Northern CA Saltwater

Pen-reared salmon looks to be showing up at Half Moon Bay

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 12, 2018

HALF MOON BAY — Salmon fishing out of Half Moon Bay, in general, was down somewhat, with the main body of fish offshore and in deeper water. On the other hand, it appears that pen-reared salmon are beginning to show back up right outside the Harbor. Fishing for rockfish and lingcod down the coast at favored spots was very productive.

LATE SUMMER ’BUT — Conor Gtera from Capitola Boat and Bait caught this late-summer flatty near the Mile Reef this week. She weighed in at 30 pounds. The photo was sent in by Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service.

Salmon fishing was slower over the weekend and boats connecting with them found they had to work offshore and work deep as they found scattered pockets of the right water with plenty of feed. Often times whales and other big sea predators pointed the way. The salmon that were landed ran from the low teens to the low20s.

Sherry Ingles at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing reported that salmon began showing up locally this week and many people believe they are returning pen-reared salmon raised by Coastside Fishing Club, whose members put in a lot of effort and money to make this happen. If the expectations are correct, inshore (and in-harbor) salmon fishing at Half Moon Bay is about to get interesting.

Bottomfishing was excellent at the usual spots down the coast near Ritz Carleton, Pescadero and San Gregorio. A first happened onboard Queen of Hearts when an 8-pound black seabass was caught and carefully released. That is pretty much a baby, so there was some speculation about whether it swam a long ways up north or whether momma black seabass came up north and had babies. That mystery may be solved if other youngsters of about the same age are caught in the days and weeks ahead.

After a week of research fishing in the Bodega area, Huli Cat had a successful run down to fish southern spots, according to Capt. Tom Mattusch. Aneel Kumar had a rockfish on a live bait rig and hooked up with an impressive 18-pound lingcod. Huli Cat also ran a twilight charter and while the afternoon winds made the seas bumpy, folks caught their fish and took home some good meals.

Surf fishing for barred surfperch was excellent and Gulp! sandworms were the best baits by far. Ingles said, “One of our regular customers who fishes the beaches a lot told me the striped bass bite on the beach has slowed.” A couple of the most often mentioned good spots are Morey Point near Pacifica and up further at Mussel Rock.

* * *

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