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On-the-Spot: GGSA Ladies Salmon Trip

WON On-the-Spot: Ladies-only salmon trip a big success for GGSA

BY PAT YOUNG/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 18, 2019

SAUSALITO — A July 5th Ladies-Only salmon charter on the Salty Lady sponsored by the Golden Gate Salmon Asso­ciation (GGSA) was a smashing success with limits of beautiful chinooks for all. I was blessed by being invited to tag along to report on this sold out event. The Golden Gate Salmon Association has a simple mission statement — “Our mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.” They did that — and more — with this trip.

IT ONLY TOOK 5 minutes of fishing at W Buoy aboard the Salty Lady Golden Gate Salmon Association ladies-only trip for Marisa Escareno to land her limit of kings!

Cat Kaiser, events coordinator for GGSA, reported that this Ladies-Only Salmon Day was sold out in two hours after she posted it on the website. The charter on the Salty Lady was all-inclusive with all tackle, food, and beverages provided — a fantastic deal by any measure!

The group from all over northern California met at the docks in Sausalito for a 5:30 a.m. departure, signed in and grabbed a spot on the rail. As the boat headed out of Richardson Bay, the head deckhand gave a short presentation on the safety features of the boat, and a quick lesson on the technique being used for the day’s fishing. We were all using a sinker release rig and straight baits at 25 to 35 pulls out at W Buoy along the San Francisco channel about 15 miles from the Golden Gate.

The trip out was a bit dreary, as the weather report was for a heavy marine layer with winds at 15 knots — a rough and bumpy ride guaranteed. Once we reached the fishing grounds at 8:15, the deckhands Tommy Watson and Jimmy McNair had already rigged everyone’s rods and we were ready for action.

Marisa Escareno, who had a prime spot on the starboard corner, hooked up within minutes of dropping her gear in the water and landed a beauty. The whole boat erupted in cheers and screams as this boded well for the rest of the day — despite the rough conditions. Only 2 or 3 minutes later, Marisa boated a 15 to 16 pounder and was done — what a start!

ggsa_huntressHUNTRESS AND FISHERWOMAN Melynda Dodds caught the best of several fish landed aboard the Salty Lady during the GGSA ladies-only fishing trip out of Sausalito last week.

By 8:30 another fish hit off the starboard bow, my rod, but I was back on the stern taking pictures. Melynda Dodds, super huntress/fisherwoman, grabbed the rod and fought the fish to the net, but it was one of many coho salmon that were released that day. Over the next 15 minutes, there was a flurry of action from bow to stern and several more fish were tagged and dropped in the box. By 8:56, Lynn Hoyer had caught her limit and Angela Faustino, one of the bow ladies, was on her way to a limit.

At 9:15, Captain Jared Davis made a move to an area where another party boat had landed 20 fish. From 9:45 to 10:05, several more fish were boxed and we lost a few more, so the bite was steady. Melynda Dodds boated a beautiful smoker that wound up in the Top 3 biggest fish of the day. At 10:10 my rod loaded up again while I was taking pictures and one of the ladies graciously landed the fish for me and now, I had one for the freezer. The wind was un­relenting and the seas seemed to get rougher as the boat was knocked around, but the great fishing kept everyone too pre­occupied to notice — you just held on and got out of the way as the anglers worked their way to the stern toward the net.

At 11:00 we moved again and by 11:15 the bite was back on! The seas had laid down quite a bit and the marine layer thinned out enough for the sun to peek through and I finally pulled my sunglasses out from under my coat. Over the next hour or so, there was a fish being fought every few minutes with many being landed and several being lost at the net including some really nice fish that made that last strong surge for freedom as the net was being extended — ouch!

CAT KAISER, Golden Gate Salmon Association event coordinator, put together a great trip and won the jackpot with this beautiful fish that weighed 21 pounds gutted and gilled.

At 12:17, our hostess, Cat Kaiser, landed a nice fish over 15 pounds. At 12:30, Cat and Amber Hayward doubled up on big fish. The deckhand said that Cat’s fish was the biggest landed on the boat so far that season and wound up being the jackpot fish that weighed almost 21 pounds gutted and gilled. Over the next hour there was a steady pick of fish that included a 15 pounder caught by Kim Dunham.

The skipper announced that we would be calling it a day at 2:00, when Cat Kaiser’s assistant, Jessy Ryan, landed a nice smoker out of a double gear tangle. With the last-minute flurry, the skipper gave us 5 more minutes and 3 more good fish hit the net, including 2 more big smokers. With limits for the whole boat in the box, we headed back to the dock at 2:10. The weather had settled down nicely and the ride back to Sausalito was beautiful. The crew cleaned all the fish on the return trip and after securing at the dock, everyone grabbed a plastic bag and the crew sorted through all the fish.

As predicted, Cat Kaiser won the jackpot with her 20-plus pounder and the next two big fish weighed in at 17½ and 16½ pounds. What a fantastic day! I met ladies from all walks of life that love to fish and support GGSA. The fishing regulars were good anglers and flat put it on the fish — their enthusiasm was contagious and the bond between all the ladies of GGSA was evident.

Cat Kaiser is planning another GGSA fishing event on Aug. 16, so check out the GGSA website at or e-mail her at for more information, as this will sell out quickly. If you are a regular San Francisco Bay angler, consider joining GGSA to support their mission — MORE SALMON.

By all reports, this season is going to be one for the record books, so if you get a chance, jump on a boat and go catch one of the finest eating fish on the planet. Fishing inside the Bay has been phenomenal this season too, with amazing halibut and striper action on tap. Some boats that limited on salmon early have made stops for rockcod and halibut on the way back to the dock and sent their customers home with a BIG SACK of fish! If you’re thinking of going out on the salt, now is the time to get it done.

gssa_gatesalmonGOLDEN GATE SALMON ASSOCIATON Ladies-only trip aboard the Salty Lady out of Sausalito loaded the decks with salmon when the 25 anglers supervised by Melynda Dodds all caught their limits.

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