Soquel Hole Salmon Fishing is Hot

That’s right, its time to get your salmon gear together and make your way down to Santa Cruz or Monterey California to get your 2 daily salmon limit.  The fishing has been the best its been all year for several days now, and its not too far of a crawl to get to the fishing grounds.

Most of the anglers are choosing to fish salmon at the Soquel Hole which is just a 30 minute run for most boats from the Santa Cruz harbor.  If you are planning on coming from Monterey it will be a bit longer run to the fishing grounds.  And of course if you are making the trip by boat from Half Moon Bay harbor, it will be even longer again. The Soquel Hole is known for great salmon fishing because it is a collection pot for all types of bait fish with the massive depth changes it has.

The sea conditions the past few days have been relatively nice and calm compared to several weeks ago.  There has been a really nice calm feel out there early in the morning, and of course the afternoon winds have kicked up every single day so far this week, so get your fishing done early.

As the fish are now being caught closer to the surface, mostly between 30-80 feet of water, more and more people are stopping the trolling and opting to save some gas and energy with their mooching gear.  Of course, you won’t escape the numerous troll fisherman who are have tons of success with rigs like pulling a anchovy around or pretty much any other lure these days.

Most of the fish that are showing up at the docs in Santa Cruz have been in the 8-14 pound range, with 20 pound fish coming in daily as well.  Good luck, and if you are going out for the whole day and don’t catch anything, we’ll, better luck fishing next time.

Salmon Fishing Report for Santa Cruz

The 2nd Week of April, 2010:

salmon dodger
A salmon dodger used for trolling for salmon

Well, the salmon fishing has been decent for most people fishing near and around the Soquel Hole.  But, weather has started to take the fish counts down.  As the weekend went on, there wind and the waves and the rain made fishing conditions not worth it for many of the anglers, and the launch ramp at Santa Cruz harbor became a ghost town.  A big difference from opening weekend a week ago.

The overwhelming majority of salmon being caught from private fisherman is happening with trolling gear.  Most of these fish are being hooked at depths ranging from 120-200 feet down.  There was even a report of a kid fishing for halibut near the Soquel Hole bouncing a anchovy off the bottom who landed a keeper salmon (not confirmed though)

It’s too difficult to say what is working best, there is the usual mix of hoochie and dodgers/flashers and dead bait being dragged off the downriggers for the trollers.  And the few fisherman who are mooching are doing the typical sardine/anchovy rig with anywhere from 2-8 ounces of weight depending on the conditions.  If you asked me, mooching with anything over 6 ounces is not too much fun, especially if you are down deep.

So here’s the deal, we are all going to hope for some good weather these next few days off of the coast of California, and if that works out, there just might be some reports of some 30 plus lb. salmon next week.  If anyone has any reliable mile buoy reports for salmon fishing from either Monterey or Santa Cruz of even Half Moon Bay, please submit them via comments below.  There are quite a few smaller craft fisherman who are dying to know if they can just creep out of the channel and have some decent luck at catching their first salmon of the season.

Tuna Fishing in San Diego

What is the best way to catch tuna in San Diego?

There is all kinds of options so you better get your rod and reel ready.  You can use lures, bait, mooch, troll, spinners, jigs, you can even spear fish for them if you are really quick.

  • Bait- This is the method that the majority of the fish are taken with.  Many of the long long range fishing boats load up on this stuff, or catch more of it when they are out to sea.  Live bait is usually a big bonus, and time and time again produces the best numbers.  If you have a live bait well in your boat, definitely stock it up with some sardines or small mackrel, and the tuna will thank you for that.
  • Lures- For the people who want to cover a large distance during the day of fishing, lures provide great value, although they will hit your gas tank when trolled at high speeds compared to sitting still and mooching.  But there is a time and a place for everything.  Lures allow you to troll around and cover more ground if you are not certain where the tuna schools are located.  Also, this will allow you to test out different colors throughout the day until you setttle on one lure that works well, or several that work well.  There is nothing more exciting than trolling lures behind a boat and connecting with 3 or 4 tuna at one time.  its VERY possible too, so be on guard
  • Jigs and other Casting Lures- these work well when you located a school of tuna.  Tuna can be a bit picky on the jig that is thrown to them when they are jumping and nailing live bait, but they are very aggressive none the less.  There have been many people who have had the most success with jigs being cast into schools of tuna.  This can lead to less time spent re-baiting live bait which has the ability to either come off the line, or being stolen by a tuna fish.


Once you make your way to a school of tuna, this is a critical time.  You want to make sure the fish don’t go too far without having given yourself the chance to catch at least a few of them.  So make it easy on yourself. Show up with some livebait.  This way, you can try to keep the fish near your boat by throwing over some sardines for example every few minutes.  Yeah of course you will be giving away some of your precious bait that has no hope of catching you a fish, but this will keep the fish near you.  And in the long run, this will allow you to catch more fish from either bait on hooks, jigs, or any other way you plan on catching the tuna.

All too often people show up to a school of tuna where the fish are jumping like crazy, but they scratch their heads when the fish take off, and are off and lost for good.  This has a great chance of being avoided if you just keep throwing over a few fish or bait in the water next to your boat at 3 or 5 minute intervals.

How to Catch Salmon in San Francisco

Subject: Salmon Fishing west of HMB

Ahoy there one and all!

Spring is in the air (and howling a gale)!! We were blown off the ocean
on Saturday. The waves were just right to make for a miserable ride so we
turned back after giving it a try! On sunday we fared much better going
20 miles west of the harbor. We had a good size swell but not too much
wind close to shore. As we got further off shore it did increaset but
conditions were very fishable.

We were lucky and did not have much trouble with the sea lions (darn
dragons)! or many problems with alot of shakers. Most everything we
hooked ended up in the fish box and tagged by either Zack or Jeff!
Around 11:30 the wind started to freshen and things got a bit dicier. We
continued to catch fish and by 1 PM we had thirteen limits!!! No really
big fish – our biggest was around 16 lbs.
The ride home had me working hard at the wheel to hold our course as
things were not improving in the weather department!

I just hope that it will lay down by Tuesday for our regulars who are
coming out for there monthly Tuesday trip.

Ahoy there one and all!

This is the best day so far of the season!!! The ocean today was oily slick calm. We left the dock with 12 passengers who were enjoying the anticipation of an early start and heading out of the harbor with the dawn’s early light just starting to emerge over the costal mountains. A day full of promise and it sure did deliver!

We headed southwest from the harbor and one of my regular customers Terry came up to the wheelhouse and said that the new propeller was so smooth was this the same boat???? I had changed the old propeller on Wednsday from a three bladed prop. to a 4 bladed prop with a different configuration and pitch. The change is dramatic to say the least!!! Kind of like driving on snow tires and then switching to a set of regular tires.

After getting about 10- miles off shore and south of the fleet I found a spot of krill and birdlife that looked intriguing.
So upon stopping and getting the gear in the water for everyone we started to work the bait. BANG, FISH ON!! then two hanging! Holy smoke we were catching some nice 10 to 12 pound salmon! With the fleet staying up above us and my thoughts were to head south to get away from the other boats I continued to work down the line, hooking fish here and there – some doubles and triples. Which is the way of things when you are “krill fishing.” This is one of the most exciting times for salmon fishing with multiple hookups and fish acting crazy zipping from one side to the other, jumping, then turning to look at the other rods as all the passengers are watching the fish and hollering HEY YOU GOT ONE ON YOUR ROD TOO!!! Dancing and weaving the lines around each other trying to keep them from tangling. Most of the time we are able to keep them clear but then some fish are just not going to make it to the boat.

Ahoy there one and all!

June has been a tough month for salmon fishing. We have had lots of wind,
big seas, rain, earthquakes, Tsunami warnings and just about everything
else thrown in including a new head for the boat (Don’t ask — you don’t
want to know!). So we have been using the time to get some fresh paint
on the old girl. I’ve never known a lady who does not like some fresh

I’ve also been spending some time at the Pacific Fisheries Council
Meetings in Foster City where the rock fishing season was basically
staying the same. We hope this is good news. The season opener is on July
1st. The ling cod go back to the old regulations of 2 fish at 24 inches.
Which, after their (the scientists) statistical glitch we are looking at
some great fishing opportunities for ling cod. Boy! oh boy, I sure can’t
wait for that first fresh dinner of some schoolie blues (my favorite!).

Now on to today’s salmon fishing. We have not been out in almost a week
and a half and the last trip out was with Ken and the “boys”. Today we
traveled down south and found some great fishing off of Pigeon Point in
the deep water!!! After having so much time off and no one really looking
we decided to head down that way to see what the fish gods might offer up
to us. When we stopped and put the gear in the water we almost
immediately had on a 14 lb salmon! Hooray!!! But, we had several people
who thought they would stop these brutes by tightening down on their
drags and the next thing I hear is FISH ON and then snap. I hate that
sound!!! I saw at least 6 to 10 fish popped off due to tight drags. It
sure is tough to lose nice big fish like that. We finally got our act
together and started to box the fish!! There were many Humpback whales
throughout the area and if you know me I like to fish around them as I
think they bring me luck. Which they pretty much did today!

We did fish a bit late today with such beautiful weather it was really
grand to enjoy the ocean and spend some much needed time on the briny
deep! We ended the day with 14 limits for all of the passengers and the
biggest was 19 lbs.

Gosh I think I remember what it is like to once again enjoy being on the
ocean and enjoying the vast expanse of its rich bounty (and with a head
that works)!!!!
Till next time!

April 25, 2006

Ahoy there one and all!

Monday was a true awakening of the season for us aboard the RIPTIDE!! We
had a private family charter on board and they were pretty much locked
into going on Monday, which actually was a very nice weather day. But, I
was so worried about taking them out and having to stay so close to the
beach as everyone knows is not really where the salmon are thought to be
(what an assumption!). Off we went in search of one of the true sportfish
that can be caught on a rod and reel. After hearing about one boat that
had run south the day before (Sunday) I decided to go exploring down that
way. Knowing that the fishing had been slow on the inside and everyone
thinking the same thing I did not have very high expectations. Around 11
AM I was still praying to just get one fish!

For those of you who know me, you know I like to chase whales. I was
figuring that if nothing else I can at least show them some magnificent
creatures! When we found them, they were feeding on anchovies. We were
watching them lung feed through these huge balls of bait. As soon as we
hit one of these first haystacks of bait I heard Deckhand Zack screaming

After boating the first one and noticing the current was screaming down
to the south I turned and started to tack back up to the whales. We did
not quite make it as we had a double go off with two rods screaming off
line with a pair of 15 pound salmon!
Losing one and getting the other I thought I better stick with these
Whales! Man was I right!! We had a steady pick from then on with singles
and doubles landing some and losing some. I just feel frustrated when
that happens but what the heck, at least they got to play the fish and
feel the thrill of the salmon fighting! Still fighting the current and
working around all of these great “riptides” on the surface we had an