Thursday, September 19, 2019

     Eddie Kim took an extra set of Thumbs with him yesterday: "2 limits, 3 lost at boat, 2 shorties. South of Abbott's in 50 ft" The forecast has some windy afternoons for the next few days but the mornings should be good for a run if you don't linger.  If you don't want to leave the bay, that's okay too, as the halibut have been biting pretty well. Of course, most of the boats are fishing around the yellow buoy and catching some fish there, but there have been fish caught from the bar back to Marshall. Remember, the fish have tails and they use them. They could be anywhere and they probably are.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    Here's a salmon report:"Here's a picture from Sunday. Picked  this one up in the afternoon along with 2 lings and a rockie... Also hit 5 halibut south of hog on Sat, they were all around 24", only kept one for dinner." This fish may have been the scout as more moved in there yesterday. A fair number of boats caught salmon there today. It is far from wide open but there haven't been many fish around so a few is pretty good.

    Eddie Kim and his pal caught their limits of halibut in three hours yesterday. I think the fish may be in. Mr Kim likes to fish near the yellow buoy (where everybody else fishes) so my guess is that he was in his lucky spot.



    Gage finally got his tuna fix. 25 albacore (all we had ice for) by 1:30 at or about 38º 30' by 124º 05', or about 54 nautical miles from Tomales Point. The water hit 68º. It was a long day but Gage will be ready to do it again once his sunburn fades.

Friday, September 13, 2019

    Here's a bay report from yesterday:"11 lbs halibut caught on a dead anchovie by hog today, thought you might want for the fish report. Any salmon caught out front today?     
From Zach the fish counter" Nice job, Zach. Yes, there were salmon caught out front yesterday, mostly from out in 300 feet of water or so. 

    Here's another Tomales Bay report:"Willy- One heck of a day somewhere near Hog Island. Feeling super stoked about the 37 incher on the boat when a pole in the rod holder about broke in half as a 38 incher ,over 25 pounds swallowed a live smelt. What a fight!
Noah Raggio"  Very nice. It looks like there's still a few fish around Hog, then. Or there were.  There's still a few schools of anchovies around Marker 10 but the schools are small and hard to target for bait. Looks like the jacksmelt work, though.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


       There's a few fish inside the bay, some of which are bad for your drag washers. These were caught yesterday on live bait (I think anchovies) but I didn't get a specific location. The threshers tend to like the warmer water, so I'd guess Marshall area. There were a few other halibut caught back there by another boat. Today saw a few more halibut from the bay and a salmon caught out by the Keyholes. Tomorrow we get a break from the wind for a day so there's a few boats that'll head out for salmon. I'm hoping they find some.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

    Thumbs sent me a picture and note this morning:"Beau Kirby with a solid 14# ...he is the twins cousin...first thing this morning on sp minnow striper was full of very large sand crabs...would you mind posting...from your side of day beach" I do not mind posting this at all, since I haven't anything else to post except for maybe griping about the weather. The wind blew the salmon and bait back offshore and replaced them with cold water. It's a great afternoon for the kitesurfers but here on the beach the tents and E-Z Ups blowing around are a little dangerous. It looks like a little break from the wind mid-week but probably not long enough to bring the bait back inshore. Oh well. Maybe we'll have an October like last year.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

    Here's a couple of reports from the weekend: "I've been reading your blog with pleasure for years. Last weekend my daughter and I launched our kayak off Lawson's, and she caught her first salmon, trolling off Bird Rock. Big fun in a tiny boat!

Fred Hoerner "  That is awesome. I find it hard enough to land a fish in a larger boat. I can't imagine myself successfully doing it from a kayak. Good work, both of you.

     Kelley Roy submits:"Hello Willy
Everybody was chasing salmon on the beach so we had all the Lings to ourselves Saturday   (PT Reyes). 
Chased Salmon later with the fleet on the beach and ended with some fish, one going 22 lbs. the entire GG sport fleet was invading the beach!!
Let Doug Vincent know we caught the salmon at Costello’s sidekick Lagoon😉" For the record, that's a solid Abbott and Costello reference. Nice sized lings, boys. Check out that water behind Herman. Warm and brownish and flat. Now it's cold and clear and bumpy. It also holds far less bait. Where do they go so fast? We get a small window to fish the next couple of days but it doesn't look like we get another warm-up and schooling shallow-water fish for another week or so if the weatherman is right.

Monday, September 2, 2019


     I didn't see any fish come in today except for Mathew Carney's 34 pound striper. I guess that'll do. The fish bit a previously frozen herring on the bar. They didn't have any other bites but then again, they didn't really need any more.

     Mason Lessard limited to 21 pounds on salmon yesterday. He was fishing at Elephant Rock in 38 feet of water on the bottom. A hootchy (no color noted, but I have become  big fan of the purple haze) hooked both, so it seems likely that he trolled them up. The weather got pretty nasty yesterday so catching them early was a good plan for Mr. Lessard. Other fishermen did very well at Elephant and the Keyholes and at scattered locations on Ten Mile, but the further South they went meant the longer the run home in a rather unpleasant sea. I know of at least one gentleman that sat out the fishing today as he was still too sore from the ride home yesterday (with limits).

    Some folks didn't have to leave the bay to catch a nice one. Will and family (from Sacramento) caught this 16 pound white seabass on a previously frozen herring while drifting about two miles South of Hog Island.

   Kapulani Chong and Tom Gerbi scored these fish early on Saturday. Three of them were over 20 pounds and the little guy weighed 15. They were on Ten Mile dodging party boats at the South end.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

    Tom Carter sent me a text yesterday:"Heard you had a great day yesterday and Alec is a tuna guy now. We are trying to be salmon guys with 20 pound average fish off the beach lots of fun"I think you guys figured out how to be salmon guys. Probably has something to do with the grump on the right.

    Lou Zanardi, Steve Freeman and Glen Hakola caught these salmon to 25 pounds down on the beach. The southern end of the beach was crowded with boats from as far away as San Francisco Bay. Most of them were catching. Depth of water was pretty shallow, 30 to 60 feet. 
    No halibut pictures today but there were some caught on Ten Mile and in Tomales Bay. I even heard a tale of a 24" halibut getting caught from the beach by a guy using bacon for bait. Yes, bacon. I don't know if it was fried but I kind of doubt it.  

Friday, August 30, 2019

   Yesterday Jim Whitley caught this 32 pound salmon. He had kind of a rough day before with no salmon landed but I think he was past that by the time of this photo. I don't know for a fact but I think he caught this on Ten Mile, probably at the Towers.

    Alec Bennett, notorious captain of the Shrimp Boat, landed this 23 pound (gutted) albacore yesterday, one of the 13 we brought in. Alec was the designated reeler. Good man to have fishing with you. 

      Scott Mason put the boat over these hogs yesterday. The Towers was the location of his victory. I didn't get the weights but none of us would have thrown them back.

    Finally, photographic evidence of the Tomales Outlaw:"Hi Willy after 10 years we got our picture taken out front. The nice lady at the bait shop took it.  Salmon were caught by the crew of the Tomales Outlaw between Bird and Elephant in 50 to 70 feet of water. On anchovies and herring." If memory serves the Outlaw is a moocher, for those of you who prefer silence while fishing.

   And here's a report sent in by Steve Georgis, troller:"Hey Willy. Great fishing Wednesday and Thursday. Hooked over 20 salmon in 2 days. Abbots then Towers in 40 ft. They’re here:)"

Thursday, August 29, 2019


   Here's a few pictures from derby day. Stacy Barton and crew Tried off of the day beach first and ended up with a couple of halibut, then went to Point Reyes (about 240 feet of water) and caught salmon 50 feet down. I don't know where the rockfish came from.

   Gage sent me this with no explanation yesterday. It looks like Thumbs and Eddie Kim caught some nice salmon. At a guess, VK Dying Minnow (Thumbs) and green Rotary Salmon Killer (Eddie). The location of the catch is difficult to judge from the photo but, since I caught a salmon last night at the Trees and several other fish were caught there, I'll guess somewhere near there. The bite moved South to Ten Mile today.

     It turns out that fishermen lie and there are no tuna to be had from Bodega/Tomales bays. There's no way that the warm mass of water that they're catching albacore in from Fort Bragg and extends past Point Arena could have fish all that way. The 60 mile run to 38º 37' by 124º11' is too far. Even if you went the tuna are very small. No way they'd hit Mexican Flag feathers and Rapala X-rap 20's. It would be impossible to catch 13 of them. Or, it did happen and I just finished cleaning fish. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

    Alec Bennett told me that "fishing is easy." It took him less than an hour yesterday to land this limit to 21 pounds in 50 feet of water at the Trees. They bit anchovies under a VK head, no flasher.

   Joe Downing made no comment on the relative complexity of the sport of fishing but just smiled and weighed in a pair of 23 pound salmon yesterday. He also mentioned the Trees. 

   Nathan Porter and Charise Corpe caught more fish than they could hold today. I believe that halibut went 24 pounds and the largest salmon 23. All fish hit bait behind an 11" green Hot Spot flasher. I'm told they were at McClures.

   Lou Zanardi and George Cinquini were one short of limits on salmon today but still caught enough to overheat the Foodsaver. The big one was 22 pounds. North McClure's Beach was the general area. The bait has moved into the nearshore waters and, while surely attractive to salmon, there's so much of it that it most bait schools are unmolested by ravaging salmon. Finding bait doesn't mean you found the salmon.
     Jeff from Sebastopol caught this slug that weighed 26 pounds and was caught close enough to my fishless boat to make me momentarily hate two really nice guys. I got over it. South of the Trees, 60 feet of water.
    
   Gage, sensing my skunked discomfort, made sure to send me this picture of another fish I neglected to catch this evening. His salmon weighed 23 pounds and a bit a straight bait. Yes, it is legal to gaff a keeper salmon in the ocean.
    Now, a critique of the report as submitted by Doug Vincent: "I'm guessing that the fishing reports page main purpose is to encourage more people(customers) to visit your business. I find it a rare occurrence when there is actual usable information there that would encourage me to go out there and go fishing(spend $ with you). For example, so and so caught these fish off Bird rock in x ft of water this morning. Or, these halibut were caught in 20 ft in front of Hog island. When you post photos of grinning people with nice fish, without any usable info, I feel like you are just saying to everyone, "nah, nah, too bad for you, we caught fish and you didn't" and "we don't want your business". Feels like you are trying to be a
smartass when you say things like "they were caught out front, or somewhere sandy, or off a beach, or in the water". NOBODY LIKES A SMARTASS. The least you could do is caption the photos accurately. Like this:
"These greedy smartasses would not tell us the location these fish were caught so that we could help others to be successful as well. They are not nice people and might think that only they should be allowed to catch fish.
Helping other fishermen is what good fishermen do and withholding valuable information shows a total lack of sportsmanship"
There should be consequences for that sort of selfish behavior
OK, I feel better now
I still don't know where to catch halibut in Tomales Bay though"  Well, Doug, a lot of people don't like playing bumperboats (except at Scandia) and would rather keep their spots to themselves. They may also feel that, having put in the time and effort to find the fish, maybe just handing that information over would be cheating both you and him. For the guys that do share, thanks. Also, a lot of the time I don't get a chance to talk to people but just get a picture from another employee. For the record.though,  Doug, as far as the smartass thing goes, my dog still likes me. And if you don't know where to catch halibut in Tomales Bay, I can't help you. There are fish from one end of the bay to the other, from 6 feet to 40 feet of water, in the rocks, mud, sand and along the eelgrass beds. Probably the least concentration of fish is under the fleet of boats near the yellow buoy and Pelican Point, yet a few guys limit there pretty regularly. If you are trying lots of spots and not catching then you need to change the only constant- your technique. If you are waiting for some guy on a computer to tell you where to go for instant limits then you are in for disappointment.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

   The winner of the 2019 8th annual Merle Lawson Memorial Salmon Derby was Nate Salazar, who weighed in a 19 pound (gutted) salmon early enough to win him the $1275 first place purse and  $75 gift certificate to the Outdoot Pro Shop in Cotati. Second place was Bob "Skippy" Rosario with a (later) 19 pound salmon for $850 and a $50 Sportsman's Warehouse gift card. Finally, 3rd place went to the first boat to return and A. J. Masters with his 18 pound fish, worth $425 and a $25 Sportsman's Warehouse gift card. For a change, the Derby was graced with beautiful weather and some decent fishing. Rounded out with a great group of people it was a really fun time.

    Mike and Mara Nursement sweetened the pot for the Derby with a $500 donation. Mike obviously regretted that and tried to win it back but came up a few pounds short. Pretty darn nice fish, though.

   Patty O'Hair was also gunning for a bit of that prize money with this fish which didn't make the top three but did fill a hole in the freezer. The previous two fish as well as many if not most of the others landed yesterday came from offshore. 220 to 330 feet of water, from Bodega Head down to almost Point Reyes. Most of the deep water fish were also caught pretty deep on the wire, 120 to 200 feet down, although the pictured fish, as I understand it, came from up near the top. With the weather as it is and is forecast to be, it is likely that some of these fish will find their way onshore for a shallow water bite very soon.
    


   These guys above (separate photos to make room for egos) didn't get the message about it being a salmon derby only, it seems. That, or they didn't want to leave fish to find fish, which is actually a pretty good excuse. Either way, they whomped the poor halibut somewhere sandy (strangely, they wouldn't say where)(yes, my son won't tell me. My son).

   John Brezina is smiling because he caught the derby winning salmon. A moment later his smile disappeared when he remembered  the derby was yesterday. This salmon weighed 31 pounds, guts in.

    Team Fogal found a few halibut to 23 pounds out front today. Just remember, the size of your boat doesn't dictate the size of your fish. It's the number of rods you fish that does.

    Joe Winn and his crew bagged 9 halibut to 17 pounds (and a starry flounder) today. I believe that they did it yesterday too. Please note: None of the halibut pictured were caught by Hog Island. There's fish by Hog but with the current water temps it is better North of there. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

     This is Cameron showing us what a winning salmon could look like in the 8th Annual Merle Lawson Memorial Salmon Derby. This fish weighed 31 pounds and was actually caught by local legend Gerard Fitzgerald on Wednesday. The Derby will be held on Saturday at the Landing. Looks like there's a few fish around so we might have an interesting competition this year.


   On the other hand, the weather sucked today for safe ocean fishing. While the forecast is great for the weekend, today was a bay day. Catching bait was challenging but paid off with a striper, white seabass and two halibut, mostly from the bar. Live anchovies on size 8 trebles caught three of the four. The biggest bit a 10" jacksmelt. The wind blew but didn't cool the water off, so far. Actually, the water got warmer from the wind. Go figure. The weather should be better tomorrow and actually good over the weekend.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

     Herman Rinkel caught this 25 pound salmon today near McClure's. Today was quite a bit nicer than yesterday as the South wind was only bad. Yesterday the wind was gusting up to 30 knots and made things really unpleasant. There was even one anchored boat sunk. I don't know how many EZ-Ups in the campground went to an early grave, but it was a lot.

    These gentlemen found 'em "on the beach" in 30 to 60 feet of water. I like this grade of fish. Nice work, guys.

Friday, August 16, 2019

   No pictures, just a quick note. There's been a decent bite on salmon in 200 to 240 feet of water off of Tomales Point- until today. The water is warming and browning so look to shallower water for salmon and halibut this weekend. The wind is blowing farther out and leaving the sea pretty rolly and unpleasant but you may not need to go far, anyhow.

Monday, August 12, 2019

    Marsha Englebrecht caught this 24 pound salmon yesterday off of Point Reyes. It was one of two 24 pound salmon in the boat piloted by experienced netter John Brezina. The salmon bite has been pretty good down there, but if the forecast is correct you probably can't get there from here this week.

    Ed Parsond caught this 23 pound halibut on the troll at location "off a beach." Not the most helpful information but still a nice fish. 

   Here's Gage's contribution to the fish report. This 15 pound halibut was caught off of McClure's Beach (Probably; it was foggy) on Saturday evening. It would appear that the Gage was trolling from the flasher in the photo. It would also appear that he has learned how to pick 'em.