Thursday, November 29, 2012

Drake's Bay Oyster Company has lost its lease and its battle to stay open. They have 90 days to remove their operation. If I were a rancher in the Park I'd be pretty nervous. As someone that fishes off of the National Seashore I'm still pretty nervous. The people that pushed that agenda don't much like fishermen and hunters and now they have more free time.
    Update: Here's a link to a new petition to sign to maybe help, or maybe just to register your dissatisfaction. It's petitioning the White House, for what it's worth.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looks like a heavy weather weekend. There has been a little crab action on the pier and that is probably as good as it gets for the next few days. The bay and ocean both look bad with up to 45 knot winds and seas up to 18 feet for the forecast.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The crabbing in the bay is still OK but it's getting harder to catch them. Numbers in the bay ran from 0 to 16, in the outer bay, 3 to 30, and the one guy I spoke with that tried off of Abbot's Lagoon, 0 on an overnight. Due to the number of empty pots, both in and out of the bay, many people are suspecting crab pot pirates. Usually it's not the case, but sometimes you catch a boat with a guy with your gear in his hands and you start to strongly suspect that something is up. People that are thinking about poaching other people's pots should be aware that almost everyone packs a camera now. Is this guy a pirate? I don't know, but if you read this and recognize yourself, please feel free to explain what was really happening anonymously in the comments. I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big swell today causing a big break on the bar. More forecast for the rest of the week except for Friday, which looks like the go day for fishing the ocean from Tomales Bay. Otherwise, the crabs are still coming in from the inner bay, just not as quickly as you'd get them outside. Way safer, though. The pier is still slow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

No fishies the last couple of days but the crabbing has been decent. The outer bay is still providing a lot of crab if you are lucky enough to be the only one running your gear. The bar has been breaking off and on (very on today) so getting there is currently out of the question. Inside the bay the crabbing is OK if you find the right spot. The pier has been pretty slow but a few skilled (and lucky) folks have done alright.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I tried my luck today with pots at McClure's Beach and below the Keyholes. Keyholes was definitely the spot for me, although there were some Dungeness at McClure's. So far there's not too many commercial pots off of the beach but they're probably coming soon. The radio was full of commercial guys talking about empty strings of pots and moving their gear. Of course, the guys that are filling up the boat with crab probably know better than to blab their location over the radio, so most VHF chatter is usually sad. My rockfishing went well with two limits in a little over two hours while working the Keyholes reefs. Then we spent another hour chasing squid at Elephant Rock for about 80 of the critters. If you want some squid, look for the birds, then meter around the area for big schools on the bottom. The school we found was in 105 feet but would occasionally make the meter read bottom at 55 feet. The little squid will go in next week's bait jars and the big squid will go in me. Unfortunately the weather is turning to rain, wind and big seas for the next few days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another November halibut, this one for Tom Carter of Corte Madera. She weighed 22 pounds and bit a live smelt. He had one other bite. The crabbing was as it's been, slow on the pier, decent in places in the bay and slowing in the outer bay. One "inner" bay boater landed 21 Dungeness before noon. The commercial fleet are splashing pots in the water today in advance of their opener tomorrow, so numbers of crab in the ocean will start to reflect the extra pressure.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who would have guessed that November would be the month to catch halibut? Cray Hall of Hidden Valley Lake caught this 19 pounder today out in front of the Landing on a drifted green label herring. Looks like he's got some good hanging bait for his crab pots. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

With the currents running strong in the bay this weekend, the crabbing has slowed. Actually, the crab catching has slowed in the bay. There's still a lot of crabbing effort, just less crabs in the buckets. The outer bay is still producing well but slower. I heard more reports of reds and females in the pots out there. Elephant Rock had some decent rockfishing today. Yesterday there was a big lump and a steady wind out of the west but today was beautiful. The ocean forecast for the coming week looks good with no swell or wind in the forecast.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The pier had Dungeness for some folks, with at least one lady catching eight yesterday. The bay has had a pretty steady scratch with catches ranging from 0 to limits, depending on your location, gear and bait. The outer bay is still a good bet but there's more red crab and females starting to show up in the pots. No fishies today.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It was my day off today so I didn't get any pier results. I did get to go to down to Ten Mile and drop four pots. In an hour and a half my pots caught (starting at Abbott's Lagoon and moving north about a quarter mile apart) 2, 5, 10, and 9. All pots in 60 feet of water. I also caught a limit of nice-sized black and vermilion  rockfish in that hour and a half. The squid are still in 90 feet of water at the Keyholes if anyone wants to catch some of them. The water on the beach is brown and 57 degrees but it is clear and jellyfishy out in 100 feet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not too much to report, except for the fact that the pier is only mostly slow. Yesterday someone limited out first thing in the morning on the pier. Everyone else was still struggling to catch a few, but this one guy clobbered the Dungeness. So, you probably won't kill them on the pier, but there's a slight chance you will.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nathan Porter (not pictured) of Dillon Beach landed two albacore today, 26.5 and 27.5 pounds. Gage Vogler modeled them to make them seem larger. The tuna came about 45 miles out, due west of Rittenburg Bank. There were at least three halibut caught in the bay as well. The crabbing was still good outside, OK in the bay and slow on the pier.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How's this for a pair of November halibut? Dmitri and Hayden Fogal caught a 22 pound (Dmitri) and 25 pound (Hayden) halibut just inside the bar on live jacksmelt. The little guy caught the big fish, of course. The water was flatter than yesterday, thankfully, so they were able to fish there.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This is a picture of a 21 foot boat coming in across the bar today. He stayed in front of the wave and all was good for him, but the swell got bigger later. A 23+ foot boat got flipped on the bar this afternoon. According to some of the group involved, the boat got flipped end over end. Five people got tossed into the water and later were rescued by the Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter crew. The overturned boat drifted all the way into the bay in front of the Landing before it was in a place where it could be towed in to shore. After almost two hours upside down rescuers were able to cut a hole in the bottom of the boat and free the two trapped children. They were scared and cold but looked like they were going to be fine. Everyone involved was very lucky. No one was wearing life jackets, not even the kids. For the record, if the bar is breaking, don't go there. If there's a possibility of the bar breaking and you are going to go for it anyway, at least put on life jackets and get the heck out of the cabin if at all possible. Usually, if the boat flips, the cabin only makes it easier to locate the bodies. I damn near cried when the kids came out alive. Be safe. Crabs aren't worth your life. 

So far the crabbing outside of Tomales Bay is good. There are places without crab (Keyholes) but there are more with. If you aren't catching, move. Location has as much to do with catching as good bait, and even great bait can't catch crab that aren't there. Tomales Bay had a fair number of Dungeness for the start if you had your gear in the right spot. They're still catching today but the crab are definitely more active on the turn of the tide. The pier, so far, has been pretty slow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Here's Vern Sasaki with three California barracuda he caught in front of the Keyholes today. Supposedly barracuda have been caught as far north as Kodiak Island, Alaska, but you sure don't see many around here. The way this year is going, maybe we'll have yellowtail around the kelp by this Christmas.

Kevin Fogal of Orangevale caught this beautiful 47 pound white sea bass today, as well as a halibut. That's the largest bony fish landed at Lawson's Landing this year. 

This is what the pier looked like yesterday at 1:00 PM.

Here's the pier at 1:00 PM today. What a difference a day makes. There have been a few caught on the pier but it is definitely not hot. Some of the boaters trying the bay have done pretty well; a few even limited.

The early crab totals are: slow inside Tomales Bay, OK to good in the outer bay but good luck dodging all the floating crab pot lines and good at Ten Mile. From the radio, I hear that there's a few salmon coming in, some barracuda(!) and at least one big white sea bass. The fish are coming from Elephant/ Keyholes from the sound of it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dena Corey of Sacramento caught this 20.5 pound halibut today. She caught it on a white bucktail jig near the red and white (TB) buoy.  It might be tough to catch a halibut tomorrow since the bottom of the ocean will be covered with crab pots by noon. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just a quick one. One of the guys put out a well baited pot off the pier for reds and let it soak for two hours around the slack tide. Result: about 20 crabs, half reds, half Dungenesss, half male, half female, and only 3 over 5.75 inches. The pot was rebaited and allowed to soak a while longer but I haven't heard results yet. Moral of this story: The Dungeness season may not be as good as we have all hoped. Corollary: It will only get worse before it gets better.