SANTA CRUZ/CAPITOLA — Salmon action improved early in the week out of Santa Cruz and parts south, and remained respectably consistent through the weekend, with fish available relatively close by. Halibut counts jumped for rental boat anglers.
Private boaters and party boats made regular treks from Santa Cruz and Capitola to Soquel Hole and Pajaro Hole where respectable counts of salmon kept launch ramp line waits long back at harbor. Mooching and trolling techniques both worked equally well. Most moochers hung an anchovy upside down with a half-hitch around the tail of the bait. Trollers used watermelon Apex, green or clear Rotary Salmon Killers, purple haze hoochies and white flutter spoons.
“A new batch of salmon moved in, feeding on krill, but we are now seeing a few squid and anchovies in their tummies,” said Carol Jones of Moss Landing where the Kahuna made trips 10 miles northwest of Moss Landing to find counts ranging from one fish per rod to near-limits.
Todd Fraser at Bayside Bait & Tackle in Santa Cruz reported, “I have been fishing 4 out of the last 7 days and the action started hot near Moss Landing and the Pajaro River. We caught limits there everyday. The fish have all been 25 to 65 feet down in 170 to 400 feet of water on the troll. Yesterday it was slow and the jellys moved in heavy. We moved up to Santa Cruz and got two more for limits around the west edge of the Soquel Hole. The weather has been great. A few halibut were caught near Mile Buoy and rockfishing has been decent.”
Robin at Santa Cruz Boat Rental excitedly reported halibut of 15, 23, 28 and 36 pounds that came in this week on rental boats. Party boats got into the act too with verified reports of 17- and 19-pound halibut. On the down side, Robin said, “wharf fishing is kinda slow right now. The sea lions are taking over.” The exception is an uptick in the catch of walleyes and shiners.
Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait reported much improved rockfish this week. “Rental boaters are getting frequent limits of rockfish and typically one good lingcod apiece. Rockfish were caught off of Soquel Point and included browns, black & yellow, grass, copper rockfish and cabezon,” said Burrell who added, “Several halibut were caught this week. They ran 14 to 17 pounds and one of the big ones was hooked in 70 feet of water right out in front of Santa Cruz Wharf near the yellow buoy.
Striped bass in the surf responded to anglers casting Hair Raisers and Krocodiles into the surf from New Brighton Beach to Manresa Beach. Most bass were schoolie size but a few bigger units up to 12 pounds showed in the surf.