Northern CA Saltwater

Rockfish and some lingcod fill the off-season gap for Half Moon Bay boats

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 14, 2019

HALF MOON BAY — Boaters wait anxiously for the May 18 opener of the second part of salmon season and expectations are running on overdrive. Meanwhile, rockfish action is as good as it gets for Half Moon Bay boats. Lingcod were slower, but present and accounted for, while beach fishing was excellent for perch and decent for striped bass.

The wait for salmon is a tangible thing around Pillar Point Harbor. Sherry Ingles at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing said, “When the salmon season closed the fish were at Deep Reef and we were putting limits onboard by late morning. Our great hope is that when it starts back up May 18, the fish will be there and will be just as hungry as we left them. There are quite a few salmon being hooked incidentally and released by people rockfishing, so our hopes are high.”

New Capt. Pete made a run south to below Pigeon Point in search of salmon and the results were less than hoped for. Capt. Dennis Baxter reported lots of whales and anchovies in 56-degree water. What few salmon there were in the area were exceptionally deep, so the boat switched to rockfish and nice olive rockfish began coming aboard rapidly.

Up the line at Deep Reef, Queen of Hearts, Huli Cat and Riptide put their passengers on limits of rockfish and they were sizable fish. Ingles noted that it’s a shame more people aren’t taking advantage of this great fishing. Reports coming from the boats are of exceptionally large yellows and bocaccios in greater numbers than normal. One passenger put his foot next to a red on deck and that red looked to be twice as long as the grown man’s foot.

On Huli Cat, brown rockfish were common catches. Shivnel Deo got a 2 pounder, Anil Kumar had hefty coppers and browns. Harvey Miller used a shrimpfly to catch a 5-pound vermillion. On another trip, Daniela Zarate pulled up a double with a flag rockfish and a copper rockfish caught on shrimpflies. Omar Fahmy got a 5-pound vermillion and Johnathan Santos from San Jose from Daily City took a 6-pound vermillion. The day ended with limits of rockfish and crab for 15 people.

Beach fishing was good, and more people came out to enjoy it. Barred surfperch and redtail perch both bit pretty well. Hookups with striped bass on bait and lures happened periodically, but more often during the evenings.

POT O’ CRABS — Crabbing is still going on out of Half Moon Bay, and a rockcod/crab combo trip aboard the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point Harbor resulted in this pot full of crabs held by Shivnel Deo, Anil Kumar and Ashween Prasad from San Bruno.

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