WON Big Fish Challenge


Northern CA Saltwater

Good tides and dirty water meant great results for San Pablo bay anglers

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Apr 17, 2019

SAN PABLO BAY — A combination of favorable tides and runoff water from the rainy season turned on the fish in San Pablo Bay and tributaries. High counts of stripers and sturgeon were reported while counts of halibut and flounder were on the rise.

shrimpeatersSHRIMP EATERS — Mike Allen and his buddy Jake from Benicia used ghost shrimp to catch these 46- and 42-inch sturgeon, caught in San Pablo Bay. Mie Kaul of Norm’s Bait & Tackle in Vallejo sent in the photo.

The weather was erratic, but the tides were good. Fishing was good throughout the week, but the warm and sunny days saw most of the action. For example, the Vallejo Waterfront was packed on the good weather days and people were enjoying steady action on good fish.

Flash II fished San Pablo Bay Friday for 5 leopard sharks, one flounder and one shaker sturgeon fishing in 8 feet of water. Then over the weekend the boat got 3 sturgeon. Two were shakers and one was a beautiful 55 incher. While at it, the anglers caught a few sharks and smallish bass. The top baits were ghost shrimp, eel and pile worm combos, according to Capt. Steve Talmadge.

Fishing the anchor in the Sturgeon Triangle (China Camp to Pumphouse to Buoy 5) was a sure bet for both sturgeon and stripers. The most productive depth range was 8 to 15 feet. Striped bass were bait-stealers, but patient re-baiters got their share of nice sturgeon. Keith Frasier at Loch Lomond Bait Shop reported that most bass were on the smaller side. Many were keepers but any bass over 7 pounds was a big one. Ghost shrimp and mud shrimp were the top baits.

Sonoma Creek and Napa River were two good bodies of water that hosted some great catches, according to both Ed Lu at Bay Tackle and Mie Kaul of Norm’s Bait & Tackle. Kaul said, “Napa anglers reported big sturgeon on eel and ghost shrimp. Out in San Pablo Bay, boaters limited on both stripers and sturgeon. There are a lot of flounder coming in and some halibut. The halibut are mostly small but with a keeper here and there.” Lu also reported that shore fishing was good for bass from Emeryville all the way to Carquinez Bridge.

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