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.