Northern CA Saltwater

Half Moon Bay: Boats get halibut and some salmon

Albacore show offshore

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 13, 2019

HALF MOON BAY — The local halibut bite stepped up in quality and quantity for Half Moon Bay local boats and for jetty anglers near the entrance to Pillar Point Harbor while the salmon action went downhill for much of the week. Stripers were caught along local beaches and commercial fishermen found albacore offshore.

GIANT ROCKFISH ARE available at the Deep Reef, and Deckhand “Josh” of the Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay, sent in this photo of a client known as “G” from East Palo Alto with some great rockfish caught on a swimbait with an 8-ounce anchovy-colored jighead.

The inshore halibut bite improved. “Stephanie” at Half Moon Bay sportfishing said, “People are catching halibut right by the entrance to the Harbor, from kayaks, and skiffs and also from the jetty. Most of them are casting swimbaits and getting some pretty good halibut. Capt. Dennis Baxter on New Captain Pete also commented on the number of halibut caught, saying they were thickening up nicely. New Capt. Pete ran bird trips for the week but will be getting back to fishing soon.

Salmon counts were down for Half Moon Bay boats. Riptide and Queen of Hearts tried and only got a handful of fish. So, they joined Huli Cat and targeted rockfish and lingcod with good success off the Ritz, Pescadero and other favorite places the renowned skippers have learned to trust. Joshue Pencek of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing said that rockfishing remains phenomenal with lingcod to 22 pounds, cabazon to 16 pounds and big vermillion. On Huli Cat, Brian Ross caught a 6-pound cabezon and Jason Stephan got a 5-pound red.

Maybe some boats were looking too far offshore for salmon because Marque Glisson of New Coastside Bait & Tackle in Pacifica said, “We’ve been banging salmon from the pier and they have been migrating from 1/8th- to 1/2-mile out, so when they are in close the Krocodile 2.5-ounce No. 5 chrome lure is perfect. When bait fishing from the pier, herring is the purchased bait of choice, though many people have been using Sabikis and catching live bait.”

Glisson also said the stripers were biting along the beaches. Daiwa SP Minnows and Super Strikes were not as effective as they were the previous week.

A trusted local commercial fisherman found albacore. The report was from Pioneer Canyon in 61-degree, off-color water. No word on quantities or quality, but just finding the longfins was exciting.

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Advertise with Western Outdoor News