BY DAVE HURLEY
BERKELEY – The salmon bite remains up and down, with limits one day followed by a much scratchier bite the following day. This past weekend was a perfect example as both Captains Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing and Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters put their clients onto limits of salmon on Saturday despite rough ocean conditions, but on Sunday they were scratching for a fish per rod. The Shipping Channel between Buoy 1 and 2 remains the hot spot, but there have been some salmon found farther north near Rocky Point as well above Muir Beach at Gull Rock. Rockfishing remains excellent whether you head to the Farallon Islands or along the Marin coastline, while halibut remain outside the Gate on the North or South Bay along with the occasional trophy white seabass.
Slate posted limits of salmon on Sunday trolling at the Shipping Lanes, but he said, “The fish were a mixed grade to 12 pounds and the weather made for a rough day. We are trolling, and we still need several days of calm weather before the salmon can be taken in numbers on the mooch.”
Mitchell had a similar experience on Saturday with limits despite of more than a few cases of ‘mal de mar,’ and he said, “It was rough, but we stuck it out for limits to over 20 pounds. Sunday was a struggle to say the least as we ended up with two fish out of three opportunities. The fish are there, and we saw hard marks all throughout the day, but with the big haystacks of bait, I think they are just gorging themselves on the anchovy schools.”
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito returned with an impressive score of 22 salmon to 18 pounds for 20 anglers on Thursday, working between Number 1 and 2 in the Shipping Channel. He said, “It was good for us, but it wasn’t wide open. We started out there all by ourselves, but once the news of the action broke out, we were joined by a bunch of company. A few boats ran back north to Duxbury by the end of the day, and there were some decent fish taken up there.” The first opening on the Salty Lady is August 17.
Fortunately, there is an alternative with the Captain Chris Smith of the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley beginning to run salmon trips as they are opening up for salmon due to the great action and angler demand.
The Pacific Dream out of Berkeley went rockfishing at the Farallon Islands on Sunday, and Smith reported 16 limits of rockfish along with 16 lings to 12 pounds. He said, “After loading up with rockfish, we went to Fanny Shoals to see about the lings, but we had a hard time getting to the bottom as the rockfish were stopping the gear on the way down. They were even hitting the weights as several fish had the weights through their gills. It’s a wide-open rockfish bite out there.”
The annual Optimum/ Phenix Rods swimbait trip was on Tuesday, and the group of quality anglers posted 17 limits of rockfish including 3 cabezon to 11 pounds along with limits of ling cod to 17 pounds. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was on the trip, and he landed the third largest ling as Vince Borges of Phenix Rods once again took the jackpot and turned over the rod to the second-place finisher. Pringle said, “I was given three firetiger swimbaits by Optimum prior to the event, and after I landed several lings, others were desiring my bait. It was a great trip with all of the action in less than 100 feet of water near the Towers off of the Marin coast. We made a few drifts for halibut at the end of the day for a total of three flatfish.”
Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions was out on Wednesday for limits of salmon outside the Gate at the Shipping Channels along with limits of striped bass inside of the bay on the rockpiles. He said, “The bass haven’t been holding on the rocks at all this summer, but they were there on Wednesday. There have been some big white seabass to 55 pounds landed at Seal Rocks, and they are also off of the North Bar. We made a drift inside of Bonita Cove for nothing though.”