Location: UC Santa Cruz
|Spent Saturday fishing the Santa Cruz and Capitola wharfs. Started in SC looking for any kind of baitfish. People we talked to said that last year memorial day was so thick with mackerel that you couldnt miss if you tried but this year it was very quiet. The weather and sea conditions were excellent in the late moring and early afternoon, very sunny and warm with just enough breeze to keep it from geetting too hot. Water was clear and flat. We were just able to jig up a few spare shiners, walleye perch and baby squid. We left after a few hours.
Got to Capitola in the early afternoon and the beach was BEAUTIFUL.
Wind was down, sun was out.. and so were the beach bodies. Upon walking out to the pier we were very excited to see a dozen or so pelicans working some kind of bait. I brought my thrownets so i was particularly excited. The fishing action was a little better here, more perch being caught, a few large jacksmelt and I saw a few large sandsole-type fish being taken. Still early in the afternoon, the guy fishing next to us hooked and landed a nice guitar fish. Picture from the Capitola Boat and Bait website.
Looking in the water you can see that the bait that the birds were working were these very small pinhead anchovies. I tried to throw my net but I think the 3/8inch mesh was too large for them and i wasnt able to net one. My parents and sisters were content to pick slowly at the pinheads and perch with sabiki jigs. Incredibly they also jigged up atleast a dozen small squid that I used for live bait for the possible halibut or striper.
Took one of the live squid to the surfline on a carolina rig and got really excited for a moment when I got a bite and a fast run. Immediatly I thought striper, I set the hook and it was on! It fought hard but when I got the fish to color it turned out to be the largest jacksmelt I had ever caught! I didnt measure it but it must have been near 20inches and at least 2 pounds. I was very surprised to catch a jacksmelt on a whole live squid fished on the bottom. Gave the fish away to a fellow fisherman.
Later in the afternoon I was able to get a few shiner perch in my net and I took them to the surfline for a shot at some halipers.
I set my pole with a live shiner on a "tall" 3-way rig, 24 inches from the swivel to the weight and 8 inches from the swivel to the hook. I casted just an underhand lob away from the pier so with the line tight I could keep my bait up and away from the crabs.
An hour or so of soak is when it happened. I was actually away from my pole when a guy ran up and told me my pole was going off. I look up to see my rod jumping and pointing to monterey. By the time I got to the rod my line was wayy off in Narnia and still running, I reeled down and set the hook to solid contact. Fish fought great! Headshakes and hard runs. I eased the fish up to color and it was a nice halibut! We didnt have a landing net so with the help of another fisherman I was able to beach the fish and secure it, Legal Halibut! From the capitola website,
No more action after that, took home the halibut with a mess of pinheads, some walleye perch and a few squid. Lucky day for me, enjoyable day for all.
|nothing but crabs getting hyphy on the bait.