July 16, 2016    Headlines

Central Bay Halibut & Stripers

The Bays:

By Dave Hurley

The tides are getting larger within the coming days and striped bass bite should improve with the increased water movement. The rock piles of the Central bay have been producing well the past several weeks but the bass are pushing out into the ocean. Party boats are seeing a halibut per rod or better with the current small tides. Most are running 5 to 8 pounds with a few as big as 35 in the mix. With the small tides this is a great window to hit those deeper Central bay honey holes: Alcatraz, Angle Island, TI and Blossom Rock. The North and South bars and Seal Rocks are also excellent bets on small tides this time of year.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported decent weather on Thursday 7-15, but the tides were as ‘meek’ as possible. Striped bass action has been slow with the smaller tides, but halibut fishing is pretty decent. One angler caught and released 7 shaker halibut as small as 10 to 12 inches before landing a 26-inch keeper using Loch Lomond shiners. The shiner

supply has been critical, but Fraser said, “We will be stocked up again on Friday,” adding, “The tides are so slow, you have to you’re your boat in gear.” The next series of minus tides are coming, and the action should improve with the tides.


It's that time of year that this writer takes off for our annual family trip to our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. We will be chasing kings & sockeye on the local rivers and will be jumping on board with good friend Captain Steve Smith for some likely epic halibut and saltwater action. I will be posting highlights on my Face Book page (Mike Aughney) next week. We will be leaving the laptop at home and will return with full reports here on Saturday July 30th.
In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!
Mike Aughney


Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was out with 21 fishermen on Friday 7-1 for 30 striped bass, 2 halibut, 40 rockfish, and a ling cod inside the bay. He said, “The tides are getting smaller, and it should be much better for halibut in the coming days. There are tons of undersized halibut in the bay right now.” He has open loads on Saturday, Sunday, and also on Monday’s holiday.

Son James Smith took out Steve Carson, aka ‘Senor Tuna,’ on Thursday for 33 stripers, 30 lings, a cabezon, and 211 rockfish. The Penn Fishing University trips hosted by Carson are always filled with plenty of hats, shirts, tackle bags, and rods/reels for prizes donated by Pure Fishing.
The big tides have been a deterrent to halibut fishing, so Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing went out for leopard shark with 38 leopards caught and released on a short day. When the tides are big, sharks are always willing to bite, although they always seem to bite even better on smaller tides.

Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker had a small charter during the week, and they came back early with a bass per rod for novice anglers along with a big halibut taken by the charter master. He said, “The smaller tides on Thursday slowed down the striper bite, but they are improving daily with more water movement necessary to get the stripers back on the bite.” He is running open load potluck trips all next week. Some boats have been venturing out the Gate and working the north and south bars for halibut and picking up incindental stripers. There are still some stripers on the rock piles and scores should pick back up,


Special to The Bee

After yet another revision, the governor’s plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta still makes no economic sense. A closer look at the three types of economic benefits claimed for the project to export water to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities shows why it can’t possibly justify its estimated $15 billion cost. In each case, I give a value derived directly from the optimistic estimates of the state’s consultants and a more intuitive comparison.

Water supply: The latest numbers estimate the tunnels will increase water exports south of the Delta by an annual average of 257,000 acre-feet, with no increase in drought years when it is needed most. The cumulative value of that water supply over 50 years is $2 billion to $3 billion.
For comparison, San Diego’s new desalination plant will provide 56,000 acre-feet of drought-proof water for a capital cost of $1 billion. Desalination is the most costly water supply alternative, but it still provides more than three times the water supply per dollar invested than the Delta tunnels.

Water quality: Because the tunnels would divert higher-quality water from the Sacramento River, the salt and other contaminants in export water supply could decrease by 20 percent. It’s estimated that this could have a cumulative value to water exporters of as much as $2 billion over 50 years.
However, it is important to remember that the tunnels aren’t a water treatment or desalination plant that purifies water. Thus, the water exporter’s gain in water quality will be offset by degraded water quality elsewhere, a concern that is at the center of opposition in the five Delta counties and environmental concerns raised by the EPA and others.

Seismic risk: Listening to the governor, earthquake protection is the main economic argument. But the state’s experts estimated seismic-risk reduction to water exports was only worth a cumulative $400 million over 50 years. Why is this value so low? First, it is a very low probability event even in the most pessimistic models. Second, the outage to water exports isn’t as bad as you hear in TV commercials. Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin correctly described it as “weeks or months” in a recent media call, not years. In a worst-case earthquake scenario, the tunnels might prevent 2 million to 3 million acre-feet in lost water exports, a costly but manageable shortage. For comparison, the current drought has cut surface water supplies to farms and cities by more than 10 million acre-feet.
The earthquake argument is not only economically wrong, it is morally outrageous. The real damage from what some call California’s Katrina would be death and destruction in the Delta itself. The state’s model of this tragedy shows hundreds could die and that 80 percent of the economic damage was from the loss of property and infrastructure in the Delta.
It’s shocking that the state’s response to this are water tunnels that protect only 20 percent of the economic loss and zero percent of the life loss. Levee upgrades are much cheaper and reduce risks for all Californians.
In sum, the economic benefits of the tunnels to the water exporters total about $5 billion of its $15 billion cost, and the benefit-cost ratio is even worse when the negative impacts to the Delta and risks to the environment and upstream interests are considered.
Support among water exporters has been steadily eroding as the economic and financial shortcomings of the plan become better understood.
A few years ago, the state tried to shore up its economic argument by attaching a huge value to the hope of 50-year regulatory protection from the Endangered Species Act, and incorrectly attributing habitat restoration benefits to the tunnels. After heavy criticism, the latest revision to the tunnels plan eliminates the 50-year regulatory assurance and separates environmental restoration. The plan’s already flimsy economic rationale evaporated with this correction.
It is increasingly clear that there are less divisive alternatives that provide more economic and environmental value than the tunnels. No amount of tweaking can save what is fundamentally a bad idea. It’s time to move on.

Jeffrey Michael, an economist, is director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific. Read his blog at
Read more here:


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.

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar

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

Caught Fish? Looking for timely informative updates? Check out a FREE trial to the Northern California Hotsheet, California's fastest growing fishing newsletter. The Hotsheet is emailed three to four evenings per week direct to your desktop. No hunting the web for information or waiting on an outdated magazine to arrive in the mail. These in-depth reports keep you on top of what is happening TODAY so you can catch more fish tomorrow! Just $3.50 per month when you subscribe for one year. You can receive a free week's trial copy by e-mailing a request to





www usafishing Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved