Sunday, July 31, 2016

     While most of the salmon fishermen didn't do all that well today, all these fellows had to do was wait for Gerard Fitzgerald to call them in on the fish. Two limits, no problem. Gerard is planning on installing a second radio so that he can call himself in on the fish....

     These folks stopped in to show off their halibut catch for today. The fish ate a live jacksmelt. The halibut bite has slowed but not stopped by Hog Island. There's a rumor of a few halibut from Ten Mile today but I haven't seen one of these fish. This is the time of year when there should be both halibut and salmon showing on the beach, so it may be true. 
     So, since it looks like there's a few salmon around, who's up for a salmon derby? The Fifth Merle Lawson Memorial Salmon Derby will be held here at Lawson's Landing on September 10, 2016. Gage is planning on winning again, but it could still be anyone's game.

      Here's a couple of pictures of a Russian River salmon trip. Kevin Fogal and Dennis Carter ran the Predator up to the river and were back before 11:00 with their limits. Half of the salmon bit bait and the other two bit hoochies. They guys unloaded their salmon and then went in the back by Hog to fish for halibut but never got bit back there.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

No pictures, yet, but results from up North were good. The 200 to 240 feet of water from Carmet to Fort Ross had hungry salmon for the guys that didn't mind a bit of a run. The folks that stayed closer found a few but had to work a lot harder for them. Halibut action was also slow in the bay. I talked to a couple of very good halibut divers that tried the bar today and they said the water was cold and the bar had no halibut. That will change, perhaps by next weekend if the weather cooperates.

Friday, July 29, 2016

      Jake Showaker and Paul and Adam Kotko limited out "up north" today. Their exact location was not passed on to me, but alternate sources have strongly hinted that there may be (or may have been) a really good salmon bite off of the Russian River and/or points north. The picture makes me think it could be true.

     Then again, there are a few fish around here. Steve Anderson of Lodi caught this 26 pound salmon (gutted and gilled) in front of the Trees in 100 feet of water , 80 feet OTW, on a straight bait. A man catches a fish like that, he doesn't need a whole limit to make him smile.

      First, a photo and report from Wednesday, sent by Tony Alcocer:"Headed out for Salmon off Tomales point this morning. It was rougher then what we like but gave it a try. At one point both my brother and I both gave in to the rough sea's and did some "chumming", Heck my dog even got sick. (really) So, we headed in for some Halibut fishing. On our "last drift" (really) of the day my brother hooked this...see attached photo. Got it on a live Mackerel, south of Hog Island."

     Lou Gumm caught these salmon yesterday while fishing with R. Duke. They were fishing off of Tomales Point and the fish bit a watermelon Apex. The boat ended up with three salmon aboard for the day. A few guys limited yesterday, but mostly the radio was full of sadness. I took a skunk for the day myself. I watched a guy troll by me, hook and land a salmon, rebait and hook a second fish while dropping back in. Actually, he just did it again as I sit here writing this. Mike Gonzales just pulled out his boat with a limit of salmon, including a 24 pounder. Both days he was in 180 feet of water, yesterday off of Elephant, today off of the Trees. Green Krippled Anchovy with a green #0 dodger is what worked. For him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

     Just the one picture today but it's a nice one. John Cooper of Roseville caught the big one which weighed 20 pounds. All of the halibut bit live jacksmelt by Hog Island. On the salmon front, most of the boats trying for them caught at least one and a couple of boats got their limits. If you like fishing in the South wind the you should have been out there today. For everyone else, it wasn't as much fun as could be. The VHF had stories of good salmon catching going on up North by the Russian River in 240 feet of water. I heard a rumor of good ones off of Ocean Cove as well, but that's third hand info. There was a nice striper hooked and lost in the surf yesterday, so they aren't all chasing anchovies in the bay.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

     Wayne Purdy of Lodi caught this nice 16 pound halibut in the bay today. 

     I didn't get this fella's name (my bad) but he told me that he caught six halibut just South of Hog Island in the last two days, five on frozen anchovies and one on a live pinhead anchovy. He also released a thresher shark. He said he was fishing in the schools of anchovies. My recommendations to the rest of you that wish to catch halibut: Do that. Be like this man.
     The salmon bit for most fishermen again today. The water was nicer and allowed a bit more distance to be fished. Salmon were taken from Tomales Point all the way down to below Elephant Rock, again mostly between 180 and 200 feet of water. Don't just drop in somewhere unless you see bait on the meter or birds working. Successful depths ran from 40 to 100 feet down but again, mostly depends on where your schools of bait are located. Bait and junk are both working, especially the Apexes.

Monday, July 25, 2016

     Nancy Conley from Citrus Heights caught this 14 pound halibut near Hog Island today.

     Spokesmodel Brandon is showing off Gerard Fitzgerald's fish from South of Hog Island. The striper weighed 14 pounds.

      Greg Gartrell declined to be photographed as well, but he did send over evidence of his success. The water was bumpy but apparently very fishable.

     Here's a map of the buoy locations, as requested in the comments. Clicking on it should make it large enough to actually read it. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

     No pics for the weekend but there were a few fish brought in. There were some salmon for those that didn't mind getting beat up. A few guys limited out and a few guys got nothing; the average was a fish or two per boat. The fishing area ranged from Tomales Point down to halfway down Ten Mile, out in 150 to 230 feet of water, with most of the action coming from 180 to 210 feet. Depth depended on where the bait was in the water column. The weather is supposed to finally lay down this week, so maybe some smaller boats can find a find a few in different spots.
     Halibut action was not as hot as it had been but there were still flatfish being taken. Halibut were caught from Tom's Point in the North of the bay to Marshall in the South with sizes running a bit smaller on the South side. I didn't hear of any stripers being caught in the surf (one in the bay) but now is the time to go. Gage will be back fishing in a few more days so your chance to catch his fish is now. Don't feel bad, he'd do it for you.

Friday, July 22, 2016

     Here's a one picture description of the fishing. Halibut in the bay and salmon outside, about 3 miles Southwest of Tomales Point. In both cases, look for the boats if you're not sure where to go. They may not know either, but at least you'll have company. There were quite a few more salmon brought in today than halibut, so they seem like the better chance for success if the weather will let you out there.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gage caught a big one this evening, about 120 pounds. You can't tell from the photo, but he isn't smiling for this picture. Gage 4, stripers 1.

     The weather forecast was bad and the North breeze was already blowing at sunrise, but those that ignored the weatherman went out and caught salmon today, and did it fairly comfortably. The bite was from Bird Rock to Elephant Rock in 180 to 220 feet of water, and from 40 to 70 feet down, according to what I heard here. Everything I heard of was trolling as well, but Mike Torres and crew, pictured, are pretty dedicated moochers and they almost limited. I don't know if they mooched or not, but it would be cooler if they did. The forecast for the weekend is for more wind, but who knows? The weatherman sure missed it today and I stayed in the bay playing with halibut and leopard sharks because of it. Yes, I'm whining.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

     The water was sloppy today but these guys stuck it out a caught their limits at 12 and 2. They said that the watermelon Apex was a hit with the salmon at 70' OTW. Nice job gentlemen.

       Yes, the rumor is true; Tom Carter caught his wife's fish. Jerrie's fish weighed 26 pounds and came from the North side of Hog. The halibut have been coming from both sides of the island and some of the bite is edging toward the mouth, but as of yet, no fish that I've heard of from the bar. The water there is still very cold. If we get four or five days without the wind I think the fish will be there.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

     Only a few boats went out in the ocean in the last couple of days. Yesterday there were a couple of salmon caught, or should I say earned, by Greg Gartrell. It was not nice out there. Today's fishermen reported less fish but slightly less bad weather. It didn't get real sporty until later in the day, at least.
     James Woods sent in this report:"This dude is named Salty and on Saturday he caught 3 fish like this on 3 separate drifts at the weather buoy." Not everybody did as well as Salty, here, but there's been a few halibut coming in from back that way. The bait has become a bit harder to get as quite a bit has moved back out of the bay into the ocean. I hope the salmon find that bait in the outer bay soon. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

     Gage and Justin said the stripers were biting last night. They might be lying, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    This was sent in by Mitch Hamilton:"Another nice trip with grandson Travis and son in Law Brandon. Caught back by hog on jack smelt"
     On the salmon front, the weather was worse today but at least one intrepid boat returned with five salmon in an attempt to redeem themselves from yesterday's six fish lost. That goes a long way towards redemption. Here's evidence:

     Jake was kind enough to include a shot of the decent water conditions earlier today (it is bad now) and fishing location. From the photo, he was fishing a little South and outside of the boat off of Tomales Point. Hey, if anyone fishing out of Bodega Bay wants to share a bragging photo or (more importantly) a successful fishing location, send an email to I'll say something nice about you.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

     Peter Honebein sent in this picture from today. "17lb 220' off point. 80' on wire in morning. Lost another at the boat about an hour later." For those of you familiar with your GPS, that's about 14 and 3. Oddly, it had a mackerel in its belly. 

     Louis Silva of Sacramento caught this nice 15 pound salmon today in 120' of water off of McClure's Beach. It was his first and the boat's only fish. Not everybody did as well today and almost nobody did as well they'd hoped. The salmon and the halibut fishing was spotty. Bites were fairly scarce and when they did bite there was a good chance the fish would get away. One boat lost six salmon. At least one big striper was caught and intentionally released by Hog Island (my releases are almost all unintentional). 

Friday, July 15, 2016

     Here's Josh Hollis with a halibut from Thursday. "Hey, caught this guy yesterday evening just south of hog on a shiner in about 28' feet of water. Couple of other boats had some fish also." The halibut and the baitfish have both spread out and can be found closer to the mouth of the bay now. We picked up three on the edge of a hole just South of Tom's Point at the turn of the high tide yesterday morning. Ours liked live sardines and mackerel. 


    So, salmon. You've probably already heard that they're biting, and if you haven't, well, now you have. There were many boats out today (one gent I spoke to counted 75 that he could see) and it sounds like they're scattered from 150 to 200 feet of water and from Tomales Point to the North end of Ten Mile. The better bite was early but fish were caught all day. Depths ranged from 160' to 20' on the wire with the average being around 100'. The weather was not as nice as one would hope for, but better than the forecast for the next couple of days. At least the fish are moving onshore now and we can expect a few to start showing up even shallower and chasing fin bait so that the moochers have a shot at 'em, too. 
     This picture is for David Gonzales. He caught a 29 and then a 30 pound halibut this week, then said "I'm going for the big one" at the top of the bragging board, a 33 pounder. Well, he left this morning and this afternoon his fish showed up. Larry Mathis of Forestville used live bait out of one of our rental boats to catch this 33 pound beauty. Or did it look like this?:

     Justin Wadman brought this one in for a late weigh-in. 18 pounds, in the surf, midway up the beach, SP Minnow. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

     I got a call from Frank Green today, and he mentioned that without the regulars around there weren't many fish getting caught. Well, Mr. Mosby and the Gonzales brothers came in from fishing about an hour later. David caught the big one again, a 30 pounder this time. I'm told that they fished the bar, but a very good halibut diver worked the bar from one end to the other and never saw a fish. Nonetheless, it is good to have a few regulars around. 

     First fish of the day was caught by Zack from Petaluma. The halibut weighed 12 pounds and came from Hog Island. 

     Jim Reed from Santa Rosa tried his luck at surf fishing today. It looks like his luck was good. With the full moon coming up, this week should be prime time for surf stripers. Nice work, Jim.

Monday, July 11, 2016

      Big fish of the day goes to David Gonzales of Stockton with this 29 pound halibut from the Hog Island area. David fished with his brother aboard Don Mosby's boat and they had eight bites which turned into about half as many fish. This one broke his rod on the hook set but he still landed it.

     Here's brothers Marque and Ben Mouton from Louisiana. Kevin Fogal sent them over here to catch a halibut, and so they did. This was their first, and it weighed 14 pounds and bit a swim bait North of Hog Island.

     Kayak fisherman Michael Weese sent in this photo and email: "Caught this nice Thresher south of Hog Island on Saturday in a kayak. Great battle. It didn't seem like it would live; therefore, it turned into dinner. Sad but Delicious!" Great battle probably didn't do it justice; these fish can swim fast. I'll bet Michael went for a little "Nantucket sleigh ride" and got towed around by the thresher. One question, Michael, is you're reading, did you hook it in the mouth or tail? The threshers I've hooked have been about 50/50.

     Mike Martin emailed this Sunday report: "Vic Holmsted caught and released one 4ft. leopard shark and  Adam Evans put this 13lb. striper in the box. Caught it in between the boat launch and hog island drifting smelt." I guess everything likes smelt. Must be why the halibut fishermen call the 6" jacksmelt "candy bars." Nice striper, gents.
     One other thing. Did anyone else notice the water that just moved in off of the Farallones? 61ยบ and clear, next to green water? There should be albacore in that water. Too bad the weather forecast says we can't go there.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

     Here's Gage's picture from Thursday, along with his buddy Nick Strode. The halibut bit right next to the weather buoy. Yes, Gage caught it. For the record, Gage doesn't exaggerate; things just seemed more awesome at the time. No fish pictures for today, but I could get some nice shots of blowing dust or kite surfers if anyone needs to see what's happening today.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

     Here's an email that Bruce Schneider sent yesterday: "32&33 inches on live smelt drifting near weather buoy today. " Most of the people that I talked to didn't do so well, so extra good job, Bruce.
     There were a lot of people trying the surf today, trying to catch a striper, but I didn't hear of any successes yet. Yesterday there were a few hits and misses. Gage says that there were anchovies jumping out of the water and stripers boiling all around him yesterday evening. He missed one that he estimated was as big as him. Assuming that a tiny portion of his story is true, probably the point in the middle of the beach would be a good place to try in the evening. He and many others tried there this morning but got nothing but mild hypothermia.

Friday, July 8, 2016

     These two gentlemen caught halibut by Hog Island yesterday. The fish on the left preferred sardines, but the fish on the right liked a live shiner. Anchovies, jacksmelt and mackerel have all had their fans among the flatfish this week. Anchovies have probably been the hardest to catch with (not the hardest to catch- that prize goes to the sardines) as the bay is practically anchovy soup by the weather buoy. It is hard to make your anchovy special when he is surrounded by 10 million of his closest friends. Not a lot of big fish counts from around Hog, mostly 0 to 2. The Bond family caught the 2 from a rental boat from the Landing. Salmon are supposedly out there waiting for us the weather has not been as nice as one would hope for. All crab, for those that haven't heard, are closed. Testing continues on the reds and they may reopen in the next month or so, by the way the results look. There's still a few stripers in the surf if you can get one to stick to your hooks. I heard from a couple of guys today that had a few seconds of excitement but no fish dinner.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Now, I don't get out to the delta to fish, so for me, a striper is a big deal. I realize that for guys that live neat the delta, catching stripers is like catching shiners from the pier. So, you guys can look elsewhere today. For anybody else, check out these reports that were sent in today:

     Carson Riley sent in this one:"Took advantage of the low winds after the holiday and drifted around the bay for a couple of fish.  Carson's first halibut and Jordan's biggest striper (released).  Thanks for the reports!"

     Rick Murphy sent in this to the point report "42” 30# striper, south of hog today, wed 7/6" Now, when fishing in the bay, these aren't the bass I'd normally be looking for, but I surely wouldn't be disappointed to land one. I know that a good person lets the big females go to make more babies and I'd like to think that I'm a good person, but honestly, the poor fish might die from getting dried out by the time I can talk myself into a release of a fish like these. I want to catch one, but I don't want the moral dilemma. Then again, the way I've been fishing, I'll be safe from any temptation. 
     There were at least two halibut caught on jigs by Hog Island today, as well as a nice 14 pounder caught on a dead mackerel. I had some halibut from Bodega Bay for dinner tonight, and it was so good I'm going to have to give it a shot myself tomorrow. Leave a 21' long spot open for me by the weather buoy, I'm coming out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

     Somebody asked me today if anybody is still catching stripers on the beach. I had to tell them, not just anybody, but Justin Wadman is. This fish bit a crankbait and weighed 15 pounds.

    Eddie Kim finally got the halibut he'd been trying for this week, and by the time he caught it it weighed 24 pounds. That was worth waiting for.
     Eddie was not the only guy lucky enough to catch a nice halibut today. This one ate a live jacksmelt and weighed 16.5 pounds. Both halibut came from Hog Island.