Still plenty of options in Monterey Bay, local angler nabs his fish of a lifetime

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BY ALLEN “BUSHY” BUSHNELL

MONTEREY— Monterey Bay anglers were blessed with fine fishing conditions this past week on Monterey Bay. The coming weekend looks to be just as nice with low winds and calm seas. Deepwater rockfishing remains the mainstay for charter operations out of Monterey and Santa Cruz. Chris’ Sportfishing reported limit of up to 200 rockfish and eight lingcod on their Wednesday trip aboard the Checkmate. Bayside Marine owner Todd Fraser says the best deepwater spots near Santa Cruz right now are near Wilder Ranch and Davenport. Dungeness crabbing is productive as well, especially for those dropping their hoop nets along the deep canyon edges. Beach fishing is getting better and better. From Santa Cruz to Seaside, we’re receiving reports of limit-style perch fishing, and they’re getting bigger as we approach wintertime. Striped bass are on an uptick, especially near the Pajaro and Salinas rivermouths.

 

The big fish story this week stars Carmel Valley angler Luke Proskine. He started fishing seriously only four years ago after enjoying a local kayak fishing trip. He soon bought an 18-foot skiff to give himself more range, and since has landed plenty of fish locally, as well as trophy halibut from the south central-coast. As Proskine put it, “Even that 50-pound halibut and bigger salmon and lingcod I’ve caught, I’ve felt I was in control. I could handle them.” Last Tuesday, he hooked up on a fish that “handled” him instead. Like a rag doll.

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Launching solo from the Harbor in Monterey, he found a good temperature break about 15 miles from Cypress Point. “The area was just so full of life, with dolphins, whales birds and bait. I knew this had to be the spot.”

He dropped in a Madmac in pink and black with 100 feet of 130-pound mono as a top-shot over 150-pound braid on his Makaira 50 reel.

“It didn’t take long,” Proskine remembered. “My clicker started screaming. I slowed the boat to an idle and grabbed the rod but there was literally nothing I could do. As the fight progressed, I started thinking maybe this fish was just beyond my physical abilities.”

The big bluefin tuna on his line ripped off hundreds of yards before turning. “It took everything I had to get him. By the time the fish was boatside, I was beyond complete exhaustion. I made a good gaff shot, but then the gaff hook broke with the weight of the fish.” He managed to keep the fish close and finally tail-roped the big tuna to haul him aboard.

The fish weighed in around 150 pounds. That is a monumental accomplishment for any angler. When asked, Proskine said not only is this the first bluefin he’s ever caught, but also the first he’s ever even seen! That makes his accomplishment even more amazing, as most tuna anglers follow a progression of learning from others and on charter trips with experienced crew. Proskine knew they were out there, followed the local info and reports and just went out and caught the fish of a lifetime.

Bushnell operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send your reports, pictures or questions to scruzfishing@yahoo.com

 

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