Friday, July 27, 2018

   The wind made it pretty unpleasant in the ocean yesterday and today, but there were still a few fish biting. A couple of guys limited on salmon yesterday (nice work Jake and Sean) near Bird Rock but many of the fishermen trying the area went home with nothing but bruises from being tossed around. My crew and I found a school of 5 1/2" to 6" anchovies on the bar and filled our bait tank. The anchovies scored us six halibut to 22 pounds, a  15 pound striper and a (maybe legal/maybe not) 28"ish white sea bass (returned to the sea). We made a quick trip out to Bird during a too-short lull in the West wind for one salmon just before noon, went in, put the salmon in the ice chest in my pickup and went back to the halibut. The flatfish came from the bar(1), across the bay from the Boathouse(2 and the striper), Hog Island (2) and Marshall (1 and wsb). We were chasing the warm water and the tide change. 

   This is Zach Liddle the fish counter, who got to count his own fish on Wednesday. Zach caught this 10 pound halibut and a sand sole on the bar. We told you that boat caught fish, Zach.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    Here's a picture from today. It looks like salmon will still bite on a rough ocean. Landing them can be tough, and so can staying in the boat, but the biting, no problem. Good thing, because now they're calling for wind for the next three days. I guess it won't bother Mike Mack and Tim Nelson, since they figured out how to stay in the boat and catch fish. This fish was caught off of Tomales Point, as were quite a few other salmon this afternoon.

    Here's a similar Wednesday report from the Harvest Time team:"Best small craft advisory everrrr" Please note that the weather is supposed to be decidedly worse for the next few days.

   Mike Martin sent in this report from over the weekend:"Thought I’d send some pics in. The first one is from Sunday. That’s the boat owner, Pete Gobi’s 9 year old son with his first big salmon. We limited(6) out by 10;30am off Carmet(22 and 7 lines). Our friends went back there Monday morning and repeated so we went out Monday afternoon(launch 3:00 pm) and picked up the 2 small ones. Headed back in at 6:30 pm and decided to drop in at the Whistle and we promptly had a double and landed both of them and about 5 minutes later had another double. Landed the salmon and let a ling cod go. Back at the dock at 7:15 with the 5 salmon in the picture." Very nice report, and it gets better with a second message sent:"On a side note his son called us on Monday evening to check on us. We only had the two small ones at that point. His son said “that’s because you don’t know what you are doing” and we should have waited for him to get out of school so he could go with us.

Mike"  So now you know who to call for the real salmon info. What I want to know is, did he tell you to stop at the Whistle?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

   The Nursements sent in a late picture from last weekend, reportedly caught at the north end of Ten Mile Beach on the troll.

     We had 10 to 20 knots of wind on the water today, making it the very definition of "fishable." Dan Riffle and company caught salmon to 26 pounds but had to make a slower trip home than normal. 

   Tom Treadway and his first mate came back from the Keyholes with three beauties, the largest two weighing 20 and 24 pounds. It was another slow ride for home for these fishermen, but I have a feeling that they might be going back tomorrow. The forecast for the rest of the week is looking poor, but by the weekend the worst wind will move offshore if things go as predicted.

Monday, July 23, 2018

   Elijah Blockman caught this 22 pound halibut on the Tomales Bay Bar on Sunday. The big flatty bit a properly presented jig.

    Here's Joel S. and Brian Underwood of Santa Rosa showing off a couple of nice salmon they caught yesterday. 

    Mike Jones sent in this report from this weekend:"Went through 3 trays, but finally hit the 30 lb class along with a couple of other nice fatties. Trolling in 100' of water. This was David's first salmon!" Please note the camera angle this shot was taken from, as it not only makes the fish more impressive but also was the only angle that wouldn't show boats as far as the eye could see.

    Tim Nelson sent in this report from the weekend:"Sunday July 22 
Limited out @9:01am on salmon then headed back into the bay to try for Halibut only coming up with about 10 Short's... So much for our grand slam dreams... Only our second time salmon fishing but with all the wisdom and help from Willie, Gage and the guys from the fleet we got our limit Sunday and 3 nice fish Saturday... Thanks everyone... " Thanks for the picture and shout-out. Now, if you thought was fun, Tim, wait until the albacore come in...

    Mike McKnight sorted out a nice limit of salmon from the swarm of small fish down on the beach. 

    These smiling guys caught their limits yesterday and at one point had all four rods hooked on salmon at once. 

    Kelley Roy sent these pictures in today:"Willy
Just a great salmon weekend – even with all the boats!

With the crowd south of Elephant, I think we were all doing same thing, saw nets flying at times….was surprised that some came home emptyL"  If you look to the left of Kelley you can sort of see a small yellow blob that is several crab pot floats tangled together. There's a couple of those in this area below Elephant, so beware.

   Now, with all those nice pictures and great stories, here's the news so far today: "Where'd the fish go?" Somebody flipped the wrong switch and the bite and bait disappeared. There have been a few salmon caught today, but mostly the guys that bought a bunch of bait came back with most of it. Guess who came back? If you guessed jellyfish, you win. Not as bad as they were, but it was sure nicer without them. Looks like it's over... 

   ...and then these 22 pound salmon came in just before closing. Looks like it's not over, it's just slower.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Here's the "cheat sheet" with some of the local names of fishing spots, as requested. Clicking on it should make it larger.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

    Almost overnight the jellyfish horde turned into the small salmon horde. Today Ten Mile Beach was like an overcrowded salmon nursery school with the fish so thick at times that some schools of salmon were swirling around on the surface. The above-pictured gentlemen returned with six nice fish but went through six trays of bait and three tackle boxes of lures to get them. Most fishermen returned with similar tales. There were some decent fish (without as many teenies) caught North of the beach at McClure's, Bird Rock and Bodega Head in 60 to 120 feet of water. With all of that beach trolling one would think that there'd be a few flatties in the count, but no legal ones were caught that I heard of. Hog Island still had some biting halibut and, finally, someone tried a "new" spot and discovered that, hey, there's halibut here! The Tomales Bay Bar had limits for the one boat that tried fishing there. Big halibut was 21 pounds.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

   Nick Nichols sent in this report from Sunday/Monday:"Attached are some pics from Sunday and yesterday. Rockfish from Point Reyes. Salmon off of Ten Mile, about 70’ of water, Watermelon Apex for both." It's just like a Watermelon Apex to save the trip, like an old, dependable friend. 

    Eddie Kim sent in this successful report from Tuesday:"My daughter Kiana far right & Lincoln caught their very first halibut ever! 
Also Lincoln's first time rockcod fishing. 
Got the 3 Hali's in the morning then hit the cod" Eddie is going to give them the wrong impression, that this fishing stuff is easy.

   Nick hopped a ride with Eddie Kim yesterday and showed Eddie how to catch salmon. Just toss 'em slow and easy.
    Today the salmon decided to go ahead and bite again. I'd like to think that it's because I got out on the water again but.... no, that was probably it. The beaches (both Ten Mile and McClure's) held salmon that, after examining their full stomachs, probably shouldn't have been hungry. One of our best fish was lost and when the line was reeled in there was a partially digested anchovy on the previously unbaited hooks on the hootchy. There wasn't much bait on the beach where we were but there were huge schools of anchovies out in 60 to 80 feet of water. We got lines in the water at 8:00, had half limits by 8:30 and were running home with limits at 10:00. I could get used to this, but I probably won't get a chance to. Seems like these bites are for a couple of days and then the fish move, probably farther North. Might be a good bite at the Head , Carmet or the Russian River by this weekend. Or not. The fish aren't saying. Also, some small halibut action around Hog in the last few days and a few stripers caught both by Hog and in the surf.

Monday, July 16, 2018

    The Honebeins landed two salmon today, the big one weighing 25 pounds and caught by Peter. When asked if they were fishing in 70 feet they smiled and said, "deeper." That's all I know.
    The jellyfish were on the bite again today, but a few people are figuring out how to tease a salmon out of the jello mold we call the Pacific ocean. It seems that Apexes are less likely to get covered by snot and can fish effectively, longer. No guarantees, but there seems to be a common thread between most of the salmon coming in. The salmon are scattered and came from Bird, Elephant, Ten Mile, and most consistent, Carmet. Some decent halibut were caught by Hog today, not a lot but we saw a pair of 15 pounders.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

  I called out a certain someone that had done well salmon fishing yesterday. "Local Legend" Gerard Fitzgerald sent in these photos, I assume to make sure we are all aware of his prowess. It would appear that he may be almost as good a fisherman as he thinks he is. Most of yesterday's fishermen (and -women) did not do nearly as well. No comment on location or technique, but the cleaning station looks like the one at Westside, so within 20 miles of Bodega Bay, probably. Was there a place in the ocean without boats on Saturday for the top photo?

    Today's big fish was Mike McKnight's 30 pound slab which he caught at Elephant Rock on an Apex. Most of the salmon fishermen I spoke with today had about 30 pounds less of fish in the box, so an especially good job on this catch, Mike.

    Patty O'Hare made the board yesterday with a 20 pound salmon, one of four salmon caught on the Nursement's boat. They were fishing "near Bird" for most of them. 

    Richard Baratta did a saltwater christening on his new boat this weekend and then got it bloody. "Hey Willy 
It was great to talk to you and the boys after being away for so long, my wife and I had a great time and were blessed with two beautiful salmon on our new boat. My wife was happy the sea monster got away after destroying all my tackle :(
Richard"  Nice fish and nice boat, Richard.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

    It seems like whenever I say the bite was slow somewhere, somebody sends in photos to prove me wrong. Jeff Hunter was kind enough to send in these photos and report:"Lots of action around Hog today..mostly sharks and rays...but I was able to convince these two fish to jump in the boat, by dancing a jig in front of them. Tons of bait everywhere though too. Also an Anonymous kayaker with a nice striper.." Today I heard of quite a few halibut caught both by Hog (drifting live bait) and Marshall (trolling). Not too many big ones, but small halibut are tender. How was the salmon bite? Depends on who you asked. Many boats had none, some had one, and a few guys clobbered them ( coughGerardcough). The jellyfish were bad from 70 feet out, so most of the fish were caught pretty shallow. I heard a secondhand report that a salmon was caught in the surf on Dillon Beach. I guess the jellies weren't too bad there.

Friday, July 13, 2018

    Trip Plumb sent in a photo from yesterday, when the fish were biting:"Jennifer had a nice Salmon from the Trees. It bit on the striped Boots" No comment attached about whether the boots were trolled or mooched.

    Cameron snapped a photo while pulling out boats today:"Picked up below hog trolling herring. Only halibut plus an assortment of sharks and rays." So at least somebody caught fish today. The really good salmon bite yesterday changed to a scratch bite today, one that caused the hordes of fishermen looking for a bite to rapidly clump around anyone foolish enough to wave a net. By the afternoon the bite had picked up a bit with some fish getting caught all over, from Tomales Point to Ten Mile in 60 to 180 feet of water, but the most consistent bite was for the guys that gave up on fighting the crowd and went out deep (200-300 FOW) and fished the krill line. Lots of smaller fish and a few larger ones, just like on the beach, but nobody cutting you off or playing chicken. Also, near the shore, the jellyfish returned today and the thresher sharks bit better for some people (Gage) than the salmon. Tomorrow is another day and the salmon and halibut will have to eat again soon. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

     Dakota's big one weighed 21 pounds and was the not only the largest on the boat she fished on but the largest we weighed in yesterday. Amazingly, even larger then Gage's fish.
    Gage went out after work yesterday with his pal, Travis Franceschi, and they landed a double of nice fish. Again, not as big as Dakota's fish, but nice.

    Sometimes, you catch a fish and you just can't believe it. This photo was sent in by Alec Bennett from the Shrimp Boat yesterday:"Slammin fishing out here. Reminds me of that great year 5 years ago or so. Just put your line down and wait a few minutes." Results may vary. I couldn't get bit last night, and other people had trouble with hooking a fish after about 5:30 yesterday.

   These fish, like most of the salmon caught here in the last week, were taken in the fleet of boats fishing between the Tomales Bay outer buoy (02) and Elephant Rock in 50 to 90 feet of water. As of 3:00 PM today there were still a few salmon left in the narrow gaps between boats. I saw a few boats trolling with their fenders out and I realized it was because of how close everyone seems to want to be. Boats were catching each other's lines. My only consolation today (aside from 5 limits of salmon) was the knowledge that it will be worse on Saturday. My recommendation: If the fish are already in an area a couple of  miles long, probably they are close to everywhere. If bumperboats isn't your game of choice you can probably find salmon off of Ten Mile or, even more likely, points North of Bodega Bay. 
   In other news, the halibut bite at Hog has been slow for most but the fish are there if you have you have the kind of local fishing knowledge acquired over a couple of decades. Mr. Mosby has been putting 3 or 4 halibut a day in his boat while fishing at Hog, so the fish are there, it's just that you and I may not be able to catch them. There was a thresher shark hooked and lost by the pier yesterday. He put on quite an aerial show before busting the line on a piling. Shark fishermen are also catching quite a few spiny dogfish sharks from the shore. If that sounds like fun to you please come out and catch them so that I won't have to.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

     Here's a salmon picture from yesterday. The wind kept most of the boats in the bay and the few that went out stayed close. That was okay, because the wind also pushed out the worst of the jellyfish and made the water fishable. And guess what? The salmon were there and they were hungry. From Tomales Point to Elephant Rock in 60 to 80 feet of water the problem was getting a second line in the water before the first one got bit. Actually, there was a second problem, and that was keeping the fish attached to the line in the rough water. Not to worry, another would show up to replace the lost one. Limits for the boats that stuck it out and less for the ones that quit before somebody got hurt. Bodega Head also had a bite that started at around 10:30 Saturday and featured many large fish.....that came unbuttoned very easily. The wind was stronger today and forecast to stay bad until Wednesday. Then we'll see if the fish stayed around. 
     The halibut bite was just okay by Hog Island with a higher fish-per-boat count caught near Marshall. The clam channel did have a few more nice halibut in it, although this wind has cooled the water down and might weaken their enthusiasm to bite. The surfperch are still biting, especially on the foggy days, and I heard that Gage and I missed a school of stripers feeding in the surf in the middle of last week. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

    Ryan Press of Glendora caught this 24 pound salmon on Ten Mile today. 

     Gage invited his friend Alex along on our jellyfish trolling trip yesterday, and after four hours of nonstop jellyfish action we went down to Ten Mile to troll in peace. The peace was interrupted by four salmon and three halibut to 20 pounds, along with about 20 spiny dogfish sharks. There were so many sharks that there was a sea lion eating them.  We watched him tear apart at least three sharks. That sea lion is my new best buddy. 

    The red-hot salmon bite off of Bodega Head has slowed to regular fishing, which is better than it got here for most of last year. Yes, I forgot to mention that there is a closed area and a restricted area at Bodega Head. The maps are linked. Don't fish in the closed area and only troll for pelagic species (salmon) in the restricted. There is a lot of bait and salmon from Tomales Point down to at least the Keyholes in 60 to 120 feet of water but catching them by trolling is nearly impossible in the incredible mass of brown, stinging snot that is also present in the area. With luck, the South current running near the shore will carry them away to torture other people. A diver trying for halibut on the bar yesterday ended up without fish but with a face full of sea nettles. It hurt. Maybe give it a few days before getting in the water.