Monterey Bay Fishing Report
by Allen Bushnell
The recent series of big storms seems to be over, at least for now. After weeks of huge waves, heavy currents and howling winds, local anglers can look forward to a gentler ocean in the coming week.
Surfcasters are still finding some weedy areas in the beaches that ring Monterey Bay. The ripped-up kelp and seagrass is vexing, as it bunches up on weights, leaders and hooks and makes fishing impossible in some spots. Often, just moving down the beach to a cleaner area can solve the problem, but sometimes moving to a different beach altogether is necessary to get out of the weeds. The weed factor will vary according to tidal flow as well. So, that beach you could not fish in the morning might be free and clear by afternoon.
Surfcasters are reporting some very good catches as the rough conditions tail off. Most impressive was a barred surf perch caught by perennial high-liner Craig Pappas from a beach near Aptos. The fish measured 17-inches and weighed in just shy of three pounds. Other beaches in Santa Cruz produced big perch as well. Johnny Poff from Santa Cruz caught his personal best at sunset on Tuesday, a fat 15-inch barred surf perch that tipped the scale just over three pounds. Most beaches sport good structure at this time, a result of weeks of high surf and heavy currents. As the wave size drops, these deep spots, holes and rip currents will become more visible and more productive for surfcasters all around the bay.
For striped bass fishing, it looks like the beaches below Moss Landing circling to Monterey’s Del Monte Beach are the preferred targets right now. One angler reported catches of two “keeper” stripers on Monday, measuring up to 25 inches. We expect the striper bite to develop as this season progresses, with more, and bigger fish cruising the surfline in search of bait.
Dungenes crab is still firmly on the menu, though counts are slowly dropping. Crabbers from Santa Cruz are still doing well dropping their pots in 200-220 feet of water on the broad flats closer to the marine canyons. In Monterey, Chris’ Sportfishing logged successful trips for Monday and Tuesday on the Caroline. Anglers pulled in as many sand dabs as they cared to keep, up to 18 Petrale sole and averaged around four Dungeness crab keepers each.
We are likely to see a return of the rainstorms before winter is over. Take advantage of this break in the weather to enjoy some local fishing or crabbing.
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