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San Francisco Bay halibut bite sizzles

WON Staff Writer
Published: Jun 20, 2017
BERKELEY — Steady action continued in a long-running stellar halibut bite in Central and South Bay, where boats from all major landings and marinas put their anglers on both halibut and striped bass, with some shark fishing done, too.

Spring action is rolling right into summer action without skipping a beat. Andy at Fish Emeryville said, “Bay potluck trips continued to produce 1 to 2 fish per rod of a mix of halibut and striped bass. High score for the week was the New Huck Finn landing 24 halibut and 7 striped bass Thursday. Scores improved late in the week as the premium tides arrived.”


MADDIE’S MONSTER — Maddie Smith used live anchovies in the San Francisco Bay aboard the California Dawn, and ended up catching this 35-pound halibut, hefted by her dad, Capt. James Smith.

At Berkeley Charter Boats, Scott Sutherland talked about limits of small stripers with an average of one halibut per person. Most boats fished nearby Berkeley and Richmond areas. Horace McMichaels managed a 27-pound halibut on New El Dorado III at Berkeley Flats and Freeman Santoro had a 22 pounder on Golden Eye 2000 at South Hampton Shoals.


It was buts and bass galore for Happy Hooker, with good counts throughout the week and weekend. There were bonus fish like leopard sharks and Larry Nelson’s keeper white seabass. Even on a private charter that was half Bay cruise, the count was better than a fish per rod overall. Saturday’s count was best, with 21 halibut and 11 bass. Sunday’s numbers were 26 halibut, a shark and a striper. Nick Svboda pried up a 25-pound halibut, Danny from Modesto brought in a 22 pounder and Rick Davis pulled an 18 pounder. High counts of stripers and good numbers of halibut were posted by California Dawn which also brought some large leopard sharks aboard.


“We’re kicking butts… literally, with a fish a rod or better on all trips for halibut and with a sprinkling of bass thrown in, and we’re getting bigger fish too, with halibut to 30 pounds,” said Capt. Erik Anfinson of Bass Tub out of Fisherman’s Wharf. Bass tub will soon begin venturing outside the Gate for salmon and rockfish, so make reservations. Lovely Martha, also out of Fisherman’s wharf made a week of successful forays to Central and South bays to cover the deck with halibut and bass.


Capt. Steve Gutierrez of Deadliest Cast Sportfishing had a passenger, Kathy Angell fight a big halibut off of AT&T Park. Armed with a Cousins CPX 808 rod and a Penn Fathom25LDN reel she was able to bring the 35 pounder to gaff. The fish bit a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade and a Wiggle Hoochy.


Howling winds outside the Gate limited destinations for boats engaged in bottom fishing but the Marin Coast was productive and produced very gratifying counts of both lingcod and rockfish with limits of both coming on some boats.


SLIPPERY WHEN WET — The California Dawn sent in another photo of their deck covered with halibut and striped bass, a sure sign that the season is in full swing in San Francisco Bay.

ONE OF THREE — Tony Beneveueto of Hayward caught his limit of three halibut, and holds up one that was close to 25 pounds, caught in the South Bay aboard the California Dawn.


A WHITE SEABASS was caught by Larry “The Legend” Nelson aboard the Happy Hooker at the Berkeley Flats. The fish looked to be about 12 pounds, but they can get up to 70 pounds.


ANCHOVY DRIFT FISH — Rick Davis, from Gibsonville, North Carolina, came all the way out to California to fish aboard the Happy Hooker, where he landed a nice 18-pound halibut while drifting live anchovies on the Berkeley Flats.


LIVE BAIT ’BUT — Fred Smith of Sacramento joined the parade of anglers heading the SF Bay and the improving halibut action, and he caught this 12-pound ’but while drifting live anchovies in the South Bay aboard the Happy Hooker.


LEGENDARY DUDE — Larry “The Legend” Nelson of Oakland did it again by catching this 28-pound halibut while using a live anchovy on the Happy Hooker in the SF Bay.


LEOPARD SHARKS ARE a switch from halibut when fishing in San Francisco Bay, and both can be caught on the same trip. Cassinna Chambers of Galt caught her 52-inch leopard shark that ate a midshipmen in 45 feet of water off AT&T Park while fishing with Flash Fishing.

EASY LIMITS — WON reader Moe Adams scored on this nice halibut while using live bait in shallow water, on a slow drift, in San Francisco Bay. They caught easy limits but had to run through lots of shakers to get there.

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