Santa Cruz Winter Sand Dab Fishing Trip

Stagnaro Charter Boats

Zerve Seller: Stagnaros
Activity #1263

Available Dates & Times Price Duration
All times listed are Pacific time zone


Join us for a winter sand dab trip on the beautiful Monterey Bay and catch the fish that fishermen love to eat! These small but tasty flat fish are known by locals as one of the best eating fish in the ocean, and now's the best time of year to get out there and snag 'em.

On this 4.5 hour trip, you will
  • Come aboard one of our first-class boat, the Velocity, which each carry about 30 fishermen comfortably and feature a full service galley
  • Depart from Santa Cruz, one of the premier ports on the West Coast for venturing out in search of sand dabs
  • Set out to waters from the shallowest zones to depths of over 100 feet, all of which prove rich with sand dabs off the California coast
This popular trip will surely yield plenty of fish for the frying pan. Whether you're a beginner or an old pro, our courteous crews will make your day both fun and memorable.

Book your spot now and don't miss out on this delicious winter fishing opportunity!

What Is Not Included?

Fishing equipment, licenses, and fish cleaning services: Equipment can be rented/purchased online with your tickets. Fish cleaning can range from $5 to $20 for sand dabs, depending on how full your bucket is at the end of the trip.

Food and beverages: The boat also features a full service galley, which sells breakfast and lunch items as well as your favorite beverages (including beer and wine). Previous guests who have enjoyed breakfast and lunch aboard our boats have found $12 per person, cash or credit, to be sufficient ($20 with beer). You many also bring your own food and drinks (but no alcohol)!

Meeting Location

Stagnaro's Office, 1718 Brommer Street, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA) (Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)
78 Reviews Rating: 4.5 4.5 out of 5.0
Verified Customer Reviews
Always from real, paying customers
# of Reviews Positive
= Overall
% Positive Average
Last 3 months 10 20 0 = 20 100% 4.5
Last 6 months 10 20 0 = 20 100% 4.5
Last 12 months 10 20 0 = 20 100% 4.5
All 78 156 6 = 150 94% 4.4
78 Reviews
Displaying 1 - 10
Sort by: Date Attended Gender Age Where From Group Type
Rating: 5
excellent many fish and fun
Sat, Mar 21  6:30 AM Male 50-59 Local Individual
Staff was helpful, fish co-operated, the water was calm, and it was all a great trip. It was nice to re-connect with Stagnaro's charter.
Rating: 5
Great Experience - friendly deckhands, easy catch
Sat, Mar 21  6:30 AM Male 20-29 Local Group of Friends
The trip was very good, just needed to wake up pretty early. The boat was half full about 16 people out of 33 max capacity, so there was plenty of room to walk around and not get tangled lines. The deckhands were very helpful and really helped in getting the most catch possible such as helping out with fishing technique, taking fish off the hooks, and untangling lines. Sand dab is a very easy fish to catch and with no limit, one should be able to catch between 50 to 100 fish, but be aware that the fish is on the smaller side.
Rating: 5
great trip!
Sun, Mar 8  6:30 AM Male 30-39 Domestic Tourist(s) Individual
I had a lot of fun on the trip. Caught lots of fish and the deck hands were very helpful. Very pleasant time.
Rating: 5
Awesome Time
Sat, Mar 7  6:30 AM Female 30-39 Local Group of Friends
We loved the trip and all the crew. We enjoyed catching all the Sand Dabs. We loved the help from crew. If you have never fished before I recommend this trip. Well worth the price.
Rating: 4
Nice Trip - Good Fishing
Sat, Feb 28  7:00 AM Male 40-49 Local Group of Friends
I would recommend this trip. I had hoped for a bit more fish (ended up with 1/4 bucket)...but I had a couple of rig issues right in the midst of the fish catching that slowed me down. Next time I will get a rig with more hooks...and bring a reel with higher ratio.

If you are serious about getting the most sanddabs you can...there are a couple of things you should know:
Rating: 4
Great experience
Sat, Feb 28  7:00 AM Male 20-29 Local Group of Friends
We see whales dophines rainbow. Got a little rain and sea sick. Caught lots of fish.
Rating: 4
As enjoyable as sand dab fishing can be
Sat, Feb 21  6:30 AM Male 30-39 Local Individual
Great boat with great crew. Pretty incredible wildlife viewing to go along with the fishing.
Rating: 4
Sun, Feb 15  7:00 AM Unspecified Unspecified Local Unspecified
The only negative comment i have is that we had to meet a few miles away at the Stagnaro office and we got lost. There should be a check in booth at the Marina. It was a lot of running around before we even got on the boat.
Rating: 5
Everything I expected.
Sun, Feb 15  7:00 AM Male 50-59 Domestic Tourist(s) Couple on a Date
I had a fun day, though my girlfriend had some motion sickness difficulties. I personally didn't catch too many but others on the trip did great. The crew was friendly and helpful, which was great for a total neophyte like myself.
Rating: 4
Had fun and caught a lot of fish
Sat, Feb 14  7:00 AM Male 40-49 Local Other
I recommend the sand dab fishing. Caught plenty. Fried them up and used on fish tacos.
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 78
Ratings and Reviews for:
What has the catch been like lately?
Date: Monday, March 16, 2015 Our last Sand Dab trip yielded about 50 dabs per person and several Mackerel per. We will continue Dab trips on weekends thru March with our last trip on Tuesday March 31... Salmon season opens April 4; Rock fish season opens April 1.
Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
Advance purchase is strongly recommended, and trips often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
If this trip is sold out can I get on a waiting list?
Unfortunately we do not have waiting lists for our trips, in order to get the day and time you prefer, book your tickets well in advance!
What happens if it rains?
We still go out. The fish and whales are wet. The rain is of no consequence; we are concerned with wind and sea conditions and they are not necessarily bad during the rain. In fact, some of our best conditions can be on a rainy day, so dress appropriately. In the case of severe weather, we may cancel the trip up to an hour before the start time, in which case you will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
Do I need a fishing license?
Yes. Anyone 16 years of age or older is REQUIRED to have a fishing license, which you can purchase during check-in. It must be in your possession before getting on the boat. The price of a one-day license is $15.
When do I buy my fishing license?
You can buy the license when you check in for the trip. A one day license costs $15.
How many fish can I keep?
There are no limits on sand dabs! Each fisherman can take as many as he can catch during these 4.5 hour trips.
How big are the sand dabs we catch?
Sand dabs can get up to a foot long, but even the smaller ones make up for in taste what they might lack in size.
I have never been fishing before. Is that okay?
Oh sure, nothing like a new experience! Our crew will assist you and, often times, some of the "seasoned" veterans are willing to offer advice.
What type of gear do I need?
We can supply you with all the gear you need! You can purchase/rent a full equipment package online with your tickets or at our shop prior to departure. Even if you have some equipment at home, our rods and tackle are specific to the type of fish we will be catching. If you are a first-time fisherman, we recommend you purchase our equipment package to ensure that you have all the best supplies!
Can you provide me with fishing gear, bait, and tackle?
Yes, you can rent (or purchase, depending on the item) the necessary gear in our shop prior to departure: Rod & Reel Rental is $13.00 and a Tackle Kit is $6.00.
What is included in the tackle kit purchase?
The tackle kit includes a Sand Dab Rig with 1 weight and bucket to put your fish in. Bait is included in the price of every trip, regardless of whether or not you buy the tackle kit. All participants must have tackle suitable for sand dab fishing to fish on the trip.
I don't want to fish, can I still go on the trip?
Yes. Ride-Along tickets are available for this fishing trip. Ride-Along passengers without fishing licenses may not hold fishing rods during the trip! Please keep in mind that our route depends on the best fishing areas, and we may not pass by any wildlife along the way. If you are more interested in seeing wildlife, please check our Whale Watching and Scenic Cruises instead.
What is the difference between the Regular and Ride-Along tickets?
Each Regular, which includes Adult and Child, ticket-holder is entitled to fish, whereas Ride-Along passengers cannot catch any fish. Anyone without a fishing license, regardless of the type of ticket they buy, will NOT be allowed to hold a fishing pole at any time. For example, if your child is purchasing a Regular ticket and you are only attending as a Ride-Along, you will not be able to hold your child's fishing pole unless you have a valid fishing license in your name. If you do, you can help out, but if you plan to fish, you must purchase a regular ticket. If you purchase a Ride-Along ticket and don't have any intention of fishing or even helping, you do not need a license.
Are these trips suitable for pregnant women?
For safety reasons, these trips not suitable for pregnant women. If you are pregnant and would like to attend anyway, you must first consult with your doctor.
Are children allowed?
Due to the inherent motion of the boat, and for safety reasons, children ages 3 and younger are not allowed on the trip. If you'd like to take your young child on one of our cruises, check out the Scenic Bay Cruise.
Is my child too young to go fishing?
It depends on the child. You know your child best. Age 5-6 may be a good age to get a child oriented with this traditional sport. Sand dabs are a good fish to start out with, as it is very likely that a child will catch something. There is nothing more pleasurable than to see a child feel good about accomplishing a special task. We also recommend that you bring extra things for the child to do – such as a coloring book or game boy or favorite book. Each child has a different attention span. They may fish a bit, then play, then fish again. This will help alleviate boredom.
Can I bring an ice chest?
Yes, however, coolers longer than 20" are not allowed. Also, bringing your own alcohol on board is illegal. If you'd like to drink, please bring extra cash to purchase beer or wine on the boat.
What types of food and beverages are available in the full-service galley?
You can purchase a variety of food and beverage items at the galley. In the morning, our selection includes breakfast burritos of bacon, eggs and salsa; English muffins, danishes, and bagels with cream cheese. For lunch/dinner, our selection includes cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, quesadillas, cold-cut sandwiches, chips, popcorn, and candy. Our drink selection includes soda, bottled water, beer, and wine.
I am planning on eating in the full service galley, how much money should I bring?
Approximately $12.00 should cover the cost of breakfast and lunch, should you choose to enjoy both aboard the boat. If you plan on purchasing beer along with your meals, you should bring approximately $20.00.
Do you guarantee that fish will be caught?
We can guarantee fishing but not catching. The Skipper will do everything in his power to put you where there is fish. We can not control what does or does not bite the hook.
How long will the fishing trip last?
These trips last 4.5 hours.
Where will we be fishing?
Where we fish depends on the weather, how many people are on board, and where the fish are. We usually go about 5 to 10 miles offshore and fish at depths ranging from 200 to 300 feet.
What do I do with the fish I have caught?
We recommend that you have the deckhand clean/fillet them - so much easier than having this mess at home. Fish scales migrate all over the house and never go away. Fish cleaning costs from $5-$20 for sand dab fishing, depending on how full your bucket is at the end of the trip. Gratuities are also greatly appreciated.
Am I allowed to clean my own fish at the end of the trip?
Unfortunately, no. Due to safety concerns and liability issues it cannot be permitted. If you would like your fish cleaned at the end of the trip, please allow the deckhand to do it for you. If you want to clean your own fish, you will have to pack them up and take them home before doing so. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I am from another state. How do I get the fish home?
We recommend that you have the fish cleaned/filleted then freeze them in meal size portions, put them in a styrofoam ice chest and check it with your baggage. The cargo hold in the aircraft is very cold, so it should stay frozen till you get home. As a precaution it is also best to check with the airline carrier to find out the specifics regarding the extra baggage. Another option is to take it to the local UPS store and have them ship it overnight to your residence. This can be costly though.
Can I sell the fish I catch?
NO! It is illegal to sell fish that are caught by way of "Recreational Sport Fishing." If you are caught violating this law, you (along with Stagnaro Charter Boats) will be fined and ordered to appear in court, and items might be confiscated.
I do not want to keep the fish I catch, can I throw them back?
This is not a good idea as most fish will die, so it is better to give them to someone else on the boat who might want them.
Will I get seasick?
We sure hope not. Unfortunately, this is not something we can predict. While we can't recommend you take any medications, prevention might be a good idea if you are susceptible to motion sickness.
Is the boat safe?
Absolutely. In addition to modern safety equipment (EPIRB, Life Floats, Life Jackets, etc.) our vessels are constantly maintained and inspected twice a year by the United States Coast Guard, a Division of Homeland Security.
Are there life jackets on the boat?
Yes, there are life jackets for every adult and child on board. The location of the jackets is clearly posted and verbally announced by the skipper.
Do I have to wear the life jacket?
Adults are not required to wear jackets; however, a child under the age of 6 must wear a jacket at all times.
Are there bathrooms on board?
Yes, there is a restroom on board.
Will we see whales or dolphins while we are fishing?
Maybe. Should the whales pass by, then great! You get a bonus for the day. If they do not, then please do not be disappointed as the objective of the trip is to go fishing!
Where does the boat depart from?
Trips depart from the Santa Cruz West Harbor at Atlantic Avenue. HOWEVER, check-in for the trip happens at Stagnaro’s office at 1718 Brommer Street. The staff will then direct you to the boat, which is under a 10 minute drive away. Don't worry - exact meeting location details and directions will be provided upon ticket purchase!
Where does my trip end?
Your trip will end at the same dock it starts from.
Are your boats handicap/wheelchair accessible?
Our boats are accessible to those with walkers and canes. Though we are often able to accommodate people in wheelchairs as well, our boats are not wheelchair accessible by average standards. If you are in a wheelchair, please keep in mind that steps leading to the boats prevent you from wheeling directly on board. As a result, you will need to be able to walk up the 4 stairs with help or have friends with you that will have to physically carry you from the dock, on to the boat, and back into your chair.
Will there be room on the boat to stow my belongings?
There is a limited amount of space on the boat for your personal belongings. Please keep your coolers under 20 inches in length. Out of respect for your fellow passengers, please keep your personal items to a minimum.
Can I bring my dog or other small pet on board the boat?
No, unfortunately, pets are not allowed on board our fishing trips.
Are gift certificates available?
Yes! Gift certificates for Stagnaro Fishing Trips are great for any occasion. To purchase a gift certificate, click on the "Contact Stagnaros" link.
Can I book a private fishing trip?
Yes! Stagnaro Fishing can accommodate a variety of special requests. Click on the "Contact Stagnaros" link for more information on private trips.


Refund/Rescheduling Policy

Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.

Weather Policy

Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.

Other Policies

Not suitable for children ages 3 and younger, nor for pregnant women.
For safety reasons, children ages 3 and younger are not allowed on this trip. Pregnant women are not advised to attend due to the inherent motion of the boat and safety precautions. If you are pregnant and would like to attend anyway, you must first consult with your doctor.
Participants must have a fishing license before getting on the boat.
All participants 16 years of age or older (and who are fishing) are required to have a fishing license in their possession before getting on the boat. One-day licenses can be bought at check-in the day of the trip or online prior to the trip at for $15.
Participants must have a rod and tackle to fish on the trip.
Participants fishing on the trip must have a rod and tackle suitable for Cod fishing, which are not included in the regular price of the trip. If you do not have your own, you can rent a rod , as well as purchase tackle at our shop just prior to departure.

Stagnaro Charter Boats

The Monterey Bay offers a diversity of fish all year round. Our feature fishing trips are for salmon, cod, and albacore.
The Stagnaro family has been serving the Santa Cruz area for over a century, ever since Italian patriarch Cottardo Stagnaro settled in Santa Cruz in 1879.

This historical landmark business is still leading the way in ocean fun on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Today's fourth generation Stagnaro Charter Boats will surely make your trip fun and memorable.
Please call Zerve at
1 (800) 979-3370
to get more information or
book this activity now
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