CAPITOLA — Beach action heated up around here, thanks to increased catches of striped bass along beaches south of town and at the Cement Ship. Wharf anglers in nearby Santa Cruz continued to pick at halibut and caught perch, while boaters made choices between a faltering salmon bite or excellent rockfishing.
Talking about the increasing striper bite, Julia Dingler at The Angler’s Choice Tackle Shop in Capitola said, “Nothing humongous yet, but getting better.” She ticked off places where catches were made this week: Aptos, Salinas River mouth and Pajaro River mouth. Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait added additional hotspots to the list… Rio Del Mar to Manresa and at the Cement Ship. Dingler said, “The striped bass are biting Daiwa SP Minnows (laser sardine pattern), Kastmasters with bucktails, topwater lures or traditional baits.”
Burrell added, “A lot of the beach anglers are using 2-inch motor oil grubs to target perch, but keep hooking up with schoolie-size striped bass to 8 pounds.” The exception was at the Cement Ship where fisherfolk used Sabikis to catch shiners and then put them on a heavier rig for use as live bait to tempt larger striped bass to 10 pounds.
At nearby Santa Cruz Wharf, a pick on halibut extended a steady streak running for a few weeks now. A 24 incher and a 34 incher were caught this week right behind the Santa Cruz Boat Rental shop. Another keeper halibut was brought in by a rental boater who also nailed 2 keeper lingcod.
In other shoreside action, rainbow perch up to 9 inches went on the bite below the cliffs near the Wharf. “They were pulling perch out left and right on chunks of shrimp,” said Leland Silva at Santa Cruz Boat Rental, who shared a story about a recent trip he took up the coast to Pacifica. “I saw a pokepoler catch 12 monkeyface prickleback eels in rapid succession using squid on his pole hooks,” said Silva.
“People out rockfishing on our rental boats are averaging a keeper ling and 7 or 8 good rockfish per boat,” said Burrell. Silva reported that on Wednesday a rental boater reported back in with 2 lingcod and one keeper halibut. Dingler noted that plenty of keeper lings have been caught just outside of Capitola. Some of the local hotspots include the kelp beds near Steamers Lane, Natural Bridges and the Mile Buoy.
What salmon action there has been late in the week came primarily from near the Mo Buoy off of Pajaro. Larry Rowland and Terry Parker, both of Santa Cruz, came in Saturday with an 8 pounder and a 10 pounder. The Velocity found sporadic biters during a week of troubled weather before focusing on readily available rockfish and lingcod over the weekend.
Todd Fraser of Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz provided a succinct overall report, ”A little slower on salmon, but still some scores of 1-4 fish around Pajaro. A decent rockfish bite near natural bridges. A few nice halibut in 69 feet of water by Mile Buoy.”