Halibut fever in SF Bay

    THE LEGEND STILL HAS IT – Larry ‘The Legend,’ Nelson of Oakland contributed to boat limits on the Happy Hooker including this 13- pound jackpot halibut.


    BERKELEY – Halibut fever remains solidly entrenched in San Francisco Bay despite high winds most of the week. Private boats, six-packs, and party boats are returning to the docks with scores ranging from one to three-flatfish limits and the majority of the action has migrated into the central bay. The party and private boats that normally would be targeting salmon or rockfish have been staying in the bay with the local salmon season closed until June 26th along with the winds making the run to the Farallons chancy.

    Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing found a spot of halibut in the Red Rock area on Sunday, and he put in 10 halibut and 2 striped bass for 5 anglers. He said, “I started in the south bay below the Bay Bridge before moving over to the barges by Treasure Island for a couple of halibut. My last move was the most productive as we went into the north bay for the remainder of the fish. I found a spot and worked it over and over, returning with over 2 fish per rod. We put 15 halibut and a striped bass for 6 anglers this week with Kenny Jones of Yuba City picking up a limit of halibut.”

    Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco had two half-day trips on Sunday, and he said, “We put in 5 limits of halibut with a number of quality fish to 13 pounds on Saturday, but the wind kept us hiding behind Treasure Island


    in the afternoon on Sunday. We had three fish with five minutes to go on the morning trip on Sunday, but we through in a quad with four halibut on the hook at trip’s end, resulting in a total of 7 halibut. We also had a 20-pound halibut free-swimming on the surface chasing up an 8-pound halibut that was on the hook. We see this quite often in the Berkeley Flats and also outside the Gate.”

    Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond also found his own water in San Pablo Bay earlier in the week for 9 quality halibut for his crew. He said, “We just worked one spot over and over as it was important to get away from the heavy boat traffic that swarmed Red Rock, and Bud Chaddock of SquidMe Baits ended up with a limit of quality halibut.”

    Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady has been taking intermittent live bait trips inside the bay until the salmon season opens, and he took out 6 anglers for 12 halibut and 5 striped bass working the central bay near Treasure Island. He said, “We also hit the Berkeley Pier and Southhampton Shoals before finishing off hiding from the wind at Paradise at the end of the day. We have already received a number of reservations for the season starting on June 26.”

    The father/son team of Chris and Jonathon Smith on the Pacific Dream and the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley found solid halibut and bass action on Sunday, throwing in a combined 44 halibut to 14 pounds and 7 striped bass to 8 pounds. Earlier in the weekend, Larry ‘The Legend,’ Nelson of Oakland contributed to boat limits with four halibut on the Happy Hooker, also taking the jackpot with a 13-pound flattie.

    One of the boats regularly targeting rockfish is the Sea Wolf out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, and they were able to make it to the Farallons on Saturday and Sunday for a combined 42 limits of rockfish and 5 lingcod to 14 pounds.