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June 12, 2019    Headlines

Red Hot Halibut

The Bays:

By Dave Hurley
The halibut madness continues, and despite high winds over the weekend. Don Franklin on the Soleman continues to report great fishing on all his trips. The halibut bite is outstanding and with striper moving down the bay its going to be a potluck fest very soon.
 Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina posted 6 limits of halibut working the central bay on Saturday 6-10. He said, “We had 7 hookups on our first drift, but the wind came up and we had to hide over at Paradise to fill out our limits.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing found the winds and sick passengers on Saturday for near limits of halibut. The winds were so bad that passengers even got sick inside of the bay. Both Slate and Mitchell have plenty of room for bay potluck trips throughout the week into the weekend.
The larger party boats continue to score around 2 halibut per angler for a very respectable score for the continuation of the “Year of the Halibut.”

The halibut bite remains outstanding despite the series of big tides this past week. I went out with Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing this past Tuesday, and he worked hard to put us onto fish. Joining us were a group of four gentlemen who grew up together in Milpitas and were celebrating their friend Bart Roby’s 58th birthday. We started off running over to the City for ice and live bait, and I have never been on a six-pack where we iced down the fish – this was a good touch in taking care of the halibut and bass after bleeding them out. We started in the Berkeley Flats for a few small legal halibut, and after finding slower than normal action on the big tide, Captain Steve attempted to sneak out to head towards the south bay. I then saw something that I had never seen before – once Mitchell started making a stealthy move, Captain James Smith on the California Dawn also made his move south. We had been communicating with one another, and both decided to move out. However, as soon as the Cal Dawn made the run, at least 10 private boats went into a full run similar to what you might experience at a bass tournament. As we were heading south, all you could see from the stern of the boat was wakes and bows of private boats running full out in formation to follow the California Dawn – and this was on a Tuesday – I can’t imagine what it is like on a weekend. After moving south, we worked a few areas before finding a party boat that likes to hide and work by himself off of Candlestick Point. With this boat along with several commercial halibut fishermen in the area, we set up for a long drift, and this was where we found non-stop action for the next hour with Roby landed the largest bass of the day at 12 pounds and their other buddy, Ike, picking up a halibut in the 10-pound range. Despite fishing very infrequently, I only farmed a couple of opportunities and ended up with a limit of striped bass and two halibut. Mitchell wanted to make another long drift to attempt to pick up limits in spite of the fact that it was 4:30 p.m. and it would take another 40 minutes to get back to the dock, but the boys wanted to get home. It was so much fun to be back out there and hooking some fish. We released a gang of just-undersized halibut, and I can see why fishing with Captain Steve is so much fun. I can’t wait until the Angler West TV show comes out within the next few weeks. Mitchell followed this up with quick limits of halibut on Thursday as the fish were willing to bite more aggressively with the backing off of the tides.

There may be a new Legend in the making, and I know that Dan, ‘The Barnacle’ Wulff of Manteca has been trying to worm his way into the title for the past few years, he may have made a breakthrough this week. He was on the boat with Larry, “The Legend,” Nelson on Tuesday, and in spite of overall slow fishing with less than limits all around, Wulff posted a limit of halibut and a limit of bass. Wulff was crowing at the docks in the afternoon and let me know that Nelson had vacated the premises after a less-than-stellar day. Wulff followed this up with two limits of both halibut and bass again on Thursday.

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