March 25, 2015    Headlines

North Bay Stripers and Sturgeon

The Bays:
Mike Andrews of Predator Sport Fishing reported Tuesday 3-24, “I’m pretty spoiled right now with the spring bite going on in San Pablo Bay – that translates into lots of bite, plenty of action, and high bait bills because if you dangle any type of shrimp bait out there, you will lose it to a bass, shark, or even a sturgeon. Sturgeon are still taking baits in several spots around the bay, but truthfully, hooking into one is now a challenge with so many species of fish trying to eat the same bait. Shrimp sometimes doesn’t last long enough for a sturgeon to find it. The weekend tides featured a great muddy bottom of the tide bite for sturgeon, and we were out on both Saturday and Sunday mornings near the Mare Island Rockwall. Both mornings produced a slot-limit sturgeon and several shakers for my half-dozen anglers. The afternoon was devoted to the main bay for leopard and sevengill sharks along with striped bass. Although the groups hooked into many more fish, they left with six of the largest sharks and a half-dozen bass to 8 pounds on ghost shrimp as the top bait.” He added, “Sturgeon fishing on the main bay will produce as long as you can find some spots of muddy water and few bait stealers. The Rockwall bite should remain strong as the fish come back from upstream – generally fishing alongside the wall is in water around 20 feet in depth, and it is best when the currents fade. We are seeing more sturgeon in the Mare Island Straits with lots of jumpers, and it could be the start of a late spring run on the Napa River. The wind is making some of the fishing tough, and the best tides are the strong incoming tides. Andrews will be fishing for the next three weeks before working on another assignment on the Golden Bear training ship for the California Maritime Academy until mid-July. Upon return, he will be targeting larger sharks and the remaining halibut in the bay. He likes this weekend’s tides for sturgeon and hopes the winds give them a break.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael is not resting on the laurels of the great action with shiners over the past weekend, and they continue to load their tanks with shiners. They have live ghost and mud shrimp with the promise of more on the way for the coming weekend. The weather has been less than ideal the past two days, so there have been few fishermen out.
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker has gained some momentum since the tremendous striper and halibut action over the past weekend. He has obtained more live bait, and he is running open load trips on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I plan on being on board on Friday for my first fishing trip in 2015. James will be moving the Cal Dawn down next week and will be offering striper and halibut combo trips next week from Berkeley. Out of Emeryville they have trips planned as well as we are off the a very early start of the season.
Big Tony Rayford of the ‘Mad Dog’ went into the bay on Tuesday for two halibut and a bass. He said, “I think the fish are moving into the Emeryville Flats.” We will see.
The Annual Big Fish Sturgeon/Striper Derby in the Napa River resulted in a 35-pound striper biting the dust for a cash prize of over $600.00.

Wow! The real story of the weekend is the incredible bass and halibut action in San Pablo Bay and the central bay. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley took out a charter on Sunday 3-22 for 23 limits of striped bass to 15 pounds along with six halibut to 17 pounds with a number of the striped bass in the 8 to 12-pound range. Captain Smith was gushing about the effectiveness of the shiners, saying, “We had five to six bass on every time we say the fish on the meter. We would have a lull and then hit another spot holding fish with several more hookups.” Larry Nelson of Oakland, aka ‘The Legend,’ had a great day with three stripers to 15 pounds and the first halibut of the day. He crowed, “I’m back!!!’ Saturday’s open load produced 27 bass to 13 pounds along with three halibut to 21 pounds for 20 anglers. Smith will be back out on Friday through Sunday of the coming week, and he is making plans to load back up on Loch Lomond shiners.
You know that the bite is on when the Sinkay Boys come through, and the Loch Lomond shiners may just be the secret weapon for leveling the playing field. Danny Sinkay landed a 39-inch/22-pound halibut on LL shiners north of Red Rock in deep water at 40 feet on Sunday afternoon. I had just spoken with Joel Sinkay late in the afternoon, and they were just getting ready to bite into a ribeye steak on the B-Q when the big fish hit. Danny is now in second place in the Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle ‘Lord of the Sea’ Summer Striper/Halibut Derby.

 Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait is the star of the weekend for his live bait, and he weighed in Sinkay’s fish on Sunday afternoon, confirming its place in 2nd behind a 32.7-pound halibut, knocking the 21.5-pounder into third place. He reported  Bill McDonald of Novato fished McNear’s Pier during the week for an 18-pound halibut and an oversized sturgeon estimated by regular pier denizens to weigh between 100 and 120 pounds. Fraser said, “That’s pretty good pier fishing, I might add.” Captain Mike Andrews on the Predator was also gushing about Loch Lomond bait, but it was the mud shrimp that kept him happy on Sunday. They have a great supply of live shiners for the upcoming week.
Mike Rescino on the Lovely Martha out of San Francisco had a great trolling trip on Sunday with 19 striped bass to 13 pounds along with 17 halibut to 27 pounds, losing another dozen fish in the process.

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Upcoming Events:
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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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