Golden Gate fleet finding massive salmon, others opt for rockfish

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SPOON-FED SALMON - Justin Anderson poses with his son Cole along with a 25-pound salmon caught on a jig with Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters.
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BY DAVE HURLEY

BERKELEY – It’s all about quality right now on the Golden Gate salmon front with massive fish up to 45 pounds weighed in this week. As the bite varies from day-to-day, other party and private boats are starting to opt for rockfishing, either at the Farallon Islands or up the Marin coastline. The salmon have moved in towards the coast, and the next several weeks will continue to produce some of the largest fish of the year, if not in recent memory.

Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond is a specialist on mooching for salmon, and he said, “We returned with 5 salmon between 20 and 30 pounds on Sunday, and we hit four of the big fish right off of the bat first thing in the morning. We dropped in on them with two 25-pound salmon on the first drift before picking up another fish per drift on the next two. It was a long day for the final fish of the day although the conditions look fantastic and we are marking salmon throughout. I think the boat pressure puts them down as we are picking them up at 20 to 30 feet on the mooched anchovies. Once the boat traffic stops in the late afternoon, the bite rebounds. One commercial fisherman out of Bolinas hadn’t had a salmon all day long until after 4:00 p.m. when he boxed 7. Our previous trip produced a salmon at 38 pounds, gilled and gutted so it was over 40 pounds whole. This fish was 40 inches long and so thick throughout. My rod when off, and I handed it to a good customer who got his money’s worth with a great fight before the salmon finally came to the net.”

Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady came in with a solid fish per rod for 20 anglers on Friday, and he said, “The big slugs are found at Duxbury, and we started off picking up some slugs trolling there before the numbers weren’t what I would have liked for the big boat. After moving over to the Channel Buoys, we also found some big slugs there along with some smaller 2-year old salmon. With the big fish, we are lucky to bring 50 percent of the hook ups to the net.”

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Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions took out a bachelor party of graduates from Stanford University on Sunday, and he said, “We started off rockfishing up the coast for limits and 4 lingcod before heading to the Channel Buoys for 11 salmon for the 7 anglers. The majority of salmon were commercial-grade, and we had a quad on at one time.”

Rockfishing is solid at both the islands and up the coast, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing loaded up with limits of rockfish and 3 ling cod to 15 pounds on Saturday. Earlier in the week, the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley took out another Phenix Rods charter for limits of rockfish and plenty of lingcod at the Farallon Islands and north to Fanny Shoals.

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