Monday, December 30, 2013

Cameron Vogler caught this 16 lb lingcod on a 7" swimbait in 110' of water off of Abbott's Lagoon. The boat ended up with six lings and 50 rockfish, most of them caught under a bunch of squid in 160' of water off of Abbott's. The other boats that went out also did well on the rockcod. Only one more day for the rockfish and then we're all waiting for salmon to re-open. The outer bay still had some decent Dungeness, even for the day crabbers, but the pier was pretty slow. Randy caught four and most of them were from the overnight soak.
The bar was breaking off and on all day yesterday, especially in the afternoon during the low tide. Once out on the ocean the water was great as long as you stayed out of the shallows. The reef at the Trees had a big break and a couple of surfers taking advantage of it. 

Tom McHale demonstrates the proper way to relax and get dinner. Note the sea conditions. This is December?

Friday, December 27, 2013

The quarantine on bivalve shellfish has been expanded to all of Tomales Bay. To clarify, do not eat clams, cockles, or mussels from the bay. Last spring during the quarantine, a lady in the store commented that she didn't have to worry because she would be eating her clams in Santa Clara county, not by Tomales Bay. I'm afraid that it doesn't work like that. Crab is still OK when you can catch them. The rockfish are still biting well in the ocean although the East wind is making for a very strange drift. The outer bay is still kicking out a few crabs. One boat yesterday caught a limit of Dungeness on a half-day soak. The pier is pretty slow. Randy from Carson City is only catching 2 to 4 per day. The bar has been breaking every so often, so great care should be taken when crossing it. The swell is forecast to build this weekend so Tomales Bay might get shut out from the ocean.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The rockfish are still biting out there and the forecast is good this week. Cameron and Gage here got limits of rockfish and lingcod about a mile below Elephant Rock. They're still smiling in the photo because they haven't started cleaning fish yet. There's still a few crab around, with the high boat yesterday catching 26 Dungeness inside the bay. Most guys didn't do as well but it proves that there are crabs there, the rest of us just can't seem to catch them. At least, I can't.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The crabbing in the outer bay was hit-and-miss over the weekend. My pots were a miss with five Dungeness for four pots overnight, but the guys crabbing around me got half limits or better. Crabbing from the pier was painfully slow with reds making up the vast majority of the catch. Rockfishing was good, especially for the guys that fished a bit deeper. The fishermen I talked to caught limits of both rockfish and lings. The California Department of Public Health has cleared the clams from Hog Island to the mouth of the bay and it is only further back into the bay that the "do not eat" advisory is in effect. Here's a map:

Friday, December 13, 2013

The crabbing has slowed down to a point where day fishing will only produce a few if you're lucky and overnight soaking will produce some for whoever pulls the pot first. The outer bay has been a great place to get pirated. (UPDATE: An intrepid pair of fishermen limited on Dungeness while day fishing the outer bay. Maybe the trick is to not go crabbing with me. They also limited on rockcod.) Marker 5 had five Dungeness for a day fisher on Tuesday which worked out to less than one per pot. Still, more than I caught on Ten Mile last week. The day I caught four some fellows caught twelve on the pier, but those catch numbers have slid to ones and zeroes since then. There have been some beautiful big blacks caught close by the mouth of the bay this week along with some decent lings. I have no knowledge of any recent big lingcod but I did hear that some of the commercial crab pots near Point Reyes had baby octopus in them. I'm headed that way tomorrow with my ling gear.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

This 19 pound lingcod came from the reef off of the Towers today, along with six other lings and 50 rockfish. There were a lot less commercial crab pots off of Ten Mile, probably because there are a lot less crab there. After four hours we caught four Dungeness in eight pots. I think I might try a different spot next time. I heard that it slowed down in the bay and even from the pier as well. The weather looks good for Sunday if you can dress warm enough. I was concerned that my hands would be too numb to fish today but luckily the wind eased up and it warmed up. As I write this, though, my fingers still feel like I hit them with a hammer this morning.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The big sea on Thursday must have pushed some more crab into the bay since there seems to have been a bounce in the numbers. One group caught 14 Dungeness on the pier yesterday and some other people had similar numbers over by the number 5 hole. The outer bay had not much to offer for he guys that left them overnight or longer as the swell had sanded in in pots and opened the doors. A few hours with fresh bait caught dinner for some. Here's a report from Thanksgiving Day from Tomales Outlaw: We managed 9 nice dungeness around the Marker 5 hole on Thursday morning. With the bar being a solid wall of breakers the outer bay was, well, out. Apparently not too many people pay attention to your blog as we saw quite a few buoys going under in the current. We had to sort through many undersized crabs. It looks like the crabbing will be good again in couple months, but the bay seems a bit fished out now. Good clean livers can still get a few though. On a side note my buddy did a 3 hour soak off Pelican point Wednesday for nearly empty pots. Happy Holidays.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This pile of crab came from pots in the outer bay that had 24 hours to do their work. Looks like they worked well. The beer came from elsewhere. Ten Mile has been disappointing for most of the guys that have tried there recently, except for a few nice ones in 40 feet of water by the Keyholes. The bay is still giving up some Dungeness but you really have to work for them now. The pier has had a few but not many. One gentleman told me he'd caught three all day on Tuesday but had six this morning on the overnight soak. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just a photo of what you and I are missing. Who wants to fish on glassy water, anyways? Real men take a beating to get their dinner.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Here's a map of northern Tomales Bay. The yellow circles are the confirmed good spots for Dungeness. The green circles are not as good but worth trying if the other spots aren't panning out. Most of the yellow areas are also high current areas, so consider yourselves warned. Your gear will disappear, either underwater or out of the bay, if you let it stay in these areas through a strong current. Crabs don't like the current running fast, either. The boaters that worked these areas, especially by Marker 5 and near the mouth of the bay, did pretty well this weekend. Outside the crabbing slowed for some, although the outer bay is still pretty good if you can soak your pots overnight. Ten Mile was OK, although at least one fellow got skunked on Dungeness down there. I've been told that it might be his choice of stripers for bait, although some other folks have done alright with them. There were quite a few lingcod caught over the weekend. The largest I saw went about 15 pounds. There was also talk of a white sea bass caught off Tomales Point near buoy 2 but I never talked to anyone that actually saw the fish. Here's a firsthand report from Tomales Outlaw: We had a pretty good day Sunday ending up with 23 Dungeness for 4 of us all in the bay. Our outer bay pots did not bring in any dungeness just 6 red crab. We had to work hard for these crab and took a while to find them. My mother was along and she is still pulling pots at 69 years young!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I put six pots down on Ten Mile today and three in the outer bay. After four hours, Ten Mile had 22 Dungeness for us but only three from the other pots. The lings were still biting well and we returned a half dozen keepers (intentionally, not the usual way I return them) while trying to fill our limits of rockfish. We finished out our limits on nice-sized blues at Elephant in 100 feet of water. It would appear that the north end of the beach is played out as most of the commercial pots are avoiding the area between Abbott's Lagoon and the Keyholes. The Towers had a good grade of crab but you have to place your pots carefully to keep them out of the strings of commercial gear. After tomorrow morning the weather looks good for a while. The pier has actually had a bit of decent action with a couple guys going home with four or five Dungeness in the last few days. Not everybody did that well, but there were a few.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The ocean laid down enough for some boats go fishing and crabbing. Both were slow, at least for the guys I spoke to. One boat with three guys caught half limits of rockfish and crab; another boat had a few rockfish but only one Dungeness for four pots. These boats went to 10 Mile where the pressure had been light until last weekend. The outer bay wasn't red hot but there's still a few pockets of crabs out there. Nervous crabs, and not as many jumbos, but keepers. Tomales Bay has been pretty consistent with slow to very slow action on the pier to limits for the guys that know what they're doing in their own boats. I'd tell you if I knew, but when I've asked for their secrets the best answer I got was, "Good clean living." I'm not sure that works.

Friday, November 15, 2013

If you have a boat stored down here you'd better lock it up. A pair of guys in a white Ford Expedition with the license plates removed came in at 3:00 AM last night, hooked up to one of the boats parked here, and drove off for the gate. Unfortunately for them they were spotted and the gate was closed just in front of them. There was a bit of a scuffle and ultimately the thieves were allowed to leave without the boat. And a tooth. It's lucky for them that they met the one guy without a firearm. That has been fixed. Fair warning to other crooks: These trailers aren't all empty and it's a mile to the exit, plus another two miles to the first y in the road.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The nice weather ends today, apparently. The forecast calls for strong winds and big seas through Friday night. Saturday might be OK, Sunday looks good. The outer bay and Ten Mile have had good numbers of crabs and quite a few jumbos. The pier has been slow but a few people are catching some. Randy has been averaging half a limit of Dungeness or better per day from the pier, so it is possible to catch them, it just helps to have Randy's skills. Tomales Bay itself has been somewhere in the middle with a few guys doing well and a few not catching at all, with most guys falling somewhere in the middle.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Leslie Stokes made it onto our big fish bragging board today with this 20 pound lingcod. The fish was taken in 100 feet of water off of Elephant Rock and was caught with the aid of Captains Tom Cook and Joe Gantley aboard Brown's Old Boat.

Kevin and Kaitlin Fogal teamed up to catch limits of quality sized lingcod, bottom fish, and limits of jumbo Dungeness crab on Dennis Carter's boat, The Predator.

Lance Bain submitted this photo of the end of a good November day on the ocean. Dungeness crab don't get much bigger.
     The pier was still slow. Randy from Reno is here and I didn't get a final report but as of noon he had only taken four keepers, which is pretty slow for Randy. The bay was not fantastic but produced dinner or more for most of the boaters that ventured out today. A couple of boats of people had limits or near limits from the marker 5 area. Outside the bay the crabbing and rockfishing was good. Commercial Dungeness season opens on the 15th (pots start splashing on the 14th) and it sounds like there aren't many crab out deep so most of the effort will be concentrated in 40 fathoms or less (from shore to about 5 or 6 miles out). By and large, Dungies are what makes these guys' house payments, so they are going to be working pretty hard to get them while they can. The good times for crabbing, at least in the ocean, may not last past the 20th. Savor those crabs, Lance.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Still slow crabbing on the pier, better in the bay, and good outside. Ten Mile had excellent crab for me. We ended up with 50 jumbo Dungeness, 50 rockfish and 10 lings to 18 pounds.  We had to return over a dozen keeper lings before we finished our rockfish. I think the lingcod are in.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Dungeness crabbing on the pier is painfully slow but boaters have been able to pretty well in the bay if they can avoid losing their gear to currents and pirates. The current was the most prevalent thief and a lot of guys got their gear back at slack tide. The outer bay is still good and crabby but even there, some spots are better than others. Hopefully tonight will be the first night since the opener without someone stuck on the sand bar. The early evening low tides caught at least four boats in four nights. If you find yourself stuck out there the only fix is patience. The water will return and there's nothing you can do to hurry it up.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The weather was pretty nasty outside but at least one boat I spoke with had 30 keeper Dungeness inside the bay today. The pier was pretty slow, with even some of the regulars getting skunked. The strong currents probably didn't help any. Speaking of the tides, the second grounded boat in three days is being assisted by the Coast Guard helicopter as I write this. Boaters, beware of all the sandbars and mind the tides, because the water you went out on can and will leave. The sandbars near the mouth will have breakers over them before you get refloated if the seas are bad enough.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The outer bay yielded lots of Dungeness yesterday but Tomales Bay wasn't as good. The pier had some keepers but as usual there was far more crabbers than crabs. Gage wants everyone to know that he caught two on the pier yesterday and two more today, and they were giants. The numbers of crab in the outer bay are not expected to last long, especially with the amount of effort being applied in a pretty small area. A commercial fisherman passing through the area on Friday night said he couldn't believe the number of pots already soaking. He was also surprised by the number of boats darting around at 9:30 PM pulling other people's pots (it is assumed). You would expect the piracy to at least wait until the season was open, but I guess the early bird steals the worm, eh? Ten Mile had solid crabbing for the few guys that ran that far, even though they had a bumpy ride home. Late note: Star for the day for the Shrimp Boat for towing in, after dark, a broke-down fold-a-boat with two aboard that had been headed out to sea. Good karma to you, sirs.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Boy, a lot of people are suddenly interested in catching red crabs! The outer bay is full of boats coming and going, and if you listen hard, you can hear pots splashing into the water from the beach. Of course, Dungeness season doesn't start until tomorrow, so these guys must all be trying for reds. Good luck, everyone! The rockfishing has been pretty good, so it might be a good idea to try for some rockcod tomorrow while the pots are soaking. Just don't linger, because the wind is supposed to arrive in the afternoon, and just like unwanted houseguests, often it shows up early. And of course, now that the weather window is shut there is beautiful picture of warm, tuna-friendly water about 38 nautical miles out. Too bad you can't get there from here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Slow to decent rockfishing this week with numbers ranging from a few to limits of rockfish and half limits of lings. The better bite has been deeper and further from port, primarily 100+ feet of water from Elephant to Point Reyes. There was a halibut taken and another lost from the northern edge of Dillon Beach. The Dungeness are still showing up in decent numbers in the nets on the pier but the forecast is for the numbers to not hold up. The first few weeks will be the best, probably.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rockfish action has been pretty good, mostly at Points Reyes and Tomales, but not too many other critters showing up in the fish boxes. There was a 12# halibut caught by a kayaker on a jig last week, right across the bay from the boathouse at the bottom of the tide. Lots of Dungeness in the crab nets tempting people. Hopefully it's not the same 12 crabs getting tossed back in over and over. Less than two weeks until we find out.

Friday, October 11, 2013

This is Alec Bennett on the Shrimp Boat last Sunday. This is his first albacore. Alec now knows how to troll for tuna while napping on an ice chest. It's an important skill, at least the way I fish it is. Luckily for Alec, he didn't get into a wide open tuna bite on his first trip, because that can ruin a man and give him false impressions about tuna fishing. Nice work, Alec, and may your next trip skew your impression of tuna fishing toward the improbably good. 
    The weather forecast has turned and is not now supposed to be very good tomorrow, but the nearshore rockfishing should still be pretty good. It's about an 80 mile run to tuna water, so rockfish is probably your best bet.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Looks like good weather for the weekend. A tuna run appears to be out of the question, though, unless the warm water is hiding under all that ice water the wind pushed up. The rockfish are still biting, at least. We put three limits of mostly blacks in the boat in less than an hour in 100 feet of water at Elephant Rock reef this morning and another boat got their limits there as well. The lings bit somewhat slower. The water temperature was 51 degrees so we passed on trolling the beach for halibut.

Monday, October 7, 2013

On Sunday, Travis Barton caught this albacore at 38° 14' by 123° 57' while many other people went fishless.

Local legend Gerard Fitzgerald and crew A.J. Masters and Fugi caught these three albacore, adding to his legend but not his modesty.

This would be the high point of my tuna fishing trip on Sunday, watching the sun rise over the coast. From here it pretty much tapered off to burning fuel and napping intermittently. Saturday was apparently the day for tuna fishing with quite a few albacore and even a few exotics (dorado, opah) in the mix for the guys that didn't wait for the better weather forecast. Other than that there's been some rockfish caught off of Tomales Point and at Point Reyes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It looks like Saturday is the window to get out to the tuna. The New Sea Angler picked up 50 albacore 41 miles west of Bodega yesterday. The satellite picture shows warm water at about 38° 20' by 123° 52'. The weather forecast is bad until Saturday so hopefully the water will wait for us.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I saw some nice rockcod come in this weekend but no salmon, halibut or albacore crossed our beach. There were some albacore caught out of Bodega on Saturday by the guys that ran northwest. There's still a few salmon out there, as submitted by Lance Bain:

Good Afternoon Staff of Lawson's Landing, I just want to thank you for providing some of the best fishing reports for the Bodega Bay area.  I keep quiet for the most part when out on the water but just wanted to say there are still a few fish around.  Landed a limit of salmon on Saturday trolling with two nice fish. One big and one alot bigger.  Did not weigh this fish but the photo tells the story just fine.  Have a good day and thanks again for the great blog and reports. Best Regards, Lance Bain (Boat - The Highlander)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

No fishies today, just a weather forecast that seems to be souring for Saturday. It was never perfect for the offshore and it looks even less awesome now. 15 knots of wind seems like it might be unpleasant to run in, especially for 50 miles (57 statute). Maybe later?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I try to report what's coming in, and unfortunately I've done a good job of it this week. There's only been a couple of boats launched all week and the only fish I heard of were a couple of limits of rockfish and a couple of halibut (literally two) caught by Hog before the wind kicked back up. The inshore water is frigid again, so the already slow halibut bite has tapered off a bit more. On the albacore front, there is some water out there, 35 miles to 60 degrees and 50 miles to 63+. Those miles are nautical, by the way, meaning seven of them are equal to eight statute miles, so it's really 40 and 57 miles. The weather looks pretty good for Saturday and it sounds like some guys are going to run out of Bodega. There's an extended forecast model that shows that the weather should lay down next week and it's possible that the water could move closer if the wind lays off for a bit. There were still albacore getting caught in November last year. Probably better go Saturday, though.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not too many fishermen and even less fish this weekend. There were some rockfish landed here and one salmon from Ten Mile close to Point Reyes and that's it. Several boats tried for halibut in the bay but none were landed. Big swell forecast for this week and wind for a few days. Good albacore numbers from 47 and 49, but that is far on flat water and impossible for most of this week. Keep the fingers crossed for a weather change by the weekend and for the water to push in, because 50+ miles is a little past too far, in my opinion.

Friday, September 20, 2013

There were some nice rockcod caught outside today and an eighteen pound halibut from Hog Island yesterday.Not too much else to report, except that judging by the numbers of nice sized Dungeness being caught and released on the pier (one guy had 13 keeper-sized males between two traps) the season opener should be good.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Robbie Schneider of Dillon Beach caught this nice 13 pound cabezon from the rocks north of Dillon Beach this afternoon. The wind has been blowing for the last week, so fish counts have been pretty slow aside from some halibut by Hog Island. It looks like the wind has pushed the hot water further offshore but it seems likely that it may push back in if the wind would just lay off for a bit. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The winner of the Merle Lawson Salmon Derby 2013 is Gage Vogler, age 11, whose 19 pound (guts out) salmon was the first fish weighed in. It was caught trolling an anchovy on a slip rig in 55 feet of water off of Tomales Point on his brother's rod. Yes, Gage was quicker to the rod, knocking larger fishermen out of the way. Merle Lawson was known for similar agility in pursuit of fish.

Here is Gage at the weigh-in. Note the game face.

John Brezina took second place with a 19 pound salmon. Ties went to the first weighed in, so Brezina had second and Herb Hansen, not pictured, took third place with his 19 pound salmon. Herb had a double at Abbott's Lagoon and never had another bite. Also of note, Stacy Barton and A.J. Masters brought back two salmon. All told there were about a dozen salmon brought in from some pretty rough water. Merle whipped up the winds again to keep things interesting. The bay stayed nice enough for some more halibut to be taken by Hog Island.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Today there was nice weather in the morning but the salmon bite didn't follow. The mouth looked good for halibut but the sea picked up and the bar had an occasional breaker all the way across every once in a while by the afternoon. Offshore, the albacore action was great with flat water until at least 2:00 PM and lots of fish scattered across a wide area west of the north Farallon. I ran to 37° 45' and 123° 20', put lines in the water at 8:30 and ended up with 15 tuna, most in the 20 pound plus range, by 11:00. There wasn't room for more so we came home.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

There were at least two halibut caught on the bar and a couple limits of rockfish brought in, and that's about it. With nothing happening on the beach, it sounds like a number of boats are heading out of Bodega Bay tomorrow to try for albacore. The Merle Lawson Salmon Derby will be held on Saturday at Lawson's Landing and this year just catching a salmon could be all that's needed to win!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

There was a stiff south wind today that made the fishing tough inshore. The few boats that went out from here were all back by 2:00 without salmon or halibut. One had a few rockfish but had trouble drifting slow enough in the wind. There was a salmon taken on Ten Mile yesterday, where the aptly named Got One got one bite, one fish, while trolling the length of the beach. It sounds like there's more stripers on the bar than halibut (but not too many of either). Offshore, the albacore made a good showing with a couple of boats catching 50 or more around 44 and 18. Finally, I heard a tale of sardines and squid(!) being caught in Marshall. If the sardines are like the ones in Bodega Bay (big) then they're probably better filleted than trolled.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Quote of the day: "Everything's there but the halibut." That about sums up the bar. At the bottom of the tide there's brown, warm water, needlefish, a slow drift, but no biting halibut. I heard of a commercial guy catching a few (a few meaning 2-3) a day mooching in the usual spots (Elephant to Trees) but no one else has been able to duplicate his feat. Rockfish and sand sole for dinner for the rest of us.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Beautiful fishing weather today. Too bad the catching was so poor. A few salmon and a few halibut were caught, but there was far more effort than success. Even the rockfish were slow to bite. At least it was a pleasant day to be on the water.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Yesterday was windy and only a few boats went out to catch even fewer halibut. I only heard of one caught by Hog Island. Today there were better fishing conditions and a few more halibut from Hog. The mouth of the bay ("the bar") had cold water and no action for the fisherman I spoke with. Outside there were a few scattered salmon taken by locals. Two came from The McClure's area, one from 35 feet of water and one from 120 feet. The rockfishing was OK for the guys that tried for them.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer must be over, as we only launched four boats today. Of those, one had a salmon, mooched in front of the Trees in 78 feet of water, and one caught this 20 pound striper. Mike Gibson of Lodi declined to be photographed with his fish but did let us know that it bit live bait on the bar. That's all the stories for today.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It wasn't great fishing today but there were some nice fish taken. The Shada family annual fishing tournament (invitation and blood relations only) was held today and all the boats returned with big salmon. Dan Shada won with a 32 pounder. Not in the tournament but still of note, Joe Gantley landed a personal best 31 pound salmon today. The Trees had a few fish, as well as Ten Mile, but neither place was hot. Some boats went up to Carmet and further north and did OK. There were a few more halibut taken by Hog and on the bar. One of the bar halibut didn't hit our scale but looked to go over 30 pounds, easy. There was also a 7+ foot thresher shark that was unintentionally released on the bar after a 90 minute fight.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

   A man was killed on the bay today when he got tangled in his crab net/pot line and was dragged over the side. His body was later recovered by emergency services. The owners and employees of Lawson's Landing would like to express their condolences to the family and friends of the victim.
   Even though Dungeness season is still two months away, now seems like a good time to remind people to be careful when you're crabbing. Even a light crab ring can pull you out of the boat if the boat is moving and the ring gets hung on the bottom. Shuffle your feet in the boat when there is line on the deck. My personal choice is to put the line over the side buoy first and pay it all out before setting the pot in the water. That way, you can make sure that there's no knots in the line and no line to be tangled up with in the boat when the pot goes over. Also, when setting or retrieving gear, wearing a life jacket is a good idea. Actually, wearing a life jacket is a pretty good idea all of the time.
   Fishing was OK today with a little of everything (but tuna) coming in. Halibut from Hog Island (high boat had 3) and Ten Mile (a couple of 1's), rockfish and lings from Point Reyes and the reefs off of Ten Mile, and a few salmon from Ten Mile and the Bird/Elephant area. Also, there was a wild card white sea bass caught by Hog Island yesterday.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mike Morgan caught this 22.5 pound halibut on a live shiner in the channel on the north side of Hog. There were a few others caught on both sides of the island.

Fabian Orozco caught this 21 pound ling cod today. There were two 14 pounders in the boat to keep it company. 
     A couple of boats got on the salmon today, one of which limited in front of the Trees. Another boat had five salmon but I didn't get the word on their location. I was just so excited to see salmon again that I forgot. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Not too many takers today with the wind forecast to come up. Those that did go out didn't go far but there was still a couple of salmon taken, one off of Tomales Point and one off of Dillon Beach. A couple of halibut came from Hog Island on shiners. Around the shop there were rumblings of a small group of boats making an albacore run off of the Farallons on Sunday. There were a couple of white sea bass caught near Elephant last week and there were more rumors of anchovy schools somewhere on Ten Mile. I say rumors because I saw nothing but a few jacksmelt as I leapfrogged my way down the beach, mooching. The only thing I caught down there were Dungness crabs, but I did learn that they love anchovies drifted head down. We tossed back a limit of would-have-been keepers, some of them jumbos and clean.
The ocean was beautiful yesterday and fish were kind enough to leave most of us alone so that we could relax and enjoy the calm water. The few guys that did get bothered were mostly on Ten Mile, where a few salmon and halibut were caught. A few other salmon were mooched up at the Trees/McClure's spot but it was very few. A few halibut were caught in the bay. The commercial boats found some salmon to the north, up by Fort Ross. There's a bit of wind forecast for the next few days and hopefully that will shake a few salmon down this way.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The salmon fishing did not improve today. Of the 17 boats that launched from here, there were two fish mooched from the Bird/Trees area weighed in, one 21 pounds and one 32 pounds. Other than that there was a limit taken from Ten Mile (exact position not reported). There were a couple of halibut taken on the bar and a couple more from Hog Island, and one boat trolling the beach had 5 halibut, although other boats had none. The rockfishing was pretty good, or better than the salmon fishing at least. I did hear about a good albacore bite off of the north Farallon and another good bite at Fort Bragg. I also heard that there are quite a few biting salmon up off Fort Ross in 120 to 240 feet of water.
Slow fishing yesterday, and from the sound of it so far, slow today, too. There were a few salmon and one or two halibut that passed through here. I did hear a second report of albacore off of the north Farallon. Now that the salmon fishing has slowed, I can announce the 2nd Annual Merle Lawson Salmon Derby. It will be held on September 14 at Lawson's Landing. Launching starts at 6:00 AM and all fish must be weighed in by 4:30 PM. Weighing will be done on the Landing's scale by a Landing employee and any ties goes to the fish weighed in first. There will be a potluck held after. For more info, or to RSVP, email Nicki Vogler at

Monday, August 26, 2013

Here's a picture from a few weeks ago. There are only 52 boats in the photo, most of them off of Elephant. Is it weird to be nostalgic for something that happened that recently? Anyway, the bite slowed down and the wind picked up today, making for some low numbers. High boat had 6 salmon from Ten Mile and they earned them on the ride back. The mooching spot had a few fish early but died off. There were a few more halibut caught on the bar but there was definitely more shark action than halibut. I heard a fifth-hand report of wide open albacore off of the North Farallon on a temp break and I hope that it's true, since all the other reports I've heard are sad. There was a salmon caught in 40 feet of water off of Tomales Point but the fisherman left right after landing it due to a 12'+ white shark breaching 30 feet from his boat. 

Another first from yesterday was Mike Darakjian's (of San Clemente) first salmon, a 20 pounder. It took him three trips with Mike Nursement to make it happen. Way to wear 'em down, Mike. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lance Seppi took Blair Farnham and Gage Vogler fishing today. They left at 6:30 and were back by 9:45 with their six fish, four of which went 27, 28, 29, and 30 pounds. It looked like it was going to be a great day for everyone. But, it wasn't. It was pretty slow for most everybody else, with numbers here in the zero to two range. An exception was Alec Bennett who reported that team Bennett boated four by 10:30. These fish came from the same Bird-to-McClure's area, where the weather was so calm today that you could hear the gentle thud of drifting boats bouncing off each other for several hundred yards. The bar held some halibut again, although they were outnumbered by the spiny dogfish by about three to one. A few other halibut came from McClure's and Ten Mile.
This is a very important fish, the man's first salmon. May there be many more, and may your addiction be milder than mine.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It took Jason Kassick over 20 minutes to land this salmon but he did it with no help (except for the netting). The 27 pounder was caught while trolling south of Bird Rock.

Mike Nursement caught this 29 pound salmon today. Most of the early returning boats today had a fish or two, many of them caught while trolling, but later on the water settled down and the mooching lit up for some of the lucky ones with limits to near limits for several boats from here. Fish came from Bird Rock down to Elephant Rock. The bar held some more halibut today, not for everyone but for most of the guys that tried. The halibut have had white spots on them, and the "old timers" tell me that it means the fish are moving into the bay from outside. That's good, because there haven't been many fish in the bay. Maybe the action will pick up at Hog Island soon.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The salmon were still biting in the Trees/McClure's area today. It was better for some and disappointing for others, but on average, most boats returned with fish. Heck, even if you go there and don't catch you can watch lots of other people fight and land fish all around you. It's like watching a fishing show without ads and sappy commentary. If jostling for position in a small fleet of desperate fishermen is not your cup of tea, perhaps a troll down Ten Mile, where a few intrepid souls picked up a few halibut and salmon in the last few days and notably did not dodge any other boats. Don't want to beat your way home in the afternoon against a 20 knot wind chop? It still seems to me that there's got to be more fish than just those two spots. Anyone look at the Bodega Whistle? In a 10 knot wind a fellow with a kicker motor could troll in reverse at mooching speeds but still be trolling as defined in the regulations. There is no minimum speed limit to trolling (yet). Also, more halibut on the bar and McClure's Beach today, and a few more stripers this week off of Dillon Beach although the seaweed is pretty bad.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It looked like almost all the boats were fishing between McClure's and the Trees today in 50 to 90 feet of water. There were a lot of salmon mooched up there today. We got three limits before noon and were not the first to limit out by a long shot. Some folks were still waiting for the first fish in the afternoon, but that's fishing. Anchovies, herring and even sardines got bit on our boat, with the edge going to anchovies. Elephant had the least number of boats there that I've seen all season. Ten mile has scattered bait and fish if you want to troll and avoid the crowd, but the shallow water near the first parking lot was very trashy today. I heard of a few halibut on Ten Mile and a few more where the boats were thickest, but the best action was on the Tomales Bar where there were a few limits taken today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The salmon bite slowed a bit for some but there were still a few boats coming in with early limits for the moochers. The quality of the fish, or should I say, the size of the fish is excellent with most boats bringing in fish in the 30's. Even the guys that only had one fish had to be pretty content with the amount of fish on the cleaning board. The fishing and catching were in the same old places, from the Trees to the Keyholes in 60 to 80 feet of water. Halibut was slow but at least one was caught.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Justin Westevelt of Rocklin and Johnny Sandbar of Auburn caught these 37 and 35 pound salmon, respectively. They limited out while mooching, even though the south wind made it tough. They also want to wish Gerard a great first day back at work.

Tom Cook landed this 33.5 pound salmon today, also on the mooch and also in with everyone else, between McClure's and the Trees. There were many other fish caught there and many of those were size XL, 30+ pounds. I hope they last until I get a chance at them. On the halibut front, live shiners took two flatties on the bar today, the largest going 20 pounds and caught by Eddie Parsons. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jacob Moore came all the way from Texas to catch this 31 pound salmon. It was one of six salmon landed on James Mistron's boat. 

Dave Duncan finally gave up on trolling and shut down the engine to get this 22 pound salmon. Along with a number of other guys, Dave fished 70 feet of water off the north end of McClure's (~38° 22' or so) and there were many salmon taken there early in the day. Halibut fishing was not as good as yesterday, and yesterday I only heard of one. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This is Alex Edwards of Placerville, and today he caught a 22 pound salmon while fishing with Larry Varela on the Rodbender. His was not the only salmon caught today. Top boat came in with six caught on the troll in the morning off McClure's Beach in 70 feet of water. At least one other boat got their limits there as well. Alex's fish was mooched up in the same stretch. Only one halibut caught that I heard of but there was a 21 pound salmon taken within sight of the Boathouse by Bruce Thomas of Novato. There's some baitfish moving into the bay and at least a few salmon were following them today. Very slow surfperch and striper action today. I guess you should have been here yesterday.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

James and Stephanie Kell caught this 17 pound halibut while fishing in a rental boat on the bar. At least one other halibut was caught there today, as well as a flurry of salmon action there in the afternoon. High boat came in with 4 mooched salmon to 29 pounds from 70 feet of water off of McClure's Beach. There were some other salmon taken in the same area, as well as a few off of Ten Mile. On Dillon Beach, surfperch and stripers are biting well on shrimp up near the parking lot toward the top of the rising tide (which would be from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM tomorrow).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pete Sequeira caught this 28 pound salmon at the Keyholes today. There's still some fish down there but you have to work for them now. Now that the fishing is slower it separates the men from the boys, as they say, which you can see from the smaller numbers of fishermen on the water. On the plus side there's less boat dodging. For a little extra elbow room, Ten Mile had a few fish today and it looks like they might stick around for a while. While I'm thinking of it, has anyone seen or heard of any white sea bass around here? With all the squid around you'd think that someone would catch one. I had to go to the Monterey Aquarium just to remember what they look like.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The salmon fishing was slower today with numbers running either 0 or 1 from the fishermen I spoke with. There was no "hot spot" for me to point out, just scratching up a few fish in the usual places. The bar had another halibut for one guy. Looks like some wind in our future, hopefully mostly keeping offshore but it will probably cool the water down again. This looks like a good time for me to take a few days off.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

These three fellows caught their limits (plus one for the captain's table) while fishing with Captain Larry Varela on the Rodbender. The big one went 32 pounds. They were mooching off of the very north end of McClure's beach drifting from 90 to 70 feet of water and left with the fish still biting. Another boat had eight salmon just south of the Trees. Other people did well today but there weren't as many good salmon stories as yesterday. The bar held a few more halibut today, and one boat returned from there with four. Three stripers to 20 pounds were taken in the surf yesterday on shrimp and sand crab baits.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

While the numbers of fish coming in have declined, there are still quite a few limits coming in. There's a few skunks as well, but most of the fishermen that I spoke with had at least one salmon in the boat. Yet again, mooching outperformed trolling, and I heard that a few die-hard trollers were spotted with lines in the water and engines off. What ever happened to standing by your convictions? Most of the early successes that I spoke with today had mooched away from the other boats. In other news, even though the divers saw nothing again today, I saw a halibut from (I believe) Ten Mile and heard of three other flatties jigged up on the bar.

Kara Norton caught this 28.5 pound salmon while mooching at the north end of McClure's Beach in 60 feet of water.

Kyle Mason caught this 25 pound salmon while trolling "around all those moochers."

Joe Geraghty of Mill Valley caught this 22 pound salmon while mooching south of the Trees.