Dave Hurley’s Salmon Tip of the Week

Half Moon Bay:
The weather kept boats either tied up or close to the harbor at the start of the past week, but when the weather window opened up at the end of the week, limits to near-limits of salmon were the rule south of the Pigeon Point line. 

Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat, a recent inductee into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, said, “It was limits of salmon below the Pigeon Point line as second captain Michael Cabanas took 9 anglers south for 9 limits to 13 pounds. We are excited about the opener above Pigeon Point as Chris Chang of the Ankeny Street was down at the Deep Reef, and he reported great conditions with dark water, birds, and bait. Captain Cabanas was back at it again on Saturday with 23 salmon to 23 pounds for 15 anglers in 240 feet of water with straight bait. Cabanas said that there was plenty of action with more than a fair share of missed opportunities.” 

The Riptide and Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing were also finding good action below Pigeon with the Riptide returning with 15 salmon to 15 pounds for 10 anglers while the Queen of Hearts loaded up with near-limits of 22 salmon to 14 pounds for 12 anglers. 

Rockfishing remains solid at the Deep Reef with the Ankeny Street scoring 16 limits along a ling on Saturday.

The Coastside Fishing Club is once again coordinating the net pen salmon project, and the deliveries of smolts from the Mokelumne River Hatchery will occur on May 23, May 29, and June 5 while the club’s members are preparing the pens. 

Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete is finishing up the final touches on the vessel, and he will be ready to head south for salmon within a week. 

The portion of the Pacifica Pier that runs perpendicular to the shore has been reopened with the second at the end running parallel to the shoreline remaining closed. Crabbing has been decent with snares when the swell is down. 

Monterey/Santa Cruz:
Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “Anglers from the Monterey Bay-area have been watching for the big schools of salmon that were reported a couple weeks ago from the Morro Bay/Avila area. As the salmon bite tapered off here in Monterey Bay last week, everyone was anxious to see these fish come up from the south.  Well, they are here now. Chris Arcoleo from Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching tracked the salmon as they came up the coast. On Sunday, Arcoleo reported, “We heard reports for a couple days of salmon being caught down near Cypress Point. Those fish have now moved into the bay. Everyone is catching fish. We had ten today, and other party boats caught up to 15. A lot of private boats got their limits.” Chris’s also sends rockfish trips out, and weather conditions allowed a few make it down to the vaunted Big Sur area reefs. “For the rockfish, we’re getting limits.” Arcoleo said. “Very good fishing on Saturday at Sur with limits of reds, lings and what have you.” Friday’s rockfish trip on the Check Mate counted 220 rock cod and six lings for the 22 anglers aboard.

Kahuna Sportfishing from Moss Landing saw their salmon counts rise steadily this week. Thursday’s trip netted just two kings for eight anglers aboard the Kahuna. On Friday they caught four, and Saturday’s trip saw nine king salmon in the box. The Kahuna is a mooching boat, and owner Carol Jones pays close attention to details. “Working your bait through the water column is key to catching a salmon. Anglers who did that caught fish. These are a nice grade of fish. We’ll be back at it tomorrow.” Jones said. For the longer view, Jones added, “What we need are some anchovies in the bay. Those fish will come up here. We need large bait schools to keep them here for a while. And these salmon want moving bait. It’s sometimes hard to get clients to be persistent. You have to keep working your bait. We went up to Pigeon Saturday. Those guys did OK with about a fish a rod.  I think we’re going have a long season, and I think it’s going to happen as long as we get good upwelling. It looks like that is going to happen starting this week with strong northwest winds. that’s what feeds the anchovies They love it, and consistent upwelling will keep these fish here. I don’t mind sitting at the dock for a couple days due to heavy winds when it means there’s going to be big anchovy schools. It’s the best for the mooch bite.” 

Inside the Monterey Bay, the bite started picking up just before the weekend with private boater reports ranging from a fish per rod to boat limits while trolling relatively high in the water column. The 50 to100 foot depths seem to be best for now, and the salmon are concentrating at the ‘usual spots,’ namely Soldiers Club, Mulligan’s Hill, the big canyon fronting Moss Landing, and the Soquel/Pajaro Hole areas.

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