The Ankeny Street party boat out of Huck Finn Sportfishing at Pillar Point on Sunday had 12 limits of salmon to 17 pounds to lead the fleet. That result and near limits from the Rip Tide out of Pillar Point confirm decent numbers of salmon outside the Golden Gate. But it was the number of shaker salmon being caught and released that has anglers talking.
Captain Chris Chang fished 10 miles southwest of the harbor and used anchovies or herring to fill the box with salmon. Chang’s passengers also had to shake close to 40 salmon that did not meet the 24-inch size limit that went into law May 1.
The Rip Tide from Half Moon Bay Sportfishing had nine salmon for five anglers and also had a lot of 22- to 23-inch shakers.
The New Rayann went to Half Moon Bay from Sausalito and had 20 salmon for 19. The New Seeker from Emeryville fished the same area and had eight for 17 anglers.
“I think we all are experiencing a lot of shakers over 20 inches,” said Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady. “In my opinion that mortality should go home with the people.”
The shaker bug also is being experienced in Bodega Bay. Rick Powers of the New Sea Angler had 10 fish for 11 anglers by 4 p.m. today but said he would have had limits hours before if the size limit was 20 inches.
“It’s been a real frustrating thing having to release 22 and 23 inch salmon,” Power said. “There’s a certain amount of mortality on these things. You hook ‘em and then have to lay them down to measure … We know how to handle fish but I watch guys in skiffs wrestling them. Who knows if the size limit is the right decision? I haven’t figured out how to do CPR on a salmon yet.”
The salmon bite was slow Sunday in Santa Cruz and Monterey.
Capt. Jimmy’s six-pack charter had two for six near Three Trees, but lost four. In Monterey, Chris’ Sportfishing sent out two boats. The Checkmate had four for 12 and the Caroline had three for 13. The boats went above and below Soquel.
Shakers have been rare in Monterey, said Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Sportfishing.
“Were seeing very, very few shakers here,” Arcoleo said. “But that’s wonderful news about shakers (in Half Moon Bay). We are starting to see fish everywhere. I understand the mortality issues but if we weren’t catching them everyone would be complaining.
Sunday's action concludes a promising weekend of fishing outside the Golden Gate.
The New Easy Rider out of Berkeley on Saturday had 13 limits of salmon, and three boats out of Sausalito - the Salty Lady, New Rayann and Outer Limits all had a about a fish per rod. Biggest fish reported was 18 pounds and most were 10- to 12 pounds.
All the party boats were fishing south to southwest of Half Moon Bay.
“I think this is great news,” said Thomas. “We lost six or seven at the boat and shook another 10 to 12 that would’ve made the old, 20-inch limit. The salmon all were high today – 20 to 45 feet below the surface.”
The first decent day of salmon fishing outside Half Moon Bay and the Golden Gate occurred Friday after a five-week struggle that saw just three salmon come into Pillar Point and less than two dozen from the Golden Gate Fleet.
Bad weather and low angler interest kept boats off the water for much of April. These past two days have offered the best access and opportunity of the spring.
“We finally got an opening day. Thank goodness,” Said Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing at Pillar Point. “It was really good fishing Friday. Finally. Finally.”
The breakthrough was accomplished by the San Francisco 49ers offensive linemen who chartered the Queen of Hearts for a bachelor party. The first fish was in the box promptly at 8 a.m. and action was consistent until they line decided to make an early day of it.
The group kept nine fish, including the 17-pound jackpot winner landed by Chris Patrick, but hooked and lost a lot and had a large number of 22- and 23-inch shakers.
The Queen of Hearts was near the Deep Reef. A party boat out of Berkeley also went to Half Moon Bay and had nine salmon for nine anglers but shook another 20 fish.
The party boats were trolling and found the salmon 40 feet below the surface.
In the prior five weeks, the Queen of Hearts had accounted for just two salmon while neighboring Huck Finn had one fish on opening day and nothing since.
“We paid our dues,” Ingles said. “The more we have people looking it will help. The more territory we can cover the more fish we may find.”
Pillar Point party boats all went rock cod fishing Saturday, but private skiffs hit the water for salmon. Reports were unconfirmable.
In Santa Cruz, Jimmy Rubin of Capt. Jimmy Charters had seven salmon to 18 pounds for six on Friday and then went out on Saturday and had five salmon to 20 pounds for six anglers.
“The fish are very shallow,” Rubin said. “We had them 20 feet below the boat. A lot of krill showed up. There’s more today than there has been in a week.
In Monterey, Randy’s sent one boat out and had five salmon for 13.
In Fort Bragg, private skiffs enjoyed one of their better days of the year.
“The game wardens have been on our docks because today is our rock cod opener and they have counted about 24 salmon today,” said. John Gabers of Noyo Fishing Center. “For this time of year that’s a good number. It’s good news. Most were school fish 10 to 12 pounds but three or four with 24 to 26 pounds.”
Gaber said the water outside Fort Bragg is cold (47 degrees) but there is a lot of krill. “If the salmon come in I think they will hold,” he said.
Bodega Bay had calm seas and brown water but fishing was tough. By late afternoon, there were reports of private boaters scratching out a few fish near Bird Rock but party boats hadn’t found the fish