Saturday, April 22, 2017


    Does anybody know what these are? And why I'm so excited? Maybe the gray ghosts will be back in numbers this year. I got one report today from a boat crabbing in the outer bay that claimed lots of crab, few of them being keepers, and 54º water with brown patches and bait balls. These are the kinds of things that could lead someone to believe that there are salmon in close. That someone would probably be wrong, but still...
    What is here now are the surfperch. The reports from today sounded pretty good so far with perch up to 12" coming in. Dungeness from the pier is still an option but it's not hot. 
     Also, Fish and Wildlife will be changing the rules on abalone again and would like your input on their plans. Here's their press release:"The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has extended the deadline to participate in an online public survey about recreational fishing for red abalone. To allow for greater participation, the survey will be open through April 30.
 
The 20-question survey will help marine biologists gather public input to assist in the development of a red abalone fishery management plan. The plan will incorporate and expand current management practices for the northern California red abalone sport fishery as outlined in the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan, as well as meet requirements for fisheries management in the  Marine Life Management Act."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

     There's a few salmon out in the deep for anyone willing to take the trip. As of today, the forecast for Saturday looks like a maybe for a trip, but things can change. At least rockfishing is now open, so there's always a fallback plan for dinner if the salmon catching doesn't work out. I haven't heard any halibut reports from Tomales Bay but the water temp by Hog Island is starting to look interesting again, as it hasn't fallen below 56ºF in the last two days. I'd be even more hopeful if there'd been some baitfish passing that way, but if they went in there they did it real quiet. I'd like to see a few pelicans crashing in the water around here, but none yet. The smaller surfperch are still biting out on the beach and there's still a few Dungeness in the bay. Gage says the stripers will start biting in about three weeks, so sharpen your hooks. Here's a successful report from Petaluma Newbie:" On Monday 4/17 my friend, his dog, and I took our boat out on the big blue for the first time. We fished off of Bird Rock (and just south) in anywhere from 50' to 120' thanks to some very friendly advice from a fellow angler, on a nice Trophy fishing boat, who could see we had no idea what we were doing. We got the lines in about 8:30 and fished until around 11:30. We left with 9 fish including a keeper ling at 28". About an hour in I tried "chumming" a mixture of Pringles and Gatorade. It didn't work. We called it when we did so that I didn't "chum" a second time. All in all we thought it was a great day and we owe it all to a friendly fisherman and to your fishing report! Thank you Willy!" If you really want to thank me you can drop off your green lingcod. Those are the best.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    I was sent photographic evidence of surfperch. The majority of the perch are about this size but there's a few larger ones mixed in. I'm waiting for news from a couple of hopeful striper fishermen today but as of yet all is quiet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

     The Pacific Fisheries Management Council have ended their meeting and they chose Option 1, only a two week closure on salmon season in our area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point). Officially it reads:
Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)
• April 1-30;
• May 15-October 31 (C.6).
Seven days per week. All salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length through April 30, 20 inches thereafter (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3). This opening could be modified following Council review at the March 2018 Council meeting.

   Commercial salmon in our area gets August and September, except for August 30 and 31. We sporties got off light. From the sound of things, most of the fish aren't big enough for the commercial fleet, yet. Heck, they aren't big enough for us, even. That'll change slightly in May when our size limit drops to 20" and hopefully changes even more by the summer when the salmon have had a chance to grow larger. Probably not too much larger but every inch counts.
     The surfperch catching has picked up in the last week, as has the striper stories. I've heard a few tales of busted-off fish, and supposedly somebody caught a few shorties off of the Sand Point on squid heads yesterday, but my striper test fisherman says no fish. Then he gave me the stink eye. I guess he didn't have fun not catching out there in 25 knots of South wind.
     The Dungeness have been getting a bit fewer and skankier as the season wears on. Some of the ones coming in have a lot of barnacles and black spots. They still taste pretty good, though.


Friday, April 7, 2017

     I saw this photo on Humboldt Tuna Club and thought that you might find it interesting, both for the facts that 1.) it shows a halibut landed in Tomales Bay (Hog Island is over his fish finder) on Wednesday, and that 2.) said halibut was caught on a Redwood Coast Spreader Bars Humboldt Dredge. I have not used one of these myself but I don't know why a fish wouldn't bite the tail-end Charlie of a school of bait. Part of the success could have been the nice water temps on Wednesday. Here's the water temp graph from the Tomales Bay buoy:

    Also, a friend of mine fished Tuesday and Wednesday back there for no bites and declared the bay empty. Maybe it is now...
    In case you didn't see it in yesterday's comments, Wet Bandit posted:"Was really flat out there yesterday, the water was too blueee.

Heard of a few shakers and a couple landed.Luckily we landed one on the good ol watermelon apex. only 26 inches but sure was tasty. 180 on the wire about 260 ft of water off elephant." So a salmon and a halibut landed on Wednesday. That's a red hot April report.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

    So Gage tells me that there's no perch on the beach, so I figure that he knows what he's talking about, because he's Gage, right? Then I get an email asking for a fish ID for a fish they found washed up on the beach. It looks like a rubberlip perch to me. But it couldn't be, right? I don't know what to believe anymore.

Monday, April 3, 2017

      I was hoping to start this post with some salmon news and a nice crab catching report but I didn't get started soon enough and a bad thing happened, so I'll start with that. Today's accident on the bar was yet another reminder of how dangerous the ocean can be. The two boaters came from Bodega Bay in a 13' Whaler and a big wave broke over the boat while they were on the bar. The passenger was able to hold on to the boat, barely, while the driver was swept away. The engine died and the boat was full of water, but the motor would crank, so after quite some time he was able to get the boat started and start looking for the lost man. He eventually found him and, unable to drag the unconscious victim into the boat by himself, towed his friend to shore on Tomales Point. The Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter, Henry One, end up bringing them both to the Landing. Bodega Bay Fire also came with their boat and towed the Whaler in, putting it on the trailer we provided with better accuracy than expected (This isn't firemen bashing. Have you seen people try to put boats on trailers here? It ain't easy. Nicely done, sirs). They also rescued one of the two dogs that had been aboard. Marin County Fire, State Parks and the National Park Service also came by to help.
     So, the salmon news is that they're out there if the weather lays down. The New Sea Angler picked up 7 salmon to 10 pounds yesterday, according to USAFishing.com. Lots of shakers. This is great news for this year and next year, as this year's shaker is this fall's jack and next year's really nice fish. The jack count ends up setting the season, so here's hoping that a lot of little horny fish hit the river this fall.

     Richard Baratta sent in this photo and report:"Hey Willy
Went out on the first, no crabbers no fishermen no wind. I thought it was a April fools joke on me. Dropped the pots in the bay's oh so secret hole and got a limit in two hours.
Richard" Nicely done, Richard, and sometime you'll have to tell me about that secret hole. I can keep a secret. Probably.