Friday, December 30, 2016

     As submitted by Trip Plumb from his fishing/crabbing trip last Tuesday :" Beautiful day limits of crab and slow bite on rock cod. 5 pots with 3 hour soak north end 10 mile. "  Other people have been doing pretty well at the crabbing, too. Outside in the outer bay there are still a few pockets of Dungeness and a few guys are getting their limits. Inside Tomales Bay the crabbing has been okay (great if you want reds) with the same caveat about location. The deeper holes seem to be better but don't put any gear you want back in them if the current is moving very fast. The pier has actually been pretty good. Some of the crabbers have caught more keepers on the pier than the boaters (not just me). The biggest problem with the pier is the hungry sea lion. He has decided that he likes chicken as well as the mackerel and squid. A metal bait box is a must if using a ring net. While we don't encourage the sea lions to eat your bait, we don't discourage them either, since they are a protected species. Another protected species is the great white shark, and occasionally one will happen by and eliminate the bait thieves. This happened in October 1989:
     The man said "instant karma's gonna get you." Poor little spotty. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

      Binh Nguyen sent in this weekend report:"We went out on Saturday the 17th for easy limits of lingcods up to 15lbs for 4. Rockfish was biting. We got only a hand full of rockfish and 15 crabs." Nice fish. I guess I should have gone north on Sunday.

      Or maybe I should have just stayed inside the bay. Allen Evans sent in this:"Landed a limit of crabs inside the bay...awesome weather and the bay was flat"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

     These guys went fishing and crabbing with me today. Four of us on the boat ended up with 28 rockfish, 10 lings and 3 Dungeness. Now I know where the Dungeness aren't. 90 feet of water in front of the Towers was not good for the Dungeness  (lots of reds if you want 'em) but 140 feet had plenty of  rockfish action for 2.5 hours we tried for them. The schoolies weren't that big but ten lings makes for a pretty decent pile of fillets. There were quite a few rockfish caught in front of Bird Rock this weekend, too. A couple of guys did well in the outer bay but mostly there were more reds than Dungeness. Lots more. The guys that stayed inside Tomales Bay did better on the crabs than I did. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Found crab pot.

This arrived at the launch ramp today. It was hooked on a boat and dragged in from somewhere.  We are storing it in the shop for now. Show a license with a matching GOID number and you can have it back.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

     Here's a photo and report from Binh Nguyen: "We got easy limits of lings and rockfish Saturday the 10th for 2.  Here is Ron with a couple monster lings in the mid twenties." He added that the " lings were caught off Timber Cove". Very nice fish, gentlemen. Looks like some nice Dungeness, too.

Friday, December 9, 2016

    Wow, two posts in a day! That's what happens when somebody catches a fish and sends me a picture. The Harvest Time crew limited out on rockfish and lings and caught better than half limits of Dungeness on a three hour soak, all at or near Elephant Rock today. They would have soaked the pots longer but they couldn't fish anymore. For the record, before anyone gets upset, the orange fish in the ice chest is a rosy rockfish (or a cousin), not a canary. They aren't jumping the gun. They are doing a lot of cleaning.

     There's new rockfish rules for next year, not final yet, but almost. Most notable is more depth for rockfishing, as well as keeping a canary per person. The new depth allowance is actually not the actual depth but a mapped line of waypoints, shown in the above map. You may fish on the landward side of the line. Good luck only catching one canary. Also coming up is lingcod goes back to a two fish limit, 22" minimum size, black rockfish drop to a limit of three, and bocaccio  has no separate limit anymore (not that you caught many before, but now you might). New abalone rules are coming as well. They're simple, we're losing April and November and there will be a limit of 12 abalone per year max instead of 18. There's still a max of 9 abalone per year from Marin ans Sonoma counties. You win some, you lose some.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

     I hear that there's a few surfperch being caught now. The overcast days usually have the best bite, and its so cold you don't need to ice your catch. When you catch one you can warm your hands up just by holding your catch. The better part is warming your belly up with fried perch. The Dungeness crabbing inside Tomales Bay is actually holding up pretty well. It is still very possible to go without, but with a bit of luck and skill most crabbers are getting enough for dinner and a few are catching limits. One fellow working the pier caught ten Dungeness over the past weekend, so there's hope for the shore crabber as well. In the outer bay the reds outnumber the Dungeness by 5 to 1 on the South end. On the North side the traps outnumber the Dungeness....

Thursday, December 1, 2016

     Woooo-hoooh!!!! The testing is in and Dungeness crabs (South of Salt Point and North of the Eureka jaws) are clean enough to eat the guts! All right, you butter-lovers, break out the french bread. Also, commercial crabbers can set their gear in front of Bodega Bay starting at 6:00 AM tomorrow. So, if you were having trouble catching Dungeness in ocean before, it ain't getting any better. At least a lot of the boats have already headed North for their opener.
    P.S. Still don't eat the red/rock crab guts. Both because you're not supposed to and also yuck.

Monday, November 28, 2016

    Since we have had at least ten phone calls today asking about (or telling us that) the crabs being closed again, let me just say, no, they are not closed here for sport fishermen. The same rules are in effect, that is, crab is open but don't eat the guts (one of the easiest rules I've had to follow, I must say). Commercial crabbing is closed here because they sell the crab whole and they aren't allowed to sell a product with a portion of it exceeding the guidelines. So, go crabbing. Or don't. More for me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

     Not much new to report. The weather has been mostly nice in the bay and mostly swell (big swell) in the ocean. We had a few days of decent water which let a couple boats get out for some excellent rockfish and lingcod fishing. The crabbing has been pretty good outside (not in the outer bay, but further out) and tapering off inside Tomales Bay. Still, a few guys are catching limits inside the bay with a combination of the right bait in the right place and getting up on the right side of the bed. There's surfperch to be had off of the beach and Gage says the jacksmelt action is good when the schools come through.

Friday, November 18, 2016

     So, the latest crab tests are in and the Bodega Dungeness crab passed. That's a good thing for eating crab but probably a bad one for catching them, as commercial season will likely get expanded to here as well. Fort Bragg had five of twelve crabs fail, so they'll probably only be opening up to Gualala or so. Numbers of crabs caught have remained good in the deeper spots and not so good in the outer bay. Inside Tomales Bay the Dungies have slowed a bit but are still coming in from both the pier and especially from boats. The deeper holes have been pretty consistent producers but usually only around the turn of the tide when the current slows down. Fast current in those holes means bye-bye gear when the buoys dive. The sand on the bottom can also shift over the top of the pot when the current is ripping. Please remember to weight your lines, as I drive on the bay and don't want to wreck your gear or my motor.
     Rockfishing has been good when you can get there here. Mostly you couldn't get out of Tomales because of the breaking bar but the sea dropped down for a couple days this week. Maybe Tuesday of next week it may be passable. If not, there's perch in the surf. There was a report of a "striped mackerel" about two feet long hooked and lost in the surf last weekend. They said it was not a striped bass. Water temps pushing 60 degrees, so bonito? Someone has to land one so we can find out. I sent my go-to guy but Gage could only catch perch. Which was okay.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

     These folks in the sweet 1964 Glasspar saw a small boat drifting towards the mouth of the bay (and certain doom, today) and decided that they had better help. They towed the other boat back to the pier and definitely saved the lives of those on board. For that, these are the heroes of the week. Thanks for making the water a safer place for all of us.
     Here's a pic and report from last weekend (sorry, I lost it in my inbox). Nick Mitten reports, "My dad, brother and I went out on Sunday. Dropped 3 pots and motor died after dropping the 3rd. We paddled back and picked up the pots. Decided to anchor for a couple hours and crab off the anchor. We had 7 pots off all ends of the 19ft boat. We picked up 20 crabs for three of us in 3 hours. Most were well over the crab gauge. 

 We would have stayed and limited at the rate we were going but we couldn't pass up the nice guys that offered to bring us back in with them. Awesome day overall, I'm glad we made the best of the floating pier. The bay was amazing Sunday. Here is my share" Way to save the day, Nick. It takes a special blend of luck and skill to break down over the right spot. I prefer to burn lots of fuel running to the wrong spots, but you do it your way and I'll do mine. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

     This gentleman and his buddies caught three limits of Dungeness before noon today. These all came from near Marker 5, but not in the scrum of pots there. He wasn't giving the exact location and I don't blame him. 
     I was able to get out of the bay on Thursday but should have stayed inside, it looks like. Five pots in 75' of water in the outer bay caught five Dungeness, and two pots in 140' of water off of Tomales Point caught six Dungeness. It was only a four hour soak, but I was expecting a bit more. At least there were rockfish to catch. Except, not where they were two weeks ago. Where I had been throwing back keeper lings I now couldn't get a bite. We finally went down to the reefs off of Abbott's Lagoon to catch half limits of rockfish. The sea was big but not as large as the day before when a boat out of Bodega dropped into the trough behind a huge swell and pancaked, breaking off all four seat posts. On Wednesday the swell peaked at 17 feet at the Bodega Buoy (19 at Point Reyes). That's too big.

Monday, November 7, 2016

     Richard Baratta sent in this report from Saturday's opener in Tomales Bay:"Hey Willy
Thanks for all the free advice this year and humor. This crabs for you! I could not find you so I ate it!
Best crab you never ate.
PS it's the bait.
     So I guess I need to concentrate on my bait. Hopefully I can master it.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

     These guys caught 25 Dungeness out of one of our rental boats today and weren't even the high boat. They've still got a lot of cleaning and boiling to do. High boat (that I spoke with) had 34 keeper Dungeness. The area north of marker 5, as usual, was the spot, even though, as usual, not everybody did as well. Some crabbers got skunked and some did well, with most guys getting a few, and most guys working the same area. I don't know what the Tomales Bay secret trick is. Fresh squid? Clams? The souls of unchristened children? Nobody will tell me.

    And then these guys. Gage and his buddy Nick caught these two nice Dungeness on the pier this morning. They were using chicken for bait. There were others caught on the pier but Gage will tell you that these were the largest ones.

Friday, November 4, 2016

    Here's two different looks at why the bay will be crowded tomorrow. The break was intermittent in the morning and was steady and large all afternoon. Tomorrow should be very similar. Nobody should try to cross the bar tomorrow. Somebody probably will try, but nobody should. The crabs have been eating well and there's no reason to fatten them up with your corpse. Crab the bay, wait in line in Bodega Bay, or try again another day. The commercial season looks to be on hold for a bit longer, so the ocean crabbing should wait for you. Patience....

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

     The results of the new tests are in, and while not perfect they are apparently good enough.

Recreational Dungeness Crab Season to Open Statewide Nov. 5

The recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to open statewide on Saturday, Nov. 5 – with a health warning in place for crabs caught north of Point Reyes (Marin County).
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a warning to recreational anglers not to consume the viscera (internal organs) of Dungeness crab caught in coastal waters north of Point Reyes due to the sporadic detection of elevated levels of domoic acid in the viscera of Dungeness crabs caught off the northern California coast.
The health warning is effective for recreationally caught Dungeness crabs taken from state waters north of Latitude 38° 00′ N. (near Point Reyes). CDPH believes that Dungeness crab meat is safe to consume, however, as a precaution, consumers are advised not to eat the viscera (also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH further recommends recreational anglers follow best preparation practices to ensure that they avoid any inadvertent exposure to domoic acid that might be sporadically found in some crab’s viscera.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin related to a “bloom” of certain single-celled algae. Fish and shellfish are capable of accumulating elevated levels of domoic acid in their tissue, which can sicken people who eat them. Last fall and winter, domoic acid along the West Coast interrupted Dungeness and rock crab fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon state line. This year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will continue to work with CDPH and the fishing community to collect crab samples from the northern California coast until the domoic acid levels have dissipated.
Consult the CDPH biotoxin information line at (800) 553-4133 or CDPH’s Domoic Acid Health Information webpage for more information.
CDFW reminds crabbers of new regulations that became effective on Aug. 1, 2016. For a complete description of the regulations, please go to and click on “New Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Regulations” in the Announcements box

     I'm so happy. If only the ocean conditions mirrored my joy. The forecast sounds potentially fatal for crossing the Tomales Bar over the weekend, but if the Shrimp Boat guys are ready for it I think that there may be plenty of buoys to slalom around inside the bay. Also, this:

The recreational fishery for all rock crab species is open statewide. North of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advises that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

     So, maybe no crabs? The last test here (on 10/12/16) had bad crab at the Russian River and at Bodega Head. Three of twelve crabs exceeded the minimum. I guess water temp has no bearing, since colder water has been the rule here. They may open it with the admonition to clean before cooking, but it doesn't look good. Fingers crossed. ....
     The rockfishing is good, at least. Today Gage and I went out in the afternoon and fished in 150 feet of water off of Bird Rock.  The large South swell and weird South drift made it tough, as well as the touch screen GPS not liking rain on the screen. Luckily the lingcod didn't care. Three drifts for 90 minutes total provided 14 rockfish and 6 lingcod, plus at least 8 more keeper lings returned. We quit not because of the rain but because we couldn't take returning any more lingcod. It is hard to throw back keepers. It was raining, so it was hard to tell, but I think that Gage may have been tearing up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

     I'm sure you've probably already seen this, but here's the CDFW's interpretation of their new rules:

New Recreational Dungeness Crab Regulations Aim to Reduce “Ghost Fishing” and More

crab measure
Measure Dungeness crab through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab must measure at least 5¾ inches across. CDFW illustration
This year, the recreational Dungeness crab season opens statewide on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The daily bag and possession limit for Dungeness crab remains ten crabs per day that are at least 5¾ inches across, measured by the shortest distance through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab can be taken in all ocean waters of the state where they occur, excluding San Francisco and San Pablo bays. They can be taken using hoop nets, crab traps, or crab loop traps (also known as crab snares), or skin and scuba divers may take them by hand. Dungeness crab can be taken in freshwater areas of the state between Del Norte and Sonoma counties only by hand or hoop net during the open season; the same daily bag and size limits apply in freshwater areas.
crab trap and openingPrior to the upcoming season opener, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would like to remind crabbers of the new regulations and procedures for crab traps that became effective on August 1, 2016:
  • Crab traps must contain at least one destruct device made from a single strand of untreated cotton twine, size No. 120 or less, that creates an unobstructed opening anywhere in the top or upper half of the trap that is at least 5 inches in diameter when this material corrodes or fails.

Destruct devices prevent the continuous trapping of organisms in lost or abandoned trap gear, in a process known as “ghost fishing.” It is important that the cotton twine be a single strand and untreated in order for the material to corrode relatively quickly on lost or abandoned gear, and to keep the twine from snagging on itself once it comes apart. The smaller the size of twine used, the faster the material will corrode in lost or abandoned trap gear. The opening must be located in the top or upper half of the trap in case the trap becomes silted in over time. A common method to meet this requirement is the use of untreated cotton twine attached between the metal or plastic hook and the rubber strap that keeps the top of the trap lid (or trap side) closed. The cotton twine should be attached with a single loop in such a manner as to aid the destruct process.
  • Crab trap buoys must display the “GO ID” number of the operator of the trap.

crab trapsThe GO ID number is the unique, 10-digit identifier assigned by the Automated License Data System to your profile. This number will appear on all documents purchased through CDFW (for example, your fishing license).
Crab traps not operated under the authority of a commercial passenger fishing vessel (also known as charter or party boat) must possess a buoy, and each buoy must be legibly marked with the operator of the trap’s GO ID number as stated on his or her sport fishing license. This regulation will help to ensure that crab traps are being used by the designated operator of the trap in order to prevent others from unlawfully disturbing or removing crab from crab traps. If you are using another person’s trap, written permission from the owner of the trap must be in your possession in order to operate the trap. This regulation is not applicable to hoop nets.
  • Crab traps must not be deployed or fished seven days prior to the opening of the Dungeness crab season.

For this upcoming season, crab traps used to take either Dungeness crab or rock crab can’t be used or deployed in state waters from October 29, 2016 until the Dungeness crab fishery opens at 12:01 a.m. on November 5, 2016, and any crab traps found in ocean waters prior to this seven-day period should be removed from the water by October 28, 2016. This is to prevent the unlawful take of Dungeness crab before the season starts. Take is defined as hunting, catching, capturing or killing of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans, or invertebrates, or attempting to do so.
Other regulations that remain in place for crab traps include that every crab trap be outfitted with two rigid circular escape openings that are a minimum of 4¼ inches in diameter and located so that the lowest portion is at the most 5 inches from the top of the trap. This is to allow small crabs to easily escape from the trap. Crab traps can only be used in state waters north of Point Arguello, Santa Barbara County. There is no limit to the number of crab traps that can be used by recreational crabbers, except the limit is 60 when operating under authority of a commercial passenger fishing vessel license.
round crab pot
Round trap (or “pot”) using rubber strap, single strand No. 120 untreated cotton twine, and hook to secure lid of the trap. When No. 120 untreated cotton twine deteriorates, the lid of the trap opens and meets the minimum 5-inch diameter destruct device requirement.CDFW photo by J. Langell and J. Hendricks
CDFW would also like to inform recreational crabbers of the best practices with regards to deploying crab trap gear to reduce surface lines as much as possible in an effort to reduce entanglements with animals, especially marine mammals and sea turtles, as well as other vessels. More information can be found by accessing the Best Practices Guide released by the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. Although there is no time limit for checking crab trap gear (as there is for hoop nets), frequent visits will ensure that traps are in good working condition and that crab captured in the trap are not held for too long.
For the latest information about California crab, visit the CDFW Crabs website.

post by CDFW Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz

Monday, October 17, 2016

     No fish to report on, but here's a video to watch to get prepped for crab season. Don't do this.

    The morals of this story are many, but here's a few:

     Like the man said, wear a lifejacket. Have it on before things happen. Inflatable vests are reasonably priced and comfortable to wear. Float coats are warm and extend your survival time in cold water. Wear your flotation because your boat may not have enough.

     Manufacturers put the required amount of flotation in their boats but they aren't tested. "Required" and "enough" are often completely different things. Unless you are in one of the three boats guaranteed not to sink, assume that your boat will sink faster than your traps. If you are in an "unsinkable" boat, know that they aren't "unrollable". Any boat full of water loses its stability. Clinging to the bottom of your Whaler is better having no boat and will hopefully get you found and rescued quicker, but it still sucks a lot.

     If you have water coming over the transom, stop whatever you are doing, turn the motor straight ahead and put it in forward easy. Do not maintain a condition that allows water to enter your boat. Your bilge pump isn't big enough. Do not throttle up quickly, as, again, boats full of water are unstable and want to roll over. Slowly turn the boat to point the bow into any waves. Get on the radio and let other boats know where you are and what's going on, just in case.

     If you have a boat with a four-stroke outboard and the boat was designed before the year 2000, know that the designer didn't plan to have that much weight on the stern. Do your part to keep your gear forward to minimize stern weight. BTW, if your boat was designed after 2000 it may still not be designed correctly. Assume the worst.

     Your bilge pump won't handle much water. I don't care how big or how new it is, that's a fact. Most boats come with a 500 to 800 gallon per hour pump. That rating is at a 0' lift, which is less than you need to empty your boat. Any higher and the flow drops quickly. Any bends in your hose slow it down, too. According to BoatUS, "a two-inch hole that is one foot below the waterline results in 78 gallons/minute entering the boat. With every minute the hole isn't plugged, you are adding around 500 pounds of weight to the boat. That ratio increases as the boat sinks lower in the water." That hole would require about a 6000 gallon per hour pump to lift it a couple feet and keep the boat from sinking. How many gallons were coming in over the stern in the video? My bilge pump rule? Get the two largest ones you can afford and have them on separate electrical circuits. I have a 1500 GPH, 2000 GPH and 3700 GPH, each with it's own wiring circuit and switch. I sank a boat once. Like Roberto Duran said, "no mas."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    I was kidding when I said Steve caught the last salmon. I thought I was, at least. Some very good fishermen went without a bite while salmon fishing this past week. There's still a chance, but I wouldn't plan on a "salmon-only"trip. Get some rockfish, go troll for a while, then go home and eat your rockfish. Halibut are in the same situation. One boat from here went out over the weekend to look for bluefin but came home with no fish. They did see bait schools 150 feet down with streaks going through them. Were the streaks tuna? Only the tuna know for sure and they aren't talking.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

     You don't have to worry about coming salmon fishing anymore this year, because Steve Towne caught the last one. It weighed 26 pounds and was caught in 100 feet of water off of McClure's Beach. It was the only bite of the day, but even so, there may actually be another fish or two out there.
     Also, on the crab front, there was a meeting today in Bodega Bay of the Joint Committee of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The first thing on the agenda was domoic acid and Dungeness crab. The domoic acid pro, Dr. Raphael Kudela, Ph.D of UC Santa Cruz, says conditions are for normal Pseudo-nitzschia (the critter that makes domoic acid) levels and that we are coming off of the seasonal high and dropping. No guarantees, but he's pretty sure that we are going to have a season. Also speaking was Patrick Kennelly of the California Department of Public Health. His good news was that the domoic acid testing showed the levels dropping in the Dungness crab and, if  certain areas have high counts, CDFW will likely close the affected areas instead of closing the whole state. So, I'm ordering crab bait and crab gear for the shop and I'll quit whining. About crabs. For now.

Friday, September 30, 2016

      Here's Ed Parsons with a nice salmon he caught on Wednesday in 60-70 feet of water off of McClure's North end. Note the clear water in the picture. It takes a very skilled or very lucky fisherman to catch in clear water like that. Ed, you know who you are. 
      Or maybe I'm just snarky because I couldn't catch one yesterday. The weather didn't allow for a Cordell run and it was barely decent enough for a salmon mission in a small boat. My salmon mission rapidly devolved to a rockfish mission, and we got our limits and went home. I only heard of rockfish aboard the boats from here. I did hear of sardines and mackerel back by Hog Island if anyone sees a weather window for a bluefin run in the near future. 
      So, Dungeness season should be coming up, but the testing looks funny. Six of eleven tests have had Dungeness slightly over the "FDA Action Level" of 30 ppm. Interestingly, one of three tests on lobster in Southern California has also had a failure, yet lobster season opens tomorrow. Maybe that's a good sign for us, but I see three possible reasons why they are doing it:
      1. Southern California gets treated different anyhow. Because of people or money, they get special treatment. Or, maybe because they can handle some toxic crap in their food. Have you seen their air?
      2. No other state has closed a lobster season, so there's no precedent that could be shown that said they dropped the ball if someone got sick. Southern California red crab had way high domoic acid in the summer of 2015 but nobody got sick. Oregon closed their Dungeness season and boom! so did California. 
      3. Maybe the "FDA Action Level" is too low. To the best of my knowledge, nobody looked for domoic acid until recently. It would be interesting to know the "normal" variation in levels in years past. It seems very likely that we've been happily eating small amounts of this stuff all along. Nobody checked for it until someone got sick. I have heard through the grapevine that the State is reevaluating its procedures regarding the crab, and I hope that this is true. Otherwise, I have to make a trip to SoCal for lobster that's no safer or more dangerous than the Dungeness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

     Nick Nichols sent in this picture from Saturday in front of Bird Rock. Anybody know what that shape in the water is? Don't worry, it would know you. You're not allowed to fish for these, either.

    Kelley Roy sent in this report from yesterday:"There’s salmon out there, it’s not rock fishing so you just have to put in the time.
We got a late start and put the lines in  straight out of Tomales in 150 feet of water at 9:30, there were birds and whales working but we were not marking much bait. Around 11:00  in the matter of 30 minutes we had 4 good take downs with one smaller salmon sticking and we somehow snapped the leader at the boat – I thought those days were over……..
We then moved down to McClure’s and tried the beach for a couple runs for nada then headed back out to the Tree’s in 130 to 150 feet of water and trolled north, same deal birds and whales but only seeing a little bait. At 3:30 within 20 minutes we had 2 salmon in the box.
Four of the hits came on a watermelon apex at 70 – 80 feet otw and 2 hits came on a crippled anchovy at about 50 pulls.

Gorgeous day on the water – hope these salmon stick around for a few more weeks.

Good luck!"

     Bob King caught these salmon today in 130 feet of water off of McClure's. There were a few other fish caught there, as well as 50 feet of water in front of Bird Rock, but the bait, birds, and dark water of Monday had all disappeared. Cold clear water prevails, but apparently you can still catch fish in it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

      For the record, my posts this week have been accurate and up to date. Nothing happened except for wind. Saturday, the weather got better but not the fishing. Some rockfish came in, and lots of bait fish were seen, but no salmon or halibut landed here. Today, Vern Sasaki caught a limit of salmon, one from 160 feet of water off of Tomales Point, and one from 30 feet of water on McClure's. Lots of bait around, but not too many fish. Now that the wind has passed I think we'll see the salmon pick back up as the ocean settles back down. I hope. I also hope that all the whispers about bluefin are true. Weather permitting I'll be taking the boys and wife out to Cordell on Thursday. Live mackerel are kind of hard to come by this year, so lures will have to do it. I heard that the GT Style was out scouting for macks today, so someone else thinks that there may be some truth to the rumors. I hope we're right and the weather allows a run. I need nice weather for chasing wild geese.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

     The past few days the catching has been slow but not completely shut off. At least, not for the skilled and lucky.

      Jason Neff caught this 21 pound salmon on Friday.

     Mike Morgan's 25 pound halibut was one of four flatfish brought in by him, Jigger John, and Frank Green. Live bait at McClure's Beach worked for them.

     I didn't get the details but knowing these guys and seeing the fish they caught, they were trolling Ten Mile, probably with VK heads holding their bait. There were not a lot of fish brought in overall, but there's still quite a bit of bait out there and the water conditions don't completely suck, so there may be some more action before it's all over. Zach Liddle, one of our local fish counters, said he counted a 50+ pound white seabass caught in the outer bay on Friday, so that's interesting. Zach, you need to take a few pictures of these fish and send them over. We all want need to know.

Friday, September 16, 2016

      Alec Bennett went out with Bob King on Wednesday and caught this 26 pound salmon as part of their limits. Their fish were trolled up by the Keyholes. Most of the fishermen did well on salmon, mostly off of Ten Mile Beach but also in the outer bay. Both bites died yesterday and only a few fish were brought in here. I lucked in to four salmon at McClure's and saw four others caught there, but I wouldn't call it a good bite. Halibut was almost dead in the bay and on the beach.

     Jack Stevens sent in this report:"Attached is photo of Stacey Szczekocki's first ever salmon.  We fished off Fort Ross on Sunday Sept. 11th. with bait in 80' of water.  Stacey's fish was the only salmon caught that day." That fish looks like it would have won our salmon derby.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

     Scott Edson sent in this report, probably just to make me feel bad :"Last Friday 50' of water, outer bay, 62" 61.5# gutted and gilled, certain there's more around" At least he's throwing us a bone at the last. 
     The salmon are still pretty steady on the South end of Ten Mile Beach, from 20 to 60 feet of water (find the bait, find the fish). I haven't heard of many larger sized ones but the average is around 10 to 12 pounds. Bait and watermelon Apexes seem to be the ticket. Very few halibut are finding their way aboard the boats, though, even at Hog.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

     Here's the winners of the 5th Annual Merle Lawson Memorial Salmon Derby. This year's derby had 60 competitors but only smaller fish landed. The biggest fish only went 15 pounds gutted, but there were four of them, so the order in which they were weighed in gave us the winners. Mike Nursement got 1st and $1750, I was 2nd with $1100, and Tim Woerner was 3rd with $650. All three winning fish were caught in 50 to 60 feet of water off of Bird Rock. Yes, I know I shouldn't be winning, but all the money for entry goes back to the prizes and not for the party, which is paid for out of pocket. I don't catch big fish, anyway, so it took a small fish day to give me a chance. A special thanks to Tammy Barton, who donated and extra $500 to the jackpot. Thanks to everyone that came out. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. I hope to see more of you at the 6th Annual derby.

     Yesterday and today the best bite with the most fish came from the far end of Ten Mile. These fish caught today were at the Towers but other guys did well at the parking lots down to the Point. Lots of bait scattered down the South end of the beach. A few halibut were caught but only a very few.

     Richard Baratta caught this surf striper on Friday evening. The evenings have been the best bite for the bass.

Friday, September 9, 2016

     Richard Baratta sent in this picture of a nice Tomales Bay halibut he caught today. There haven't been a whole bunch of those lately, so nice job Richard. There were a few salmon brought in today from Bodega Head down to Point Reyes. No single spot sounded all that great, but most of the guys I talked to are fishing the Derby and maybe don't want to share their good info. It seems that the outer bay is now baitless but some of that baitfish moved outside the reef to 120 feet of water. Of course, they moved two miles last night, so they may not be there tomorrow. I guess we'll find out where the big ones are at the weigh-in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The outer bay bite was in the afternoon after everybody left. The morning was dead and only a few fish were caught. We had one at 10:00, one at 1:00 and four between 1:30 and 3:00. Two on the bottom and four 25 ft down. Other fish were caught on Ten Mile, off of Mussel Point in 210 ft, and further North near the Russian River. There's so much bait in the outer bay and the water has some decent color to it, so it seems pretty difficult to me to run past it. But, after a few hours with no bites, I understand looking elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

     These guys limited on salmon today. Nothing on the boat at 2:00, limited by 3:00. It's probably a secret spot, except that you could see all the boats from the beach (as far as secrets go, this one needs more fog). Just West of buoy "02" was a small fleet of boats trolling back and forth, and when the school came in the nets were waving all over. With luck the number of boats won't increase to the point the school doesn't come in tomorrow. What are the chances, though, really? It's a secret.....

     Bryan Steward sent in this report from last week:"Sorry for the delay, as my son Matt caught this the 8/31 on a Jacksmelt. Great fight, the shark jumped out of the water 3 times as he chased him around the boat. Location of the catch was 1/2 mi. south of Hog Island. "
     Then there's this Monday report from Kevin Fogal:"Fished with Paul Boley today ,like the good old days. We caught 4 salmon to 14 lbs ! 2 on watermelon apex 1 on blue / chrome Rhys Davis head with a anchovy and one on a green Krippled anchovy, with a sardine . We fished between tomales point and bodega head in 200 feet of water 100 feet down OTW!!" So the salmon are still out there in the cold, clear water that the wind blew in. Lots of bait still in the outer bay where the water is a bit warmer and colored. Salmon? I don't know, but there's several commercial boats trolling right in front of Dillon Beach where the bait has been. Lots of bait back by Hog but only a couple of halibut yesterday.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

     Well, the cold water seems to have shut down the halibut bite, so it looks like the salmon have come in to feed in their place. This 18 pound king was caught by marker number 7, near Hog Island. The current thinking is that it followed some of the schools of anchovies back into the bay. There could be more of them back there, but probably not enough to target.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Derby, and the big one that thankfully got away

     And here's a report from last weekend, from Kevin Evoy:"1st time writer, long time reader.So last Saturday, we are trolling for salmon in 130 ft of water off Bird Rock. We hook a salmon at 90 ft OTW, rod gets picked up , salmon on .Then there is some weird tension and loseness on rod.3 seconds later, 40 feet behind the boat, a 10-12 foot long Great White shark flies 6 feet in the air behind the boat.AWESOME!!!! Scary!   Salmon gone, bring line in.FBR still there, bait and salmon gone.....Most incredible thing I've ever seen.   We stopped bleeding the fish over the side of the boat, stopped sitting on side of boat too"

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

     Instead of showing you photos of the kite surfers, how about some fish from the recent past. Luckily for all of us, Sam Morita sent in this report and photos. "
I have been surf fishing with my buddy Evan this summer. I got this one the first week of June. 22 lbder. Released it

I got this one two weeks ago. 16 lbder.

Last weds I got these two.

   Then this last weekend I got this one with Evan.

We have been fishing the high tides in the evening. I first started off throwing a bomber long a. Then switched to the sp minnow and caught the big one. Then caught the other decent one on a pencil popper. I recently just started throwing an a rig which is a total game changer. It gets bit when other thing won't. I throw keitech swimbaits on it.

U know why there is so much eel grass right know? I used to think it was because of the minus tides and wind but the last week there hasn't been and it has been terrible."

     Thanks for the tips. Eel grass tends to break off and drift away more when the water temps change significantly, like the warming that happened in the last couple of weeks. There's also been some very high tides to carry it around. I'm just glad it's getting someone else. I thought it just followed me! One thing, it tends to collect in rips and sluggish water along with baitfish, so sometimes the best water to fish is also the worst.