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.

So far today we've pulled out seven boats with limits of salmon, one of them with four limits. Two boats were trolling for six of those fish, the other 18 salmon came mooching. Their secret: "I stayed out of the fleet."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Grant Solberg and Dennis Stocking mooched up two nice limits of salmon today, half from the Trees and half from the Keyholes. 

The Nursements caught just one fish today, but Mara's salmon weighed 27 pounds, so really, they only needed the one. The one fish stories were way more common than the limited out stories, but there were a few other boats that limited today. It was the usual suspects for where the biting fish were found, the Keyholes/Elephant, the Trees, and to a lesser extent, McClure's beach. Depths ranged from 40 to 80 feet with 70 being the most popular. Moochers again scored better than trollers. Surfperch action was good again but the halibut did a no-show. Divers on the bar reported visibility so bad that they couldn't have seen a halibut even if one had been there.

Judy Stahl smacked the salmon again yesterday and...

even let Ron, her husband, catch a couple as well. Three Stahls and a friend mooched on the Teacher's Pet for limits.

Nick Bauer caught a limit to 24 pounds yesterday on the Rookie.

Ryan Larsen's fish weighed 27 pounds. Nick's and Ryan's fish, as well as the Stahl's, all came from a mooching bite just below the Trees. Unfortunately, the bite lasted a couple of hours and the fish moved on. The mooching bite has been pretty good early and late in the right spots. Those spots can change, but seem to run pretty consistently between Bird Rock and the Keyholes. Trolling has been tough, especially with all the jellies and seaweed. Ten Mile has had a few salmon for the die hard troller, although there can be a lot of space between the fish.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Captain Longhair limited out again, this time putting Miss Hooker over a 30 pound salmon. These four fish were all taken on the mooch in 70 feet of water off of Elephant Rock (38°10.5').

Big fish of the day was caught by Shannon Gregory of Marshall and weighed in at 38 pounds, narrowly beating out a 37 pounder caught by Derek Stavenger of San Francisco. Shannon's slug was caught trolling a watermelon Apex at Elephant Rock. It looks like eating squid really makes the salmon put on weight. I'm going to have to reevaluate my calamari intake. 
    Salmon were also taken at Bird Rock and the Trees, as well as a few scattered flurries of action on the south half of Ten Mile. A south breeze made the halibut catching difficult by Hog Island but there were still a few taken there.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kapulani Chong of Lodi caught this nice 31 pounder today. The fish is larger than it looks, Kapulani makes it look small. A little slower action for the trollers today, a little better for some of the moochers. A few more halibut from Hog Island. It's not red hot but it is better than a few days ago.

FYI, not only are the surfperch running off of Dillon Beach but there's even a few stripers out there. This one was caught yesterday and there were at least two caught the day before. This one bit shrimp. Also, so far we've had one boat return with limits of salmon mooched up off of McClure's Beach.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Slightly better numbers today but still a long way from the bite of a few weeks ago. The same places are holding the fish, from the Keyholes (38° 9.5') to the Trees (38° 13.5'), mostly in 60 to 85 feet of water (although a few have been coming in 40 feet), and mostly near the bottom (although a few have come from near the surface). The largest mass of bait is still down at Elephant (38°10.5'). It's squid and there's a lot of them. You would think there would be a white sea bass in there somewhere but I haven't heard of one being caught. Further north there is still quite a bit of bait but some of it is shortbelly rockfish. I'm hearing that smaller baits have been working better from McClure's (38° 11.5') to the Trees. There were a few halibut caught by Hog Island. Also, please don't put your fish carcasses in the dumpsters. The seagulls and crabs love them; the people downwind of the dumpster, not so much.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Finally someone showed up to take care of the jellyfish problem. This leatherback turtle was seen off of Elephant Rock on Saturday. Leatherbacks eat jellyfish, so please don't bother him. He's got a lot of eating to do. Also, if you see any plastic bags floating out there, pick them up so this fellow and his buddies don't eat them and die. On the fishing front, the salmon and halibut both picked up a bit today, the salmon more than the halibut. Salmon catches ranged from 0 to 6, mostly from the Keyholes to the Trees in 60 to 85 feet of water, mostly near the bottom but a few guys reporting fish from 20 feet down. There were four halibut caught that I heard of, all of them by Hog Island. The ocean water was a degree warmer today but still clear.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The weather was better today but the fishing was not hot for most. There were a few limits but the average was closer to 2 per boat. Even some of the local legends failed to carry the day. For those of you keeping score at home, Jake Showaker put limits of salmon in the boat. The fish came (or didn't, depending on the boat) from the usual spots, mostly the Trees and Elephant/Keyholes. The only halibut I saw today was an 11 pounder from Hog Island, caught on a drifted dead herring. The weather forecast is good for this week, so hopefully the fish can regroup in serious numbers and the water will warm up a few degrees. Also, Cameron and Gage are in Arizona for two weeks with their grandparents. They wanted to give everyone else a chance to catch a few fish.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The weather was less horrible today, allowing some of the more intrepid fishermen to go out in pursuit. Most returned with fish, at least one with limits of salmon, and all with salt spray stuck on the windshields. Salmon came from the north end of Ten Mile to just inside the bell buoy, with most coming from farther downwind. The water on the bar got cold (52 degrees) and clear, so the halibut may take a few days to show up there again.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wind today, and probably tomorrow as well. No fish today except for surfperch. Well, the salmon needed a break anyway. You gotta leave a few spawners for the river.