Sunday, December 31, 2017

   The surfperch are still biting really well on the Berkley Gulp! Power Sandworms. The medium tides seem to be the best times for catching.
   Today's the last day for boat rockfish until April 15, so you've probably missed it already. These fish came in an hour right after noon on Thursday, so there's still time.

    The cold water slowed down the bat ray bite on the mud flats but this thornback ray was still hungry for squid. We usually don't see any of these critters, so it was weird to see caught two this year. 
    The Dungeness crabbing has been really slow with a few lucky (or skilled) people picking up a couple here and there. There's still a lot of red crab and most of the full buckets are full of them.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

   Nick made it out for one last trip last Saturday and got this nice 16 pound ling as well as his limit of rockfish. Don McCorkle parked his boat over limits for all three aboard, actually. 

    Nick spotted this dead whale floating out there and his Christmas wish is for the carcass to drift far from here. No sharks nibbling on it, yet.

    Eddie Kim went out or a final trip of the year today and landed three limits of rockfish and three lings. Looks like we've got a few more days of decent weather and of rockfish season if anybody else want's to get in on the action. There's still a few crab being caught but the rockfish and surfperch fishing have been the best bets for the day tripper.

Friday, December 22, 2017

   The Dungeness crabbing is pretty slow in the bay. At least the reds can be reliably caught on the West side of the bay. The outer bay has a few more crab but is still pretty spotty. The rockfishing has been good outside when the weather allows a trip.
    My surfperch pro tells me that the redtails are in. Gage caught 20 and released 12 today, released 17 yesterday afternoon and a buddy of his caught 20 in a couple of hours this morning. Maybe there's a striper with them?

Friday, December 15, 2017

    Now that the wind is shutting everything down outside, I can tell you that the rockfish were definitely biting this week. In three hours yesterday we caught limits of rockfish and lingcod and had to return another eight legal lings. Nick Bauer caught the two largest ones at 15 pounds apiece. There were several other boats out working the rocks, mostly near Bird and a few at Elephant Reef. We went a bit further down off of Ten Mile. The crab numbers that I heard were kind of sad (7 pots, 24 hours, 6 Dungeness in outer bay) but there's still some around and you never know when a fresh batch will come strolling into the bay. No surfperch report, as Gage's basketball practice is interfering with his fishing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

      The pier is still kicking out a few Dungeness, especially around the turn of the tide. Snares and traps are both working about as well there. The bay crab action has been on the slow side for most boaters. About 4 to 6 Dungeness has been the average with quite a few zeros and one boat landing 17 over the weekend. Outside the crabbing is better but not great. Guys are getting them with a bit of work. The rockfishing has been good in the ocean and there's some nice redtail perch in the surf if you and the school of perch are lucky enough to meet. Twilight seems to be the more important than the tide for the perch.

Friday, December 8, 2017

    Here's a reminder that those of you with abalone cards this year had better remember to send them in or file online on time, or they won't sell you an ab card next year. Oh, wait...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 8, 2017  

California Recreational Abalone Fishery to be Closed in 2018

abalone and urchins
Red abalone and urchins
CDFW photo by A. Maguire
The California Fish and Game Commission yesterday voted to close the 2018 northern California recreational abalone fishery due to ongoing environmental conditions that have significantly impacted the abalone resource. The closure affects next year's recreational abalone season, which was scheduled to open on April 1, 2018.
The Commission's 4-0 decision (Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was absent) upholds the policies of the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan, which was adopted by the Commission in December 2005. Over the past several years, the Commission has taken several actions to reduce take and shorten the season to protect abalone from the unprecedented environmental conditions.
The Commission directed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to work with stakeholders to deliver a new fishery management plan that includes guidance on navigating these unprecedented conditions. The Commission also directed CDFW to consider how the new fishery management plan can inform the potential re-opening of some fishing opportunity for the 2019 season.
More information about California's recreational abalone fisheries can be found on the CDFW website.
Oh well....Guess I should've got wet this year.

Monday, December 4, 2017

    The only picture I have to show is this photo of Gage and Nick's thornback ray from last week. I had to crop out Gage's boots from the photo so you couldn't tell how big (small) it was. The boys caught 14 bat rays and this little critter in three hours of night fishing at low tide on the mud flats off of the seawall. Squid was the hot bait.
     In other news, the rockfishing was on the slow side this last week, probably from large swells and the full moon. Crabbing in the bay was decent for the guys really working their gear and moving it around. Get too close to the rocks and kelp and it's nothing but reds. The outer bay still has some decent patches of Dungeness, again in places away from from the rocks. Also, a note to the clammers: Digging during later tides that may require you stay out after sundown is a bad idea. "No instrument capable of being used to dig clams may be possessed between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, on any beach of this state," and the wardens can get grumpy when they write tickets in the dark. Let's keep them happy and stick to daylight hours like we're supposed to do.

Friday, November 24, 2017

   Jamie Cooper caught this 13 pound lingcod today. There were quite a few lings brought in today but this was the largest one weighed in at the store. The crabbing was pretty good in the outer bay and inside Tomales Bay, at least for the guys that found the sweet spots. 

    Petaluma Newbie sent in this photo and report from Monday:"Not much of a report for today. It would've been very mundane day except that it was my dad's first time crabbing. It was his first time back up to the area in almost 30 years since he and my mom drug me up for annual family camping trips at Dillon beach back in the late '80's. We pulled out 4 keeper Dungeness today. I've caught more Dungeness and I've caught bigger Dungeness but I've never caught more memorable crab than I did today! We fished marker 5 and my "secret spot". You can publish this: the crab are further in the bay than anyone is fishing. I've had honest to goodness good trips every time out since the opener fishing further in the bay. I'm talking Pelican Point in the bay. I only found them due to the steep tides on opener Sunday pulling my buoys under. I had to move my gear in." That's some good knowledge.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

     Now this is a mixed bag. Dungeness crab, rockfish, and a 15 pound halibut make for a pretty darn good day and quite a bit of cleaning. 
     Here's the big fish of the day, a 17 pound green lingcod. Nicely done, gentlemen. On the crab counts, they're still getting some nice Dungeness both in and out of the bay. At least one boat returned from a bay trip only one crab short of two Dungeness limits by early afternoon, so they're out there (or they were).

   Here's a late report from Joe Burke (Mustang Baits) as relayed by Gage:"Steve Burke pictured (Joe's dad) got this halibut while searching for rockcod and lings, waiting to pull their 2 traps that held 25 each" It was nice of him to include a background shot so we can see where they caught it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

    I may have to change the name of this blog to the "Eddie Kim Show." Mr. Kim and crew spanked the rockfish again today for limits of rockies and lings. It was a little slower for him the last couple of days but today he was ready for his photo op.

    Peter Kim caught this nice canary today. 

    Ted Costa caught this 21 pound lingcod today. During cleaning it was discovered that the bulge in this ling's belly was a couple-pound sculpin. Talk about indigestion.
     Sorry, no crab photos today. The bay still had some decent crab (lots of reds still but there were a few guys that caught up to eight Dungness), mostly for the boaters but there were still a few caught from the beach by snares. I heard a report from a commercial boat that on the opener he had 20-24 crab per pot on the first pull. Next day, second pass on the gear he averaged 4-6 crab per pot. Not a good sign when the numbers drop 75% the first day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    Here's a nice pile of fish caught by Eddie Kim last Friday. Last year Eddie would have allowed himself to be distracted by the Dungeness opener, but this year Mr. Kim has gone fish-loco. More crab for the rest of us, I guess. Eddie's report:"Great day of fishing 🎣 Tried for 2 more lings but no go." I think you went home with plenty. Nice work.

    Here's report from Lance Bain: "Lance Bain from Napa,  Not sure what the deal is but the crabbing is getting better, after a bunch of crabs on the smaller size opening weekend (still limits), pulled six pots for 35 crab in the outer-bay, close to a three pound average on the twenty in the attached Photo.  Hearing the same report now up and down the cost from friends." They're definitely running on the large side this year. I'd kinda like to see a few smaller ones in the mix for next year, but it's hard to complain when the big boys are in the pots.

    Jeff Hunter sent in these pics and note:"Plenty of healthy ones on Veterans Day in the bay for me and my family...gotta find the honey hole though. The 8" dinosaur was caught by my wife on a snare! Jeff" Looks like Jeff found the honey hole. You need to work that gear and find the right spot. If you aren't catching, move. No point in trying to catch crabs that aren't there. And there's way more "not there" spots than honey holes.

    Gage would like everyone to know that he's taking a break from his striper efforts to concentrate on Dungeness. These seven were caught just south of the pier.
     Here's a video that was sent in last week. at one point you can see a Dungeness walk up to the pot and then leave, as he didn't want to hang out with the reds already in the trap. Also, at the 27 minute mark, a Dungeness tries and fails to get in the trap. Is it bad when the crabs are too big for your pot?The other interesting part of this video (to me) is seeing how many nice sized perch there are across the bay. Doug S. sent a report with the video:"We made a video of our Crab Pot on Monday 11/6 hoping to catch some dungeness but only managed to get some Red Crab in the pot but got 6 dungeness in our hoop nets.  It is a long video but interesting to see it from the water perspective.  Feel free to share if you like.  Definitely was not hot on the Dungeness this year compared to the 18 we got on the Monday after opening weekend last year."

Friday, November 10, 2017

   There may not be as many crab out there as we were all hoping for. This pot had 13 nice Dungeness from 70 feet of water off of Abbotts Lagoon with an hour soak. The pot before it had two reds at the Towers. The same thing is happening in the outer bay, where the crabbing is getting location-specific and females and reds are already showing up in spots. It'll just take longer soaks in the right place. Cameron and I ended up with rockfish and Dungeness limits in a three-hour trip, so I'm not complaining (yet), but I don't think my short soaks will work after this coming week. Gage is up to ten Dungeness for the season so far, all from the pier. Randy from Reno arrived today, so Gage removed his traps from the pier "to give Randy some space." It was really because Gage doesn't want to attempt to compete with a pier legend even greater than himself. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

    Inside Tomales Bay there a few Dungeness caught but it was not the opener most people hoped for. I talked to one guy that said his crew had 34 Dungeness "across the bay", but the next best number I heard was five. It sounded like the East side of the bay was better and the pier even kicked out a few keepers for some lucky crabbers. Mostly it was red crab getting the boiling water spa treatment from the bay crabbing crowd, though. The outer bay was way better, not wide open, but most of the traps dropped out there had something good to eat in them when pulled. Ten Mile Beach had lots of crab but was too far away in the wind for most boats to make the run. Those that went caught their limits but took some abuse returning home. I did hear that 180 feet of water straight out front had a load of jumbos.
    Here's a late update and report from Kevin Fogal:"Lots of crab at ten mile , life jackets a must on Saturday , Sunday a whole lot nicer !!"

   Those are the kind of pictures that sell boats. Nice bugs, Kevin. Reports from in the bay were disappointing today as well. With a strong current from the extreme high/low tides this weekend, I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't as many pots lost as crab caught in the bay.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

    Yes, the rockfish are biting. Almost all of these were caught in about an hour and 15 minutes in 120 feet of water a couple miles south of Elephant. The last three rockfish took another 45 minutes after the fish quit biting at the turn of the tide. I'm not complaining, just explaining. The lings liked the big Kalin's scampi in rootbeer. 

     Last year Nick would have been in tears over letting a nice fish like this one go. See how much happier he is now?

   Cameron was a little bitter that we made him through this one back. I couldn't even comfort him with "maybe you'll catch him next year," because I still don't think it would be big enough. That fish had to work hard to fit a 5/0 hook in its mouth. 
    The weather looks wet for the weekend but the outer bay should still be doable from here if the swell doesn't get too big. The five to six footers they are calling for should be okay (if that's what we get). Wind in the teens, so Ten Mile might be an unpleasant ride but probably less crowded. Remember, put your GOID numbers on your buoys and please lead your lines, for your sake and for the rest of us. If someone runs over your floating rope and you lose your pot, IT IS YOUR FAULT. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

   Well, those fish wouldn't bite last week so I guess that left them hungry after a while. Today they are biting. These gents caught "a bunch" of fish, including limits of lingcod up to 25 pounds. They still look happy in this photo because they haven't started cleaning fish yet. The one other boat that went today also clobbered the rockfish, so if the weather allows this weekend it might be a crab and rockfish combo for some. The rain will wash off the fish blood.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

    I was looking through some photos trying to find a nice picture to post in honor of Dungeness season opening next Saturday. I found a few pictures from opening day about 15 years ago. This is surely one of the stranger catches during crab season. It's also a cautionary tale about tequila. Let's just say that drinking and driving is never okay, especially in mom's pickup. 
   One other thing, remember, no crab pots can be used now until Dungeness opens up.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Not much of a report, but in the last couple of days there were a couple of boats fishing but not much catching. Tuesday a boat trolled from Hog Island to Tony's Seafood and back to Tom's Point for a grand total of one short halibut. Two boats went rockfishing yesterday for a grand total of five fish between them. Today's rockfish numbers were three fish for two boats. The big swell might have given the rockies lockjaw but it doesn't look like we'll get a chance to find out if their mouths will open, as more big swell arrives soon for the weekend. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

    Thank you Abfish for pointing this out. Yesterday the Coast Guard spent all day in boats and helicopters searching for a missing boater. He's been found, but not like you'd expect:
    Sounds like a possible sequel to Fargo, but I'm sure that there's a completely reasonable explanation.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Crab season must be getting close. You can tell just by looking at the size of the ocean. Looks like it will be all bay action this weekend. Hopefully there will be some bay action. It's been a bit slow....

Saturday, October 14, 2017

     In the midst of much turmoil, there's always rockfish. They're like the ocean's comfort food. Not much else happening now, just waiting for Dungeness season and a good rain. Hopefully the rain comes well before the crab.

Friday, October 6, 2017

     No pictures of Joe G. today, but there's a few salmon down on Ten Mile. The area around the Keyholes and to the south has had some salmon biting out in about 60 feet of water. Too bad the wind is supposed to howl over the weekend. It'll be beautiful the rest of the week, probably. Also in the news, the Department of Fish and Wildlife have announced the official new rockfishing depths to be in effect on October 16. It's basically back to what it was last year. For a more thorough description,  the press release follows (please note the suggestion towards the bottom to do your rockfishing somewhere away from the rocks, where the yelloweyes live):

Changes to Recreational Groundfish Regulations Effective Oct. 16

Yelloweye rockfish 
CDFW photo
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces new restrictions on recreational fishing for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California border. Changes to authorized fishing depths described below take effect Monday, Oct. 16 at 12:01 a.m.
, and will remain in place through the remainder of 2017.
The recreational groundfish fishery depth restrictions will be as follows:
  • Northern Management Area (Oregon/California border to Cape Mendocino): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The 'all-depth' groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled.
  • Mendocino Management Area (Cape Mendocino to Point Arena): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The 'all-depth' groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled.
  • San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point): Take is prohibited seaward of the 30 fathom depth contour (180 feet).
  • Central Management Area (Pigeon Point to Point Conception): Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet).
  • Southern Management Area (Point Conception to the US/Mexico border): Take is prohibited seaward of the 60 fathom depth contour (360 feet). No changes are slated for this area.
The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour (California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, Section 27.20(a)). The 30, 40 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, part 660, subpart G).
Based on recent bycatch estimates for yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) from the California sport fishery, CDFW projects that the harvest guideline specified in federal regulation for 2017 (3.9 metric tons) will be exceeded unless changes are made. Pursuant to CCR Title 14, Section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make modifications to the fishery to avoid exceeding the limit, and must issue notice of any changes at least 10 days in advance of the effective date.
Yelloweye rockfish is a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that was declared overfished in 2002 and cannot be retained in the recreational fishery. It is currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan that has required significant cutbacks to West Coast sport and commercial fisheries for more than a decade, to allow the population to recover.
Although fishing for rockfish and other groundfish will remain open through the end of the year, CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (for example rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.
For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status, fish identification tools, and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish website. For further information about how depth limits are defined, read this article published on the CDFW Marine Management News blogsite earlier this year.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

     Joe G. and his team mooched up some more salmon last week. Apparently, this is what they were doing while I was out burning fuel and chasing dreams of tuna. The wind over the weekend caused a lot of upwelling and has cooled off both the inshore and offshore waters, probably cooling my tuna fever as well (for now). 
     Cold water should also mean a minimal chance for domoic acid to shut down the Dungeness season, and with the current good test results it looks like we have a season. For you crabbers, remember to make sure your GOID numbers on your buoys are still legible and replace your cottons. Also, don't try to be cute and drop your pots early before Dungeness opens, as it is now illegal to use a trap a week before the Dungy opener. It appears to me that crab snares, referred to as "crab loop traps" in the regulations, are also not to be used during the trap closure. Crab nets may still be used for red crab during this period. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

    Eddie Kim found the halibut by Hog Island on Wednesday. Live shiner perch that he caught off of the Lawson pier were the ticket. The two larger fish weighed 13 and 14 pounds. Eddie caught limits of nice rockfish yesterday in about 200 feet of water near Elephant Rock. That said, be aware that the depth limits are going to change for rockfish, probably in the next week or so. Fish and Wildlife advises calling them at (831)649-2801 or check here before going rockfishing to know the current regulations. Basically, too many yelloweye rockfish are being caught and if they don't change the rules they'll have to close the season, period. The yelloweyes have been coming in shallower than 180 feet ( I caught and released a juvenile last year in 140 feet of water) so it would be good to know your fish. Here's Fish and Wildlife's flyer
     There's still a few salmon around with a few mooched up in the outer bay last week and a few more caught off of Ten Mile on the troll. The Ten Mile fish I heard of came from both ends of the beach, from 40 to 120 feet of water. More guys came back empty than were successful, but there's a few fish there for the skilled and lucky.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

     There were a few salmon caught at the Keyholes and the North end of Ten Mile today. It was not a hot bite, but fish are fish. They're still picking up a few halibut in the bay but you have to fight the weeds knocked loose by the wind. There's a lot of weeds. Rockfishing has been pretty good when you can get out. It sounds like there may be some boats running for tuna this week if the weather forecast holds for Wednesday and Thursday.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

    Tony and Paul came by to let me know that there are, in fact, a few halibut left down on Ten Mile and that they aren't all little ones. Thanks, guys, I never get tired of being wrong. These were caught on the south end in 60 feet of water, along with a few others and a salmon on another boat. Also, there's still some decent fish in the bay with at least one boat with two fishermen catching three halibut, one on a live smelt and two on live anchovies. It ain't over yet.

     Here's a short report from JG in Bodega Bay:"Willie, This is what's down 10 mile. I'm still watching the wind offshore." He was watching the offshore wind because he's (hopefully) testing the waters for albacore today during the 6 to 12 hour weather window. The problem is, even if he finds them, it won't be until next Saturday that there's another weather break forecasted. Still, I can sit here for a week fidgeting while I wait for my next albacore chance. I did it for four years, so a week should be easy. Anyway, the other part of this report is that the salmon can still be found down on the beach. Nice fish, too.

Monday, September 11, 2017

   There were a few salmon caught yesterday but very few. Even the guys that fished and caught on Saturday were telling themselves "should have been here yesterday." The bait is all still there, so the salmon should return, but when they'll be there is the $64 question. Halibut fishing was slow as well, but at least the rockcod were still willing to help out with dinner.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

    Steve Georgis took his boat out for these five very nice salmon yesterday. These fish were mooched at the north end of Ten Mile. Moochers, you hear me? MOOCHED. Don't worry, trollers, your technique was working well, too. Today there were several boats with limits of salmon, most of them by trolling. It's not red hot and you need to work for them, but hey, at least they're here.