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San Francisco Bay halibut bite hasn’t even begun to quit

WON Staff Writer
Published: Jun 28, 2017
BERKELEY — The phenomenal halibut bite in San Francisco bay continued unabated with scores as high as 2 fish per rod. Striped bass fishing was good and expectations are for post-spawn bass fishing to get even better. Better weather allowed boats to make runs to prime waters for rockfish and lingcod.

INCIDENTAL CATCH — Leopard sharks are general are an incidental catch while fishing for halibut this time of year, and Capt. James on the California Dawn sent in this photo of 10-year-old Chase Duffy from Loma Rica with his catch.


Bay fishing sizzled for the umpteenth consecutive week of high halibut counts and good striped bass fishing. At Fish Emeryville, Andy said, “Live bait boats kept up the winning streak with halibut and striped bass scores running 1 to 2 fish per rod. With the main body of bass returning to the Bay from their spring spawning ritual, striped bass counts should continue to improve.” The high Emeryville boat for the week was New Huck Finn with 23 halibut to 19 pounds plus 6 striped bass.

California Dawn from Berkeley had consistently good scores of halibut and bass, varying between a fish per rod and two fish per rod. Live bait drifting was the hot ticket and Capt. James Smith said, “We’re killing it! Halibut has been solid and we have been averaging a fish to a fish and a half per rod on a mix of bass and halibut. Lots and lots of short halibut… maybe a hundred or so a day, so action has been really good.” A weekend score for the boat was 17 halibut and 6 bass for 6 guys.

Bass Tub came from Fisherman’s Wharf to join the fray and halibut counts of nearly a fish per rod including a big 30 pounder, plus bass and leopard sharks gave the boat some deserved notoriety. That 30 pounder was caught by Joseph Hernandez. Lovely Martha had a fabulous day wrangling 2 halibut per angler. Capt. Steve Talmadge on Flash I reported that he fished halibut and bass in Central Bay while Capt. Joe Schiavoni on Flash II concentrated on big sharks in South bay on Sunday.

Rockfish was another good option through the week, thanks to calmer weather offshore. Boats racked up limits or near limits of both rockfish and lingcod. Salty Lady from Sausalito went after the bottomfish and her passengers hauled in full limits of both lingcod and rockfish. Sea Wolf from Fish Emeryville came in with full limits of both lings and rockies.

Capt. Jonathan Smith on Happy Hooker, working with Capt. Chris Smith, reported solid action all week on the halibut and a bass bite that had ups and downs but mostly good counts. Monday’s count was 15 halibut and 9 bass, Wednesday’s numbers were 11 halibut and 15 bass. On Friday it was 9 halibut, 27 bass and 2 leopard sharks and Saturday’s count was a halibut per rod and nearly a bass per rod. Sunday’s fish count was 10 halibut and 15 bass for 10 people.

The Berkeley Charter Boat fleet did well in Central Bay. New El Dorado III had over 50 fish inside the Bay for 30 people, with a 60/40 ratio of halibut to stripers. Kent Harrison caught a 25 pounder on El Dorado at Angel Island.


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