You Thought This Job … was tough? Listen to this: I got my Sweetie Pies blueberry muffin and java at the St. Helena Farmers Market bakery counter and sat down next to Gary Bogle. He whipped out his cell phone to show me this 265-pound Alaskan halibut. He was fishing out of the Laughing Raven Lodge in remote Port Alexander, on the south tip of Baranoff Island. Check it out at portalexander.com/lodging. Thanks, Gary.
Salmon Talk? … Yep, we’re going to be talking a lot about king salmon in the near future. The bite is red-hot and limits all around are practically standard. Just listen to Dave Hurley in Monday’s Hot Sheet: “We have great ocean conditions this week and, combined with an incredible salmon bite off of the San Mateo coastline, limits have been the rule for party and private boats. The salmon haven’t budged from their spot at the Deep Reef, and they are falling for straight bait high in the water column.”
Look at just a few of the catch rates. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Fishing (707-655-6736) was back at the dock early both Saturday and Sunday with six limits each of salmon to 28 pounds. It took Captain John McGee (Legal Limit Sportfishing, 450-7961) only 20 minutes to score four limits of salmon (eight fish) Sunday morning at the Deep Reef. Four of the Emeryville Sportfishing fleet (The Sundance, Dragon, C Gull II and New Salmon Queen) combined to box 53 limits of salmon to 22 pounds south of the harbor off the San Mateo coastline. Contact them at 510-654-6040.
Thinking ahead to the fall river salmon bite, this lights-out action bodes well for a dynamite river catch. You might want to keep an eye on that for another week or two, then make some September reservations. Our pro river guide, Kevin Brock, is optimistic about the season. You can call him at 800-995-5543.
Putah Creek Update … from Napa fly fishing instructor Richard Loft: High summer stream flows are not helping the bite. Richard said that you can catch trout in these conditions, but it takes more work and patience. That seemed to work for his recent clients, who have been catching rainbows in the 10- to 13-inch range – with some pushing 16, 17 and 18 inches. Finding the location of favorable flows and adjusting your leader length to them is key.
Finally, he said, “It pays to keep as much of the fly line as you can off the water – you get a better drift and you can set much faster if you manage your line well.” Call Richard at 294-4738 or check him out at napavalleyflyguides.com.
Well, I Goofed! … Last week, writing about the new TNT bass tournament series at Berryessa, I told you that the tournaments ran on Wednesday nights. Wrong; they all run Thursday nights.
Except for full moon weeks, they run from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays. With just three fish max, this is the place to get your kids up to speed on competitive bassing. Entry fee is $40 per angler. Dates left in 2017 are Aug. 10, 17, 24, 31.
On full moon weeks, the time runs Thursdays from 6 p.m. to midnight with a five fish max. Entry fee is $75 per angler. Remaining dates are Aug. 3 and Sept. 7. All tournaments take off from the Capell Cove Free Launch Ramp.
Entry is easy; just show up at Capell Cove before 6 p.m. on tourney night with your entry fee and be ready to blast off.
The Frog Bite … is my favorite bass fishing method. It works best when the water is hot and before the sun gets on the water. Or, right after lunch on pads or weeds and slop – or in tule pockets. Just to underscore this perfect timing, the 16th Snag Proof Open will be run on the Delta Aug. 5 and 6. Headquarters will be Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island (russosmarina.com). Snag Proof makes rubber frogs that skitter or putter along the surface – and drive bass nuts.
Clear Lake Action? … We were on the water the past two days so will have to report next Friday. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting story from the S.F. Chron’s Tom Stienstra. Sean Moffett of Vacaville caught a 29-pound, 32-inch catfish here recently. A couple of comparisons: Clear Lake’s heaviest cat is thought to be a 33.3-pounder caught in 2009. The IGFA world record is a 58-pounder out of a South Carolina reservoir in 1964 (thanks, Tom.). Local stuff: Lora T. and I have caught some dink catfish around 15-19 pounds up there. I hate them because they take so long to land, keeping us from fishing for bass.
Hey Anglers … we love to include your special photos. You can make them even more flattering if you remember a couple of things: Face the sun, no sun glasses or hat that shadows your face and smile. If you must wear your hat, use the flash or fill flash option on your camera to light you up. By the way, be all already to shoot when you take the fish out of the live well. Click ‘em quick and slip ‘em back into the water soft and easy. Thanks.