17 ft Boston Whaler

Day 2 of Salmon Season Fishing – California Coast

Day 2 – Salmon Season

Fishing for just about everyone on the first day of the salmon season was not nearly as good as the expectations.  Depending on where you were caught fishing had quite a bit to do with your luck, but for the most part, the majority of the anglers who fished off Santa Cruz, CA came back into the docs in the early afternoon without a single fish.  It was a shame in some ways, but the good news was the weather was pretty darn good for everyone.  There was plenty of sunshine, and the wind and the waves were not too out control.

calm ocean waters for opening day of salmon fishing off santa cruz california
Just after leaving Santa Cruz Harbor - super calm and clear skies

To give a better idea of the sea conditions, for most of the boats who left before six o’clock Saturday morning, the stampede to the fishing grounds out near the Soquel Hole were just about flat.  Maybe not like a lake, but the ocean was very calm and was a great way to cruise over the ten mile run at the start of the season.  Later in the morning, the winds started to pick up a bit, and the currents started to play a part in the fishing, but overall weather was not a factor on day one.

17 ft Boston Whaler
here's our small Boston Whaler Fishing Boat

Most fishermen were trolling around, pulling both hoochies, spin baits, and dragging dodgers and flashers as would be expected for an opening day of salmon fishing.  It was estimated that over 250 sport fishing boats left the Santa Cruz, CA harbor on Saturday in search of the salmon, and less than 85 salmon were reported to be caught come late evening.  There were some reports on undersized fish being released, however its very hard to verify those numbers.

trolling for salmon Santa Cruz, CA April 2012
some fellow fishermen trolling for salmon on Opening Day 2012

As the fleet was fishing the area known as “The Hole”, much of the water is deeper than 250 feet, and there again were varying reports of the depths where fish were taken.  Some fish were said to be caught below the 150 foot mark, and some others were reporting fish quite a bit higher.  One thing that was for sure were the complaints of very large schools of jellyfish in the area.  The jellyfish are not usually a major problem, but they can definitely turn your baits into a cluster mess of jelly and the jellyfish can also get all tangled up in your down-rigger gear.  Just one of those nuisances of salmon fishing, but not the end of the world.

jelly fish near Santa Cruz
Jelly Fish on top of the Soquel Hole Saturday April 7th, 2012

As for how we did, well, I’m sorry to say that we did not even get a single bite this opening day.  We did our usual mooching, which was droppin down to 100-200 feet some sardines that were threaded up with a nice hook on the end.  Depending on the time of day, we were using between 2-4 ounces to get everything down as the currents were changing rapidly, but that method produced no luck for us.  Many boats were passing us all day long with their trolling gear, but we did not even see a single net get dipped into the water.  So, quite strange to say the least.  Not what was expected, but maybe it was just us, and others had some much better luck farther up or farther down the coast.

Good weather was a great treat, and we’ll all be trying for some salmon again real soon.

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