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Berkeley: San Francisco Bay boats score halibut, salmon and rockfish

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 06, 2019

BERKELEY — Even with the minus tides to contend with, San Francisco Bay boats covered their decks with halibut, while live bait drifting. The salmon fleet spent part of their time posting great scores of salmon and part of their time finding new schools while rockfish trips were highly productive.

bighaibutshowed
THE BIG HALIBUT showed up at Seal Rocks outside the Golden Gate, and John Natsume and deckhand Dave Stevens of the New Huck Finn out of Fish Emeryville fished South Bar to Seal Rocks using anchovies on 3-way leaders and hammered the big ’buts. PHOTO BY BILL NAKAKI

It was yet another week of quality fishing, as halibut and salmon filled the fish boxes. Andy Guiliano at Fish Emeryville said, “Both Coastal and Bay halibut scores hovered around the 2 fish per rod average, with a couple lighter-load trips scoring limits mid-week. Kingfish turned in a great day returning with 8 limits of halibut for his light load charter. On Friday New Huck Finn kicked some butt, returning with 45 halibut, 235 rockfish and 9 Lingcod for his 24 anglers. The location was pretty much a ‘pick ’em’, as boats found action anywhere from the Berkeley flats to out on the Coast. Quality live bait continues to be found in abundance and good tides all week should be the recipe for another epic week of live bait action.”


Berkeley Marina boats had a field day (make that week). Capt. James Smith on California Dawn said, “The ocean bite has been strong lately. We have been seeing anywhere from a fish to 3 fish per rod on the halibut. Some are going as high as 30 pounds.” A mid-day report from the Pacific Dream had 44 halibut for 28 anglers and lines were still in the water. Captain Chris Smith’s son, Capt. Jonathon, who usually runs Happy Hooker, ran Pacific Dream one day and posted 43 halibut and 2 bass for 17 folks. The Happy Hooker score on a weekend trip was 27 halibut and one striped bass for 23 anglers fishing outside the Gate between Mussel Rock and North Bar.


Fisherman’s Wharf boats put in a solid week of good work. Capt. Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing said, “Both boats are out and the highlights this week are big, big halibut to 30 pounds off Sausalito. On Saturday, both boats were on the North Bar getting big halibut up to 35 pounds. On Friday, Flash I was one short of limits for 6 guys, drifting live anchovies during the ebb tide. The fish were also biting at the first push of the flood tide.”


Capt. Aaron Anfinson on Bass Tub reported on two successive days of fishing, saying that one afternoon half-day charter finished with 24 limits of bass and two halibut. Then the next day’s morning half-day charter had 23 halibut for 15 anglers.


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SIX PACK CATCH — Anglers are cleaning up on the great halibut bite in the Bay, and Nykola Kostyuk of Castro Valley, Dave Erlwein of San Leandro, and Demo Karpenko of Portland, Ore., had a great time in the South Bay fishing with Capt. Bill Clapp aboard the Jilly Sea out of Berkeley when they caught 12 halibut, 2 stripers, and a nice leopard shark.

Salmon trips returned with excellent quality fish all week. Beautiful grade fish in the 8- to 15-pound class with a 20-pound class fish needed to be a jackpot contender. 6 Pack trips scores ran from a fish per rod to limits. On Thursday, Sundance was tied up early with 6 limits of quality fish to 24 pounds. On Sunday, James Salcone caught a 22 pounder on Sundance. Guiliano advised, “Take advantage of the fish cutting services your deckhand offers and have your fish cut and bagged after your trip. You'll appreciate the quality and convenience when you get home.” Interesting to note that starting in September, Fish Emeryville will offer ultra-lite tackle trips, along with Big Hammer and CalStar Rods as sponsors.


Lovely Martha had full limits of salmon on consecutive days early in the week and late in the week had just 4 salmon short of limits for 17 people. Argo also managed limits and Wacky Jacky was out leading the fleet as Capt. Jacky Douglas knows best. On Sunday she said, “I’m so thrilled! The weather is beautiful, fishing is good close by at North Bar and we’re catching big fish into the 20s.”


Jason Vallandingham got a 23 pounder and John Merryfield caught a 22 pounder. From Sausalito, Salty Lady, Hog Heaven, Outer Limits, Blue Runner and New Rayann all scored nicely on salmon and often reaching limits. AboardOuter Limits, Marie Jolly (who has made a number of appearances on WON’s whopper list) caught a 20 pounder.


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