the beaches and piers. Right now, a few halibut have been reported caught by surfcasters in ultra-protected portions of the bay. And, plenty of big- ger flatties are laying out in the 50 to 75-foot depths, just waiting for bait to swim by.

Striped bass catches are few and far between so far this season. A few bass have been caught from scattered locations. They are mostly undersized and skinny. As the anchovy schools move in closer to the beaches, we hope to see more and bigger striped bass in the near future. Perch fishing is significantly improving for the surfcasters, however. This week we received numerous reports of surfcasters enjoying non-stop catching from the bigger broad beaches near the center of the bay. Tom Niccum from Coyote Bait and Tackle reported on Thursday night saying, “Best evening of perch fishing ever! Caught and released 17 fish! Eight over 13 inches. Biggest was 15.5 inches.” Niccum was using the special Lucky 13 grubs available at Coyote Bait. Many of these perch are small, but enough of them are big inshore bruisers to keep things interesting. On Friday, Santa Cruzan Johnny Poff caught and released around a dozen barred surf perch using GULP! two-inch camo worms. The highlight of the evening was a hog 14.25-incher that tore line from his drag and challenged his favorite Lamiglas X-11 perch rod. “I thought it was a striper!” Poff said. “Then I thought it was a halibut as it came in through the surfline flattened out. This thing was huge!” Poff exulted.

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