Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The latest crab results are from Santa Barbara and are actually good. So, good north, good south, not so good in the middle. Not too far from good, though, so maybe it won't be too long. I'll probably be saying that right through June, but who knows, it could actually happen. There were a few rockfish caught yesterday to the couple of boats that got out and then kind of wished they hadn't when the sea came up. They made it back okay, but watch it out there, guys, these fish aren't that good.

Monday, December 28, 2015

   There were some new crab numbers released on Christmas Eve. On the good side, they were finally able to test in Crescent City, Trinidad, Eureka, and Fort Bragg. Everything looked good except for a borderline result in Eureka. There was also a new set of tests out of Bodega. This time the crab at the Russian River and Point Reyes were good. They dropped a pot in the outer bay, too, and that pot had four of the six crab fail. So we are close but not quite there. If the seas stay reasonably low (less than 20') I believe we could see clean crab in two weeks. Then all we need is a second good test a week later. That just requires good weather for three weeks. No problem.
   A couple of boats got out from here for some rockfishing this weekend. They fished between Elephant and Tomales Point and got a few but didn't load up. I heard of a few guys that went further and did much better. From the beach, there should be some perch still around and usually this is the time of year when a few large stripers show up in the surf.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Here's some more results.  My summary: Maybe February. For the record, it won't be visions of sugarplums dancing in my kids heads on Christmas Eve, but visions of Dungeness crab.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The newest numbers from Santa Barbara are good but results for Half Moon Bay on the 15th would seem to indicate that the big seas kicked up the crud. A seventeen crab test had nine fail. Here's the results. No tests from the north, probably because they can't even get out of the harbors. Oregon opened for sport crab in their southern portion of the state, so it might be clean on our end as well, but who can tell if they can't get out and sample? Bummer...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

There are some newer but not better crab testing numbers, here.  Looks like a fail at Monterey and two at Santa Barbara. It's just like starting over. I know we're all eager for our chance to go get some crab, but the numbers just aren't there yet. Yes, the numbers the Department of Public Health are looking for are pretty far below where you'd feel any effects from the domoic acid, but keep in mind that they aren't testing every crab in the ocean. Remember the 1000 ppm crab? Only because you didn't eat him. Since the sample size is so small compared to the actual number of crabs in the ocean, they need to exercise an abundance of caution. Have you read this article about the sea lions? I am no fan of the fur bags, but reading about the effects of the DA neurotoxin on them makes me feel bad for them. A little. It also makes me not want to take any chances on my or someone else's health. No crab is hurting my business. It's a ghost town down here. But I'd rather have a short season than have someone get sick and then have no crab season for a decade.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New crab results here.  Bodega Bay (Russian River) failed and Half Moon Bay went up. The water has been cold and there hasn't been another bloom, but the scientists said that some of the domoic acid will stay in the sediment. It could be that the big swells stirred it up. If so, since the swell was even larger after the tests were taken, we may see the numbers go up again. Maybe an opener a month from now isn't going to happen. My final thought on the subject I will keep to myself.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

     Here's a picture sent in by Scott Mason from early this last week. I'd like to tell you that the ocean was like this all week, but she was in more of a murderous mood for the last few days. 24 foot seas are best experienced from the beach. 
     There are a few new crab test numbers to look at, here, but not too much different to report. Monterey is still good but Santa Barbara had its last set of tests narrow up the results to a borderline fail. No more 1000 ppm crab, at least. It looks like no Santa Crab this year but maybe still a chance for an opener in January. 
     I almost forgot to tell you how Scott did with his fishing. I think he said it best with this:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    Looks like there's a few barred surfperch out on the beach. These were caught yesterday. Unless the photographer had really small hands, these are pretty nice-sized perch. Speaking of surfperch, check out this surf fishing website for tips. Also, I found this journal entry of his to be quite entertaining and educational. Apparently the white sea bass have been lurking down there for a while.
     While I'm linking to things, here's a kind of cool tool, especially if you're shopping for new electronics and what to see what's out there. Navionics has put their chart online, here. For the record, it does show the MPAs.
     No new crab numbers yet....

Monday, December 7, 2015

    We've got a few more results in, here. The most recent numbers from Bodega Bay, Half Moon Bay/San Francisco Bay, and Crescent City show passing grades. That's six out of nine with the remaining three due to be tested this week. Crab season could actually happen, people.
    Boy, the threats of showing more pictures of Gage really worked! Here's some photos with their stories.
Saw your request for pics so here’s one. Caught this off of Elephant in 120’ of water, root beer scampi tipped with squid. Hopefully see you guys end of this month. Wanna try and get one more trip in before cod closes and if weather is nice.

Since you asked for pictures... We "found" this Mola Mola fish in the bay about a mile off shore on 10/16/15. My son, Michael (holding the fish), noticed it from a distance floating on its side being pecked at by a seagull. He scooped it up with a net and we thought it was probably dying. To our surprise, when he put the fish back in the water, it swam straight down like a rocket. When we got home to Davis, we identified the fish (a baby since Mola Mola are reported to reach 5,000 lbs!) and discovered that the surface floating, bird pecking behavior is normal apparently used to relieve the fish of parasites. Amazing! The photo was taken by Michael's girlfriend, Naomi Juarez.

Stan Artz

Caught off Elephant rock. Too pretty to keep. Threw it back.

  Thanks to Stan, Nick Nichols and Chris Valenzuela for sending their photos. For the record, Chris, I would not have thrown the Tiger rockfish back for its beauty. I'd like to think, or at least I'd like you to think, that I'd have done it because he was foul hooked. I am glad to see that someone else jigs their iron like I do. As a wise man once told me, "Set the hook like you want to rip their lips off." 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

    So. There was a meeting last week where we learned that Fish and Wildlife are going to stick with the plan and open only after they've had a double "all-clear." Kind of disappointing but kind of expected in a risk-averse bureaucracy in a litigious society. So. Of the nine sampling sites, three tested clear on their most recent tests and the other six are close. If they test this week I would be surprised if there weren't seven passing grades. Santa Barbara needs to take care of their loose cannon, 1000 ppm red crabs. I mean, what the hell, SB? Are you trying to make Fort Bragg look better after their screw-up? Trying to make them look better by making a bigger ass of yourself is just sad. The most recent numbers can be viewed here.
    On the fishing front there were a few rockfish caught this week during a brief calmer spell. Nobody has sent in any photos to post, so I'm going to have to dig through my discard pile for pictures. Send your pictures to lawsonslanding@gmail.com , please, even if they're from last summer. Anything is better than this:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crab saga continues.

New results are in for Eureka and Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg got worse, Eureka got better. Fort Bragg had been clean when everyone else was dirty but now they've got the funk, too. Come on guys, catch up. We all need to work together. Get depurating. For your look at the numbers, click here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

There was a little striper action in the surf at first light. Gage would like everyone to know that he caught this 13 pounder on a black and silver Pencil Popper. Another fish was lost and there were two other missed strikes, all in the first five minutes of fishing. After that it was just boredom and bragging. OK, mostly bragging.

Friday, November 20, 2015

    Here's the newest numbers for the crab. The good news is that the numbers are dropping. Some places have numbers low enough to be opened up, but the whole state needs to be good before that will happen. The northern ports should have some test results in the next 3-4 days if the boats were able to get out. Bodega area is still too high but not by much. Apparently the crab are depurating well. (There, I used it in a sentence.)
    Not too much going on here except for rockfish when you can get out of the bay. By 10:00 AM yesterday we caught four limits of rockfish and two lings in 150 feet of water off of Bird Rock. It was a bit sloppy for us but the weather is supposed to be nice for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

*UPDATE* The boat is found.

You may have heard about the rescues on Tomales Bay on Sunday. In two separate incidents people ended up in the water on a really rough day. The Fire Department and the National Park Service plucked the boaters out of the water but (probably wisely, considering the weather) chose not to tow in this boat. If know of this vessel's whereabouts, please email me at lawsonslanding@gmail.com and I'll get the info over to a grateful registered owner. And let's be more careful out there. The firemen are starting get tired of all this rescue stuff, especially now that the water is cooling off.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Answers for questions you may not have had

   Here's some answers to questions people have had about domoic acid. Hopefully this answers more questions than it generates.

Below are answers to the questions you posed a few days ago, along with two additional questions that have come up since and associated responses. These responses have been reviewed by California Department of Public Health (CDPH) staff. I hope these answers shed a little light on current information about and processes regarding domoic acid (DA) toxins in California commercial fisheries.


Carrie Culver
Aquatic Resources Specialist/Research Scientist
California Sea Grant
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego and
Marine Science Institute, UC Santa Barbara


Responses to Fishing Community Questions

1. Have there been any studies done on if the crab are kept in a closed system, how long it takes them to purge?
Yes, at least one study has been conducted and likely more will be forthcoming (proposal pending;  submitted by California Sea Grant Extension and UCSB, in collaboration with CDPH). For Dungeness crab in a laboratory setting, DA was depurated within 21 days if fed non DA–contaminated food (Lund et al. 1997).
2. How many crab do you actually have to eat to get sick?
This is a difficult question to answer, as it will depend on the levels of DA in the consumed crab, how it is prepared and what parts of the crab are consumed.  Clearly the highest risk of exposure is associated with consuming raw viscera, also known as crab butter, and even raw crab tissue if both contain high DA levels. The process of boiling crab in water reduces the concentration of DA by ~70% (67-71 %) in the crab (Hatfield, et al., 1995; Quilliam, 1991), but steaming, grilling, stir-frying and baking presumably retain higher DA levels as DA is not leached during these food preparation processes.
3. Once the crab are collected, what are the procedures for testing and how long does it really take? 
Crabs first need to be surrounded by gel packs when shipped overnight to the laboratory. Upon receipt the samples are prepared for analysis. This requires cooking the crab and then dissecting the various parts for testing. Crabs from different areas must be cooked separately so as not to cross-contaminate the samples. The viscera is extracted and tested first. If the viscera is above 70 ppm then the body tissue is tested. The preparation of the crab samples takes a ½ - 1 day, depending on the number of different areas the samples are coming from and the number of crabs per area. The laboratory analyses require HPLC techniques, which take approximately 45 minutes per sample. Samples are placed on an autosampler so analyses can be run after hours/overnight to increase throughput.
4. Is 6 crab per port considered a real scientific sample? Should there be more or less collected? Should they all be from the same pot?
This is the California’s standard sample size for testing levels of domoic acid in crabs which is consistent with the protocol used by Washington’s Department of Health and Department of Fish and Wildlife. They must balance the capacity of the lab to process samples with an adequate sample size. California Sea Grant, UCSB and the CDPH have submitted a proposal for obtain funds to better evaluate sample sizes for the different species. Sampling from one or more pots in an area may be better, although since they are moving in from all around it may not matter that much. Keeping samples separated, however, if they are from different locations (e.g., front vs. backside of island; coast vs. offshore) is critical.
5. Has CDPH ever tested spot prawn or any species of shrimp?
The Food and Drug Branch of CDPH is currently working with DFW to coordinate, via fishermen, the collection of spot prawns that will be harvested in areas North of Point Arguello including HMB/SF and Monterey areas. Upon the collection and testing of spot prawns, data on DA levels in this species will be available via the CDPH website. Other species routinely tested for DA include small finfish (anchovy, sardines), and bivalve shellfish (mussels, oysters) and limited data is available for DA levels in spiny lobsters.
6. Are there any other 'certified' labs that can run crab samples so that the FDBL isn't inundated with samples?
Not in CA. There are no labs in CA certified to perform the HPLC method for DA. A commercial lab with a chemistry program could likely spin up this method, but the data could not be used for regulatory purposes.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Here's my figures for the results. The average from two locations is 32.95 ppm. That sounds good, but one red crab had 240 ppm. The other five in the sample averaged 11.4 ppm. That's the crab (and ones like him) that's going to scare the regulators into waiting longer, and honestly, if they think we need longer, I'm OK with that that. Disappointment is preferable to disaster, and I don't think that they'll let someone get sick.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A little word on the crab. As I understand it, the crab will be tested every two weeks until the domoic acid levels reach a statewide average of 60 ppm or less. They will then test weekly until the statewide average is less than 30 ppm. A second test a week later that also averages less than 30 ppm will let them open the season for sportfishermen. Commercial will likely follow a week after. Please note the bold print on statewide. They're not going to open portions of the state that are clean. It is all or nothing. Washington state was closed for four months. It looks to me like the first set of tests gave them an average of 60.58 ppm or so, including reds with the Dungeness. The second set of tests about a month later had an average of 40.72 ppm. They're testing again next week and it will be very interesting to see what the average is. It looks like, best case scenario, maybe three weeks until crab time. Reality will probably be more like Christmas crab. That's if things go really well.
    Well, look at that. Fresh numbers after I just did math. Here's the new results. I'll math it tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Crab sampling results

    Here's the testing results as of last week. Keep in mind that two tests (or one in some cases) isn't enough to show an overall trend. Given another week of testing we might be able to make a better educated guess at an opening date. 
     The rockfish are still biting well, at least. My boys had the day off yesterday so the family went fishing together for limits by 9:00 AM. We found them in 160' of water off Bird Rock. We metered for schools of fish, then kept the boat parked over them until the fish quit biting. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    I got a look at some of the crab testing results. The domoic acid level in the crab from the northern ports stayed the same or went up slightly while the southern ports dropped a bit. Fort Bragg was low but Bodega Bay got a little worse. The most recent collection date was 11/3, so it will be quite interesting to see the results from this weeks tests with colder water. If warmer water was to blame then we should see some better results.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The crabs got a day off today but the rockfish took a beating. There were a lot of boats working the reefs and most of them had dinner or better. The couple of boats that went out from here for bluefin did not catch but a couple were caught by some of the Bodega boats. The water was only 59º to 61º and greenish but there were quite a few spots of bait. The fish could hold a bit longer. I didn't hear of any halibut or white sea bass.

Friday, November 6, 2015

    Yes, crab season is now officially closed. Not only could eating the wrong crab kill you, but now wardens will ticket your corpse. Testing of the crab will continue and the season will reopen when the Department of Public Health and Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment agree that crabs pose no health risk. There is a hotline to call for updates, (831) 649-2883, and a website to check, CDFW website. As you may have guessed, I will be sure to post something on here when the all-clear siren sounds. The water temperature here has dropped dramatically, which is bad for halibut, sea bass and tuna, but, if it is true that the warm water caused this mess with the crabs, maybe it's good for the Dungeness. The 61º water out front is now 56º. My cousin is a commercial crabber and a pessimist, but he thinks that we may see the crabbing opened up here in the next month. Usually he's full of doom and gloom, so who knows?
     At least the rockfish don't care too much about water temps. We tried for white sea bass in the morning, then switched to rockfishing when we could find no squid and got no bites. The rockies were a bit slow until we finally found some hungry ones at about the 15th stop. We worked 100'-120' of water from the Keyholes south for limits of mostly nice browns and blacks and a few vermilion, plus four lings. There's still a lot of small mackerel out there and dropping a few live ones to the rocky bottom probably would have increased our ling take. I tried the addition of a single assist hook to the top of my metal jig yesterday and it increased my hook-up rate. It also got stuck in my thumb while a lingcod twisted on the other hook until my hook came dislodged. It was pretty uncomfortable and I think I might return to the single hook. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Emergency Crab Closure Recommended 
Commission to Meet Thursday   

Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab 
CDFW photo by C. Wilson
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a health advisory warning individuals to avoid eating rock and Dungeness crab due to the detection of high levels of domoic acid. The advisory was followed by arecommendation from the Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to the California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to delay the start of the Dungeness crab season and close the rock crab fishery. These actions would apply to each fishery from the Oregon border to the southern Santa Barbara County line.
The OEHHA recommendation has prompted an emergency meeting of the Commission, which will take place at 8 a.m. onThursday, Nov. 5 (agenda and meeting information). At that time, the Commission will consider voting to delay the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery. The recreational Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to startSaturday, Nov. 7.
Also based on the recommendation from OEHHA, CDFW will act on its authority to delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season. The commercial Dungeness crab season is currently scheduled to start Sunday, Nov. 15 in most of the state.
Similar action will be considered by the Commission and CDFW to close the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in the affected area. Both recreational and commercial rock crab seasons are open all year.
"These are incredibly important fisheries to our coastal economies and fresh crab is highly anticipated and widely enjoyed this time of year. Of course, delaying or closing the season is disappointing," said CDFW Marine Regional Manager Craig Shuman. "But public health and safety is our top priority."
CDFW, along with the OEHHA and CDPH, has been actively testing crabs since early September. OEHHA announced today that consumption of Dungeness and rock crabs is likely to pose a significant human health risk as a result of high levels of domoic acid. CDFW will continue to coordinate with OEHHA and CDPH to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened.
Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and can cause death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures, and can in some cases be fatal.
Domoic acid is produced from some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. Currently, a massive toxic bloom ofPseudo-nitzschia has developed, significantly impacting marine life along California's coast. State scientists have been testing crab from eight fishing ports from Morro Bay to Crescent City, and have determined that the neurotoxin has spread throughout the fishery grounds.
Algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent. Warmer ocean water temperatures associated with the El Niño event California is experiencing is likely a major contributing factor to the size and persistence of this bloom.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The word is in: Crab is out. For now.

CDPH Issues Warning about Dungeness and Rock Crabs Caught in Waters Along the Central and Northern California Coast 

Date: 11/3/2015 
Number: 15-082 
Contact: Anita Gore, Orville Thomas - (916) 440-7259 
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today advised consumers not to eat Dungeness and Rock crabs caught in waters between the Oregon border and the southern Santa Barbara County line, due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin.
Recent test results have shown persistently high levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab and Rock crab, which have been caught along the California coastline. The levels have exceeded the State’s action level for the crabs’ body meat as well as the viscera, commonly referred to as crab butter, and therefore pose a significant risk to the public if they are consumed.
CDPH in conjunction with other state agencies will continue its sampling efforts to monitor domoic acid levels in Dungeness and Rock crabs until the levels subside and no longer exceed the State’s action level of 30 ppm in the viscera and 20 ppm in the meat. Domoic acid accumulation in seafood is a natural occurrence that is related to a “bloom” of a particular single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia. The conditions that support the growth of this plant are impossible to predict, and it is unknown when the levels found in crab will subside. The health advisory will be lifted once the levels are no longer above acceptable levels.
Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory (a condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There have been no reported illnesses associated with this event.
To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information visit CDPH’s Natural Marine Toxins: PSP and Domoic Acid Web page.

That means all crabs, folks. So, I guess that means that means that for now, no "Deadliest Catch". Maybe some "Wicked Tuna"? All I've got are dreams.....

Monday, November 2, 2015

The official word: No word yet. Unofficially? Maybe later.

Possible Delay of Nov. 7, 2015 Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Opener

Dungeness crab 
CDFW photo by C. Juhasz
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is cooperating with other state agencies in the collection and testing of Dungeness crab for domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin produced by microscopic marine algae, to determine if eating sport-caught crab will be safe for the public when the season opens. Serious consideration is being given to delaying the recreational fishery opener on Nov. 7, 2015, but no decision has yet been made. CDFW will issue a press release immediately with more information, once a decision has been made.

Please access one of the following sources for up-to-date information concerning recreational Dungeness crab season dates and related information:
That's the official word from CDFW. Separately, unofficially, I hear that there may have been a few high readings from some of the recently tested crabs and that the season will be delayed. There are smart people meeting Tuesday and Wednesday to figure out how they're going to handle it. It sounds like if they close Dungeness they will close the reds as well. The announcement will be on Thursday. If you have reservations at the Landing for this weekend and don't want to come if there's no crabbing, we don't blame you and we are waiving the 72 hour cancellation rule. No refunds, but you can cancel at the last minute for this weekend at no penalty.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

How about a few halibut while we wait for the Dungeness season verdict?
    Kapulani Chong found two 'buts on the bar today. They liked his jig instead of the live bait. Kapu fished the inside of the bar on the incoming tide, which allowed him to get near the danger zone and then drift away from it. It wasn't breaking today, but still, act like it is.

    Patty Stahl fished with the Nursements today by Hog Island and caught this 25 pound halibut. Live mackerel that were caught in the ocean and a pink fishing rod put the fish in the box.
    Kefin Fogle didn't get me a photo but he did catch three halibut and a salmon by Hog yesterday. He also saw a huge white sea bass get caught there. Salmon is closed now, so they'll probably bite well.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

UPDATED 10/30: The State is doing a few more tests before the season is open or closed for sure. They have until Monday or Tuesday to make a difficult decision and they will probably use all he time they have available. It does seem, however, that if there is concern over the safety of crab then they maybe ought to close the reds, since people do eat those, too.
Dungeness season is around the corner and the warm water conditions this year have affected them as well. A plankton bloom has produced something called domoic acid which doesn't affect fish and invertebrates but can kill warm-blooded animals like seals, birds and us. A mild case of poisoning causes a case of weeklong "intestinal distress", medium poisoning can give you a permanent loss of short-term memory, and a bad case kills you. That said, the testing that has taken place puts the Dungeness in this area barely in the OK column. The rules are that if half or less of the crabs test below the danger level then they are OK. Half of the crabs tested from the Bodega Bay area tested slightly above the level and half were slightly below. That wind that blew this past summer and frustrated a lot of fishermen kept the water cool enough to prevent a worse case, at least. FYI, the domoic acid tends to concentrate more in the crab's guts, so you folks that like to eat the "butter" maybe better pass on it this year. Try real butter; it's better for you. How often are you going to hear that? There is still some of the toxin in the meat, though, so don't think this makes them safe. It may reduce your exposure, I usually clean my crab before cooking them and I think that I will continue to do that. The red crab are eating a lot of the same things as the Dungeness, and lots of people have been eating the reds, as far as I know without injury, so it seems like the Dungeness should be OK. The season will open but with an asterisk from the Department of Public Health.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

 On Monday morning a 16' aluminum boat with three fishermen headed out into the ocean in thick fog. Some reports said they came from Lawson's Landing but we have no record of them launching here. A caller today said that he thought he saw them launch from Westside Park in Bodega Bay. Either way, at a little after 9:00 AM a 20' Bayliner headed out of Tomales Bay to go fishing discovered a body floating inside the bar and notified the Coast Guard. By about 10:30 the victim had been recovered and brought to our pier by the Marin County Fire Department and a search began to find any other victims or survivors. The fog was moving in and out around noon and luckily there was an opening during which the only survivor was spotted and rescued. Then the fog slid back in. As of this writing they haven't found the third fisherman. The boat ended up on the beach in Coward's Cove, just inside of Red Rock. We don't know what happened to cause the boat to flip over, but seeing where the boat ended up, they probably caught the wave on the end of Tomales Point, similar to what happened to our Mr. Gerbi last month. Clearly, they were not as lucky.
      A few boats from here went out for bluefin yesterday but of the two boats that went all the way (two of us turned around in the chop) no bluefin were caught. A few were caught by boats out of Bodega Bay, so the fish are still there. The mackerel were harder to catch and a smaller grade (5"-7") but were still at Elephant, just shallower (65-80 feet of water). I launched at 7:00, finally made bait by 8:45 and turned around at 9:45. Rockfishing has been a bit slow in the shallower water but there are a lot of fish out in 150 to 180 feet. Alec Bennett caught a 25 pound ling cod yesterday, so anyone should be able to catch a big one out there. No sea bass this week.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tom Gerbi, Eddie Parsons and Steve Werlin caught two bluefin weighing 38 and 40 pounds gutted. One bit a green mackerel X-Rap30 Rapala and the other bit a live mackerel as they were putting the lines back out from the first fish. The other two boats went without tuna but had plenty of shark action (about $100.00 in lures for Mr. Brezina, the day's shark leader). The fish were at 38°04' by 123°30'. Other boats in the area had as many as three bft when these guys left. The swell is coming up tomorrow and looks like it might stay for a while.
   There were a few halibut caught in the bay but clear water and a lot of seaweed made for a slow day for most. Good rockfishing outside. 

These fishermen caught these halibut in the bay this morning while fishing with Mason Lessard. I don't know the weights but these guys seem pretty satisfied with them. There was at least one other halibut caught across the bay yesterday on a big jacksmelt and two silver salmon and a sevengill released by Hog. The preliminary report from the tuna grounds is that Shut Up and Fish has two tuna in the box. Pictures to follow, I hope.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It looks like there's still a few sea bass around. Nicki Vogler caught this 50 pound wsb today at Elephant on dead squid. The squid was kind of funky, actually, but it still worked. No other bites. Catching mackerel was tougher today than last week. Hopefully they'll be easier by Saturday when the tuna fleet heads out. Weather permitting, there will a group of boats headed out to Cordell. The live bait halibut bite by Hog slowed down for most fishermen but one boat caught 5 by trolling dead herring yesterday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three boats tried for halibut in the bay yesterday and three halibut were caught. The bite was slower but so was the wind. The bait was big jacksmelt again, not because they work better but because that's what's available. Just use big hooks and feed the halibut a lot of line. If you're not sure whether you've fed them enough, give 'em more line.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Only one boat went fishing in the wind yesterday but they still put four halibut in the box during the windiest part of the day. The fish bit large jacksmelt that were caught near Hog Island. There were a number of missed fish as well, until larger hooks were used.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

They may not have caught a bluefin yesterday but they sure caught the halibut today. Even though it was windy, Kevin Fogal and Mara and Mike Nursement fished Hog with live jacksmelt and ended up with seven halibut. Way to go, guys.
   One boat ran for tuna from here on Friday, spent 14 hours on the water, but caught only one blue shark. They saw several bluefin caught by other boats, including one guy fishing alone in a 17' Montauk that couldn't land the fish by himself. Another boat came by, the guys climbed aboard and let their boat drift off(!), and together they landed the fish. Then they ran to find the boat.  That's teamwork. Another guy caught one and while dropping the line back out he hooked another. This was all south of Cordell Banks around the big drop off.
   Saturday, five boats from here ran out. High boat had a skipjack. A couple of the boats saw a lot of jumping tuna but found no biting tuna. Even the sharks were missing from the area south and inside on Cordell. The best signs, the most jumpers and the most sharks (two out of three ain't bad) were near the Bodega weather buoy. There's some mako sharks mixed in with all of the blues. Be careful, the makos are kind of bitey.
   The squid seem to have moved on but the sea bass remain in the schools of anchovies and mackerel. One was caught on a mackerel under a bobber on Thursday evening at McClure's. A few were taken off of Salmon Creek beach on Friday.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

95 pound bft 50 feet down mackerel 37 57 123 27 Nick Bauer

For a bit less pithy report, here it is: We went out this morning and caught mackerel, eventually.  For the record, catching more than you can keep alive is a bad idea. We killed 20 of our 24 in a  bait tank that wouldn't pump while the boat was on plane. Oops.  A blue shark ate another. But one bluefin ate one and the hook stuck just right. We went to where the Point Reyes waverider buoy should be and hooked up one mile inside of it. 

Others had bites and fish in the same area. Kapulani Chong caught a 45 pounder on a diving plug and Bob Brodsky caught a 40 pound bft on a live mackerel, all in the same area. Lots of blue sharks, so bring extra gear. At least four others were hooked and lost. We were lucky and hooked our big fish on big gear.  Better lucky than good, as they say. By the way, while I was cleaning this fish I rediscovered that bluefin is really tasty.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Here's a couple reports from yesterday in Tomales Bay. From Ed Parsons:

Here's one for you, my grandson Teo caught his first halibut today.  He said he had a great weekend, fish fry, watching Gage jump and a halibut!

And from Kevin Fogal:

Kevin and Kyle Fogal caught 3 nice size halibut today around hog island area. All on jack smelt.

So there's still some decent halibut in the bay.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

   The weather outside was frightful, so inside the bay was where people fished this weekend. The halibut bit for most of them around Hog Island with catches of up to four landed on Saturday, three for the high boat on Sunday. There's better weather forecast for this week, so maybe we'll get to see some more silver fish before the year is out.
   The season-long derby ended and the winner was Don Mosby with his 56 pound sea bass. Second place was Gerard Fitzgerald's 32.5 pound salmon, and third went to Nate Smith's 47 pound sea bass. Another side bet between my son, Gage, and Ed Parsons, also was resolved when Gage jumped from the pier in his underwear, since Ed's 45 pound sea bass beat Gage's 20.5 pound salmon. A man has to follow through with his agreements, even when the water's cold.

Friday, October 9, 2015

    There was an early sea bass bite yesterday and we caught the tail end of it with Alec Bennett's 34 pounder. At high tide (about 10:00 AM yesterday) the halibut bit and we saw over a dozen caught in 45 minutes in 90 to 100 feet of water. Half of our fish bit frozen squid and two halibut ate live mackerel. I didn't hear of any salmon reports yesterday and there was mixed success on rockfish.

   I had to include this picture of Alec. I'm not sure which of these two has the more pained expression, and one of them has a piece of steel stuck in his side. You make the call.
   Kurt Monser had a good day on Wednesday and emailed me this report:

Because of your blog on Tuesday Elephant rock was packed with boats so we went down south of there.
We got bit hard and fast Wednesday morning at the north end of 10 mile just south of the key holes. Pulled in to WSB 26 & 36 and 2 halibut going 10 & 28 pounds. all between 9:30 and 11:30. So the sun on the water theory didn't hold up this time.

Sorry about the boat traffic, and the WSB can bite all day, it just a better chance for multiples at first and last light. I wish I got an earlier start yesterday, as there were several landed before I got there. Anyway, here's the photographic evidence of his day:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No salmon landed today, but Nate Porter found something to smile about. Look at that grinning SOB. These WSB weighed 27 and 25 pounds. The only other fish landed today were rockfish and mackerel and the rockfishing was a bit slow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Marshall Young of Novato had the hot rod on his buddy's boat today, landing two nice halibut and a pair of white sea bass weighing 27 and 37 pounds. I couldn't crop the photo any more because his head wouldn't fit. The fish came on squid at Elephant at first light. There's also a good salmon bite in the outer bay with fish up to 15 pounds being caught (although the bulk of the fish are 20 to 25 inches long). 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Local Landmarks

People have been asking again, so here's the maps of local landmarks. Clicking on them makes them larger.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

My wife let me catch this one today.  42 pounds, frozen squid,  100 feet of water off of the Keyholes. That's a smile, if you couldn't tell. Some of the other boats in the area had WSB although too many boats in the area is slowing the action. Halibut have been caught in the same area and are apparently less boat shy. If you go, please be quiet and courteous to the boats around you. Do not race through the boats. Do not crowd the other guys. Hey, you know what? These are good rules for all of the time. I've heard that Bodega and Tomales Bays have reputations for rude fishermen. Maybe we can change that. Catching more fish and not being a dick seems like win-win.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

One more fish for the day. Nicki Vogler caught this 32 pound white sea bass at last light on a frozen squid south of Elephant Rock. Luckily our evening photo shoot turned into a fish catching opportunity.

Mr. Porter caught a 37.5 pound sea bass today, as well as a starry flounder. Frozen squid was the ticket. He was fishing "by the squid." He saw a few others caught on boats near him. There were quite a few salmon caught today, but so far the dozen or so salmon landed may have a combined weight less than this sea bass. Salmon came from Ten Mile to a bit north of the outer bell ("02") in 60 to 100 feet of water. No halibut landed, at least, not from the bar.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There were a few salmon caught off of the far end of Ten Mile today in 60 to 80 feet of water on the bottom. A few others came from "north of Bird," which I guess is Tomales Point? A couple of the salmon weighed in the teens and the rest were, well, legal. The bay had a few halibut in it and the ones that were caught were spotted like they may have just entered the bay. Rockfishing was just OK and required a bit of effort to limit. No stripers landed in the last few days that I heard of, but the birds have been feeding heavily just off of the end of Sand Point on the outgoing tide.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The salmon and halibut bite has slowed to a trickle this week, but at least there's still stripers to be had in the surf. No guarantees, of course, but there's been a few stripers landed almost every day. Poppers and iron are the tools of choice. On the water, rockfish has been the best bet, although there are still squid around so there may be a chance for sea bass. I tried for WSB on Thursday, along with a bunch of other people. I saw one guy hook a double and land neither. I also saw several boats pull into a pile of birds eating a ball of squid at the surface and net some squid right next to a guy that was fishing said ball of squid. I think that qualifies as a "dick move". So did the guy fishing there. I left and went rockfishing, which was very good and very peaceful.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Most of the salmon landed in the last few days came from Ten Mile, especially the far end of it. The Predator caught five nice salmon yesterday in 50 to 80 feet of water near the Coast Guard buildings (old US Life-Saving Service). They also caught a 15 pound halibut and lost something that nearly spooled them. The one boat from here that went that far today caught his salmon limit fairly quickly but found too much seaweed on the beach to fish for halibut. The outer bay is still full of bait but not full of salmon. The weather is questionable at best for the next day or two.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lynn Keehn of Woodland caught her first halibut today, a 12 pounder. It bit a smaller-sized jacksmelt by Hog Island. Lynn and company decided to stay in the bay due to the fog and questionable ocean conditions. The forecast three foot swell  was actually six foot and packed a bit of power with it this morning, making for a bit of a break on the bar and other shallow spots. A few boats did head out this morning and one of them, following an old track line on the GPS in the thick fog, ended up too close to Tomales Point and got flipped over. From there their luck turned better as the boat righted itself and motor kept running. Kapulani Chong was able to get back in the boat and radio for help, as he couldn't get the boat owner, Tom Gerbi, back in the boat. The radio call was pretty garbled since the microphone was full of water, but Kerry Apgar understood "flipped" and "point" enough to direct other fishermen to the area. Rober Buckenmeyer and Helmuth Himmrich found them and were able to pull Tom into the boat between sets of breakers. Kapulani ended up driving the rolled boat home. They are lucky, lucky, lucky. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

 Reed Backer of Novato went fishing in one of our rental boats with his brother Tony and he caught the second largest California halibut that I've seen here. 48 inches long and 45 pounds, it bit a live jacksmelt in the channel by Hog Island. It broke his landing net, but not enough to get away. Nice work, gentlemen!
   There's still bait and salmon in the outer bay but not as much as there was a few days ago. The one thing there's more of is seaweed. Most of the salmon are pretty small, but as few salmon as have been around this year I'd find it difficult to release a keeper. Most of the fish came from just east of Buoy "2" and scattered all over the water column from top to bottom. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

The bite slowed down a bit today, probably partly because the south wind sped up. Still, everyone I spoke with had salmon and about half of the boats caught limits, maybe not as big as they wanted, but limits. Halibut fishing was slow (except for the drift, which was too fast).

Sunday, September 13, 2015

They say the clothes make the man, and I'm told that these boots make the man a salmon killer. Scott Alexander used them to catch this 24 pound salmon, one of the six fish in their limits today. It wasn't quite a wide open bite for salmon today but it was better than most of the other days this year. Salmon were caught from the "TB" buoy just past the bar to the esteros and down to Elephant if you wanted to go that far. Most of the fish came up higher in the water instead of having to pound the bottom, although the pictured salmon sure had a red belly. The guys fishing squid for halibut will need a new trick as the halibut didn't want any today. Rockfishing was pretty good.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The wind blew pretty hard but that didn't stop a few boats from heading out today. They found salmon in front of Elephant, Bird Rock, and even between the inner and outer buoys. Most of the fish were smaller but some teens to 27.5 pound salmon found their way into the boats. The halibut bite was a bit slower on the bar but dead squid for bait put fish in most of the boats. Hog Island was slower still for halibut but there were still a few picked up. A shark fisherman near Hog picked up a few leopard sharks and then had his rod and line broken by a freight train hit. Perhaps another WSB?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remember when you were little and you thought that monsters lived in the dark? It turns out that it was true. This monster bit as the last light faded and weighed in at 55 pounds. Robert caught it after nailing the salmon at Abbott's Lagoon. Several boats returned with limits of salmon from there yesterday, but today was windier but much slower. They bit so well yesterday that I almost limited. Reports from points north, like Salmon Creek, Carmet and Fort Ross sound more consistent for salmon. Halibut on the bar and back by Hog Island has picked up again and a few guys have done very well fishing dead squid for flatties. The rockfish bite has been pretty good for most guys. There's still stripers getting caught from the beach. I saw about a 12 pounder (caught on a popper) get carried in today and heard about another one yesterday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

There are a lot of smaller salmon scattered off of Ten Mile and there was one large one, but Kim Fitzgerald caught it. A couple boats limited out on the smaller variety. There were also limits of halibut taken in the bay near Hog Island. The salmon bite seemed to be better in the afternoon, so maybe get your halibut in the morning and your salmon after. And then hit the lottery.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mike Mayry picked up a salmon yesterday, so he thought he'd get a matching one today. Unfortunately he'll have to get another, as this one has a seal bite mark on it. Mike caught both salmon by trolling between the Trees and McClure's in 90 to 105 feet of water. A few others were caught there this weekend but not too many. Better action has been coming from Ten Mile, especially the southern portion. High salmon boat from here landed six fish to thirteen pounds today and they fished closer to Point Reyes than here. A few halibut were caught by Hog Island today, and I heard that one boat landed twelve halibut on live jacksmelt south of the island yesterday. The rockfish bite was slow in the shallower water but there were still some nice black rockfish brought in.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Some more salmon were landed today with the high boat landing four. Most of the successful boats had one, but most of the fishing boats were unsuccessful. Halibut in the bay was still not happening but there were a few taken in the ocean, the largest one weighing 23 pounds and was caught by a legendary salmon troller in 90 feet of water. A hefty striper was spotted jumping out of the water just inside the sand point this morning and seconds later the water where he had jumped erupted in foam. Unfortunately, the foam was from the dozen jigs cast towards the fish splashing in the water. The fish's current whereabouts are unknown at this time.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I like this picture way more than yesterday's photo. I'm afraid that I have no information to go with it, but hey, look at the fishies. There were some salmon caught today as well, not many, but the two boats that caught went "south of Elephant." Tomorrow looks like a pretty good day to try the same thing. The wind may still be blowing further out and the water might be a little bumpy but the wind is supposed to be light near shore. The halibut kept their mouths shut today and even the bait was almost impossible to catch. With the wind dropping the schools of bait should start forming up again and the water should warm up pretty quickly to halibut comfort levels.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Here's the fishing report:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

See, there are still stripers on the beach. This one weighed 17 pounds, had one eye, and it ate a popper. There were some others caught yesterday and today, but as the full moon wanes, so does the surf fishing. The wind is blowing further out to sea, so the water is unpleasant in the morning and rough in the afternoon when the wind comes ashore. A few boats have gone out but only one returned with salmon today. The weather is supposed to get better by this weekend, and it better, or we'll be shoulder to shoulder on the beach trying to catch the day's one striper.