Monday, August 31, 2015

Rough water today but a few halibut were caught by Hog Island. I forgot to mention earlier, but the stripers have been in the surf. I heard of one caught close to 30 pounds but most are running 20 to 30 inches.  It would appear that the full moon is the time to fish for them.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Here's the winners of the 4th Merle Lawson Memorial Salmon/Sea Bass Derby. In the middle is Kapulani Chong, who fished with Chris Hayes, the winner with a 23 pound salmon. Second place went to Cameron Vogler, who fished with Paul Boley, at 20.5 pounds. Third place went to Nathan Duby, who fished with me, with an 18 pound salmon. Merle always did well at derby time and it must have been genetic, as Nathan and Cameron are his grandson and great-grandson. All three fish were caught off of Abbott's Lagoon, trolling the bottom. Here's pictures of the fish and fishermen: 

R. L. Hartmann of Granite Bay caught this 29 pound lingcod at Point Reyes yesterday. While not a contender for this year's derby, next year's salmon derby may be a lingcod derby if the salmon season gets cut like people are expecting. The halibut catching was slow in the bay but a few were taken outside. The word might be out about white sea bass because there were about 50 boats drifting in front of McClure's yesterday morning. Maybe they were mooching for salmon? They weren't catching any salmon... 

Friday, August 28, 2015

This morning Nathan Porter caught that sea bass he's been looking for. 35.5 pounds, it bit a drifted dead squid at McClure's at first light. Find the squid, find the sea bass.

Yesterday's dawn patrol couldn't find the squid, but the anchovies worked out okay. Nathan Duby caught a 27 pound WSB on a dead frozen anchovy at the Keyholes and I caught a 24 pound halibut on a live (but dropped hard on the deck) mackerel in 90 feet of water. We were back by 8:00 AM. Then we went back out in the afternoon for four hours of trolling for nada. Guess we used up our luck.

John Brezina mooched up this 26 pound salmon at the Keyholes yesterday. There were a few other salmon caught there early in the day but the bite died early. There's been some sporadic salmon and halibut action at the squid spawning grounds but it has not been dependable. The halibut fishing in the bay has been slow, probably because the fish are so well-fed on the schools of anchovies circulating around the bay. Actually, most of the non-rockfish fishing is slow everywhere, but if you are lucky you might catch. The salmon/sea bass derby tomorrow should be interesting. A fish could win it all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Not too many fishermen today but there were still several salmon taken and a few nice halibut. Bob King landed a 26 pound California halibut on a live squid at the Keyholes. Some other fish were taken there on the same bait, including salmon and white sea bass. The bite is not good, but there's a chance for fish. Dillon Beach also had some halibut for at least one troller today. Another fisherman had two salmon just south of the Trees in 80 feet of water.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There were a few salmon landed today between the Trees and Elephant in 60 to 80 feet of water. Mooching seemed like the better bet for a salmon dinner. The halibut didn't show on the bar for the divers today but some of the fishermen did pretty well close by. There was at least one striper caught from shore today on a piece of mackerel for bait.

    These were some of the contenders for the "2 Duck" Halibut Derby. Quite a few halibut were caught, mostly from the bar and off of Dillon Beach. The winner was Adam Farrow who speared a 28 pound beauty to cement the win. Mara ans Mike Nursement took second and third places, respectively. 

    Of course,while everyone else was fishing for halibut, these guys were quietly putting salmon in the boat. They mooched up eight salmon in two days and quit before noon yesterday because, "we ran out of cooler space." They were fishing off of the Trees in 80 feet of water, 10 to 12 cranks off of the bottom.

Friday, August 21, 2015

    This 26.5 pound salmon was one of five caught mooching between Bird and Elephant Rock in 60 to 80 feet of water. It's only about 22 pounds heavier than the one we put in the boat yesterday at McClure's.

    This 43.5 pound sea bass was caught off of the Trees by Steve Anderson of Lodi. He was mooching for salmon.

    Kelley Roy of Folsom landed this 45 pound white sea bass off of Elephant Rock/Keyholes on a metal jig. The squid got pushed to the surface by some no longer mysterious fish and Kelley tossed his jig at a swirl. He's holding the rod he used. I wasn't there, but I'm going to guess that Steve Wisniewski is at least as talented a boat operator as Mr. Roy is a fisherman. 
    There were some other fish landed today. Several other salmon came in from the same areas as usual, although there was a pretty good bite south of Point Reyes the last few days. A few halibut came in as well, although I expect we'll see quite a few more tomorrow with the halibut derby here. Hog Island hasn't been hot but has been more consistent than other places for flatfish, but I wouldn't be surprised if the winner didn't come from deep water off of McClure's or the Keyholes. Lings and rocks filled out the bags for most of the fishermen still.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    Jason Kasick caught a couple of nice ling cod today, as well as a limit of rockfish. He caught them all on shrimp flies.

    Kapulani Chong fished with Gerard Fitzgerald today and with that combination of skills and determination (or luck) they brought back this nice salmon. Even though we haven't seen many of these lately, there were a few other salmon caught. There was an 8 pound salmon landed in 90 feet of water near the Keyholes. There's rumors of salmon off of Point Reyes but that's a long run for a rumor. 

    How about two white sea bass for Beth and Peter Honebein? I guess one just didn't seem like it was enough, so they caught a second one. These two weighed in at 26 and 21 pounds and were caught within sight of the boathouse, in the bay. 
    There were halibut troll caught at Ten Mile and live baited across the bay from the pier. Tons of anchovies are all over near the surface in the bay and the ocean but not much is bothering them besides pelicans.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No white sea bass weighed in today but several were seen being boated by other fishermen. The couple of boats anchored at the start of Ten Mile over the squid were catching both sea bass and halibut. As far as fish brought in there were several halibut from the bar, McClure's and Ten Mile up to 26 pounds and one salmon. The salmon wasn't large but was proof that they still do exist. I, for one, needed that proof.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I was almost thinking we'd go a day without a white sea bass and then Robert Sandrock came in with this one. It weighed 50 pounds without its innards. It was taken off of Ten Mile. No salmon brought in today. Several halibut were caught near Hog Island but I didn't hear of any from outside.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

    Tom Carter kept the white goatee trend alive with this 48 pound sea bass this morning. It bit a live jacksmelt on the bar. He almost had to chase it into the surf but he finally turned it.

    Mike Mayry's 28 pound sea bass wasn't as big as the others but Mr. Mayry did the important service of breaking the white goatee barrier. I was going to glue some cotton to my face, but Mike says I don't need to. This fish also swam on the bar but it ate a shiner. 
    There were a few halibut caught today in the usual spots but I heard of no big bite. No salmon. There were some stripers caught in the surf but I don't have details except for the fact that there were several and they weighed about 8 to 15 pounds.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

No, I'm not recycling photos from last year. This year's fish was eight pounds heavier. Nice 39 pound sea bass, Mr. Stahl. As far as I know. there were about as many salmon caught today as sea bass. Here is the other fish:

Rob Sereni found a ball of anchovies on the bar being molested by salmon and caught one of the molesters. Other than that there were many rockfish from Elephant reef and some halibut from Hog and Ten Mile. The weather was nicer than anticipated but still bumpy outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer yet.

Friday, August 14, 2015

So on my day off I went fishing for white sea bass. I caught a bunch of squid, fished the squid spawn areas, did many of the things they say you should do when fishing for white sea bass. Result: I finally went out and caught rockfish for dinner. In the meantime, 
    Don Mosby caught this 56 pound sea bass behind Hog Island on a live jacksmelt. He also caught three halibut. He was down to the spool on the initial run, thumbed it, and the fish turned around instead of snapping him off.

    Ed Parsons caught this 45 pound sea bass on the bar while jigging for halibut yesterday evening. Again, while not fishing for sea bass. I am officially not fishing for white sea bass any more.
    Salmon was slow again for most fishermen but there were still a few caught, mostly near the Trees. At least one fisherman limited on salmon while mooching just south of there in 75-85 feet of water. It seems like the salmon are moving through in small schools and if you find one you will catch. Mostly, you don't. Halibut were caught back by Hog in the bay and out in 60 to 90 feet of water in the ocean. If you like eating mackerel happiness awaits you at the Keyholes. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    This father-son team are obviously terrific natural fishermen, as they've been reading this report about fishing on Tomales Bay and still caught fish. The halibut weighed 11 pounds and was jigged up behind Hog Island and the ling was the young man's first fish. 

    Team Barton found a lingcod hole, I think. Reno's fish weighed 22 pounds. These smiles are because I asked where they were fishing.
    There were a few salmon caught today on some beautifully flat water. Not too many, but a few. One boat limited by mooching squid and another boat trolled up a limit of salmon on blue label herring. The area from the Keyholes to the Trees was still the preferred location and 80 feet of water off of McClure's Beach is, some would say, a Charlie Foxtrot of trollers and moochers. There's fish there, a few at least, but you'd better like close company.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This guy returned with a pair of salmon to 25 pounds today. The two salmon came from Elephant Rock and were taken, along with one lost, in a period of about 25 minutes. I guess you had to be there. The rockfish stood in for the salmon and took a beating again. Several boats landed halibut at Hog Island and Ten Mile. One fisherman I spoke with lost a white sea bass and saw two others caught. Maybe we're chasing the wrong kind of fish?

Monday, August 10, 2015

The wind yesterday and today kept most of the boats off of the water and made it hard to put fish in the boats that did go out. The water is cooling off a bit, though, so maybe the salmon will be happier. There are a couple of derbies coming up in the next few weeks. On August 22 the 2 Duck Potluck and Halibut Derby will be held here. A week later on August 29 will be the 4th Merle Lawson  Memorial Salmon Derby. Entries can be made up to 8:00 AM on the morning of the respective derby.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

These halibut came from just south of Hog, one on a bucktail and one on a live anchovy. There was a pretty good bite going on there for a while. In the ocean the salmon were not very receptive but Gerard Fitzgerald was still able to catch a 30.5 pound one. The Legendary One also boated a 30 pound halibut. There were a few other salmon taken today but not very many. At least the weather was better than predicted.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Scott from Auburn came by to show off today's catch. The halibut bit a shortbelly rockfish and a shiner perch. Scott also reported that a neighboring boat limited for two people with shiners. They were fishing on the northwest side of Hog Island in the channel. Another boat picked up three halibut on the bar. The salmon were even slower than usual for most of the fishermen, although I did hear of three boats catching their limits of kings. Most guys ended up with nothing but "consolation prize" rockfish. Don't get me wrong, I like rockfish. It's just that it's like going on Jeopardy! and coming home with the year's supply of Rice-A-Roni. 

This halibut was caught across the bay from the boathouse on a bucktail jig. Current theory is that it just came into the bay as it still has spots on the brown side. There were some other halibut caught on Ten Mile and the bar. The salmon bite was spotty as usual with a few fish coming from Bird Rock to the Keyholes and the largest concentration of boats at McClure's. I saw several caught but our only salmon bite there was lost on a commercial boat's wire. We ran down to the Towers and caught three halibut and a 30 pound salmon on slow-trolled live bait. The halibut liked the squid and the salmon ate a mackerel. Really. 

Gage did not catch a salmon yesterday but he did make a new friend. This ocean sunfish or mola came right up to the boat for a scratch, probably to knock off some of the critters living on it. It was about eight feet long.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

No quick limits for these guys today, but they still caught fish on a tough day. Choppy conditions today made for unpleasant fishing. Even so,

Tom Gerbi and Eddie Parsons came back with a 23.5 pound salmon. I recently learned that my son Gage has a bet with Ed about who catches the largest salmon by October. Loser jumps off the pier in his underwear. Ed caught this fish, so Gage may have to buy some new underwear this fall. I didn't hear any reports from Hog Island today but Ten Mile had a few halibut for the guys that bounced around down there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

   This picture is from yesterday. Steve Towne had it but didn't think I should share it because Bruce Albers caught a salmon. Steve was concerned that people would get the wrong idea and think the salmon fishing was wide open. It isn't. Bruce fished with Mike Gonzales on the Marisa Kay, though, so that may explain it. I kid Bruce, of course. This is the only guy I know that fell out of the boat with a fish hooked and didn't let go of the rod. He got back in the boat and landed the salmon. He can go fishing with me any time. Not that he would...
    Today's fishing was wide open for mackerel but substantially slower for salmon. There were still a few caught, the biggest going 27.5 pounds gutted and caught by Dale Fortner on the Got One

Most salmon fishermen took home rockfish. Halibut fishing at Hog was slow but good for the one boat that I talked to that worked Ten Mile. Limits for them. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Zachary Laskowski of Lodi put this 25 pound salmon in the box today. It bit a trolled straight bait. There were some other skilled (and lucky- you know who you are) salmon fishermen today that came home with their targeted specie. Numbers ranged from 0 to 3 with about half of the fishermen being successful. There were many complaints about the mackerel today. They were eating baits before the salmon could get to them. Mooching was a mackerel feeding exercise and trolling included a lot of gear tended and mackerel cursing. The only solution I can offer is to target mackerel. As soon as I try to catch something it seems like I have the the hardest time doing it, so maybe if you want them bad enough they'll leave you alone. Here's a possible fix: There were a few halibut today, most of them going to the divers. Rockfishing was still good. The grunion have returned to Dillon Beach, and if nobody bothers them we may see them again in a few weeks.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

As this, the last major low tide of the year, passes into history, we look back at the people that, through serendipity or plain old good luck, didn't end up killing themselves in tiny, overloaded boats without life jackets. Well, next season is closer than you think.

Vince Howe of Lincoln caught this 24 pound halibut in 70 feet of water today. As you can imagine from the depth, he wasn't trying to catch halibut, but Vince still seems okay with it. The beaches had some halibut today (I heard of up to 6 by 11:00 AM for one legendary fisherman) as did Hog Island. Salmon action was slow for most, again. I spoke with one boat with three salmon (Rob Sereni) and heard of a few singles but mostly people were returning with rockfish.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mike Gonzales seemed to have no problem catching these two 23 pound salmon.He was back by 10:30 this morning. My source says he caught them on Krippled Anchovies on the bottom off of McClure's Beach. He also dodged many boats. Many, many boats. There were other salmon taken off of the Keyholes and Bodega Head, so it's OK to spread out a little. Halibut were caught all over, no big numbers but a few here and there. There were several nice lingcod caught today, a couple of which weighed 17 pounds.