EUREKA — The May 1st salmon opener for Eureka boats was a bust due to gnarly weather, but by the next day boats were able to get out and score good counts. The Reel Steel and Shellback both took advantage of each weather window during the week, and inside Humboldt Bay, California halibut began to show, signaling a potentially early season.
Just a few boats tried to make it out of Humboldt Bay on the blustery salmon opener, only to be driven back inside by heavy seas and high winds. The next day was rough, but just doable for more hardy souls who showed how calculated bravery can be rewarded.
WON Field Reporter, Lonnie Dollarhide said, “Most boats out had at least one fish and a couple guys reported limits for two anglers. Most were in the typical 8- to 12-pound class and were caught from 30 to 40 feet down on the wire, in water depths from 120 to 200 feet. The chatter on the VHF was about lots of doubles and triples. The majority of boats fished from the Whistler Buoy south.”
On Friday, only 3 boats made the trip across the bar out of Humboldt Bay. Ocean conditions were not yet exactly friendly in the morning but did subside later in the day.
Captain Phil Glenn on the Shellback had three clients who were rewarded with 5 salmon out of 8 hookups fishing southwest of the entrance to the Bay in 160 feet of water. Jim Pardise of Arcata had a single 12 pounder. Nick Johnson of Eureka had a nice 17 pounder and an 8 pounder to get his limit. The other fellow on board had his 2 fish limit also, Leonard (no last name) of Eureka had a 2 fish limit of 10 pounders. The Shellback was trolling flashers and anchovies and all the fish came at 50 feet on the wire. One other angler, Steve Haines of Eureka aboard the private boat Red Ryder, had 1 keeper salmon while fishing the same area as the Shellback.
The first few halibut from the Bay create excitement and their early arrival this year hopefully suggests an early season and a productive season. Details were scarce, but halibut were hooked and boated in the upper bay this week.