April 23, 2014    Headlines

Central Bay Butts and Basses

The Bays:

Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley is hoping to repeat his limit performance for striped bass over the past three trips as he is heading out on Wednesday 4-23 to drift live bait over the central bay rockpiles. He said, “It has been blowing all day long, and I am hoping that the bay doesn’t get too muddy,” adding, “The tides look very good for halibut fishing over the weekend as they have dropped back down from the week of minuses.” Pictured here is Legend Wanttabe Ed Flowers from this past Sunday 4-20
Son James Smith on the California Dawn has also been drifting live shiners as well as trolling frozen anchovies, and they returned with an average of 3 fish per rod on Monday with a combined 39 halibut and striped bass for 13 fortunate anglers. That is a HUGE count and we could see this bite turn big time with the great tides later this week

George Lu of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito confirmed the outstanding halibut and striped bass action in the bay, and they sold out of shiners on Tuesday in response to the demand for the live bait. He said, “It is very windy on the bay on Tuesday afternoon, and I don’t see any boats out at the Berkeley Flats with only a few over at Paradise to hide from the wind.” A few fishermen are plugging for stripers or halibut from Rodeo with Storm swimbaits, Kastmasters, Fish Traps, Zoom Flukes, or Spro hair raisers. The striped bass were busting on the surface off of the shoreline, and anglers were catching and releasing the school-sized linesides to 25-inches.

Halibut have been the big story in the bay with a number of big fish taken in the deeper water spots in the central bay. We are now seeing the first wave of stripers move into the North and North Central Bays and take the spotlight. On Friday 4-18 James on the Cal Dawn reported one of the best bay scores of the past two years. Fishing in the upper Central Bay and lower North bay from Paradise, to Richmond to Red Rock James reported 22 limits of stripers to 10 pounds adding 15 halibut to 13 pounds. The head of the Smith clan Jim on the Happy Hooker reported 16 limits of bass and 3 halibut to 22 pounds. Most of the halibut came off the flats while the majority of the stripers were taken around the rocks and reefs. With the winds blowing along the coast bay bass and halibut are top bets for anglers this weekend. Pictured top left: today's catch. The Cal Dawn, Happy Hooker and Emeryville Sportfishing all have room for trips this weekend.

Captain James Smith of the California Dawn had a fantastic day on Wednesday 4-16 trolling for 16 halibut to 15-pounds and 3 stripers for over a fish per rod for their 16 anglers.
Halibut fishing has been excellent, and I got more detail from the original Smith, Captain Jim of the Happy Hooker, on Thursday afternoon. Jim said, “There are a lot of fish in the bay, and the anglers that did the best on Tuesday were those that left the rod in the rod holder and just dragged a dead shiner behind the boat,” adding, “Tony Phan had never fished before, and he landed the three big fish just dragging a dead shiner.” Those changing bait every few minutes like the Legend struggled mightily. He added, “We didn’t miss a fish that day with every halibut having completely swallowed the bait.” He is heading out on Friday and Saturday with room on the open load trips.
The significant development on the halibut bite is that all of the action over the past few days has been taken during a period of big tides with minuses to 0.7 this week. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, “There is a new leader in the ‘Lord of the Sea’Summer Striped Bass/Halibut Derby as I was called back to the shop on Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m. to weigh in a 20.8-pounder taken on what-else – a Loch Lomond shiner – at Angel Island. They also had nearly a 16-pounder to weigh in for the derby. The bay was rough on Thursday, but two regular customers motored up to Paradise for 3 halibut, saying, “We could have filled the boat with bass.”Loch Lomond shiners were the ticket once again. The water in the Loch Lomond Harbor is muddy, and regular San Pablo Bay denizen Ross Peterson was only able to land a 4-pound striped bass on Wednesday, reporting ‘horrible crab’ action in his normal spot east of the Pumphouse. Another fisherman was out on the same day around 1 mile east of Peterson, and they had no problems with crabs, landing two legal sturgeon at 45 and 51-inches. The same group had extra bait, and they headed back out to the same area on Thursday morning to land a sturgeon on Loch Lomond live mud shrimp, but the crabs had migrated east and were eating them up. Fraser has plenty of shiners and live mud shrimp in the shop.

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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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