SANTA CRUZ/CAPITOLA — Santa Cruz salmon fishing improved in local waters for boaters willing to pit small craft against big weather and there was plenty of action at the launch ramps each morning. Surf fishing and wharf fishing remained attractive due to variety.
In the week after the opener, boats spread out and found productive areas closer to home. “The Mulligan Area and the west side of Soquel Canyon produced 12- to 15-pound salmon for boaters trolling Apex watermelon and purple haze hoochies,” reported Julia Dingler of The Angler’s Choice Tackle Shop in Capitola. Mooching produced as well, with most party boats mooching exclusively and turning in good numbers.
David Volkland, Manager at The Outdoors World in Capitola told a similar story, but with trollers using flashers with herrings along canyon walls to score 1 to 1.5 salmon per rod. Some boats limited out early — and early is the key. “If you’re not putting on baits by flashlight, you’re not out there early enough,” said Volkland.
Todd Fraser of Bayside Tackle in Santa Cruz said, “Fishing was good this week. I got 6 fish Wednesday and Thursday. All fish were 20-60 feet down and plugged with krill. Their size ranged from 7 to15 pounds.”
Local angler, Paul Giles, related his mid-week experience, “Lots of jelly fish to foul our lines and baits. Several hundred boats were out and it was hard fishing for us and most other boats. A few lucky fisherman were done early. We ended up with only two salmon, each about 12 pounds. We had to fish from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to get those two fish.”
But over the weekend, Giles said the bite was fast and furious about 7 miles straight out of the Santa Cruz harbor, GPS coordinates 36'49/122'00. "Most of the fish are being caught shallow, from 35 to 60 feet," Giles said, "and we caught all our fish at 55 feet, using glow Kajikis, but just about any type of hoochie or bait works. Most of the fish have been from 10 to 15 pounds with a few larger fish." Giles and crew were limited and back by 8 a.m.
An early limit of "booken" 12-pound salmon were taken by Ken (Bone) Gehrkens of Aptos, from the west side of the Soquel Hole in Monterey Bay. The bite was early, 60 to 80 feet down on the wire on green stripe Rotary Salmon Killers. The private boat, FourPlay ended up with limits for three by a little past 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Capt. Jim Ruben made a weekend run on the Becky Ann to score limits for all. “It was an early bite and nice fish, too,” said Capt. Ruben.
Shore fishers kept themselves in dinners, too. Susan at Santa Cruz Boat Rentals said, “Wharf anglers caught perch, flounders and sanddabs this week, mostly from out near the end of the wharf.” Bits of shrimp or anchovies pinned on Sabiki hooks proved to be the most productive rigs. On the beaches, barred surf perch were reported in decent numbers at Manresa and Davenport. Gulp! sandworms in Camo color, rigged Carolina or Texas style, remained the star rigs for the surf zone.