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April 21, 2018    Headlines

Bay Butts and Basses

The Bays:

By Dave Hurley
Captain Don on the Soleman checked in with solid action on Saturday 4-21. Don has been working the Berkeley Flats and paradise and seeing an average of a halibut per rod with LOTS of shakers being released. There are still good numbers of bass around and he managed to add limits of bass on Thursday.
Out of Emeryville the Huck Finn reported 17 halibut and 4 bass while the Sea Wolf and Tigerfish caught limits of rockfish and up to 27 lings fishing outside the Gate.
Most of the halibut are running from 5 to 10 pounds but there are some bigger fish in the mix. The bulk of the stripers are currently spawning up in the rivers but that looks to end quickly and we should see a huge influx of hungry bass hitting the bays by mid May or sooner.

The tides are big in the morning before leveling out in the afternoon, and Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “If I were fishing this weekend, I would anchor on the outgoing tide near the Pumphouse with live ghost shrimp or frozen mud shrimp on the morning minus tide before drifting at all of the normal hot spots in the afternoon with Loch Lomond anchovies or shiners. The shiners have been scarce so far this season, but we have a few for the weekend. The moving tide in the morning is not the time to be targeting halibut, but I have straightened out the weather for the weekend, and it is going to be spectacular. Shore fishing along China Camp has been solid all week long for both sturgeon and bass despite the winds.

The California Dawn continues to score heavily on the halibut front, and Captain James found a hot bite in the afternoon on Wednesday for 28 halibut and 5 striped bass for 22 anglers. The fish count was bolstered by the presences of Captain Jim Smith and Larry ‘The Legend’ Nelson. Captain Jim is enjoying getting to fish now that he is retired and not have to worry about putting people onto fish.

The Sea Wolf and New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing stayed in the bay on Thursday 4-19 for a combined 13 striped bass and 15 halibut to 16 pounds for 31 anglers.

Ed Liu of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito continues to pound the shorelines for striped bass and halibut, and he said, “Everything is picking up around here with the halibut count improving. We have been scoring with the Yum! Mud Minnow or the Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dipper but the Zoom Super Fluke or Storm swimbaits with the weight and hook inside are also getting lots of play.”

In the Napa River, Sweeney’s Sports reported a slowdown on the sturgeon bite, but the striped bass bite is picking up with the water warming up. The section of the river above the Trancas Bridge remains clear, but it is muddier the further south you go towards the Highway 37 Bridge.


The halibut bite has been on fire and looks to continue to be all summer. Party boat and six packs are seeing a solid fish to two per rod on halibut. Striper scores have dropped off a tad as most are spawning in the Central Valley rivers but there are still decent numbers in the bays.

Captain Don on the sixpack Soleman out of the wharf reported Monday 4-15 " we are seeing great action in the deep water channels of the South Bay and around Treasure Island. We are releasing lots of short halibut at a 5 to 1 ratio and sending our customers home with 1 to two legal halibut and a few stripers".
Other boats are reporting good action on the Berkeley flats. Paradise and South Hampton. Overall out of Emeryville most boats are seeing 1 to 2 legal halibut per stick and LOTS of shaker action. This is great news considering that all these just undersize fish should be legal size by next year.
The striper bite has slowed but there are still decent numbers around. Considering that most of the fish are currently up in the rivers the action should break open by mid to late May. The next full moon will bring on a big spawn event and those fish should quickly move back down in the the Bays and ocean. We expect solid halibut and bass action into June and then look for party boats to start to venture offshore for rockfish and lings.

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