Monterey Bay anglers continue to enjoy fishing for our wintertime species all across the Bay from Monterey to Santa Cruz. For charter boats, the primary prey continues to be small flatfish caught from deep waters. Sand dabs may be little, but when you can catch and keep as many as you’d like, fun times and food supplies are guaranteed.
Chris’ Fishing Trips out of Monterey reported the usual “Lots of sand dabs” for their trips this week, plus 60 petrale sole for the Check Mate and 26 Dungeness crab pulled up on the Caroline.
Stagnaro’s Sportfishing in Santa Cruz is enjoying the same sort of success. Owner Ken Stagnaro reported, “21 anglers on board Legacy, caught 350 nice sand dabs and 10 petrale sole! It’s been a great season for dabs this winter!”
We have finally reached the month of March. This means it’s time to start gearing up for our annual season openers. Beth Norton from Go Fish Santa Cruz is enthused. Her latest message says, “We are looking forward to 2022 fishing season. Rockcod season opens (April 1). Salmon season opens (April 2). Meanwhile, JT is busy making upgrades to the charter boat Miss Beth. New fiberglass deck, a lot of polishing, painting and other improvements. JT will be the Captain and JP, who we all know and love, will be the deckhand. The best around!” (Disclaimer: Beth Norton is JT Thomas’ mother, but we cannot argue with her assessment of the Miss Beth and crew being the best. It’s a clean, fast boat, very roomy and the crew are wild-men when it comes to getting their clients on fish!)
Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters is another six-pack operation operating from Santa Cruz Harbor. Owner Rodney Armstrong and his crew have been busy as a hive of hornets down on S Dock all winter. Captain Rodney took the plunge at the end of the season last year and upgraded his boat. Armstrong is understandably excited, saying, “Here we go folks! New addition to our business! Get ready for a smooth comfortable ride. She’s 35 feel, 4 inches long and 12 feet, 1 inch wide, with a bit more speed than the Salmon Streaker. The Streaker has been good to us, but we can’t wait to be running in the Knot Alone! Now we got a head, 5KW generator, killer stereo system, heating, and of course most importantly tons of fishing room!” The new Maine Coaster is powered by an inboard Volvo Penta and looks to be a perfect six-packer for our area.
On a more regretful note, we’ve learned that the famous Kahuna Sportfishing operation from Moss Landing has shut down operations and sold the boat. The Kahuna is now berthed in San Diego and is likely to be operating from H&M Landing. Owner Carol Jones is of mixed emotions regarding the end of her 30-odd years operating the only charter boat out of Moss. “The Kahuna has been sold!!!!” Carol reports. “Thank you to everyone for your support throughout the years. It has been a good ride but I’m off to other adventures.” The Kahuna was special in so many ways. The boat is a 50-foot Delta custom built with no step deck and a “one-off” custom Hoquiam pilothouse/cabin. Originally built for the Delta Company’s owner, Jones purchased the Kahuna 33 years ago from the owners’ son. It featured a smaller cabin to accommodate more fishing deck space. And, it’s fast. Jones said, “It runs through the water like no other Delta.”
That speed was a plus for Jones and allowed Kahuna Charters to offer adventurous fishing trips to more remote locations. They are famous for their “Long Range” bottom fishing forays as far as southern Big Sur. Kahuna would range as far north as Ano Nuevo and Franklin Point as well. The Kahuna was also the premier salmon mooching and halibut hunting large charter vessel in Monterey Bay. They were also dedicated to chasing albacore tuna far offshore when those fish were available.
Carol Jones poured her heart and soul into the Kahuna Charter operations and gained a fierce following of loyal clients, dedicated anglers all. We’re sure it’s bittersweet for Carol, relinquishing this major part of her life. On a happy note, she can relax a bit these days. Charter boat operations carry an incredible amount of stress along with the joy of providing good (sometimes spectacular) fishing for her clients. If you have memories or great stories of times on the Kahuna, please drop Carol a line. She knows she has my heartfelt thanks for her dedication all these years, and I’m sorry to see the Kahuna go.
Allen Bushnell also operates Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service. Please send any reports, pictures or questions to [email protected].