SANTA CRUZ — Charterboats scored consistent limits of rockfish with keeper lingcod mixed in out of Santa Cruz, and salmon fishing ran hot and cold, but averaged out to a very respectable fish per rod and often better. Inshore halibut went on the chew for wharf and boat anglers. Striped bass fishing was successful at most beaches.
Capt. Jim Rubin on the Becky Ann reported on salmon fishing, saying “Fish are getting bigger. On Friday we had 4 fish over 20 pounds and 4 other big ones broke off. We’re concentrating on Soquel Canyon and off of Mulligans, trolling silver and gold spoons right near the surface.” Capt. Rubin also reported great local rockfish action between Natural Bridges and 4-Mile Beach, with most attempts resulting in limits or near-limits.
Stagnaros Charters had similar experiences on the Velocity. Limits of salmon were common early in the week with the bite tapering late in the week, suggesting a renewed attack during the upcoming week. Salmon trips can be scheduled. Most trips this week targeted plentiful rockfish. On the previous Saturday’s half day twilight rockcod trip the Velocity crew enjoyed limits for 29 people plus 2 lingcod while fishing local reefs in 100 feet of water. A Sunday morning half day trip had 26 limits plus 3 lingcod in the same areas. “The black rockfish were biting wide open with many reds mixed in,” said Capt. Ken Stagnaro.
Capt. Brad Miller ran trips on the Ultimate for salmon, rockfish and halibut. During the week the salmon count was 1 to 1.5 fish per rod. On Saturday the boat tallied 8 salmon to 20 pounds for 6 fishers trolling Crippled Anchovies behind dodgers, near the surface at Soquel Hole. “The fish are eating krill, but they want anchovies,” said Capt. Miller. A halibut drift to finish off charters resulted in an average of one halibut per day.
Boat rental and bait operations in Santa Cruz and Capitola enjoyed brisk business and entertained boater reports of salmon, halibut, rockfish and lingcod. Leland Silva of Santa Cruz Boat Rental said, “A foot-long rainbow perch was caught right near the surfing statue at West Cliffs by an angler casting pieces of shrimp."
Todd Fraser of Bayside Marine noted, ‘We’re getting striped bass at Seaside. Cotton Cordell poppers are working very well, especially in red/white, when cast into the surf. Halibut are biting nicely, right out in front of Santa Cruz. In fact a 26-pounder was speared this week off of Capitola.”
Striped bass, some up to 10 to 12 pounds, were caught at area beaches including Manresa, Rio Del mar and Pajaro. Best offerings proved to be 6.5-inch Big Hammer swimbaits in anchovy pattern, pearl and mackerel pattern, rigged on 1.5 to 2-ounce leadheads. Other great lures included Daiwa SP Minnow or bucktail jigs. “These fish have finished spawning and they are hungry,” said Mark Dingler at The Angler’s Choice Tackle Shop in Capitola.