July 19, 2014    Headlines

Central Bay Butts and Basses

The Bays:
Striped bass are still around, but the smaller tides have lessened the window for catching them. Second captain Bob Wright ran the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley on Wednesday  7-16 for 27 stripers to 18-pounds for 16 anglers with several lost hookups. They are working the central bay rockpiles. Ron ‘Z Man’ Zolezzi was on the boat, and he loves to catch big striped bass. The Happy Hooker has a full load on Saturday with a charter on Sunday, but they will be running open loads next week.
Victor Le of Phu Quy Bait in Oakland reported overall slow fishing in the bay with several of their regulars trying for salmon off of the Benicia shoreline. They have an impressive selection of bait with grass shrimp, pile worms, blood worms, bullheads, and midshipmen with ghost shrimp expected on Friday.

On Saturday 7-12 Jim on the Happy Hooker reported great rockfish and striper action. He started the day off the middle Marin coast where his 18 anglers put in limits of quality rockfish and a dozen lings. Returning to the Central Bay he worked over the reefs from Mel's to Arch Rock with an additional 28 stripers to 14 pounds. Jim says with these big tides he doesn't expect many halibut to be coming over the rail until the middle of next week but the bass are thick and biting with the current big tides. Jim has lots of room all this week.

Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported the winds have continued over the past few days, but the conditions were much calmer by Friday 7-11 afternoon. He said, “No one went out today, and 80% of our days have been windy since the spring.” The shiner supply remains fantastic – I meant to say – the Loch Lomond shiner supply remains fantastic. The halibut bite should pick up late next week once we get past this current set of big minus tides.
Most party boats have been running trips up the coast and scoring easy limits of rockfish and a ling per rod to limits. Please see the Golden Gate report for additional highlights.

It's that time of year that this writer takes off to our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. We will be gone July 13th to the 26th. This is the peak of the sockeye run and we will be putting in lots of river time chasing "reds" and of course chasing halibut, rockfish and monster lings with trips scheduled with long time USAFishing sponsor Captain Steve Smith.
I will bring along my laptop and update reports when we are seeing major changes or "hot bites" but reports here will be sporadic at best.
Full reports will resume on July 26th. In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!

Mike Aughney

Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “We saw more halibut on Sunday 7-6 than in the recent past in these very slow tides,” adding, “Striped bass have been scarce, but they will be back by Tuesday with the larger tides.” The water has cleared up some in the harbor after the recent winds turned the harbor into ‘sturgeon water ‘ of a chocolate brown hue. They have plenty of Loch Lomond shiners for the upcoming week.


Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker had a great day in the bay on Thursday 7-3 with 28 big striped bass to 15-pounds for near-limits with plenty of opportunities for limits for their 18 anglers. The Legend is rounding into form with another limit of stripers in preparation for next Wednesday’s High Rollers Ling Cod Contest. They also landed a pair of ling cod and 20 assorted rockfish. There was a pack of sea lions hanging around the rockpiles in the central bay, and they moved to avoid getting stripped by the sea lions. The grade of bass was outstanding with most fish in the 9 to 11-pound range. George Liu of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito said, “Most fishermen are heading outside of the Gate for rockfish, as the halibut bite has been on and off. Commercial halibut fishermen are picking up enough to barely pay the bills outside of the Gate on the North or South Bars. They have pile worms, grass shrimp, and midshipmen in the shop, but bullheads continue to be scarce. |

Keeping Up With the Smiths'

We so often talk about the exploits of Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker and his two sons James on the Cal Dawn and Chris on his new six pack Captain Hook. There is another well known son, Steve who has been fishing the waters of Cook Inlet off Ninilchik Alaska for the past 26 years. Captain Steve's Lodge setup is one of the best on the entire Kenai peninsula. They have 12 private rooms all with their own baths, top shelf meals where you will enjoy a full breakfast spread, custom lunch boxes made to your order and incredible dinners.

Steve's specialty is all salt water species and his favorite targets are pacific halibut, monster lings (Steve's boat has held the world record for 5 years) salmon and rockfish. There are local rivers where guests can chase king, sockeye and silver salmon or catch a flyout as well. Steve ruined this writer over a decade ago and after spending several seasons fishing with Steve I had to buy a vacation home in the area. I still fish with Steve 6 to 8 times per year and I can honestly say that Steve is one of the most professional, instinctive anglers I know. Despite many chances I have yet to break the 200 mark on halibut but I have landed several lings in the 55 to 65 pound class and have enjoyed some epic clamming, rockfish, silver and king action with Steve.
Whether is you are looking to fish Alaska for the first time or the tenth I suggest you give Steve and his wife LeAnn a call. They still have some dates available for the 2014 season.

The following dates are still open for up to six people. There are other dates open for groups of two to four anglers but spots are limited. All these dated can be shortened depending on anglers wishes.
Arrive August 9th fish the 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th and depart on the 15th.
Arrive August 27, 28 or 29 and depart September 1
Please call 907 567-1043 for details and availability

Upcoming Events:
USAFishing proudly supports the many fishery and wildlife organizations that benefit anglers and hunters throughout Northern California. Does your organization have an upcoming event? Contact us at and we will gladly post the information on our reports page.

California Waterfowl Dinners and Youth Events Calendar

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Party Boat Information and Reservations Around the Bay

The Happy Hooker will be running potluck trips from the Berkeley Marina +1.510.223.5388

California Dawn will be running halibut and striper trips from the Berkeley Marina +1.510.417.5557

Emeryville Sportfishing Center is booking potluck trips on their fleet of 8 boats +1.510.654.604

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