We had to fight the weather a bit but still managed 3 days on the water this week with 2 of them being really nice. Did some exploring and really figured out the Petrale Sole game.
Sole, Lings, Chillis and Jumbo Bococcio
On Tuesday we headed to the shallow terrain in search for lingcod since just about everyone requested lings. We stopped on the way out and grabbed some sand dabs for bait and a got few petrale sole in the mix and I kept that spot in mind for a later time. We then headed to the Rocks and picked up 5 very nice lingcod between 12 and 30lbs pretty quickly, but the bite died by about 11am.
We grabbed a few reds and canaries as well and moved to some different terrain to grab a nice mix of yellows, widows and a few bocaccios. Rockfish bit as fast as you could feed em and we got them all very quickly. Afterword we decided to got back inside the reef and grab some petrole sole and found a great bite and picked up 25 sole in about 40 minutes from 2lb to 6lb. With about a 3lb average. Everyone walked with multiple bags of fillets and got lots of reeling in.
A few clients opted for the electric reels by the end of the day, which are effective and much faster than hand cranking, but I noticed the hand reels had a much higher catch rate. My hypothesis is that since the petrale soles are soft biters, holding the rod and feeling the bite allows for better timing on setting the circle hook into their mouths properly. On the manual reels bites were almost instantaneous when you hit the bottom, electric reels took about 60 to 90 seconds of leaving your hook on the bottom. Either way everybody got a whole pile of very tasty fish to bring home.
On Friday I was really undecided on if I should run or cancel the trip. After talking to the clients I decided we decided to check the weather buoy and make the call the morning of. I woke up and saw 4 knots of wind and fairly mellow seas so we headed out. Unfortunately by the time we headed out we ran into some serious south wind that was not even in the forecast. Seas were very confused but typically our south wind slows down by noon so I kept making our offshore slowly. We checked a few spots for chilli and shallow and found them all to have lock jaw. It was painfully slow fishing in the 400 depths so after an hour of grinding it out for few fish I decided to bite the bullet and head out another 6 miles into the chop. By the time we arrived the wind started and back off and the ocean became pretty tolerable. I wouldn’t say pleasant but it was fair. The rockfish really woke up and we stacked up 4 limits in a hurry. Lots of quality Chilli and a few Bocaccio in the mix. A big improvement over how the morning started.
Right before we about to head home I saw a rod load up pretty good, I figured it would be a nice big redband, but to my suprise when it surfaced it was a ling, which was new to me fishing in almost 800 feet of water. I may have to try and drag some big baits around down there and see what hits it.
Headed to the shallow terrain on Saturday for rockfish and petrale. We knew some serious north wind for the afternoon was forcasted so we got there and made quick work on limits of rockfish consisting of yellows, widows and bocaccios and picked up a Ling in the mix.
Then the group decided they wanted petrale sole so we went and chased them. Bit of a tougher bite compared to tuesday time but we got nearly 20 of them and some nice sized ones, with 5 fish over 24″, and many just below that. With a cooler full of big rockfish and petrole we headed home before the wind came up and had a surprisingly pretty some ride in at 22 knots.
Spring is starting to become slightly more normal and we have some wind rolling in for the majority of the upcoming week with a typical high pressure system sitting off our coastline so there might not be much to report next week. Fingers crossed we might have a trip on Friday, but odds aren’t looking great. Hopefully we get back into a low pressure cycle and our northern winds mellow out again, we’ve been lucky this year weather wise, we are going to need to keep that luck around for a few more months so we can use it when the tuna show up, which will happen a lot faster if we don’t have much north wind to cool off the water.
Tomales Bay Halibut Fishing Report
Capt Josh had a weekend off so no halibut to report. A few locals did well so they are still biting. A few halibut are being caught on the bar so that means the average size will double with those ones, and hopefully the ocean halibut will turn on in a few weeks as well.