Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Judy Stahl of Elk Grove caught a 30 pounder today while fishing aboard the Teacher's Pet driven by Mike Stahl. It, and all their other salmon, were caught mooching off of the Trees.

This 40.5 pound salmon was caught by Herman Rinkel. It was also taken on the mooch at the Trees. The bite there was best early and the fish were right on the bottom. Trollers were also picking them there. McClure's and Elephant/Keyholes were very active as well. On the halibut front, some guys did well on the bar today (7 halibut in one boat) and some others did not. If you want to catch 5 foot or larger spiny dogfish sharks you should definitely fish the bar with bait. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fishing spot names, revisited

Some of you readers are new, so I finally found the maps I made a couple years ago and copied them back here. I am unfamiliar with fishing north of Bodega Bay, so no maps for up there. Rockfishermen, take note: check out the reefs that Google Earth shows. All my favorite spots are laid bare.  

Captain Longhair and crew filled the boat with salmon today. They were back in time for lunch.

Gary Mezzanares caught this 23 pound salmon today and his son, Mike, caught this 20.5 pounder. 
     The mooching bite was pretty good for most today and the trollers still did OK. The Trees was the hot mooch spot. The bar gave up some more halibut today with about a 2 fish average from the guys I talked to. Jigging caught the majority of flatfish.

Three boats returned already today with limits of salmon mooched at the Trees/Bird Rock reef. Flat water and no wind, perfect mooching conditions.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sacramento boys Greg Rothhaupt and Nick Nichols put three salmon in the box weighing 31, 17 (Greg), and 15 (Nick) pounds today. There were quite a few salmon brought in today even though we had less boats than usual venturing out. The south wind and west swell made for, let's say, less than ideal conditions, but even with the somewhat confused seas most fishermen were able to put some big fish in the boxes. There was also a decent halibut bite on the bar near the bottom of the tide with 15 or more halibut boated. There was even an 8 pound striper in the catch from the bar. Lots of squid just outside the bar, so one would expect a few salmon or seabass to be found there as well. Also, I heard a report of a couple of schools of sardines down on Ten Mile beach.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The day started out with the first limited boat returning by 8:45 AM, but it slowed down after that. Numbers ranged from 0 to 4 in the boats I quizzed. The wind today made for difficult mooching, which probably drove the catch rate down. A few halibut on the bar and off of Dillon Beach but more hookups on thresher sharks than flatties were reported.
Troy Greason of Sacramento caught a salmon limit to 30# today.

Joe Gantley caught another big salmon, a 28 pounder. Technically, he netted it, but still, go Joe.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Not much different to report. Lots of salmon were caught today, most of them early in the day and slightly better numbers mooching than trolling. Some of the early limits today were trollers that stopped and jigged up a halibut on the bar on the way in and were still back by 10:00 AM, so don't give up on the troll if that's your comfort zone. Since the action and jellyfish have all the boats corralled into a limited area (50 to 80 feet of water, Keyholes to the Trees) it can be difficult to dodge boats (or to be dodged by them if you're mooching). There were a few other halibut taken on the bar and back by Hog Island.

Friday, July 26, 2013

 Today was another good day for salmon with some guys coming in with early limits. Again, moochers had an edge on numbers but the trollers still put fish in the box. The bite was best early but there was a second wind later on. Elephant to McClure's saw the most boats and arguably the best action.
Here's a fish from Wednesday that came from north of Bodega Bay on the Tuna Chaser. Mark van Loben Sels says it weighed 40 pounds gutted and was caught on the mooch.

Jake Abatey of Calaveras caught this 21 pound halibut on a drifted dead anchovy across the bay from the Boathouse in one of our rental boats. They were trying for salmon, but this is much better, in my opinion.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Here's a fresh map of place names. The boats today stretched from Tomales Point to at least the Keyholes with everyone fishing inside the jellyfish when possible (80-ish feet seemed like the no-go zone). There was an early and a later bite with a nice break for lunch in the middle. Moochers and trollers did pretty well but almost everyone complained of lost fish. Most guys were catching near the bottom but we had three fish on at 18 feet down, so you never know. 

Luke Beuselinck of Suisun caught this 24# salmon (on the right) while fishing with Shawn Stacy of Vacaville.

Steve McKinney, also of Vacaville, caught this30 pounder today while fishing with Tom Brodski.

This 35# salmon was caught by Jordan Loera of Sacramento.

Lou Zanardi and Marty Smith caught salmon up to 26 pounds while trolling between Bird and Elephant (they covered some ground today).

Josh Steiner caught this 19 pound halibut.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The fishing turned back on today for most of the fishermen. Most boats had limits or near limits, especially the moochers at the Trees. Trollers still scored well, although some had trouble with jellies in the deeper water (80'+). Trollers were using mostly bait but some were scoring with Apexes, spoons and hootchies. A few more halibut found their way into the fishboxes from Ten Mile and the bar, including a 30 pounder. There were some nice rockcod scores today, too. Hunter Hayes caught another 21 pound lingcod, as well as a 24 pound salmon. Herb Hansen wouldn't get his picture taken but had a 66 pound limit of salmon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hunter Hayes of Acampo caught this 22 pound lingcod today. The Semper Fi, with Hunter aboard, limited out on rockfish and lings. The salmon bite turned back on as well, not as hot as it was but still good enough for a lot of limits today. The reports I heard were scattered all over, from several places on Ten Mile to Elephant, McClures, the Trees, and even 40 feet of water off of Bird for a salmon in the 30's. A few more halibut from the bar, not red hot but way better than the nothing it was. The surfperch are biting pretty well right now as the sand crabs are molting and the perch are gobbling up the softies.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The slow salmon bite yesterday seems positively hot compared to the lack of action today. There were still fish caught, and some nice ones at that, but there were definitely more zeroes than heroes. The moochers had a few salmon today in front of the Trees and there were a few scattered salmon taken on the troll. The bait is still out there so the salmon really have no reason to leave. There were some halibut jigged up over the last two days.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tyler Barton caught this 29 pound salmon today even though the south wind made it tough to troll a smaller boat.

Many of the regulars found the catching to be more difficult today. Joe Gantley, though, caught a second, even larger "bragging board" salmon at 24 pounds. It has been rumored that some of his good fortune may come from fishing with Tom Cook (pictured here with his 21 pound fish and his 4 pound fishing mascot). I think Joe is has put in the time and effort and now it's paying off.  

Mike Gonzales landed his personal best ocean salmon today at 35 pounds. Now he's going for 40+.

Neil Alexander came all the way from Arizona to catch salmon. Twice. Last year wasn't good to him, but today he caught a 24 pounder. 
     There were a couple of halibut speared on the bar yesterday afternoon. None caught, that I heard about at least, but given the poor visibility for the divers there's probably more halibut around than they are seeing. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bob King caught a 28 pound salmon yesterday at McClures while mooching.

Jeff Haley landed this 29 pound (gutted) salmon yesterday on a trolled secret spoon. The spoon was so secret he not only wouldn't show it to me, he couldn't. Also, he lost it. It's probably just as well since we need to let a few spawners return to the river.
      Today's fishing was just OK for salmon. The water was unpleasant at best and the bite was more off than on, but some guys still limited out. A lot more guys didn't, though. On the plus side for salmon fishermen, it was way more productive than the halibut fishing or diving. Today the halibut didn't want to play. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to improve and hopefully the catching as well.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kinda sloppy water today but the catching was still good. Salmon action (that I heard about) was between Tomales Point and Elephant Rock in 60 to 120 feet of water. Mostly limits and a few less lucky. At least three halibut caught on the bar today.
Tito Machado of Sacramento landed this 31 pounder yesterday, even though 30 pounders were definitely not "a dime a dozen." Maybe it was because I was fishing yesterday that the hogs weren't swarming. To be fair, there were lots of 20+ pound salmon to be had. The Bodega whistle bite slowed for some and brought quite a few boats down to the Bird Rock/Trees/McClures area. The whole area is holding salmon, it's just finding the ones that are biting for you that can be a little complicated at times. Most boats limited out but there were still a few folks looking for a first fish in the mid-afternoon. On our boat, we caught 5 and lost 3 others before 8:30 but didn't finish with our sixth fish until almost noon. Halibut is slow, rockfish slightly better, and redtailed surfperch are doing pretty well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A couple of days ago a guy told me that "30 pounders are a dime a dozen this year." I am almost starting to believe it. Today there were at least a dozen salmon over 30 pounds brought in here. Angel Loera here caught two of them, at 32 and 33 pounds.

Gina Magures of Placerville caught this nice 21 pound salmon today.

Not to be outdone, Tim Hannah, also of Placerville, caught this 26.5 pound salmon.

Jesse Keilman of South Lake Tahoe made the trek out to Dillon Beach this week for quick limits of big salmon at the Bodega Whistle. Jesse and crew found the salmon easier to catch than the rockfish.

Toms Brodsky and Cook pose with Cook's 32 pound salmon. Mr. Brodsky skillfully parked the boat over the top of the beast and smoothly netted it (on the third try).

The Rodbender, captained by Larry Varela, is now taking trips out of the Landing. Here's some pictures of his trips from last Friday and Saturday. His info is at .
      Also of note today were three halibut, one from Ten Mile, one from McClures and John Schiesser of Granite Bay caught a 21 pounder in front of the Landing in 4.5 feet of water on a trolled, live shiner. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Scores today ranged from a central coast slam (limits of halibut and salmon) to skunks. The most dependable salmon action was the Bodega whistle again but it wasn't a guaranteed thing. Woody Allen said that 80% of success is just showing up, but apparently the other 20% is pretty important too. Some boats had a hard time early but changed things up (went to deeper water, sped up, switched from straight bait to flasher/hoochie combos, etc.)and caught and some guys had a hard time all day. Then, of course, there were the smug bastards that limited out in no time. You know who you are. The Trees held some nice fish for most of the guys that mooched there today but there were a few donuts there, too. The halibut came from Ten Mile but the salmon part of the slam came from the whistle. Also, all hail Gerard, local legend and master of the slam.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

There are two less salmon at the Trees. These were caught by Blair Farnham under the watchful eye of Tom Cook. The big fish weighed 27 pounds. It only looks smaller because Blair is holding it.

Tom Treadway showed his son-in-law how the downrigger works today. They worked it for four nice salmon, all over 20 pounds. Maybe he'll show me...

For quite some time we have happily given Joe Gantley much grief about not making it onto the big fish board. With this 21 pound salmon, that abuse ends now. Congratulations, Joe.
    The salmon bite started the season south and has been moving north. Some San Francisco charter boats were fishing the Bodega whistle today. It seems like if they had good fishing close to home they would stay there. Does this mean we are approaching the end of (relatively) easy catching? Time will tell.
    On the halibut front, one speared today on the bar. Any thoughts of fishing off of Dillon Beach should be put on hold for a while unless you want to work through many spiny dogfish sharks. If you like spiny dogfish sharks, though, I have got a red hot bite for you.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

This is a very important fish from the whistle, a 28 pound first salmon. Very nice work, gentlemen.

Here's some of those mooched up salmon from the Trees. Tom Cook knows how to park the boat over the hungry fish.

It's been over a week since we've had a photo of AJ Masters, so for the ladies out there, here he is. Also, he assisted a pair of local legends in boating 81 pounds of halibut from Ten Mile (exact location withheld by legends).

The salmon are still biting well at the Bodega whistle as this picture shows. The only problem is that there are a lot of other boats in the area. I heard of several near miss stories and a couple of witnessed collisions. There are other fish around, notably a pretty good mooching bite at the Trees in 60 to 80 feet of water. The mooching may be even better at the whistle but that area is trolling only. For clarification, see here, under "Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area".

Here are some of those halibut from the bar. 21.5 pounds on the left and 23 pounds on the right. These guys are good shots, but big targets are always good. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The salmon are still on the bite at the Bodega Whistle. Nice fish are coming in from lots of other areas as well, from the Russian River to the north end of Ten Mile, but the Whistle is a sweet mix of consistent decent or better action and a short run. Also, halibut! Finally some halibut are coming in from the bar. It's mostly divers spearing them so far, but with the water temp in the high 50's we should see some with hooks in their mouths by the end of the day. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More salmon and (a) halibut from McLure's

The salmon weren't biting like starving piranha but most folks did OK to limits, with the high boat here landing eight salmon to 25 pounds. Salmon came from the Bodega whistle to the Trees with a jigged up halibut coming from McLure's Beach. The salmon were coming mostly down deep. I heard depths ranging from 40 feet down to 80 feet down. Two halibut were caught on Ten Mile yesterday with a third one lost.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ten Mile halibut

Nothing to report but a halibut from Ten Mile, just below the Keyholes. He had two other missed bites. No salmon kept or released.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

More boats, less fish.

The bite at the whistle slowed a bit today. It might have something to do with the roar of a thousand boat engines overhead. It appears that some of the fish have relocated as I heard of fish coming from McLure's Beach up to the Russian River. Nevertheless, many, many salmon were caught. For instance, Kenji Nakagawa of Lodi caught this 25 pounder today.

Jason and Jim Hughes of Santa Rosa caught these two limits, including a pair of 20 pounders.

Janet Alexander of Phoenix caught this nice 25 pound king. 
   I was a bit surprised by the number of boats showing up to go fishing today, but after hearing about the launching line for Westside in Bodega Bay, I get it. Probably the salmon could use a two day break, and luckily for them, they get it. This will be the last closure until the season actually closes on November 10.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Limits for many, good fishing for all

The bite was still on around Bodega Head and the whistle. Luckily it's spread over enough area that it's not quite bumper boats. Almost, but not quite. Straight bait, Krippled Anchovies, Rotary Killers, FBRs, and V-K baitholders are all working with small to medium bait, as well as watermelon Apexes and Brad's Cut Plugs , hoochies (purple haze especially) and salmon flies. There were a couple of halibut taken from the Hog Island area in the last couple of days but the main target is salmon right now.

Quick limits at the Bodega Whistle

These gents spent about 90 minutes away from the boat trailer to get these two limits of salmon. They were in 130' of water off of Bodega Head running watermelon Apexes. Yesterday was really windy outside but it calmed down a bit today and is just throwing an 8 foot swell. It's rolly but apparently very catchable out there.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The weather window stayed open a little longer.

Today it was supposed to blow 20 to 30 knots and it finally is now, but the morning was pretty nice and quite a few fish were caught. Scott Mason caught this 34 pounder off of the Trees.

Leif Erickson, with help from his father Jim and brother Luke, landed this 31 pound salmon, also at the Trees.

Travis' fish weighed 24 pounds and was caught off the Trees while trolling with Stacy Barton. Most of the successful fishermen were fishing at 38 16 to 17 and 123 04, which basically is the Bodega Whistle. The fish are feeding on squid and shortbelly rockfish down deep, so get your bait to where the hungry fish are and you shall receive.