Sun, sand and stripers
During the hot weather of summer, a consistent prescription for cooling off is fishing on the coast.
This year has been exceptionally good for salmon fishing in salt water. The salmon fleet out of the bay area has consistently produced limits for most boats, since mid May.
The main action had been located of the San Mateo coast line. Now there are schools of salmon off the Marin coast as well.
Another bay area option is a “potluck /live bait” boat.
These trips are now going out the Golden Gate and turning south to the beaches off Pacifica, in pursuit of striped bass.
The “stripers” winter over in the delta, go up the major valley rivers to spawn in the spring , and head back to the lower delta/San Francisco Bay in the summer. Some of these fish go outside the Gate and feed along the coastal beaches in July.
There has not been a good beach run of stripers in 4 or 5 years. As of last week the fish are there, in good numbers.
This phenomenon can last days or weeks but if you can catch it right it is one of the most exciting fisheries in the salt.
Typically the captain will back up his boat toward the beach staying just outside the breakers. Some times the propellers will be churning up sand.
The skipper watches out to sea looking for that large wave. He keeps the engine running and puts the boat in & out of gear to maintain position.
As an angler your attention is on fishing with the engine noise always in the back round. Then suddenly the engine will rev up to full power and the boat is heading out from the beach at full speed. You look toward the bow as it rises to get over a large wave and drops into the trough behind.
Then you turn and look off the stern to see the wave break just behind the boat.
It is a great boat ride.
The deck hands will chum by throwing live bait over the side to bring the stripers up. The anglers use light gear, typically a steelhead sized spinning rod with just a hook and a live anchovy.
Cast the bait out and hang on if there is a good bite.
If there are halibut around, you add a sinker to get you down to the bottom in 12 feet of water.
I have been on these trips back in the mid 90s and on one trip we took stripers, halibut and salmon out of the surf.
Usually the trip will spend part of the day on the beaches during the proper tides. Then move on to reef areas, Seal Rocks and sometimes fishing adjacent to the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.
On potluck trips it is up to the captain where to go and how long to stay there.
The options are so diverse in and around the bay that you can usually get into some good fishing somewhere.
One of the keys to the success of these trips is the use of live bait. It is the primary food of predator fish and the t way to get them to bite.
This striper bite off the beaches can be a very short lived fishery.
If you want to try it, go now. Call around the bay area party boat ports and ask if they are offering these trips. It can last for a few days or it may last a few weeks, you never know.
Your best bet will be weekdays, the weekends are mostly booked.
For my money it is the most exciting fishing in the bay area.
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