By DAVE HURLEY
SAN FRANCISCO – Even in a good year, a fish per rod would be an excellent salmon score, and during the epic Bay Area ocean salmon season of 2022, most boats exceeded this standard for most of the season. The south wind has been blowing on a relatively consistent basis over the past few weeks, and the scores are indicative of what is to be expected in late August.
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady – captor of the huge 41-pound salmon pictured above – said, “This time of year the salmon bite starts to slow down, and September is a cross-over month between salmon and rockfish with October left for a handful of big fish. We were out near Mussel Rock on Friday, and although we came in with 10 fish for 20 passengers, there wasn’t a single fish less than 15 pounds. I have a feeling that another push of salmon is coming down the coast, and some of the boats out of the bay have been running above Point Reyes for salmon during the past week.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters found great action on Friday with 10 big salmon for five anglers, but Saturday was a different story with the south wind blowing from 12 to 18 knots. He said, “We started out with four in the box right away, and I said, ‘Here we go!’ but we struggled for a single remaining fish. With the rough weather, the salmon were hard to hold onto, and we went five for ten on solid hookups.”
Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions in San Francisco also found quality salmon south near Mussel Rock on Friday with six big salmon on Friday before heading back inside the bay with four salmon on Saturday. It’s that time of year where the clock is ticking quickly on the salmon season, but when you do hook a fish, it is huge.
Rockfishing is getting more steam as Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing took a charter from Snag ‘Em, Bag ‘Em leaders on Wednesday for limits of quality bottomfish along with a healthy ling cod count. The rockfish were biting everything – shrimp flies, bars, and swimbaits while the lings were chomping on live sand dab. As we move towards the fall, rockfishing will take over as the primary species.