Salmon move in and halibut stay put for San Francisco Bay boats

DECKHAND THOMAS WATSON of Novato helps 6-year-old Valentino of Mill Valley hold up the kid's 23-pound king salmon caught on the Salty Lady out of Sausalito.


SAN FRANCISCO BAY and SAN PABLO BAY – Good quality salmon were there for the taking all week long, thanks to beautiful weather, fair seas and huge concentrations of bait and all manner of marine life. As the season wears on, bigger fish have been moving in. “The hookups are there, but the big fish can be difficult to coax into the landing net,” said Capt. JJ Holloway on Pacific Pearl out of Fish Emeryville. With numerous bigger fish busting off, counts hovered near a fish per rod.

Camilla Papale from Mill Valley was walking on the Sausalito waterfront and her 6-year-old son Valentino was amazed by all the fishing boats. Mom took him fishing on Salty Lady and young Valentino caught 12 and 23 pounders, enough to keep them in salmon dinners for a while. Other Sausalito boats hauling in the fish were Hog Heaven, Outer Limits and New Rayann. The kid will no doubt be a fisherman for life now. Way to go, Mom! From Berkeley Charter Boats it was New El Dorado III, El Dorado and New Easy Rider. Lovely Martha from Fisherman’s Wharf had some very good counts and big fish up to 33 pounds, from Duxbury.

Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Charter boats reported quality over quantity on the salmon. New El Dorado III, El Dorado and New Easy Rider trolled from North Bar to Duxbury. Damian Wells caught a 28 pounder on El Dorado, Mike Corrine had a 24 pounder on New El Dorado III, and Ryan McGee got a big 32 pounder on New Easy Rider. Top Gun skipper Capt. Steve Mitchell reported that salmon fishing has been of the chain with limits or near limits.


Halibut fishing stayed on the bubble, with variations only for moon phases and tides. Happy Hooker had a score of 35 halibut to 20 pounds fishing the North Bar and finding the halibut outside on the bars to be bigger than the ones caught inside the Bay. California Dawn had her wonderful halibut days but also ran combo trips to target the lingcod and rockfish, filling sacks to the brim. New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf from Fish Emeryville worked the islands to score limits of both rockfish and lingcod.

Bass Tub out of Fisherman’s Wharf showed the variety possible with two consecutive trips. The first trip was to the Farallon Islands where 10 anglers had limits of rockfish and 3 lingcod. Then on the way back in Capt. Aaron Anfinson stopped on the Bar and added a quick 10 halibut. Over the weekend the boat ran a very successful salmon trip along the Marin Coast.

San Pablo Bay fishers had a great time with striped bass according to Francisca at Norm’s Bait & Tackle in Vallejo. She said a lot were caught behind the shop and all along the Vallejo waterfront. Favored baits from the shop have been anchovies, grass shrimp and bullheads.