Nicky Rothwell lifts a beautiful blue ling cod during his recent trip with Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters. (Contributed)
It looks like we’re in a weather window this week that will allow for some good fall fishing. This week has seen small waves, clean water, good tides and low winds in the morning. The afternoon has become a bit breezy, but the forecast for the weekend through Monday is for less wind. This makes fishing days longer.
Unfortunately, inshore fishing is closed for the season. Offshore, well beyond the 60 depth line, rockfish are still a fair catch and anglers continue to take advantage of the deeper reef action. The canyon rims host large numbers of deep-sea rockfish, and are a good place to start looking if your plans don’t include the various reefs and rock piles 300 to 500 feet high.
Chris’ Sportfishing of Monterey took advantage of these deep-water fish throughout the entire season, notching fast limits of quality fish on every trip aboard the Caroline and Check Mate. Monday’s trip on Check Mate had only six anglers on board. This means there is plenty of elbow room on the rail. In pursuit of bigger fish and faster limits, Chris often sends his boats to the Big Sur area. This area near Point Sur and beyond is characterized by schools of redhead, vermilion and other deep-water rockfish, and is relatively unaffected by travel time and fuel costs. Additionally, the ling cod fishing has been great year round for Chris even on his close trips. Monday’s flight featured full flight limits for all on board.
All summer long he endured the “tuna tease.” For months, a few bluefin have been caught in the wide area between Point Sur and the Farallon Islands. We even had a spot of albacore or two. Lots of tuna were seen but only a few were caught here and there. The problem was mostly the weather. High winds and choppy seas offshore 30 to 60 miles prevent boats from getting out and making the most of the presence of tuna in our area. It was frustrating.
Warm water breaks are becoming more localized near Carmel and the Davenport Fingers area at the moment. As fall arrives, there is a good chance that weather patterns will provide calm conditions that will allow more boats to access tuna areas. It is not unusual for large bluefin tuna, and even albacore, to remain in our area well into December. we will see.
Meanwhile, Monterey Bay anglers are enjoying some inland-related exotic species. Huge bait balls are approaching shore at the moment, and a fair number of bonito are feeding on anchovies, fish and sardines. Bonito is a “tuna-like” fish related to mackerel. They are a joy to fish as they are fast and powerful. Reports are of good bonito bites this week on bait balls near the Monterey Pier, Aptos Cement Ship, and straight out of Santa Cruz Harbor in 40-60 feet of water.
Allen Bushnell also operates a surf fishing and broadcast guide service at Santa Cruz Kayak. Please send your reports, photos and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.