Capitola Wharf — 23 years

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Capitola Wharf Fish Reports

May 1997—Roslynn at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop reports fast action on perch but most of the perch are the smaller walleye surfperch. The feisty perch are hitting on pile worms, pieces of shrimp or ½-ounce jigs. A few kingfish (white croaker), skates and small bat rays are also being landed but other species, for the most part, have been absent. She hasn't seen any halibut so far but expects them to start hitting in the next 4-6 weeks. Ditto the absence of schooling species like mackerel and sardines.

June 1997—Roslynn at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop says it is kind of up and down, good one week and slow the next. Best action currently is on smallish-sized walleye surfperch. Most fish are falling for pieces of shrimp and anchovies, while some are being caught on small jigs. A few halibut are being landed, including a 24-pounder two weeks ago, but action still isn't fast. The same with kingfish (white croaker) and mackerel. Schools of mackerel will surround the pier one day, and be gone the next. She says she hasn't seen any sharks or rays recently.

July 1997— Rob at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop says it is kind of slow, lots of kingfish (white croaker) and jacksmelt but not as many of the larger species. The pier is seeing a few halibut each week and a striped bass now and then but it isn't steady. Anglers still are getting a lot of perch, mainly smaller surfperch (walleye) using bait rigs, but also a few of the larger splittail perch (white seaperch or pileperch). Mackerel action has been slow, perhaps due to a swell that has been running for a few days.

September 1997—Frank, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop, reported a mix bag of fish. Primary action has been offered by "big" jacksmelt which have been hitting on bait rigs, while a number of halibut have fallen to live bait anglers—including fish of 24, 25 and 27 inches. Around the pilings, anglers continue to hook small perch—shiners, barred surfperch and rubberlip seaperch. Cast out from the pier and you're almost guaranteed a kingfish (white croaker) although most are small. There's also been a lot of bat rays recently although most are small 3-8 pound babies. Untypical lately have been the number of rockfish taken off the wharf. Most are blue rockfish or gopher rockfish, which are being landed on small pieces of shrimp. A lingcod was also landed by a fisherman using a bait rig.

November 1997—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop, says that anglers continue to pull in the ever present kingfish (white croaker) and good numbers of jacksmelt, but the real news was the 8-pound striped bass caught this week as well as a couple of steelhead. The striper fell to an anchovy fished under a bobber while the steelhead fell to Krocodile lures. There has been a swell for a couple of days which dirtied the water, but last week, when the water was clear, a school of about 70 striped bass came into the shallow water by the pier (and provided a little excitement for those on the pier). Perch fishing is also decent with a combination of barred surfperch and walleye surfperch providing most interest, although one young lady caught a 1 1/2 pound splittail perch (white seaperch). Mackerel action is good some days as is the fishing for sardines, and fishermen at night have been landing quite a few thornback rays (which they released). Evidently a few leopard sharks have also been falling to squid baits.

December 1997—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop, says that barred surfperch are beginning to show; while jacksmelt, walleye surfperch and kingfish continue to show up for anglers. Two keeper-size lingcod were also caught last week (one on a live herring), and several steelhead have also been landed (nightcrawlers and a bobber for one, strips of squid for the others). A few sand sharks have also been landed.

January 1998—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop, says anglers continue to land some small steelhead but best action is on several other species. A number of sand sole have been caught recently and some were large, up to about 4 pounds. There are also some barred surfperch (on pieces of shrimp or on bait rigs), walleye and silver surfperch, lots of jacksmelt, small kingfish, and a few sand sharks (brown smoothhounds). Fishing was very good when the swells were large but now that the ocean is calm it seems to have slowed a little.

March 1998—The pier reopened on February 27th after being closed since the 3rd. Ed, at Capitola Boat and Bait on the wharf, said damage from the winter storm included the loss of water lines, the lower landing, and one piling. They're hoping the landing will be repaired by the start of salmon season but the city decided it wanted to do the job—which can be good or bad from my viewpoint. The city may have some funds available but who knows how long it will take them to finish the various paperwork and permits. As for fishing, Ed reported that anglers were catching some sand sharks and dog sharks on cut anchovies the morning I called (the 28th). He said there should also be lots of kingfish around but only three fisherman were fishing when I called and evidently they were fishing for sharks.

April 1998—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop, reports that a lot of dog sharks/hornback sharks (are these dogfish or horn sharks?) are being caught by anglers fishing on the bottom with squid. The sharks are small but very numerous. Some good sized sand sole have also been landed with cut anchovies being the best bait. A few grass rockfish and lingcod have also been landed on anchovies with the two biggest lingcod being measured at 23 1/2 inches each, 1/2 inch short of legal size and they were returned to the water. As usual, there are also a lot of small kingfish (white croaker) and bullheads in the water but they don't count. Lastly, some splittail perch (white seaperch?) and barred surfperch are being landed but not in any great numbers; the water is flat and they prefer it a little rougher. Ed says to remind people that they still cannot drive their trucks and boats out onto the pier although rental boats are still available on the pier.

May 1998—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop, reported that a 90-pound bat ray was caught on squid, and released after weighing, the morning I called (May 2). Ed said anglers continue to catch some barred surfperch and walleye surfperch on pieces of squid, bait rigs and grubs. The day before, two under-sized striped bass had also been landed, while a striper, estimated at ten pounds, was lost just before it got to the railing of the pier. As usual, kingfish (white croaker) and small sharks (dog sharks and leopard sharks) continue to be around the pier. Little action on fish like mackerel and sardines so far this yea

August 1998—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reported that most of the attention recently has been on striped bass and halibut with both species being caught daily. The stripers are running to 20 pounds while the halibut are mostly under sized fish with maybe one legal fish every day or so. Both species are hitting on live shiners, mackerel and frozen anchovies. Ed says there are also a lot of barred surfperch available and the always present kingfish (white croaker). He's also seen a few split tail perch (either white seaperch or pileperch). A few dog sharks (dogfish), bat rays and leopard sharks (to 4 feet) add spice to the action and when a school of mackerel or sardines moves in to the pier's waters everyone will catch some fish

October 1998—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that fishing is still pretty good! Steelhead are starting to be caught although most are small, 1-1 1/2 pound size fish and they are being taken on spinners. A 13-pound striped bass was taken last week and several skates and shovelnose guitarfish have also been landed—as well as some leopard sharks. Small fish action has centered on barred surfperch in the surf area, mostly on shrimp, and walleye surfperch around the pier. With a swell expected this weekend, Ed expects improved fishing. Big news recently was a 40-pound black seabass taken from the pier by baitshop owner Frank Ealy. He cast out a live Pacific mackerel one day and the young blackie grabbed hold. The illegal fish was quickly released. Ed said he got a nearly identical 40-pound black seabass fishing nearby in a boat a short time later and said that quite a few have been caught in the area by private boaters. There also was a good run of white seabass with about 35 being caught—all in 40-70 feet of water. A 52-pound fish was the largest!

November 1998—Ana, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that the fishing for striped bass is hot right now. The largest fish recently was 15 pounds but a lot of 12-13 pound fish have been landed. Most are falling to live sardines or frozen anchovies. Other fishing is the usual—some barred surfperch, lots of kingfish (white croaker) and small perch around the wharf. Ana also reports quite a few small 12-14 inch steelhead being landed on worms and small lures.

December 1998—Ana, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports a mixed bag of fish. There have been several lingcod taken from the wharf (one legal size) as well as several brown-variety rockfish; most have been taken on anchovies. There are also the normal walleye surfperch, kingfish (white croaker) and barred surfperch as well as more and more sand sole and starry flounder. The striper fishing has slowed with only a few small striper still making a showing and the steelhead bite has stopped, they've moved upstream.

January 1999—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that things have slowed but fish are still being landed. Quite a few sand sole have been caught up to about 18" (most are 12") while two lingcod were caught this week (24" and 26"). Some jacksmelt are also being caught but the perch action has slowed. He's heard reports of steelhead around the inshore areas but hasn't caught one recently, and has also heard reports of lots of dogfish sharks in the bays so expects to see them come in by the pier soon. As usual, you can catch a lot of kingfish (white croaker) if you so desire.

February 1999— Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that things are fairly slow, it's mostly jacksmelt (both small and large) and barred surfperch. The smelt are hitting bait rigs all around the pier while the perch are hitting on shrimp or mussels in the surf area and primarily late in the afternoon. One angler did manage to pull in a 35-pound shovelnose skate (shovelnose guitarfish? big skate?).

April 1999—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that the wharf is currently closed for repairs and should open toward the end of April.

July 1999—JoAnn, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), says that the repairs are finished and the wharf will be open officially for the 4th of July holiday.

August 1999—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), says that they've been pulling in some fish and she's kept a record. Recent fish included a 10-pound striped bass, 50-pound angel shark (which was thrown back), and some keeper halibut. Anglers are getting perch, mainly walleye and barred, together with some kingfish and crabs. She says there have been some really large spider crabs taken recently. Lastly, she reports lots of bait in the water so fishing should only improve.

November 1999—Frank, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), says that anglers have been getting quite a few steelhead (1 1/2-4 1/2 pounds) using cut anchovies and lures. A few stripers (to 12 pounds) have also been landed. Action on the top is dead, as is the halibut action; as always there are kingfish (white croakers) for those so inclined.

December 1999—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), says that the anglers are getting a variety of fish. Steelhead continue to be caught by anglers using worms or lures; a 20” sand sole was caught the morning I called; and some starry flounder were also caught. She added that some nice surfperch are also being taken inshore and one small cabezon was landed.

January 2000—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), says that there’s been a nice mix of fish recently although overall, things are still slow. One angler landed a 3-pound steelhead on a GRUB; another angler landed 4 LARGE barred surfperch on shrimp; and finally, two nice-sized lingcod were caught from the wharf, one that went 10 pounds. Anglers fishing the bottom continue to pull up some kingfish, sanddabs and sand soles. Those fishing near the top encounter an occasional school of sardines. A few thornback rays have also been landed.

March 2000—Currently closed for repairs.

April 2000—The pier has reopened and Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that quite a few grass rockfish have been taken from the pier recently. Most of the rockfish were from a pound to a pound and a half in size. The other main species have been perch—barred surfperch and walleye surfperch. The barred are falling to shrimp bait and green grubs. He hasn’t seen any stripers yet but pier anglers are hooking quite a few small skates, sand sharks and dog sharks

June 2000—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that lots of striped bass have been taken since the 10th of the month, 10-15 a day. Most of the fish are 6 pounds and up, and an 18 and 22 pounder have been caught. They’re being caught on live bait and Krocodile lures. (However, she says the school appears to be moving over to the Cement Ship area.) A few halibut have been caught off the pier (to 10 pounds) and even a few white seabass have shown around the pier. Mostly though there’s the usual walleye and barred surfperch concentrations along with lots of kingfish (white croakers). They do continue to pick up a few sand sharks and dog sharks and saw a thresher from the pier but it wasn’t hooked.

August 2000—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that there has been a pretty good bite on striped bass. Big fish recently have included 14, 18, and 19 pounders. Lots of perch and kingfish (white croaker) and under-sized halibut to 20”. They also caught one white seabass but it was 4 inches short of legal size.

October 2000—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that some stripers are still being taken from the wharf and they’re reaching good size (including fish up to 25 pounds last week). Not a lot of them but enough to keep it interesting. He says there is a lot of bait in the water (sardines and anchovies) and most of the big fish are falling to live bait that have been taken on bait rigs. It’s slow on kingfish (white croaker) but some halibut are also showing at the pier. Unfortunately most are too short to keep. Quite a few perch are also available but they are small-sized perch—walleys and shiners. Shark fishing has been slow with only a couple of leopard sharks being taken. Most interesting are the reports of barracuda close in near the pier although none have been caught at the pier so far.

December 2000—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that things are slow with not too many fishermen showing up on the pier. Action though has been very good on steelhead (up to 5-6 pounds) although she says you can’t keep them. Kingfish (white croaker) remain thick while a variety of perch—barred, walleye, silver, and shiner are also showing up on the anglers’ lines.

January 2001—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports continued good fishing for steelhead from the pier with many in the 5-6 pound range. She says anglers are getting them on night crawlers, shrimp and (believe it or not) bait rigs. Other than that the action is mainly on big jacksmelt and a variety of perch.

June 2001—Josh, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that quite a few halibut have been taken from the pier lately including a 22-pound fish and an 18-pound fish. Two striped bass were also taken around 22” in size. He says there is steady perch action, mostly forktails (white seaperch?), and some rubberlip seaperch, together with lots of jacksmelt. In addition, there have been some big bat rays taken along with good-sized leopard sharks.

September 2001— Frank, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports some nice-sized striped bass have been taken by knowledgeable anglers using live sardines or casting lures. Most of the stripers are in the 14-pound class size. A few perch have been landed and about two dozen halibut in the last two weeks. As usual, some kingfish are around but he says not as many as would be expected. He says if the big mackerel and sardines come close to the pier he expects to see some white seabass; currently they’re more on the opposite of the bay down toward Seaside and Monterey.

November 2001—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that quite a few steelhead have been landed recently from the wharf. Most of the 1 1/2 –2 pound fish have been landed on grubs, silver Blue Fox lures, or on cut anchovies. Some barred surfperch are also beginning to show up inshore. As usual there are lots of bullheads (staghorn sculpins), kingfish (white croakers) and jacksmelt showing up out toward the end of the wharf.

March 2002—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that lots of perch are being taken: walleye surfperch out at the end of the pier and barred surfperch inshore. There hasn’t been any action on the surface to date (no sardines or mackerel) but that should change soon. There have been some very big steelhead swimming around the pier lately but nothing can seem to get them to bite.

April 2002—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that lots of walleye surfperch are being taken from around the pier along with some bigger barred surfperch inshore. Ditto on lots of kingfish (white croaker) out at the end. Baitfish are also finally starting to hit local waters—lots of anchovies and sardines. He did see two small halibut this week taken on the pier as well as a 15-pound leopard shark. Most interest is one the salmon fishing on the rental boats and apparently some salmon are being taken. He says a few barracuda and white seabass are being also caught by the salmon boats fishing from Monterey and that he heard a huge white seabass, a 68-pound fish, was taken this week. Latest Message Board Report, Capitola Pier, 3/21/02 Posted by geckomd on Mar-22-02 7:53am—Fished at Capitola Pier yesterday afternoon from 1:00-4:00PM. Non-stop perch action the entire time that we were there. When I left, they were still biting! The three of us averaged about one hook up every 2-3 minutes and this particular school had larger walleye perch with most fish in the 9-10+" range. Believe or not, my arms actually got tired from hauling those fish up the pier, unhooking them and throwing them back. One of the customers in the restaurant, who was watching us do this for an hour, rushed home to get his gear just so he could join in on the fun! Best action to date! Enjoy!

June 2002—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports good action on some big perch. One was a 3-pound rubberlip perch, the other was a 3-pound barred surfperch. She says the bigger perch are hitting on worms, mussels and lime or white colored grubs. She says there have been a few halibut, mostly keepers, and some skates. Also lots and lots of small walleye surfperch. Only a few sardines and no mackerel to date but she says the pelicans are working hard offshore so some type of baitfish is coming in. Last, but not least, there has been a good run of striped bass and halibut off of New Brighton Beach so hopefully some will move a little north to Capitola.

August 2002— Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that things are a little slow. The bait is still holding out at the 40-foot depth and until the bait moves in closer the big ‘uns will not show up. She says there have been quite a few sharks and skates on the bottom as well as the usual small walleye perch but only a few halibut.

October 2002—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reported on 9/30 that two halibut had been taken that day, a 5 and a 6-pound fish. One angler had also caught a 24-inch steelhead over the weekend and some stripers had been lost. She said some big 2-3 pound barred surfperch are also being taken, mostly on grubs, with chartreuse and the red flecked motor oil colored artificials doing the best. Russ Jacobson "Fat Rat" reported on 9/29 that “there's been a fair amount of bait in the water, and people are catching halibut and even a few stripers off the pier. There was a 15-lb. striper on 9/16 and a 14-lb. striper on 9/21, but nothing reported since then. Someone caught a 7-lb. salmon on 9/18, and there was also a 10 lb-halibut caught on the 18th. These along with the numerous perch, kingfish, bullheads. All were caught using anchovies or sardines, most off the bottom with a slider rig of some sort. Although one guy told me he saw a big striper caught last weekend using a live anchovy about six feet below a bobber.

November 2002—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that some decent-sized surfperch have been taken inshore recently and that a LARGE kelp rockfish was taken out at the mid-pier area. Other than that it’s mainly been continued fair action on sand sole and lots of small rays and skates. Russ Jacobson “Fat Rat” reports “there have been a few halibut caught off the pier in the 6-8 pound range using hair raisers. There have also been a few stripers caught on sardines, including a 21 pounder, and a few in the 14-17 pound range.

January 2003—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that the city reinforced the end of the pier after some pilings were damaged so fishing is still allowed. Only problem is that the fishing is so slow. Only a very few perch. Too much muddy water according to Anna.

February 2003—Ed, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports that action is slow with some barred surfperch and splittails (white seaperch) showing up inshore with some jacksmelt and kingfish in the deeper water. One leopard shark was caught last week. The wharf is still not repaired so vehicles are not allowed on the wharf and thus no launching of private boat

July 2003—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports a variety of fish have been hitting, some on some days and others on other days. Most of the time though there have been lots of perch (a variety), kingfish and jacksmelt or sardines. Big fish recently: On the 21st a 13 1/4-pound king salmon was landed and the next day the same angler landed a 16-pound silver salmon. Both fish were taken inshore near the breakers and both fish were taken on anchovies. On 6/24 a 26 1/2-pound and a 15-pound striped bass were taken, one on an anchovy and one on a Fish Trap lure. Several halibut have also been landed. Also on the 22nd, a juvenile white seabass was landed.

October 2003—Anna, at the Capitola Boat and Bait Shop (on the wharf), reports quite a few perch being taken: barred surfperch inshore, rubberlips and buttermouths further out on the pier. Anglers fishing the bottom are also taking kingfish and a few skates. Biggest fish recently from the wharf was a 9-pound steelhead that had to be released. She also says they are seeing good numbers of striped bass swimming around the pier every day but so far no one has found the perfect bait or lure to get them to strike; it’s frustrating. There is lots of bait around the pier, mostly anchovies.

June 2004—Ed, at the bait shop on the pier, says that things have been slow. There are lots of perch — barred, walleyes, and a few rubberlips, and lots of bait — anchovies and sardines — but few of the bigger fish. Striped bass are being spotted but so far haven’t cooperated with the fishermen, i.e., grabbing hold of baits and ripping the lines from the pier. Nevertheless, a few skates have been taken and a couple of bat rays. Sharks are absent. And, he says, some brown rockfish, grass rockfish, and lingcod have been taken under the pier. The lings were returned to the water. As almost always, kingfish (white croakers) are also available.

July 2004—Ed, at the baitshop on the pier, says that things have been slow. Some big rubberlip perch are hanging around the pilings but will not bite while baitfish — sardines, anchovies, and jack mackerel—are hanging out just away from the pier. A 14-pound halibut was taken last week together with a number of dogfish, several guitarfish, and several rays and skates. Ed says one of the skates was a large longnose skate while another sounds like a California skate. Kingfish (white croaker) and small perch, shiners and walleye, are plentiful but not too many quality fish. However, a 12 and a 15-pound striped bass were also reported from the pier and more have been seen.

August 2004—Shelly, at the baitshop on the pier, says that the biggest news recently was the capture of some nice stripers from the pier. Included were a 22, 14, and 12-pound fish. All were caught from 7/22-7/24. Some leopard sharks and dogfish are also being taken along with the usual kingfish. Baitfish—anchovies, sardines and mackerel are also plentiful.

September 2004—Derek, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports some nice stripers being caught this month. A 22-pound striped bass was taken by Jim Lindsey, a 14-pound striper by Chris Behm, and a 5-pound striper by Gordon Imoto. A 12-pound halibut was taken by Rob Halbach. He says 3-5 decent sized stripers were taken some days. He says there are also some mackerel, perch, leopard sharks and tons of anchovies in the water. All of the stripers were taken on live anchovies.

October 2004—Ed, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports that stripers continue to make an appearance. A 28-pound fish and a 24-pound fish were taken in the surf adjacent to the wharf; both were caught on Pencil Poppers. However, most of the pier-caught stripers have been taken on live anchovies. Baitfish—Spanish mackerel, anchovies and sardines continue to surround the pier and attract in bigger fish. Ed caught a 28-pound white seabass himself just out from the pier. As usual, there are also tons of kingfish (white croakers) available for those so interested.

November 2004— Jo Ann, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports that lots of big perch have been taken lately along with a few steelhead (taken on anchovies fished under a bobber). And, they’re still getting striped bass on anchovies, Pencil Poppers and Kastmasters. A few leopard sharks are also making an appearance.

January 2005— Jo Ann, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports that lots of big perch have been taken lately. She says there have been big rubberlips, some good-sized buttermouth (blackperch), some barred surfperch (inshore) and lots of walleyes. She says there are also lots of kingfish (white croaker) and jacksmelt. Surprise fish of the month was a large turbot landed from the pier by Ed who works on the pier (when he’s not fishing).

April 2005—Ed, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports that that pier anglers are mainly taking a mix of perch (black, rainbow, splittail), jacksmelt, and kingfish (white croaker). A couple of starry flounder have also been landed along with a few small sand sole.

May 2005—Ed, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports that that pier anglers are mainly getting the normal mix of kingfish (white croaker) and perch along with some small skates and sharks. A few striped bass do continue to show up but most are way too small, However, a 12-pound striper was taken on a dead anchovy with a bobber last week. One storm after another just seems to be keeping the water dirty (and hurting the arrival of baitfish).

August 2005— Curtis, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports some perch continue to be taken along with a few striped bass and some under-sized halibut. He’s also seeing quite a few small leopard sharks lately.

September 2005—Anna, at the Capitola Baitshop, on the wharf, reports a nice mix of fish being caught from the wharf. Most impressive were several striped bass topped by a 9-pound fish. Many stripers have been spotted but most are never hooked. The usual small kingfish are around as well together with some good perch, small kelp rockfish and a few lingcod (all of which were too small to keep). There’s also a lot of bait in the water—Pacific herring, Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel) and anchovies. Lastly, a number of under-sized halibut have been taken.

November 2005— Anna, at the Capitola Baitshop, on the wharf, says there’s a pretty good perch bite taking place. Big forktails (white seaperch), rubberlips and barred surfperch make up the mix. Some days the jacksmelt move in and an occasional halibut still shows up but that’s about it.

December 2005—Ed, at the Capitola Baitshop, on the wharf, says there’s a pretty good perch bite taking place inshore. He says it’s a combination of barred, redtail, pile and walleye surfperch. Not too much going on out at the end of the pier although a few skates have been taken along with too many bullheads (staghorn sculpin).

March 2006—Anna, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says the kingfish (white croaker), perch, starry flounder and sand sole are hitting with all being taken on (market) shrimp. I would think you could do better on the flatties with cut anchovies and better on the perch with pile worms (or shrimp) but whatever works.

April 2006—Anna, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says that the perch action has been good. Nice sized barred surfperch in the surf area, buttermouth (blackperch) and rubberlip out at the end, with some walleyes and rainbow perch mixed in. Add in a few jacksmelt and the always present king fish (white croaker) and it presents a better picture than most piers this month.

June 2006—Anna, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says that the perch action continues good with some barred surfperch in the surf area, buttermouth (blackperch) and rubberlips out at the end, with some walleyes and rainbow perch mixed in. The always present king fish (white croaker) are found on the bottom along with a few sharks and skates. Big news recently has been some pretty decent action on striped bass including fish of 12 and 17-pounds last week. Halibut are also starting to show up although most to date are still too small.

August 2006—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says action remains good on a variety of fish. Lots of halibut (although most are shorts) with some big halibut being caught inshore on live bait. Striped bass are still around with fish to 19-pounds taken recently. Lots of black perch, walleye perch, skates and small bat rays. Some good sized leopard sharks are also beginning to show up. Ed says the south swells are keeping most of the bait away from the pier but expects things to really break open when the swells stop.

October 2006—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says most of the action is on perch although there’s been a wide variety of fish caught recently including a steelhead, a silver salmon, some schoolie stripers, skates and a 40-pound black sea bass that was taken on a live jacksmelt and 12-pound test line. He said it was quite a fight for the bsb before they realized what the fish was; it was netted and then returned to the water. (Actually if you hook a black sea bass you should cut the line while it is still in the water,) Last but not least, a few mackerel, jacksmelt and anchovies are still hanging around and providing action on some days.

April 2007—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says quite a bit of bait was around the wharf for a few days and when it was there some legal striped bass were taken as well as a few small halibut. The wind pushed the bait out about three days ago and it’s been a little slower since although anglers are still getting quite a few perch under the pier (walleyes and rainbow) while some leopard sharks are showing in the surfline. Ed said the bait (anchovies) are running bigger this year than last year when it was mainly pinheads so he’s expecting the fishing to be good.

July 2007—Stephanie, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says a lot of striped bass are still being caught. Most are small fish but they’ve ranged up to 18-pounds. Bait (mainly anchovies) are thick around the wharf and that continues to bring in the fish. Although there was a run of white seabass mid-month they’ve been absent lately. There are also some perch—barred inshore, black and walleye under the pier.

January 2008— Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says most of the action lately has been on perch. Barred surfperch have shown inshore while a few blackperch, some splittail (white perch) and walleyes are available mid-pier to the end. The usual bullheads and kingfish (white croaker) are also available if anyone wants them. Largest fish taken recently was a 6-pound silver salmon caught (and released) on a Little Cleo last week. The creek is open and steelhead should be showing but none have been taken to date. He said he’s also seen a few dogfish (sharks).

February 2008—Anna, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says some nice perch are being taken inshore—both barred surfperch and calico surfperch (try bait or Gulp Sandworms). Out at the end, she’s seen quite a few baby cabezon along with some sole and the usual kingfish (white croaker). Ed Burrell also reported some black and rainbow perch mid-pier to the end.

April 2008—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says things have picked up highlighted by quite a few schoolie-sized stripers being taken inshore. Out at the end there’s some rainbow and black seaperch along with a few starry flounder. Throw in a few small leopard sharks for variety.

June 2008—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says some nice fish continue to be taken including an 18-pound striper taken by an angler (Mike) who fly-lined a live anchovy behind the bait shop. The same angler lost a large bat ray (estimated at 50 pounds) later in the day. Two legal halibut were taken from the pier last week (live and frozen anchovies) while the surfperch have slowed. However, the usual denizens—kingfish and small perch—are available around the pier.

July 2008— Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says it’s mainly been smaller fish off the wharf lately— anchovies, shiners, king fish, and perch—although a couple of white seabass were also taken.

August 2008—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says the big news recently has been on halibut. The day before I called about fifteen were landed off the pier with four being legal size and he says there have been over 30 legal size fish taken recently, the largest weighing in at ten pounds. It’s slow on stripers but some small white seabass have been showing. Perch action is slow and there really hasn’t been any top action from the jacksmelt or mackerel.

October 2008—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says the wharf has been decent lately with some barred and black perch showing up, short halibut, and a mix of Spanish mackerel, Pacific mackerel and jacksmelt. He says some small squid are also being taken by anglers using bait rigs. He also saw an 11-inch sand sole one day.

April 2009—Frank, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says the fishing is spotty. A few perch are showing up, and a 25” halibut was taken a few days ago, but not too much else of any size. Anchovies are available for those with bait rigs as well as some sardines and a few mackerel.

Halibut_Capitola_2009_8.jpg

California Halibut

June 2009—Ed, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, says that overall things have been slow although they pulled in an 11-pound striper the day I called. The fish evidently hit a Blue “Bomber Lure” and though they’ve had other fish following lures that was only the second striper taken on the wharf so far this year. A few halibut are also being taken, primarily on swim baits, and a few perch, mainly whites and blacks. The bait is hanging out from the pier just a little too far so provide enticement for the bigger fish.

August 2009— Regulars on the wharf are lining the inshore section of the wharf most days in pursuit of striped bass and Stephanie, at the Capitola Bait Shop, on the wharf, said that a 29-pound striper was caught the day I called. The top bait is sardines that are Sabikied up (although some jack mackerel and small perch are also available). Out at the end, the usual kingfish (white croaker) and walleye surfperch are available as well as mackerel and sardines that come and go.

Striper_Capitola_2009_1.jpg

Striped Bass

September 2009— Ed says people are still managing to Sabiki up some sardines that are then used to land an occasional striped bass (to 14.5 pounds) and halibut. Some smaller perch are also available mid-pier to the end as well as the usual white croaker.

March 2010— Ed at the bait shop on the pier said it’s been slow unless you like kingfish (white croaker). There’s a lot of kingfish, and fair numbers of small sand sole, if you cast out from the pier. Drop your line down by the pilings and you have a chance for an occasional cabezon or bolina (brown rockfish). The pier did pick up its first striped bass of the season but it was a youngster only about 10” long.

April 2010— Ed at the bait shop on the pier said everyone was looking forward to the salmon opener but conditions were such that the wise angler stayed on the wharf. Luckily some fish have been showing up, including surfperch and quite a few leopard sharks; most of the sharks were under legal size but at least two were keepers. He’s also seeing some sand sole, starry flounder and kingfish (white croaker), most being taken out by the end. Some blackperch also continue to be taken down by the pilings and we both commented on the number of large blackperch this year. He said he’s probably seen more than 40 blackperch over 12” in length and at least three that were over 15-inches in length.

September 2010—Ed at the bait shop on the pier said the sardines have been thick and anglers are filling buckets with them. Best action is in the morning and in the evening. While the stripers should also be active they’ve actually been somewhat slow. A few have been taken but not in the numbers to be expected. Down around the pier it’s the normal—blackperch, walleye surfperch and shinerperch. No halibut to speak of.

November 2010— Ed at the bait shop on the pier said things have been slow. Kingfish are being caught out at the end, some perch under the pier, and a couple of steelhead have been taken inshore. A sand sole was also taken this week as well as a few calico surfperch.

February 2011— We’re sorry to hear of the passing of Anna who was a friendly voice for many years, Usually I would call, we’d exchange pleasantries, and then she’d say, “Ed better answer your questions.” She always seemed a nice lady. As for the fishing, Ed says a lot of sand sole have been taken lately along with decent numbers of barred surfperch (inshore) and walleye surfperch (mid-pier to the end). Anchovies are holding out from the pier and he says if and when they move closer it might attract a few striped bass.

Sand.Sole_Capitola_2011.2.jpg

Sand Sole

July 2011— Ed, at the Capitola Pier Bait Shop, reported it all depends on the swells. When the water is reasonable, and swells are low, the baitfish (sardines and mackerel) are in around the pier and that’s primarily when the stripers and halibut are showing up. A decent run of stripers was topped off by a ten-pound fish although most of the stripers were smaller but still legal-size fish. Almost all of the stripers were caught on live sardines while one angler managed a 10-pound halibut on a live shinerperch and another halibut was taken on a Fluke lure. There’s also some perch taken off the pier, a few leopard sharks, a couple of bat rays, some skates and the usual small kingfish (white croaker.

June 2012— Matt at Capitola Boat & Bait on the wharf reported the first halibut of the summer, a six pounder caught on June 2 that fell to a live shiner. The same day saw two shovelnose guitarfish caught from the wharf along with some thornback rays. Other than that it’s been mainly perch and a few sand sole. Anchovies (small ones) are now hanging by the pier, and that usually means an influx of striped bass, but to date only one small striper has been reported.

October 2012— Ed at the pier’s bait shop reports quite a few king salmon were taken from the wharf lately, most by people using live anchovies fished under a bobber; top fish 11 pounds. The kid’s derby at the start of the month saw good numbers of perch, kingfish (white croaker), brown rockfish and even a small steelhead.

August 2013—Ed, at the Capitola Wharf Bait and Tackle, reports that the pier is surrounded by anchovies but they’re the pinhead variety and really too small for bait. Other than that it is mainly lizardfish, some walleye surfperch, shinerperch, and the usual small kingfish (white croakers). A few skates have also been taken. Unusual fish was a sablefish taken about two weeks ago, the first he’s seen at the pier.

Sablefish_Capitola_2013_7..jpg

Sablefish

December 2013—Ed at the pier’s bait and tackle shop reported good fishing some days around the wharf for jacksmelt, including some that are pretty good size. Unusual fish recently included a large giant kelpfish and a steelhead that was caught in the surf-line on shrimp.

September 2015— Ed, at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said they’re still getting mackerel off the wharf along with the normal small croakers, perch and smelt. It confirmed what I had seen in a visit to the pier on August 20 when two and a half morning hours fishing produced 62 fish—31 Pacific mackerel, 12 lizardfish, 8 white croaker, 4 (very large) jacksmelt, 4 staghorn sculpin, 2 walleye surfperch and 1 shinerperch.

November 2015— Ed, at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said things are a little slow but mackerel are in local waters. At least one halibut was caught from the wharf using a live jacksmelt. Lots of sharks are in the bay, soupfin and leopards, but none have been caught from the wharf.

June 2016— Ed, at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the good news lately has been the number of striped bass being taken from the pier. Most are 14-17-inch fish but they’ve ranged to 24-inches. Most are taken on live sardines or swim baits (although a 20-pound fish was landed by an angler using a live mackerel as bait). Both mackerel and sardines are available but they are in and out with the best chance of getting them in the early morning or evening hours. One under-sized halibut was taken but it was about the first since an 18-pound halibut was landed two months ago. As for the surfperch, the barred and calico surfperch have been missing. Walleyes are available as well as small shiners and an occasional blackperch under the pier.

July 2016— Myron at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the fishing for stripers has been off the hook. I talked to him on July 1 and he said 38 stripers had been caught the previous day (although only 4 keepers). That morning an additional 10 stripers had been caught (2 keepers). He said they are hitting live bait mainly, shiners and, if you are lucky snagging one, sardines. He said using sardines under a bobber almost guarantees a fish. A few halibut have also been landed lately but all were small with the exception of an 18.6-pound fish a few weeks ago that fell to a person using frozen herring. Mackerel continue to hit on the top along with smaller perch on the bottom.

August 2016—Mike at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said anglers continue to pull in good numbers of striped bass from the pier, most are school-sized but there has been a lot of 10-12 pound fish. The fish are hitting live bait—sardines and shinerperch, and the best hours are in the evening 6-9 P.M. A few small halibut have also been taken but no legal size fish to date. Other than that it is the usual mackerel, small kingfish (white croakers) and a few perch under the pier.

September 2016— Mike at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said anglers continue to pull in good numbers of striped bass from the pier, most are school-sized but there has been a lot of 10-12 pound fish. The fish are hitting live bait—sardines and shinerperch, and the best hours are in the evening 6-9 P.M. A few small halibut have also been taken but no legal size fish to date. Other than that it is the usual mackerel, small kingfish (white croakers) and a few perch under the pier.

September 2018— Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said action is fair. The normal perch are showing, blackperch, walleyes and a few shiners and the anglers who catch small perch use them as live bait for halibut. Quite a few halibut have been landed including some legal size fish to about 10 pounds, Stripers are still available to people casting out pencil poppers but nothing much is happening on the top, a few mackerel at night but they come and go.

December 2018— Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said most of the action during the day has been on the normal species—kingfish (white croaker), jacksmelt and perch (barred surfperch and calicos in the surf area; blackperch at the end down by the pilings). Nighttime action sees sharks, mainly dogfish sharks and a few leopard sharks, added to the mix. He says the pier is open all night out to mid-pier and the gate. He also said there have been a lot of pinhead-size anchovies hanging around the pier which has increased the action inshore on the barred surfperch (including some slab-size fish) and, with the opening to the creek, some steelhead (to about two pounds in size). He says the barred surfperch are hitting on mussels and shrimp while the steelhead will hit a live anchovy fished under a bobber.

February 2019— Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the weather has been tough but anglers continue to haul in perch, a combination of barred surfperch (inshore) and blackperch and walleyes further out on the wharf. Most have been taken on cut shrimp. Some small steelhead have also been taken (and released).

May 2019— Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the weather has been tough but anglers continue to haul in perch, a combination of barred surfperch (inshore) and blackperch and walleyes further out on the wharf. Most have been taken on cut shrimp. Some small steelhead have also been taken (and released).

August 2019— Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said it’s one of the best years in some time — when the south swell cooperates. Anchovies are massed around the pier and in response both striped bass and halibut are plentiful. But when the south swell comes in it pushes the anchovies out from the pier and the fishing slows. So give a call to check how the swell is running. When the swell is cooperating the fishing is good. Anglers use live anchovies (or shiners) under a bobber by itself or sometimes with a couple of spit shot sinkers. It’s basically shallow water fishing from the surf out to about where the wharf widens. A lot of stripers are caught and the day before I called Julian Renz caught a 12-pound striper. Halibut too are plentiful on the same bait and in the same area but on the bottom with quite a few of the flatties exceeding 10 pounds in weight. At the end of the pier most of the action is on perch, especially walleye surfperch but a variety show up. Mackerel are in and (mostly) out although the early evening seems to be the primo time to hit them. Mix in a few bat rays and leopard sharks (inshore) and that’s about it.

October 2019— Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the fishing is still good and should remain so as long as the anchovies are around the pier. Halibut are the main sportfish and though some striped bass are still making a showing more are being caught down on the beaches. Mackerel are in and out with biggest numbers usually in the evening. Not much else although a lot of small perch are around—walleyes and shiner and some of the regulars prefer the shiners as live bait over the anchovies (they last longer). Some blackperch are also to be found under the pier at the end.

November 2019 Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the fishing has slowed down. He says it’s mostly perch fishing at this time. Barred surfperch and walleye surfperch are available inshore while some splittails and blackperch are available in deeper water. He said the perch are joined by some kingfish (white croaker) and jacksmelt. He says the pier is still surrounded by pinhead-size anchovies but the striped bass and halibut are both missing.

February 2020—Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the wharf is open to anglers but the boat launch is not in operation due to broken pilings by the launch. He says the city is taking bids on the repairs and hoping to have the pilings fixed and the launch reopened by March (or at least by April). As for the fishing on the pier, he’s seeing some small barred surfperch and big calico surfperch inshore, while anglers fishing under the pier at the end have reported some blackperch and splittail perch. Casting out from the pier is producing kingfish (white croaker).
 
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Red Fish

Well-known member
#2
The sand sole from 2011 looks like a sand dab the way the guy is holding it out way from his body and his hands appear to belong to “Andre the Giant.”
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#3
It's hard to see the 4-5 long, and seemingly disconnected, dorsal rays but it's a sand sole. Sanddabs are always left eyed, this is right eyed.

Here's another sand sole from Capitola that shows the "free" rays a little better.

Sand.Sole_Capitola_2013.2.jpg

Sand Sole

Species: Psettichthys melanostictus (Girard, 1854); from the Greek words psetta (flounder), ichthys (fish), melas (black) and stictos (specks).
Alternate Names: Halibut, sand flounder, spotted flounder, fringe sole or fringe flounder.
Identification: Sand sole are in the right-eye flounder family. Most easily identified by the fact that the first four to five dorsal rays are long and free (seemingly disconnected). Their coloring is generally gray to tan above with light speckling.
Size: To 25 inches although 20-21 inches was felt to be maximum size until recently. Most caught from piers are under 16 inches in length. The largest I’ve caught were a nice 19 ¾-inch fish taken one early September morning at the Pacifica Pier and a 17 ¾-inch fish at the San Francisco Municipal Pier on another September morning.
Range: La Jolla, San Diego, California (or Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, California) to the southeastern Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands (from Unalaska Island) to Port Heiden and Gulf of Alaska. The southern range has changed considerably over the years. Marine Fishes of Southern California by Percy, Spencer and Barnhart (1936) does not list the fish. The California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin No. 68 by Roedel (1948) simply says Southern California but uncommon south of Point Conception. Fish Bulletin No. 157 by Miller and Lea (1972) list Port Hueneme as the southern limit the same as Coastal Fishes of the Pacific Northwest by Lamb and Edgell (1986). The Petrson Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes by Eschmeyer, Herald and Hammann (1983) lists Redondo Beach as the southern limit. Those ranges changed on February 3, 2005 when our PFIC Reporter, Snookie, caught a 15-inch-long sand sole at the Balboa Pier (which was followed by a report on the PFIC message board that night). The current range (to La Jolla) is given in Certainly More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes of The Pacific Coast by Love (2011). A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes by Kells, Rocha and Allen (2016) gives Balboa Pier as the southern limit.
Habitat: Shallow-water areas, both sandy shore and rocky shore.
Piers: Primarily landed at piers from Monterey Bay north. Best bets: Seacliff State Beach Pier, Capitola Wharf, Santa Cruz Wharf, Pacifica Pier (#1), Candlestick State Park Pier, Berkeley Pier, Point Pinole Pier, Fort Baker Pier, Del Norte Street Pier in Eureka and the “B” Street Pier in Crescent City.
Shoreline: An occasional catch in sandy shore areas in central California
Boats: Only occasionally taken from boats.
Bait and Tackle: Generally taken on cut bait such as anchovy, sardine or squid. Live grass shrimp and pile worms also make good bait. Most often landed on high/low leaders fished on the bottom but many are also taken in the Bay Area by fishermen using the live bait sliding rigging common for flounder. Hooks should be size 6 to 4.
Food Value: Excellent! Mild flavored flesh that is best fried or baked.
Comments: Sand sole are an excellent sportfish and are good eating. However, many of these sole are mistaken for California halibut and unnecessarily returned to the water because they do not meet the minimum size requirements for halibut. Learn to differentiate between the different flatfish species. Sandies live to about ten years of age.