A Lingcod from the wells

#1
Long time forum lurker, first time post. Here goes...
I grew up fishing. I fished brook trout and crayfish in my backyard everyday after school until I moved away from the country in middle school. I forgot fishing until my son came of age to fish. Urban fresh water fishing is not really my thing so I decided to research pier fishing. I came across this site and was hooked. I must have read the article on Santa Cruz wharf a hundred times before this weekend. I would tell people there about the lingcod Ken wrestled from the wells on the end (with no net or gaff and a rockfish on the other hook mind you) and they would tell me I was crazy.

This weekend it happened to me, my first ever lingcod! And from the wells! 19” beautiful light blue. I did have a net and a helper so it was a clean catch and release.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, I would like to think my son and I put it to good use.
 

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#2
Welcome to the board. Glad to hear that you got into the pierfishing, but be forewarned....it gets very, very addicting once you figure out how it all works :) And don't be shy about asking questions or advice, we have a good lot of folks who have been doing this for 20+ years who are happy to share information. I grew up in Half Moon Bay (north of Santa Cruz), and would be happy to share my insight on the coastal/ocean fishing in that area. Good luck!
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#5
Nice catch! I still fish those wells whenever I visit Santa Cruz and most of the time, but not always, continue to catch fish in them. And, I think only once have I had the unfortunate occurrence of hooking a sea lion.
 

fly

New member
#6
...I grew up in Half Moon Bay (north of Santa Cruz), and would be happy to share my insight on the coastal/ocean fishing in that area. Good luck!
I'm planning to hit HMB this weekend - not specifically for fishing but I will take a rod and squeeze in an hour or two. In the absence of any information about this beach, I'm planning to take a perch setup. Would you recommend targeting different species? Any tips on productive locations?...there's a lot of beach there! I'll probably stay off the jetty - don't want to drag the family over all those rocks. Thanks!
 
#7
You might try googling Martins beach, which is south of HMB, sometimes there are some good holes down there for barred surf perch. Another good location is the state beach off of Kehoe Ave in HMb, but again, it depends on the current conditions. I personally liked to fish Montara beach, but I think it is al part of the state Marine Reserve now, so I’m pretty sure you can’t fish it. There is a family friendly option a little north in Pacifica called Rockaway beach, and there are places to eat right there on the beach. Rockaway sees a good share of stripers too so my may get surprised while perching. The last option is the small fishing pier in Princeton harbor. Hope this helps.
 
#8
I am planning a trip down to HMB this saturday. Hoping to land a ling or some rock fish. I have been thinking about just going out onto the jetty but was hoping to get some help on a more promising spot if there is one. I was also considering bodega bay if that would possibly be a better option. Also, what/where is the wells?
 
#9
I'm planning to hit HMB this weekend - not specifically for fishing but I will take a rod and squeeze in an hour or two. In the absence of any information about this beach, I'm planning to take a perch setup. Would you recommend targeting different species? Any tips on productive locations?...there's a lot of beach there! I'll probably stay off the jetty - don't want to drag the family over all those rocks. Thanks!
Unless you are planning on surf fishing, I'd bring along a setup suitable for fishing from the rocks i.e. stouter pole, heavier braided line, stronger leader, etc.. if possible. You can land perch easily with that setup but you'll run into problems fishing snaggy structure for other groundfish with lighter tackle meant for perch, let alone trying to land whatever you catch if you don't have a net to land it with (I usually never do).

Having said that you've got numerous options depending on what kind of fishing you're looking for:

Princeton Pier: Smaller rockfish and perch on light tackle is totally possible here. I've seen people use swimbaits or plastic worms with weights as light as 1/4oz with plenty of success. Squid, shrimp, gulp sandworms, etc.. will also produce.

HMB Jetty: As with all jetties YMMV depending on how far you're willing to walk and how much time you're willing to put in. If you're only looking for a quick 2 hour session, I wouldn't recommend fishing it since the walk-in/out alone will eat up a lot of your time. Baitfishing squid will give you access to pretty much everything that hangs out within 10-15ft casting range including monkeyface eels, perch, greenlings, rockfish, cabs, etc.. Swimbaits or dropshotting other plastics might entice some larger fish but prepare to lose tackle.

Miramar Beach: Starting at Coronado St. running south pass Ebbtide Cafe (which is delicious): Never fished it but this time of year I know that the bait balls are still thick and move in really close to shore. If I were fishing it I'd target the feeding frenzies with swimbaits, metal, or lures like an SP Minnow for stripers. I wouldn't throw any topwater lures since the birds will absolutely divebomb it and you'll have a mess on your hands.

HMB SB, Poplar, Redondo Beach: Plenty of coastline to to surf fish for perch but can get really steep and if the swell is up those waves can really push you around.

Martins Beach: Beautiful spot especially if the swell is down and wind calm but steel yourself for the long (but easy) walk in from the turnout off the 1; If you're lucky the gate may be open and you'll be able to park closer to the beach for a fee, but I normally do the walk. Snaggier than most surf fishing along this stretch of coast because of the amount of kelp in the water, but there's a good variety of fish to be caught here. The rocky ledge to the far north is accessible close to low tide and for an hour or two after and offers prime positioning to deep water for virtually all inshore species but at a steep price: the ledge is treacherously slippery and if the swell is high enough where waves are splashing up onto the edges, incredibly dangerous. I almost exclusively fish from the rocks and I have yet to encounter terrain as slippery as the ledge at Martins, so please take that into consideration.

San Mateo Coast beaches (Tunitas Creek, San Gregorio, Pomponio): Lots of good surf fishing here for perch. San Gregorio has a pretty intense Lagoon cutting off access to the shoreline so you'll have to find a way around or wade through the narrower section; totally doable but you need to get your feet wet for sure.

San Mateo Coastal Rocks (Pescadero, Bean Hollow, Pigeon Point): Unless you're really wanting to scramble around rocks, I'd probably stick to Pescadero or the far ends of Bean Hollow close to the parking lots since they offer access to beaches or rocky points to fish from. Definitely prepare to lose gear if it isn't heavy enough to stand up to snags. I mention Pigeon Point because if you are tackling it around the bottom of the tide, it'll open up different pockets of water, especially on it's southern side, but it's a snagfest.

Tight lines out there!


I am planning a trip down to HMB this saturday. Hoping to land a ling or some rock fish. I have been thinking about just going out onto the jetty but was hoping to get some help on a more promising spot if there is one. I was also considering bodega bay if that would possibly be a better option. Also, what/where is the wells?
If you're comparing jetties I would vote for the Doran Jetty in BB over HMB if I had the option. Less people and generally calmer water this time of year. If you're really wanting to land some quality size rockies, cabs, or lings-- and you're willing to drive at least as far as Bodega Bay-- I'd personally keep driving north and hit the coves and points north of Jenner like Timber Cove, Ocean Cove, Salt Point State Park, etc.. but it's definitely slow-going along that stretch of the 1. Still, having fished those spots a bunch in the past 4-5 months, I can't recommend the Sonoma Coast north of Jenner enough.
 
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