Salmon outside the Gate and halibut inside

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BY CAPT. DAVID BACON

SAN FRANCISCO BAY and SAN PABLO BAY – Early limits on salmon were common for skilled crews and passengers. Capt. Jared Davis on Salty Lady out of Sausalito called it another phenomenal week of king salmon fishing with limits every day. Over the weekend limits were achieved before 11:00 a.m. The skipper reported fishing close to home, in 60 top 80 feet of water either north or south of the Gate. The fish were an honest average of 10 to 15 pounds, lots of fish over 20 pounds and a very real potential for fish in the 30-pound class. Mark Ortega from Daly City got a 27 and a 29-pound salmon. Kyle Blount took 24 and 26-pound fish.

Sausalito boats Outer Limits, New Rayann, Blue Runner and Hog Heaven enjoyed the same quality fishing. From Fisherman’s Wharf, high counts of salmon came aboard Bass Tub, Lovely Martha and Argo. Bass Tub skipper Capt. Aaron Anfinson noted that people were more interested in salmon than almost sure limits of halibut. Greg Epremion caught the big salmon of the season, weighing 33 pounds, aboard Lovely Martha off Stinson Beach.

GETTING BIGGER — Greg Epremion of San Jose caught a 33-pound king salmon fishing Stinson beach on the Lovely Martha, and the healthy fish just could be the biggest of the season so far. Fish of this caliber suggest the upcoming river salmon season will be a good one.

Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Charter Boats called this week the best salmon bite of the season for his boats including El Dorado, New El Dorado III and New Easy Rider. Some of the better fish were Arturo Castillo with a 25 pounder on El Dorado off Muir Beach, Peter Martin with a 24 pounder on New El Dorado III at the North Bar, and Brenda Swanson took a 24 pounder on New Easy Rider off Rocky Point. Over the weekend, Roland Muratas from Albany caught a 24 pounder and also, an elusive 30 pounder aboard New El Dorado III trolling an anchovy off Pacifica. Top Gun from Berkeley pulled limits of salmon within the first hour of fishing.

Andy Guiliano at Fish Emeryville said, “If you were waiting for fishing to get good, now is the time to get on a boat and go. Anglers returned all week with great catches of salmon, halibut, stripers and bottomfish.”

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Salmon boats found phenomenal fishing close to home all week, scoring limits and early limits of superb quality salmon. Hot set up was a properly rigged anchovy behind a 4-inch Big Al’s flasher. Captain Jim Holloway on Pacific Pearl put it this way, “might be the best king salmon fishing in North America right now.”

OUTSTANDING QUALITY — The halibut fishing in San Francisco bay has been hot for numbers, but also size, like this 30 pounder caught by Emily Cornell of Goldriver while fishing Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina.

On California Dawn, Capt. James Smith reported 21 limits of halibut by 10:30 a.m., drifting live anchovies off Alcatraz. Matt Hughes brought in a beautiful 25 pounder. New Huck Finn and Kingfish turned in great scores of halibut and stripers much of the week. Striped bass limits came up most days, along with 1 to 2 halibut per rod. Happy Hooker tallied 77 halibut kept, 200 released and 36 striped bass between two great trips and then over the weekend, Ryan Acosta caught a 65-pound white seabass while drifting for his limit of halibut. That fish is the catch of the week. Emily Cornell caught a 30-pound halibut and Yolanda Veirs took a 25-pound halibut. Flash I and Flash II from Fisherman’s Wharf fished halibut and Capt. Steve Talmadge said the tides were great. The boat also targeted sharks in South Bay with success.

MORE SIZE — While fishing on the Queen of Hearts outside Pacifica Pier, Richard Alwine from Sebastopol caught a 28-pound king salmon while trolling using an anchovy.

Bottom fishing remains outstanding with limit-style fishing found along the Marin Coast and out at Farallon Islands. On Friday Sea Wolf fished the Coast scoring 18 limits of browns, blues and canaries, along with 35 lingcod to 18 pounds. Red and yellow Pacific Catch shrimp fly rigs are a local favorite for the rockfish. Argo out of Fisherman’s Landing ran a trip for limits of rockfish and also caught limits of salmon.

MONSTER BAY AREA SEABASS — A 65 pounder for Ryan Acosta of Woodland while drifting anchovies in Central Bay for halibut while fishing aboard Happy Hooker.
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