Saturday, August 30, 2014

Allen Evans caught this 47 pound white sea bass off of Elephant Rock on Thursday. On my day off. If he wasn't such a nice guy I'd think he was deliberately trying to hurt my feelings.

Julie Helminiak sent in this picture. I don't know the story behind it, but I think this is meant to hurt my feelings.

This is what it's all about. Rodbender Sportfishing sent over these pictures of the Discovery Hills Youth Group with their rockfishing limits. We've got to get these kids out on the water and rockfishing is a great way to do it.
    The salmon fishing is slowing but the fish are still out there and worth fishing for. The usual spots still, although a little deeper (100-130 feet of water) has been working better for some. Halibut is still slow but there's still some coming from the Hog Island area, not that large on average but keepers. Jigging along the weedline with white bucktails with a bit of squid seems a little better on average that even live bait. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Here's a couple of pictures from Brad White.  I know that I asked for them, but I'm still jealous. The salmon is from the 16th and the sea bass is from Sunday. With the salmon scheduled to start winding down, maybe sea bass should start being a target. I figure that I can get skunked on them just as quickly as I get skunked on salmon.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Julie Johnson caught this 21 pound salmon yesterday on a trolled purple haze hootchy. With the salmon eating so many squid, it seems like a good lure to both me and the fish.

Lance Bain sent in this picture from his trip on Thursday. He caught this 40 pound white sea bass while mooching at Elephant Rock. I've heard of several large sea bass caught recently but this is the first picture I've seen. It would be nice if some of you guys could send in some pictures. Some guys like you, Tom Baty. I heard about the fish but I want need to see it. Even though it makes me jealous.

The crew of the Fish Raider 3 clobbered the salmon on Saturday. They were trolling between the Trees and McClure's Beach in about 70 to 80 feet of water, at least when I saw them. 

These are also Saturday fish. Left to right, bottom photo is Wyatt Zanardi, Wade Amaral and Travis Amaral. The south wind made it difficult to troll and and even more difficult to (successfully) mooch, but most of the boats found salmon in the usual places. There were even a few more halibut caught out in 80 feet of water off McClure's.

Also on Saturday was the 3rd Annual Merle Lawson Memorial Salmon Derby. Third place went to Travis Amaral who caught this 23 pound salmon and won $700. He was trolling south of the Trees.

Second place was Tom Brodsky with a 24.5 pound salmon for $1200. He mooched and trolled for his fish.

First place and $1750 went to Brent Johnson and his troll-caught (on a purple haze hootchy?) 28 pounder. A special prize was also awarded to Tom Brodsky for taking Gage fishing more than I did this summer. Thanks to everyone that came out and fished and to everyone that came out with great food to the potluck after. Also, thanks to the Save Lawson's Landing group for donating $900.00 towards the prize purses. And thanks to the staff here for putting up with more work while I went fishing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thomas Larsson of Orangevale caught this 21 pound salmon on Wednesday. He caught it mooching at the north end of McClure's Beach.

These guys limited on salmon on Wednesday. The trolled up the majority of them a little south of Elephant in 80 feet of water. Rob Sereni had the hot rod with a green Krippled Anchovy sticking most of the fish.
Tony Barnes of Sacramento caught this 24 pound lingcod while mooching for salmon with Gavin Ogilvie. It's not the salmon they were looking for, but it's a heck of a consolation prize. The salmon bite has been good at Abbott's Lagoon but if you go be prepared for a lot of close company. It's mostly mooching but there's trollers, both sport and commercial, tacking right through the middle. There's fish from the Keyholes north to the Trees but the bite is spottier. Same rules: The fish are a couple of turns off of the bottom, 50 to 90 feet of water. There's a few lings and halibut in the same area.
Ron Stahl caught this 26 pounder just off the bottom in 70 feet of water at the north end of McClure's Beach. A day too early for the derby, Ron.  Scott from Auburn came back for another visit. I told him the shiners were biting on the pier, so of course, they weren't. Scott found a school of anchovies and used those for live bait for a pair of halibut by Hog Island. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I just received this picture from Nick Bauer who is out fishing with Rob Sereni today. No message with it, but I think he means the fish are sill biting. 

Steve Werlin and friend caught their limits in a couple of hours yesterday. The first three fish came in the first 45 minutes, before they could get a second line in the water. They were trolling at the Trees next to a big flock of cormorants in 90 feet of water, 70 pulls down with a 2-pound ball. 

On Monday Rob Sereni got to watch many people catch all around him while he couldn't get a bite. Yesterday Rob and his brother got their turn to catch and limited on salmon to 31 pounds. They were trolling closer to the fleet on the upper end of Ten Mile. The bite was spotty north of Elephant (a few spots were real good for a few) but there was a more consistent bite between the Keyholes and Abbott's Lagoon in 60 to 90 feet of water. Most of the fish caught were by moochers but trolling was definitely working for a few guys. There was a limit of halibut caught by one fellow on the bar yesterday but the other boats only got bites from crabs. A few halibut were caught on Ten Mile, too. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The salmon are still biting

This limit of salmon was mooched up off of Tomales Point out of a kayak today. That's a lot of reeling and paddling, but it doesn't seem to have bothered him.

Dale Fortner's boat lived up to its name today. (Got One)

Dave Pile took Jason Kasick out for some salmon catching today. Jason caught a 21 pounder and Dave did pretty well, too.

For those of you aware of John Rosasco's dark cloud this past week, be aware that the clouds have parted and John caught a limit. So did David Gonzales. They were trolling, although the moochers seemed to do better on average today.

Alec and Raz are moochers and did very well today. They were working the Trees and a little south.

Dennis Stocking caught this nice salmon by Bird Rock. He tried for halibut for a good part of the day but after noon passed without a bite he shifted his focus and saved the day. A couple of halibut were caught on the bar today but it has to get a lot better to be OK.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

There were a few halibut taken on the bar this weekend, both by fishermen and divers. Hog Island gave up a few as well. There were a few schools of anchovies moving into the bay this morning so there may be a salmon or two in the bay now. There was a bit of a salmon bite this morning in the usual spots but after that it was a grind without much payoff. The average number of fish taken per boat hovered around one today with a couple of limits and more than a few skunks. As the salmon bite slows a bit the rockfish catch is starting to increase. More mackerel are being caught, and while most are being thrown back I recommend using them for live (or dead) bait for lings and halibut. Lingcod in particular enjoy the speedy critters. You may need to slow them down before your target species can get a hold of them, though.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The salmon are still biting from Tomales Point down to the Keyholes in 50 to 90 feet of water. It's not a red hot bite most of the time, but every so often a few boats will get into them heavy for a few minutes and the fleet will descend upon the area. After the bite slows down the fleet breaks up and runs off to the next "hot spot". For the past few weeks the locations of those "hot spots" seem to be consistently at Tomales Point, Bird Rock, the Trees, northern McClure's Beach, Elephant Rock, and the Keyholes in 50 to 80 feet of water. There's bait all through there, mostly squid and shortbelly rockfish. The mooching and trolling are both working (or not working- depends on who you ask) so go with whichever one in which you have more confidence. I must have seen fifty salmon caught around me on Thursday while I mooched off of McClure's. All I did was fatten them up. Finally we switched to trolling and caught two. These are late season fish with soft mouths and a strong opinion about your bait. If it's not right, they'll let you know. Halibut are still getting caught by Hog Island and a few from McClure's in 50 to 70 feet of water. Neither place would rate as good. Another white shark was seen breaching off of Bird Rock today, apparently trying to get noticed for Shark Week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So today Jerry Knedel took Steve Towne for a fishing trip and as payment Steve let Jerry catch this 35.5 pound salmon. Jerry let Steve catch a couple of consolation fish. I believe that these fish were mooched.

Jonathon Do of Brentwood caught this 26 pound salmon while trolling with Jake Showaker. Jake's boat limited on the troll, so mooching isn't the only way to go. 

This 17 pound salmon came from the Trees yesterday on a trolled chartreuse Rotary Salmon Killer. Most of the catching has been concentrated between Elephant and Abbott's Lagoon in 50 to 90 feet of water but there's still a few salmon lurking closer to home.

Matthew Johnson of Red Bluff caught this 30 pounder yesterday off McClure's Beach. There's still some squid in the area but they aren't concentrated enough to show up well on the sonar or be interesting for the squid boats. The fish are still eating them, though, and a white or purple haze hootchy probably isn't a bad thing to troll. On the mooching front, here's a submitted report:

We took the Tomales Outlaw out on Monday and got into the lunkers we have been waiting for. Two limits of salmon, all mooched south of the Trees to Elephant in 55-80 feet. 4 fish hooked, 4 fish boated. I don't have a scale but based on experience 2 of the fish are over 30# easy and the other two in the 20-25# class. First bait in the water at 6:20 and the last fish came at 11:30. When all was stowed and rigged for the ride home, I presented my girlfriend with a ring and asked her to marry me, with Bird Rock in the background. She said yes. Nothing to butter a woman up like a salame sandwich and 4 lunker salmon!! We beached in the bay and she helped clean the fish. As we turned the shoreline into a red tide blood and gut extravaganza, I knew I had made the right decision.

Today the moochers are definitely outcatching the trollers on average. I was also told that there wasn't room for another boat at Abbott's Lagoon. I hope they were catching there. There were a few halibut caught on the bar and back by Hog Island but it was a grind to get them.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dave Portscheller of Lodi and his crew caught this 23 pound halibut and a pair of salmon to 25 pounds while mooching and trolling off of McClure's Beach in 60-70 feet of water yesterday morning. A solo fisherman came back with limits of salmon, lings and rockfish from the Keyholes. Not everyone did as well, but there's definitely still fish to be caught out there from Tomales Point to at least the Keyholes and probably even points beyond. The wind cooled the water off a bit, not too much for the halibut but probably closer to the comfort zone for salmon. A couple of halibut were caught on the bar and at least three were trolled up by Hog Island on Saturday. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Now, I like sushi, but I prefer that a little more effort went into its preparation and presentation. The sushi in this case is a 26 pound salmon caught by Zack Edwards at Elephant Rock. Elephant and McClure's Beach were the better spots for salmon the last couple of days. Numbers ran from zero to limits with the majority getting one or two. If you have some kind of hook glue to keep the fish attached once they're hooked, now is the time to use it. Of course, if that glue is a barb, don't do that. The ocean is a bit on the bumpy side for mooching but a few guys tried it and caught some salmon, even with the rods bouncing. If anyone caught a halibut they kept is a secret from me. If you're looking for a reason to rebuild your salmon reels, take them trolling over by the Esteros. The thresher sharks are abundant and eager to unspool your fishing line. The seaweed is pretty bad in spots, though. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Larssons landed this 17 pound lingcod which they caught by mooching at the Trees. There were a few salmon mooched up there as well in 60 to 80 feet of water. 

Scott and Jim Alexander and Nick Bauer are holding up 75 pounds of salmon they caught trolling and mooching mostly off of McClure's Beach. The fish are still coming from Bird down to Abbott's Lagoon, as are lots of jellyfish. The jellies seem to denser in some places more than others, and finding a less dense area seems to be key to putting fish in the box. Some places they're so thick you can barely mooch. The bar produced no halibut for the morning shift of fishermen but Frank Green got a nice view of a cruising mighty whitey. The dorsal was over a foot high and visible for half of a minute. It's time for the divers to really earn their halibut. One boat has caught four halibut in two days by jigging white bucktails back by Hog Island. 

It's derby time again. The date has been moved forward a bit this year so that there will be more salmon and better weather. I'm not sure that Merle wants us to have good weather, so no promises. No promises on the "more salmon", either. At any rate, August 23, 2014 is the derby, same rules as last year. Gage says he's going to win again and good luck in your fight for second place.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The first boat to return today only took two hours round trip to limit. He was trolling off of the Trees. After that things went downhill with catch numbers dropping to mostly zeroes. Moochers did a little better than trollers today. The largest fish weighed in today was a 58 pound thresher shark caught by Haley Porter. Halibut fishing has been and remains slow. A few are coming in from the bar, Hog Island and McClure's Beach but they're far from a sure thing. Rockfishing has been OK

Sunday, August 3, 2014

These salmon weighing 20 and 27 pounds were caught on the troll on straight bait by Elephant Rock on Saturday. Trollers seemed to do better than moochers over the weekend but there was no guaranteed method of catching, as many people would attest. The squid schools have reformed and started collecting salmon again, but the squid boats are back as well. Yesterday one troller had his downrigger cable bit and dragged by a very large, very scary shark near Bird Rock. Another guy saw what he thought was a Great White jump half out of the water in the same area. Possibly the scariest story from yesterday was the boat drifting inside of Bird Rock for rockfish when they saw something white underwater. The white thing came closer, then jumped out of water and crashed into the boat and motor, scratching the engine and leaving black slime on the edge of the transom. It was a big sunfish, or mola. I find this troubling because I thought we and the sunfish were cool. They eat jellyfish; we hate jellyfish; the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Now I don't know what to think.

The Alexander boys are posing with Dad's 30 pounder. This fish was troll-caught.

Mike Gonzales of Lodi caught this 28 pound salmon today off of the Trees. He and his brother caught limits of salmon while trolling between McClure's Beach and Bird Rock. 

This 33 pound salmon was mooched on the Teacher's Pet. Mike Stahl "let" his mother-in-law catch all the fish today. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Jan McHale caught this 25 pound salmon, her first,  yesterday.  It was one of seven that we boated off of Bird Rock. The fish all came trolled on green label herring. Most fishermen ran a little farther south to McClure's Beach, Elephant Rock or the Keyholes for some great salmon action. The fish were feeding on giant schools of squid, which made it easy to find the hungry critters. Don't worry though, they won't fill up. A bunch of commercial squid boats arrived and caught or dispersed all those schooled squid. In their eagerness, one seiner actually wrapped up a commercial salmon troller in his net. One of the squid boats may even have removed some of those pesky, full bellied salmon that weren't biting anyway. Thoughtful of them, really. The fish that are left are hungrier without all that snack food around.  Good luck finding them, though. The schools should reform soon, albeit smaller. Of course, if you got your opportunity to fish this weekend and can't catch, at least you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that someone else profited from your misfortune. 
Jesse Keilman from South Lake Tahoe again, this time with a 25 pound halibut from my secret hole. This is why you're not supposed to tell people about your fishing holes. I haven't even caught a halibut yet this year and this guy is smiling here next to my fish. Nice work, Jesse, but watch your back.