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SF Bay boats clean up on bass and halibut, or clean up on salmon

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 11, 2018

BERKELEY — These are days of glory for party boats, private boats and kayaks out of San Francisco Bay, because it seemed there were no bad fishing decisions, but 50 shades of awesome. Bass and halibut counts were high inside the Bay. Salmon limits were typical outside the Gate. Shore fishers got into the fun, too.


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TWO FOR TIFFANY — Tiffany Podesta of Daly City with a friend (no name given) onboard the Bass Tub displaying several halibut that were caught last week near Alcatraz while using live anchovies.

“Bay fishing got even better and crowds thinned out, which is an unusual pattern, but with good reasons. Capt. James Smith of the California Dawn said, “This has been one of the best weeks I can remember for bass and halibut in years. With most of the fleet off salmon fishing, the Bay pressure has been light, leaving the entire Bay to a handful of skiffs, some commercial boats and a couple party boats. The end results have been nothing short of spectacular…crazy wide open. And I have been knocking off early all week. The Bay is on fire!”


Here are some scores from the week for the Cal Dawn: Sunday: 31 limits of bass and 40 halibut to 22 pounds. Friday: 31 limits of bass, 50 halibut. Thursday: 30 limits of bass and 60 halibut. Wednesday: 36 Limits of bass (72) and 48 halibut. Tuesday: 30 limits of bass, 50 halibut: Monday: 31 limits of bass 38 halibut.


Fresh off his win of one of the biggest bass tournaments on the planet, Bass Masters, professional bass angler Ish Monroe from Sacramento took a busman’s holiday to do some halibut fishing on California Dawn. He got his limits of both bass and halibut. He’s holding up a couple of 8 pounders taken off Alcatraz.


Capt. Jonathan Smith on Happy Hooker reported wide-open bass at Treasure Island and on the rocks all week. Along with limits of bass, the boat scored 20 to 46 halibut per trip. Capt. Smith refers to this as the best July in years.


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A FULL DECK of fish all week was the “problem” for the California Dawn, and Capt. James Smith sent this photo in Saturday and said, “there’s not room on the deck for all the fish, and this has been going on every day! The fishing is ridiculous!” And the photo says it all!

As far as salmon go, Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Charter Boats reported that on the few trips when boats didn’t get limits of salmon, they were less than 10 fish away. There are fish on both the north and south side of the Golden Gate Bridge and probably tonnage out in the deep water.


Berkeley boats got a mixed size of fish too. It was common to have one fish over 15 pounds and one under 5. Some of the notable fish were: David Johnson from American Canyon had a 25-pound salmon on New El Dorado III at Muir Beach; Loden McMahn from Oakland had a 25-pound salmon on El Dorado at Double Point; George Ludinski from Dublin had a 28-pound salmon on New Easy Rider at Slide Ranch. As Sutherland was giving his report, boats were headed back in with limits for all once again. Capt. Bill Clapp on Jilly Sea had a great trip with limits of stripers, 5 halibut and 4 leopard sharks for a group of 5 people.


Andy Guiliano at Fish Emeryville, excited about the fishing experience of the week said, “In addition to the fishing, 2018 maybe the year we exhaust out list of superlatives as we struggle to appropriately describe the quality of fishing we are experiencing. ‘white hot,’ ‘historical,’ and ‘phenomenal’ come to mind. Each week we seem to cross another threshold of action that we find ourselves searching Webster's Thesaurus.”


Thursday anglers enjoyed one of the great days in recent Bay Area Sportfishing. Sundance got the morning started, checking in at 8:30 a.m. with 6 limits of salmon. Shortly thereafter, our second six pack boat, Dragon, followed up with 6 limits. Within a couple hours the C Gull II, Tigerfish and Pacific Pearl all checked in with a combined 47 Salmon limits! Nice, and the weather was flat calm. Early afternoon, Sea Wolf checks in another stellar score. 25 limits of rockcod, 25 limits of Lingcod! They are on a roll. Great weather at the Farallon Islands. New Huck Finn wraps a big red bow around the day mid-afternoon with his final score. 70 Striped bass to 14 pounds, 46 Halibut to 25 pounds for 35 anglers. A remarkable day of live bait fishing and one of the best scores of the year.


Boats from Fisherman’s Wharf got in the salty licks. For example, Bass Tub turned in reports of consistent limits of salmon over the past 3 trips. On one of those trips, happy passengers pulled limits of striped bass as well as limits of salmon. Flash and Flash II split duties between salmon outside and bass inside. Capt. Joe Schiavoni reported fast limits of bass and fast limits of salmon all week.


anotherbigoneANOTHER BIG ONE — There’s been some big halibut coming out of San Francisco Bay, and Michael Stork of Minnesota caught this 38 pounder on a live anchovy in the main bay while fishing aboard the Argo out of San Francisco.


chowtimeCHOW TIME — Capt. Mike McHenry of Santa Cruz sent in this photo of some lively feeding that went on off Ft. Baker in San Francisco Bay on May 31. Everyone who knows how big sea lions are can identify with the size of the striper this pinniped is engulfing!


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salmonand2SALMON AND HALIBUT are still top picks, along with stripers, out of San Francisco Bay. Virginia Salvadore fished aboard the Gatecrasher out of Richmond on two days recently when she scored a 20-pound class halibut along with 2 other keepers and a white seabass, and on the other trip they caught 7 keeper kings and a rockfish outside.


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