Pacific Ocean Golden Gate

Pacific Ocean Golden Gate : Friday was the last of the very best, when the salmon boats ran out, caught fish as fast as they can be caught within the parameters of the relevant laws, and went motoring on home before 10 a.m., mightily pleased with another day of limits. Since then, the season has run either forward or in reverse, depending on your perspective, but best understood by example, either way. The salmon skippers out of Pillar Point were talking about crab pots Wednesday, in the middle of a miserable day of fishing. It wasn’t the crab pots, or their attendant buoys, that were of major importance, per se. It was the direction in which the buoys have been moving. Even with a persistent northwest wind, which should have the buoys flapping south and east against their ropes, the markers are standing up, caught between the mighty wind and an even mightier current flowing from the south. What does it all mean? Warm water, despite the expected cooling of the northwest wind. With warm water streaming north, the ocean again has been holding at a relatively tepid 57-58 degrees. When the salmon fishing turned for the best a few weeks back, the ocean had cooled to 53 degrees. Since then, the temp has been on a slow rise, and the salmon have tailed for cooler, deeper water. Hence, our current problems.

But it’s a business, and the big boats are committed to the chase, and four actually shoved out of the Golden Gate on Wednesday. Two wandered out and about, while two held hands with the coast, up the line to Rocky Point. The way it shows on the great board in the anchovy-colored sky, the Outer Limits and Wacky Jacky, both fishing along the Marin coast, had 13 salmon to 16 pounds for 14 passengers and six to 18 for nine, respectively. Trolling just below the Farallon Islands, the El Dorado III managed two salmon to 10 pounds for 11, while the New Easy Rider, near N Buoy, had eight to 15 for seven.

Now Half Moon Bay … Six party boats left Pillar Point Harbor on Wednesday, and six returned. That’s the good news. Bad news is they returned with a single salmon among them. The fleet had a clean blank going until 1:15 p.m., when Bob Ingles’ Queen of Hearts shocked the day and probably some customers when a salmon actually bit and was landed. Farther down, off Pigeon Point, even the commercial fleet mostly has given up. The boats had been working right off the point, pulling their gear and harvesting the odd salmon, and those salmon are coming from the deep, like 500 feet down. But commercial or sport, the feeling seems the same: Soon as the southerly current slows and our local piece of ocean cools, the salmon fishing will click on again.

Others: Skiffs out of Bodega Bay had some action straight off the Whistle Buoy on Monday, but little of anything reported since … No big boats out of Santa Cruz on Wednesday, but some determined private boaters are taking fish while trolling off Three Trees. Again, you need to get the gear deep. No boats out of Chris’ in Monterey, as well.

The bays

San Francisco: The potluck season started with a quiet fit, a limit of bass here and a halibut there, and wouldn’t you know it, the Fishing Smiths are back in town. Only there are less of them this year, just James’ California Dawn and his dad’s venerable Happy Hooker. But certain things are the same, too, like Papa Smith not telling son where he catches his fish, and son not saying much either. Great stuff. Anyway, to one of those ends, the Hooker was out Saturday and had 12 limits of bass and three halibut, and only skipper and passengers know for sure where the catch was caught. James Smith went Sunday, his last trip before boat repairs this week, and his dozen customers all had limits of bass, but no halibut. According to James, who’s more inclined to speak of such taboo matters as time and place, the bass were most everywhere he set up for a drift — S Buoy, Southampton Shoal and E Buoy, with the fish biting best at the bottom of the outgoing tide and again near top of the tide … A more timely report comes from Wednesday, aboard the Berkeley-based party boat Capt. Hook (formerly owned by Chris Smith, who packed it up and in to Alaska, story goes), which had 17 limits of bass, some caught at Paradise and the rest from “the South Bay.” Barry Canevaro’s Fishing Fool IV also made the day, and his group of four landed seven bass to 10 pounds, plus released a keeper-size leopard shark … Notable: Gilbert Hug of Alameda was at his local rockwall last Wednesday, fishing in the rain. There were birds working over schools of anchovy and smelt, right up against the shore, and he and a friend made bait and cast out. Hug was baited up with a small jacksmelt, which eventually was hit by something large. Very large. He fought the fish until it jumped, twice. And then he fought it the rest of the way to shore. Measured and weighed, Hug had landed a soupfin shark of 79 inches, 103 pounds …Two of the most consistent halibut spots this week, and in many weeks in many years before, have been Berkeley Flats and the water just off Oyster Point. Two ways to go: drifting live or dead bait (shiners and anchovy), or trolling (a harnessed bait or plastic squid skirt behind flashers and dodgers).

Suisun-Delta: Just when the wind is down, just when the flows are right, just when the water warms and the fish are hungry and/or willing to bite — just when everything lines up, two of the best bug out. Canevaro has moved on to his summer/early-fall berth in Richmond. Capt. Steve Talmadge put in a trip Saturday, parking and marking fish all around the first row of ships, and his group landed two sturgeon, an oversize and a 64-inch, 66-pound keeper, and lost another oversize. And that was that. Talmadge is working on his boat for the next 3-4 weeks. When he’s done, he’ll be moving to Fisherman’s Wharf, where he’ll guide for salmon, potluck and tuna. Those that aren’t moving on are enjoying the fishing. The sturgeon are stacking up at the aforementioned Mothball Fleet, and at the Glomar. In the Delta, just above and below the Rio Vista, the trollers are into the striped bass fairly heavy. They’re pulling Rebels and Bombers and P-Line Predators, and 15 fish in a day is not at all uncommon. If you’re interested, Diana Canevaro is guiding these waters: (916) 777-6498.


Trout plantings: Bay Area, this week … Contra Loma Reservoir (Antioch), 500 pounds. Lake Temescal (Oakland), 250 pounds. Lake Chabot (Castro Valley), 2,300 pounds. Horseshoe Lake at Quarry Lakes Regional Park (Union City- Fremont), 750 pounds. Shadow Cliffs Reservoir (Pleasanton), 1,000 pounds, some or all of which are so-called thunder trout, a hatchery-hatched hybrid touted as faster, meaner, far more aggressive than your average generic rainbow. Lake Del Valle (Livermore), 1,900 pounds. Contra Costa’s Los Vaqueros and San Pablo reservoirs also will be planted. “The Fishing Report” can be heard Sundays at 6 a.m. on KNBR (680 AM).

San Francisco Chronicle – San Francisco,CA,USA

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