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Half Moon Bay: Rockfish saved the week for boats

Salmon slowed

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 04, 2019

HALF MOON BAY — The salmon bite out of Half Moon Bay, that had been strong the week before, slowed and fish that were caught came mostly from well offshore. Half Moon Bay boats switched to rockfish and lingcod, making people happy with good fish counts. Bonito showed up at the entrance to Pillar Point Harbor and striped bass catches were common from local beaches.

pescaderopescaPESCADERO PESCA — Eric Chow from San Francisco caught a 5-pound black rockcod on a swimbait in 50 feet of water off of Pescadero while fishing aboard the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point Harbor.

“The salmon bite slowed down and many of the fish we caught were well offshore,” said Stephanie at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing. Reel Screamer, New Captain Pete and Riptide made salmon runs and they did catch some fish. The skippers had to scout around, and the crew had to fish hard in order for passengers to be able to pull on bright shiny salmon. There were some sizable fish caught, like a 28 pounder caught aboard Riptide at Egg Rock by Nick Faisu. Most folks anticipate another large body of salmon to move through before the season winds down, so the search is on.


Rockfish trips made it a productive week for Half Moon Bay boats. Some trips were to Deep Reef and others worked spots along the coast as far down as Pigeon Point. Huli Cat went on a rockfish and crab combo off Deep Reef, fishing 230 feet of water where limits were taken for 13 anglers. Ron Jew caught an 8-pound vermillion, Bao Tran got a 4-pound bocaccio and Roger Lee took a 3-pound copper rockfish.


Queen of Hearts worked the rockfish hard. Crewmember Joshua Pencek said, “A lot of halibut are coming up on our rockfish charters lately. Big vermillion remain steady, with fish up to 11 pounds. Cabezon and lingcod are biting shallow while the big rockfish are over 140 feet.”


Skiff and kayak fishers had a blast when small to medium bonito showed up near the first buoy outside Pillar Point Harbor entrance. People were using shrimpflies or throwing small shiny lures to hook up with the speedsters. Conditions are changing rapidly when bonito and salmon share the same general waters.


Striped bass were caught along most local beaches from below Half Moon Bay on up to north of Pacifica. Top selling striper lures, according to Stephanie were Micky Jigs, bucktails and swimbaits, though some people used Gulp! Sandworms and sandcrabs.


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