Chris’ Fishing Trips from Monterey is coming, offering inshore fishing access to dozens of anglers each week. They try to head south toward Big Sur whenever possible, as the underwater structure is more defined in that area. It is the perfect habitat for large schools of larger rockfish and cod.
Chris is consistently sending out two boats a day to limit rockfish. Cod counts are increasing as we approach their winter spawning season. This week the Check Mate has counted 17 lings on Friday and 24 for Saturday’s trip.
JT Thomas, left, and Greg Webb lift an unusual catch. The 100-pound Opah, or sunfish, was caught while chasing bluefin tuna last week. (Contributed)
In Santa Cruz, the story is very similar. Despite a persistent red tide condition extending from Lighthouse Point to New Brighton Beach, rockfish counts remain in the limit or near-limit category. The red tide is approaching the beach, with fishing depths beyond 50 feet in the clear majority.
Bait fishing near shore is still very productive. For bigger fish and faster limits, expert anglers head north to the Wild Coast above Natural Bridges.
On Sunday, Capt. Rodney Armstrong of Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters checked in and told us, “We went out yesterday for rockfish cod. We had seven limits of rockfish and only one cod. We had four or five long shorts. The bite was not red but a steady pick. There are reports of lots of bluefin in the area. We have a bluefin trip tomorrow so stay tuned to see what happens. We have a lot of dates open for the fin red as long as they stay and we have good weather.”
Well, the weather looks good offshore next week, with low winds and waves forecast. And, there is no doubt that the redfin is out there. BIG redfin and in great numbers. Skipper JT Thomas at Miss Beth reports that he has seen literally hundreds of jumpers this weekend on the redfin grounds. Not that they are easy to hook. Chances of connection are less than 50% on any given day. But, you can’t catch fish if you don’t go fishing. So intrepid fishermen are traveling 30 to 70 miles from the port on their tuna hunts these days.
When connections happen, the rewards are gigantic. Privateer Matt Mitchell did everything right last Wednesday, fishing straight from Santa Cruz on his 24-foot Parker, The Silver Lining. He got a bite while slow trolling a live mackerel and after 45 minutes he released a magnificent 140lb bluefin tuna. The large school of redfin moved slightly north during the latter part of the week with most of the fish being caught near the “Fingers” area about 10 miles offshore from Davenport. Successful tuna hunters look for temperature breaks, birds working bait and, of course, feeding jumpers. Slow trolling macs are a proven bait, although many of our hookups have come with a fast trolling Mad Mac Nomad lure.