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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Northern CA Saltwater

Halibut maintain dominance in San Francisco Bay fishing

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 16, 2018

BERKELEY — There was very little question that halibut fishing was the main activity on San Francisco Bay area charter and party boats with an amazingly high rate of productivity. High winds and seas made ventures out through the Gate very uncomfortable for rockfish and lingcod anglers, but in-Bay striped bass catches were decent and primarily incidental to halibut catches.

fantailfunFANTAIL FUN — Anglers aboard the California Dawn had a great day last week on Emeryville Flats where the boat averaged better than a halibut per person all week, plus a few white seabass and some striped bass.


Flash II got in some good fishing, especially early n the week before the winds got too bad. Focusing on South Bay and Berekeley Flats, there were some impressive catches during ebb tides. Dave Houston caught a 30-inch white seabass off of Emeryville. On one trip the boat got limits of halibut to 34 pounds plus some striped bass on a half day trip. All fish were caught drifting live baits.


California Dawn found big fish and they found plenty of fish. On one early-week trip, Phil Webster and Capt. James Smith were holding up a 35-pound and a 40-pound halibut for photos. Much of the week saw counts of a little over a halibut per rod, but after a Friday trip, Capt. Smith said, “We finished up the day with 42 halibut and 6 bass for 25 anglers. We released 117 halibut. There is some epic fishing going on in the Bay. We are in the middle of an explosion of life. We have had whales and dolphins in San Francisco Bay since the beginning of March and that never happens. I’ve seen upwards of 250 short halibut on a single trip. It’s the real deal here this year.”


Happy Hooker spent her week on halibut and bass. Capt. Jonathan Smith on deck explained that not a whole lot of feed showed up in Central Bay and the Flats have been blown out pretty early, so the boat has been fishing the South Bay. Counts from Tuesday through the weekend averaged out to a little under a fish per rod on the halibut and some nice catches of striped bass along with the flat ones.


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BASS TUB LUNKER — Capt. Aaron Anfinson on the Bass Tub never provides very much information with his photos, but not a lot needs to be said about this 26-pound halibut caught by Rodney Carr from Sonoma. We don’t know where or what bait was used, but probably live anchovies.


Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Charter Boats reported consistent catch counts of about 2 fish per rod and a 70/30 halibut/striper ratio. Most fish came from Central bay and South Bay, and Angel Island produced the biggest specimens. Ronald Briggs caught a 24-pound halibut on New El Dorado III at Angel Island.


Andy Guiliano at Fish Emeryville reported that live bait potluck action was elevated from "Solid" to "White Hot " late in the week as another school of halibut surged into Central San Francisco Bay. On Friday, New Huck Finn returned with 38 flatties for 21 anglers and then took it to another level Saturday scoring 56 fish for 23 anglers. "Best fishing we've seen in years", said Capt. Jay Yokomizo. Fish were excellent quality with a solid 8- to12-pound average with fish into the 25-pound class. Plenty of shaker halibut keep the action kept anglers busy all day.


Guiliano also reported rockfishing remained at a limit level in spite of a few days of spring wind. Tigerfish and Sea Wolf fished the Farallon Islands everyday except Wednesday and Thursday, returning with excellent quality reds, yellows, olives and browns, adding 1 to 2 lingcod per rod. Standard shrimp flies baited with squid did the trick for the rockfish and swimbaits in the Christmas Tree and Halloween patterns were particularly effective for the lingcod.


Ten halibut to 25 pounds and two bass for 12 people was the count Saturday aboard Bass Tub. Skippers Erik and Aaron Anfinson took Sunday off to spend with Mom on Mother’s Day. Lovely Martha worked the Bay for halibut and bass, enjoying good successes. Argo fished Central and South bays for bass and ’butts.


centralbaybassCENTRAL BAY BASS — Dominic Della Chiesa of Redwood City caught this 52-inch white seabass aboard the Wet Spot while drifting live anchovies in the central San Francisco Bay.


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