Friday, June 28, 2019

    On Wednesday, "We got our salmon with the commies at 200’ off the head then drifted a dead herring at 30’ on the way to the barn. One drop and THIS (43”/30#).

– Harvest Time." Catching a 30 pound California Halibut is like catching a 40 pound salmon; there aren't that many of them. I'm going to have to try the dead herring thing.

    Somehow Gage grabs my rod and lands a 17 pound salmon yesterday. How does this happen? Probably because he's faster than me. We ended up with two salmon in the outer bay and six halibut across the bay from the Boathouse. The halibut really liked the live anchovies we jigged up.

     Today Larry and Guy Laackmann found a few more fish that like anchovies by Hog Island. There will probably be quite a few boats by Hog this weekend as the weather forecast for the ocean is pretty questionable. Yesterday the bait that had been everywhere in the outer bay over the weekend was nowhere to be found. From the radio it sounded like there were a few fish all over but no real concentration. Probably a couple of days of nicer water conditions will get the bait schools forming back up and the salmon circling them. Until then there's a few more days to catch a Dungeness and eat it, as the sport season ends on Sunday night. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

    Mike McKnight of Bent N Ballistic Outdoors came by yesterday to see if this salmon bite was real. I'm not sure if he brought the wind with him but it was definitely here. Mike and crew caught these four salmon (or the fish were washed into the boat by an angry sea) before noon. Either way the fish came, these guys got 'em in some tough conditions. The weather forecast for the next couple of days is less than ideal but looks like it will change for the better by Saturday. Maybe.

   Then again, who cares what the ocean conditions are when you can just cast out from the beach and catch a nice striper? I say "you" because I sure can't seem to this year. This striper bit a clown-colored Daiwa SP Minnow. Don't use the mime-colored ones. Stripers don't like mimes either.

Monday, June 24, 2019

   Gage had a bit of a hard time keeping the salmon attached yesterday but today he landed two out of three. Looks like they're still biting.
    Eddie Kim made the bragging board today with a 21 pound salmon. These two fish came on a watermelon Apex. Not at the same time.

    Paul Giese of San Francisco caught this 18 pound salmon while trolling out by the "02" buoy. 

Daniel Gillis caught this 10.5 pound halibut from a rental boat not too far from the store. 

    Here's yesterday's Kim report:"4 Hali and 3 salmon by noon today. First Triple hook up on the Hali with all landed! " Yes, a man's first three-way is a special moment he'll not soon forget.

    Thumbs sent me this picture from yesterday and he looks even more surprised than me. "I picked that one at the first bouy  on the way in, I mean right next to it and it weighs 24.67 lbs on my registered scale , VK dying minnow with med green flasher, I picked up another one when we first started a 17lbs" There were a lot of salmon taken in the outer bay yesterday. The area in front of Estero Americano had many boats but there were fish caught all over Bodega Bay and beyond. 50 to 120 feet of water from Bodega Head to at least Elephant Rock held some nice salmon. From my limited sample of six salmon caught last evening it looks like the larger fish have been in the anchovies for a while as their meat was light orange colored. Our one barely legal fish had ruby-colored flesh. All of the fish had so many anchovies plugging their bellies that they had no business taking our baits. That probably explains the sluggish bites. There were some limits of halibut caught yesterday too, from the Tomales bar back to Hog Island. Most of those halibut were also eating anchovies.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

    Alyssa Lauer of Grass Valley caught this 29 pound salmon this morning. The fellow holding the fish, Sean Bottomley, may have helped a little. He's definitely a good netter. They landed their limits before 11:00 AM out in the outer bay along with many other boats. People looking for fish of their own found them further South as well, at least to the start of Ten Mile Beach. Depths of water fished ranged from 40 to 100 feet with many schools of anchovies needing to be liberated from the oppression of hungry salmon. Thankfully for the baitfish there were many anglers trying to help. The salmon were clearly orienting on the bait which means mooching, for those of you that prefer the drift. Yes, it's circle hook time.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

    Here's the words you never want to hear; "Should have been here yesterday."

    Here's the report:"Dottie the FISH Slayer, Bodega Bay.
8 fish 2 nocked off, 6 fat keepers.  50 foot American Estero. 42 inch 32.5 lbs King Fat Hog!
Rainbow Apex.FISH ON
<'///><  " I heard very similar reports from a variety of locations but all about the same water depth. Most people wanted to keep their spots a secret, but Mr. Percell is a gentleman. Probably we can all be gentlemen as well and not go directly to that spot. Probably.......not. Please, leave the bumperboats at Scandia.
   Joe Downing caught this 11 pound striper on the troll with a hootchie near the red barn just below Hog Island yesterday.
    Captain Ron and Miller Time sent over this photo this afternoon with the message "50 feet". Huh. I wonder what it means.

   And of course, like any good day we finish with a picture of Mr. Kim. He's smiling under the sun mask.

Friday, June 21, 2019

    These guys got the halibut dialed in this week. Their largest weighed 15 pounds. Catching live bait was problematic for a lot of the fishermen the last few days but luckily the halibut decided to eat the dead frozen stuff. There have been a few stripers in the mix as well with at least four 11 to 18 pound fish caught today. 

     Somehow Gage manages to get his hand in the photo. These fish fell to trolled hootchies in 8 to 25 feet of water. It takes a dedicated crew to run the gear, making near-constant depth changes and cleaning off seaweed. My crew was good for about five hours before they mutinied. The fish weighed 8 to 12 pounds.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

    Here's Mike Mack and crew with salmon limits from last Sunday. They even picked up a few halibut inside the bay afterwards. The salmon bite continues to be pretty good out in 240 to 300 feet of water and down 80 to 180 feet on the wire. There's not been much bait marked, so don't be surprised if the fish move on. Hopefully, if they do any moving it will be towards the shore.

    The halibut have been biting pretty well the last few days. These bit live bait back by Hog. There's just enough anchovies around that you can find them with a bit of searching but not so many that your bait is lost in the crowd. My boys and I caught four halibut today and when we got in it looked like somebody had emptied a bag of anchovies in the fishbox with all the fish the 'buts spit up. The water cooled off out front but the bar might be a good choice at the bottom of the tide if there's no swell. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

   Roger Xayavong sent this picture in:"First visit of the year yielded this 28 incher off the surf of Dillon Beach." Roger didn't mention what it bit on but, assuming he didn't walk away from his spot for this picture, you can see where he was fishing. There's a lot of anchovies swimming by and these stripers are chasing them. Nicely done, Roger.
    Here's a 14.5 pound salmon from up off of Bodega Head. There was a really good bite out there Saturday in about 260ish feet. Most of the fish ran small but there were a few better ones in the mix. 

    Ro Meza of Sacramento caught this 25 pound halibut in the channel between the clamming islands while drifting squid and anchovies.

    A shakedown cruise turned into a salmon dinner for the Nursements when a couple minutes of trolling resulted in this keeper. It bit a purple haze hootchy.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

  This striper was caught across the bay from the Landing by the green can today. I heard a rumor (and saw a picture)of a 20+ pound striper caught in the surf yesterday evening. There's not a lot of them around but enough to possibly make things interesting. The salmon bite slowed a bit today with some guys getting their limits and others not so much. The 300 foot mark from Point Reyes to at least Bodega Head had scattered fish but not much metered bait. A 1.5 knot north current is inexorably pushing everything uphill, so the Russian River/Stewarts Point area may be ticket in the next day or two. From the radio, successful tactics today were straight bait and watermelon Apex at 80 to 150 feet OTW. Gage had a lot of action and a few keepers trolling hootchies behind flashers at 3.5 to 4 knots at 30 to 50 pulls. It pains me to say it, but I had to copy him to get my fish. Yes, there's lots of silvers, but after your third or fourth one in an hour you get pretty good at spotting them early. The whale show off of Bodega Head puts Marine World/Sea World to shame. Leaping orcas are cool but an airborne humpback is something else entirely. It's like watching an airliner ditch at sea.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

    Tom Carter tried for a halibut by Hog Island yesterday. There were several other boats that picked up a few halibut in the Hog area but not Tom. You can tell he's a good guy because even when things don't work out as planned, Tom just keeps smiling. 

   The "anchovy boys" from San Francisco arrived yesterday with their chest of live anchovies. It turns out that halibut really like anchovies, so if you're ordering a pizza for a halibut, know you know.

    Tim Woerner and Kris Gaiero tried out the new boat for salmon. It looks like it works. It actually worked four times yesterday. As of today, the salmon were ranging from Point Reyes to Tomales Point in 260 to 300 feet of water. The good didn't start today until about 11:00 but when they decided to bite they really meant it. The fish are still moving North and the water conditions have been changing (clear and cold is becoming brown and warm) so it's anybody's guess how long that they'll be here. I guarantee that it won't be as long as we want. The season is still very young.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

   Paul Gross caught this 14 pound striper on the troll just South of Hog Island last Thursday. The wind didn't keep him off of the water but he said that after fishing he kind of wished he hadn't. We caught three halibut and the striper by noon and slept for most of the rest of the day. Thirty knots of wind can wear you out, even on Tomales Bay. We could only troll downwind, fast. Luckily the fish liked that.

    Looks like there's some salmon out there. Gage and his buddy caught these today, along with 13 silvers. 13. That's a lot of endangered fish. It's a lot of out-of-state endangered fish, even. If you're salmon fishing, watch out. There's more wrong than right out there. White gums bad, people. At any rate, there's a lot salmon to be caught out there in 40-50 fathoms (240 to 300 feet of water). Not a lot of jumbos, yet, but a jumbo amount of fish. The fish are from Point Reyes to mid-10 Mile Beach. For now. They've been moving North and probably won't stop just because we want them to. Look for the fleet.
    The sand crabs are molting so the surf fishing doesn't get much better than right now. It's not great but the perch are there and biting. I heard of a few stripers in the surf too. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

    This 15 pound striper was caught right in front of the Boathouse this afternoon on a frozen anchovy. There's been some schools of bait moving around and I guess a few of these guys must be following them.

     Tim Nelson sent in this photo of a soon-to-be crab dinner from last weekend. He caught a few halibut in the bay as well as the crab.
    Word is that there's salmon out there in 260-ish feet of water. The ramp report from Bodega was about a fish per rod or a bit less. There is a large school of decent sized fish that runs from Double Point to (I think I heard) Point Reyes in about 120 feet of water and the way things have been they're probably moving north. They ought to be here about the time the wind really comes up. The weather forecast doesn't sound very promising for running down that way until perhaps the weekend, and it better be pretty darn nice to run 30 miles for salmon, one way. Albacore, sure.