Wednesday, August 30, 2017

   Eddie Kim took his new boat out for its maiden voyage and caught his limit of halibut before noon. He and Nick landed four more today. All of these fish were caught near Hog Island inside the bay. Other boats have been doing pretty good too, but catching live bait has been a bit difficult for many fishermen.

   Here's a photo sent in yesterday from Sam Morita:"Caught one striped bass yesterday. 22 incher. At high tide. Eel grass is terrible. Daiwa sp minnow." There's four words that strike fear into the heart of the surf angler. But if you don't mind shucking a bunch of salad, there may be a striper waiting for you.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

     The 6th Annual Merle Lawson Salmon Derby was held yesterday, a day in which the salmon decided that they weren't hungry. 41 fishermen ended up catching a total of three salmon. 1st place, with a 13 pound hog, was Rich Chapin, who didn't stick around long enough for a photo but did show up to collect his $1000.00 prize money.
     2nd place was taken by Greg Gartrell, with this 10.5 pound slug. It was good for $650.00.

    3rd place and $400.00 went to Herman Rinkel with this 9 pound toad. Thanks to everybody that came out to fish. Next year we'll see if we can arrange some fish to go with the derby.

    Richard Baratta sent over this report from the river:"Hey Willy
I was bummed I had to miss the salmon derby today but I still got my salmon on the Sacramento River. Hope you all had a real party over on the coast." The party was all you missed, Richard. Looks like I should have gone fishing with you.

    A little bird told me that the halibut were on the bite in the bay again. Wait, it wasn't a little bird, it was Don Mosby and David Gonzales. Big fish weighed 22 pounds. All the fish had spots when they landed them, which may mean there's a fresh batch of halibut coming into the bay. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pretty slow salmon fishing yesterday and today. A few were caught close to the beach on Ten Mile and a few at McClures. We caught one and lost one today at McClures before the wind chased us off the water. It was slow by Hog as well, but at least the waves were smaller.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    These fellows, along with several others, caught limits of salmon to 23 pounds yesterday. It wasn't a wide open bite but a steady scratch throughout the day. Salmon were caught all over, from the outer bay to Bird Rock. McClure's, and Ten Mile beach, in 35 to 80 feet of water. Most successful fishermen were running their gear "danger close" to the bottom. I say this not just because I sell replacement gear but because it's working. Those fish aren't getting red bellies from sunburn.
      Updated report for today is that fish were caught but not as well as yesterday. The anchovies schools are dense enough to walk on but the fish (who are probably overfed) just don't seem too interested in what fishermen are offering. There were still a few limits today, so it's not like they won't bite, they just don't really want to.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

    Here's the first fish weighed in today, a 24 pounder caught by Colleen Hoburg. I'm told that after this picture was taken it took ten minutes to get her to let go of the fish. I wouldn't let go, either. As you can see from the photo, it wasn't a particularly nice day on the water with a stiff southeast breeze in the morning and a 5 to 7 foot west swell. All the more reason to hang on tight. This picture and the fish were taken in 80 feet of water off of Bird Rock. See the red on the salmon's belly? That tells you how close to the bottom the fish was laying.

    These grinning young men from Lodi caught their limits of salmon "somewhere" on "something". We know the boat left and returned to the Landing but beyond that all we get is smiles and shrugs. The big fish, caught by Roy Woltkamp, weighed 30 pounds. At least it looks like there's a possibility of a few fish around for the derby on Saturday.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

    My apologies to Peter Honebein for not posting this Thursday photo sooner. This fish was caught at Bird Rock after trolling to the first parking lot on Ten Mile and back.

     These guys had a good day today, even if they lost another five salmon at the boat (they'd rather not talk about it...). These were caught on Ten Mile in 40 to 60 feet of water near "blackout the meter" schools of anchovies.

    Kevin Romanshek caught this 13 pound halibut in the bay today.....

     ...and Jeff caught a 16 pounder nearby.

    And now the fish I'm most jealous of, and the fish that likely has Gage standing in the surf as I write this, Robert Sommer's (of Sacramento) surf-caught striper. This one bit on squid. Well done, sir.

Friday, August 18, 2017

    So, I took a little a trip with my boys out to as far as 37º 39' by 123º 33' to scout for albacore. There were some good signs but no biting tuna. 61ºF, clear  blue water, birds picking up bits of bait off the surface and a pod of actively feeding pilot whales were there but no jumpers, smaller dolphins or saury were seen. Inside of the temp break in slightly greenish, 57ºF water there were pods of feeding dolphins, whales, and jumping baitfish. It looked to me like there should be some fish there, and my not catching doesn't mean there isn't any, but it was pretty disappointing. Well, at least I finally got around to changing the fuel in my tank.
    Inshore there were a few salmon caught but it was mostly disappointment there, too. At least the short halibut in the bay were still biting, even though the keepers were still scarce but not absent.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    Here's a nice striper from last weekend. Stuart Johnson picked up this 25 pounder around 5:00 PM on Saturday between Hog Island and Pelican Point.

     This 15 pound striper was caught yesterday, a little south of Hog and nearer to the houses along the east side.

    Petaluma Newbie sent in this report:" I fished this afternoon (Monday 8/14) south of Hog Island. I had a bunch of trays of frozen anchovies leftover from all of my very unsuccessful salmon & halibut trips this summer so I figured I'd head out today and try to clear some room in the freezer. I started off trolling for about an hour and a half with no luck. I got tired of having to drive so I switched over to drifting the dead bait. I hooked this one about 20 minutes into the drift about a mile and a half south of hog. It's a not huge 25" but it is my first keeper halibut. I fished a couple more hours with no action at all. One bite, one fish. Better than getting skunked again." Tastes better, too. There was a lot of that hot skunk action going on today. They say that the southeast wind makes the fish not bite and there may be something to it, as the wind came from the south and east most of the day. The ocean water was cold and clear with no bait found in close but some out in 160 feet or more of water. Now to find the salmon. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

   It was one of the Alexander twins' birthday today (not sure which one) and for a present he received this striper while trolling south of Hog Island. I heard of more shorties caught and released in the same area and a few keepers were found among the discards. The ocean was not a happy place in the afternoon today but a few boats ventured out in the morning for very mixed success.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

    The wind kept most boats in the bay today, although a few larger boats spent their mornings on the ocean before the weather came up. A few of those boats caught salmon, from the outer bay to Elephant Rock (but not too much further south). High boat that I talked to was two salmon. Inside the bay the halibut fishermen did a lot of shorty sorting south of Hog. The ratio of shorties to keepers ran about 6 to 1 and was higher for a few. I heard of a couple of guys that were almost spooled by mystery fish (possibly wsb?) that got away, one thresher shark landed and an over-the-slot-limit white sturgeon sighted by a diver near Hog Island. The fact that the diver could even see the sturgeon back there would seem to indicate some abnormal water conditions. The Tomales bar was starting to look interesting to both divers and fishermen last weekend but cold water has pushed in and shut down the halibut there before it could really get started. Maybe next week.

Friday, August 11, 2017

    Eddie Kim caught the big one of the day yesterday with this 21 pound white seabass. The weather was a bit sloppy outside, so this croaker was caught where most of the fishermen were congregated- in the bay. I'm told it bit a trolled VK Dying Minnow. 
    Here's a Wednesday report from Bodega Outlaw:"Couldn't boat salmon yesterday mooching from Bird Rock to Elephant. Must have been a hot radio bite south because everyone moved down there quick. Good action with lots of bites but no solid salmon hookups. Thought you might be tired of salmon and halibut pics. Good thing about mooching is you rarely go home empty handed." I tried the beach on Thursday for a few hours before the wind came up for one halibut. There was a lot of bait moving around but it seemed that it was only jacksmelt pushing the anchovies around, not salmon. At least, not salmon that were interested in anything I offered. I heard of a couple of salmon boated in the outer bay in the last few days, not so much because there's a lot of salmon there but more because you can hide from the worst of the wind in the lee of Bodega Head. More wind for a few days, then maybe a break. I hope. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

  Somebody turned the fan on high today, but before the wind pushed everybody off the water a few guys were lucky skilled enough to bring back some salmon. These pictured fish came from Ten Mile, but if the wind blows hard enough and long enough all bets are off. The water temp has slipped about 4 degrees so far. At least the halibut are still waiting for us in the bay.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

    It was a slow day for many of the fishermen today, but that didn't stop Nancy Raggio from catching this 17 pound, 31 inch salmon. I didn't get the details afterwards, but I suggested fishing off of McClure's Beach before she and her son, Noah, launched the boat. Nancy reads this report regularly, so it's a sure bet that she immediately went somewhere else since she caught one. There were some other salmon and a few halibut caught today, mostly on Ten Mile, although a heard of a pair of halibut caught on the troll near Marshall. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

     It was a pretty slow day for most of the fishermen today. Kevin Fujimoto of Amador County had a mostly slow day except for his 20 pound salmon and 20 pound thresher. Those happened in the first hour and then after that, boredom. There were a few other success stories (Paul Costa of Sacramento caught a limit of salmon to 20 pounds) but mostly it was tales of trolling for nothing more than a few sublegal halibut. Luckily the rockfish were still biting. I heard a couple of local (sorta) albacore stories today. One was that a good number of large albies were caught at the Gumdrop. Another story was that two albacore were caught incidentally while rockfishing at the Farallones. I really like the second story. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

   Here's a couple of pics from yesterday. Ryne Pearce and Wyatt Zanardi caught these salmon to 21 pounds south of Elephant Rock. 

   Linda Boyd of Citrus Heights caught this 25 pound lingcod at an undisclosed location. My guess would be Point Reyes area, and the weather was right for the run on Saturday, but I just don't know and she just won't tell me. She did say that a nearby boat landed one "twice this size." That's why I was asking.

Friday, August 4, 2017

    Mike Gonzalez put the Marisa Kay over the fish today so that Dora Cabanig could catch these 26 pound fish. Mike also caught a salmon and halibut but, no offense Mike, his weren't worth putting in the picture. Sorry. He was trolling near the Towers on Ten Mile.

    Kevin Fogal sent in these pictures from this morning. A "boatless" section of Ten Mile beach was the fishing location. Other nearshore successful locations for salmon included Elephant Rock, McClure's Beach, and Bird Rock. A few of these fish were mooched. Halibut also came from Hog Island (they didn't disappear) and may be present on the bar.
    Dougy Bryant of Ukiah landed a 22 and 24.5 salmon from an undisclosed location.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

    The salmon bite was pretty good for the guys I spoke to. Not so much for me, but most everyone else. Most of the action was on-again, off-again, and centered within a mile or two around Elephant. There were some fish on Ten Mile too, but those fish seem to be moving north each day. Here's a photo of a Ten Mile fish, with Alec Bennett demonstrating how to find out what they've been feeding on:
    Or maybe he's trying to see if its gums are black or white? This should be a "caption this photo" contest. 

   Everyone else is catching salmon, so what do we do? Clobber the halibut. I'll try the salmon again, later. I guess this is as good a time as any to announce the Merle Lawson Salmon Derby on the 26th of August, right around the corner. As you can see, I'm not a serious contender.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

    Trip Plumb found his limit of salmon today, including this 28 pounder. He also had a minute playing with a thresher shark.

    Every time I see this guy he's smiling. Wonder why? Another day, another 28 pound salmon and his buddies.

    Sean Bottomley of Nevada City caught this 27 pound salmon today. All these fish were trolled, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear about some mooched salmon by this weekend or sooner. You hear me, moochers? Schools of bait and feeding salmon. It's your window of opportunity that you've been waiting a few years for. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    Here's Scott from Auburn with, as I recall, a 23 pound striper caught on a shiner near the yellow buoy yesterday. Please, Scott, if the details are wrong, let me know. Yesterday was a bit of a blur.

    Jeff Barcus of Lincoln caught this 28 pound salmon in 50 feet of water a little south of Elephant/Keyholes area. Look at that hooked jaw. On the fish. This one is feeling the pull of the river. There are more than this one in the shallower water, now. Nice work Jeff.

    I'm not supposed to give out details about this, except for the fact that Gage caught the big halibut (21#). I think, though, that you can infer quite a few things from the photo....
    The deep water didn't just empty all of its fish out onto the beach. Commercial season opened today and they were picking up some out where the sport boats have been catching. With their 27" minimum size they were throwing back quite a few. Here's a deep water report from Brad Stompe:"USA Fishing reported that the party boats limited by 8:30 yesterday morning in 180' of water.  Today the bite was slower.  We started in 200' with a lot of krill showing at 100 - 150' and picked up three shakers and one just over legal limit.  Moved out to 280' and picked up another at 150' on the wire that went 11 lbs.  Caught the devil fish (another 22 incher) in 300' of water 170' down on the wire.  Done by 1 PM.  
I'm all business on the boat and never think about pictures until it's too late.  I had my 82 year old dad with me cranking manual down-riggers all day and he can't wait to get back out and do it again.
Thanks for posting your blog, I read it frequently and enjoy your commentary" Thanks for your report, Brad. While I would like to go out very day and find the fish, reality (and my wife) says I can't. Sharing a successful (or unsuccessful, really) trip with the rest of us helps everyone out.