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View Full Version : New to Coastal Salmon Fishing



seaniken
04-12-2012, 02:41 PM
The CA Delta has been my home for years. Sturgeon/Striper/River Salmon etc. I've made a few runs to the Bay for Halibut and Striper in our 21' Rogue Jet Coastal 21. It's a great boat. Never had any issue with it and it's set up for Salmon with down riggers and all the fishing/safety gear one would need including a great sonar/gps unit, radar & kicker. But I've never taken it off the coast for Salmon. I'd like to get started.

I check the NOAA swell reports frequently and I've figured out how they work but I've yet to make my way out. I NEED SOME TIPS! I've heard great things about Duxbury Buoy, Bodega, and outside the Gate. What would be the best spot to gain some experience without pushing my skills to the max? I know that sometimes traveling outside the Gate can be treacherous due to large swells & high winds, but obviously other folks with smaller boats than mine seem to have no problem. What's a good place to launch and a popular area where the Salmon are running? When fishing the Bay, we always launch out of Berkeley (I'm coming from Stockton area). But I don't know if that's a good place when planning on fishing a place like, for example, Duxbury Buoy. Safety is my priority. I just would like some basic info from those who have done it. Where to launch, how to travel safely outside the Gate, comfortable swell conditions, and basic Salmon trolling tips would be MUCH appreciated!

I know it's gonna take some typing for whoever generously answers my greenhorn questions. I thank you in advance!

JosephD
04-12-2012, 04:35 PM
Half moon bay, Santa Cruz or Moss landing would be good places to learn. You are right out in the ocean or MB bay without running through the Gate. Half moon Bay (HMB) has a potentially dangerous reef on bad days. I learned the hard way going out the gate, and turned around many times. If going to Dux, Berkeley is the place to launch, a straight shot out the gate. Stay along the north side of the channel and take Pt. Bonita kinda wide, this will be the most rough spot with the tidal flow, swell, and boat wakes. Try and fallow/buddy up with an other boat or fallow a party boat. There have been days the bay was more rough the. The ocean.

Don't worry about having to turn around and wear your PDF.

SalmoClarki
04-12-2012, 06:00 PM
Bodega or Moss would be your best bet. Also if fishing out the gate I prefer launching in Sausalito. The last thing I want to do is cross the bay after being in the salt all day. I would recommend going with someone in a similar boat first to see how to go out to the gate.

Seon
04-12-2012, 06:18 PM
I too am new to the Big Blue fishing where most of my fishing has been in the Delta and lakes. But last Aug I attended a mini Salmon Fest out of Bodega joining several boats trolling for Salmon. That's all it took for me to gear up for ocean fishing.

My advise is to "buddy boat" on your first couple of outing until you feel comfortable enough to go solo. That's what I did and have gone out from HMB, Bodega, Richmond and Berkeley after Halibut, Salmon, Rockfish and crabs. Nothing like it.

Matter of fact, I'll be headed out for Santa Cruz about 3 am in the morning for my first Salmon trip. Being that it's the first time out of that launch, I'll be "buddy boating" with a couple other boats and I'll camp out at the parking lot in my MH until Sunday.

There will be plenty more Salmon trips so if you want to "buddy boat", let me know and we'll hit that "big blue"

rk2fish
04-12-2012, 08:28 PM
Seaniken, I too, would try out of Moss or Santa Cruz first. It would suck to spend the first 8 miles or so out of the SF bay then too find out it's too rough out there. At least with Monterey bay, you will know right away if it is too rough. I have only ventured out past the Gate to go crabbing in my 16' Arima. I haven't built up the courage to try rockfishing or going for the salmon. But if you do try to venture outside the Gate, at least you can bring some halibut gear if it's too bad on the outside. We were thinking of going to Moss this saturday, but with the small craft advisory, I think we will be staying home.

seaniken
04-13-2012, 11:04 AM
Thank you all for the input. And I couldn't agree more that it would suck to travel the hour and a half to berkeley by truck, then the 8 miles by boat to the gate just to have to turn around. I've actually done that before while fishing halibut. I thought "Hey, it doesn't look bad at all!" I got out about a mile past the gate and it started swelling about 8' at 10 seconds or so. That made me a little uncomfortable to think what it was like even further out. I turned around.

Since all of these comments seem to agree on the fact that moss landing is the place to be, could anyone tell me what launch is most commonly used? Do any of you check the swell reports? If so... how big is too big or what would be considered "comfortable"? Moss Landing is about a 3 hour trip from my house. I'd probably head out the evening before and stay overnight.

Seon, I'd be more than happy to join up with you one day. When does this current coastal Salmon season end?

Thanks again!

JosephD
04-13-2012, 02:27 PM
Thank you all for the input. And I couldn't agree more that it would suck to travel the hour and a half to berkeley by truck, then the 8 miles by boat to the gate just to have to turn around. I've actually done that before while fishing halibut. I thought "Hey, it doesn't look bad at all!" I got out about a mile past the gate and it started swelling about 8' at 10 seconds or so. That made me a little uncomfortable to think what it was like even further out. I turned around.

Since all of these comments seem to agree on the fact that moss landing is the place to be, could anyone tell me what launch is most commonly used? Do any of you check the swell reports? If so... how big is too big or what would be considered "comfortable"? Moss Landing is about a 3 hour trip from my house. I'd probably head out the evening before and stay overnight.

Seon, I'd be more than happy to join up with you one day. When does this current coastal Salmon season end?

Thanks again!

Moss is its own harbor/ramp. Wash down is kinda bad but usable.

Check the swell here: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/data/Forecasts/FZUS56.KMTR.html

I would say for me, 21' heavy glass boat, sunday-Tuesday a durable. Look at the monterey bay forecast at the bottom. Find the fleet of boats and troll the outside of em. I don't like anything over 20kts winds or wind waves over 4-5'. Swell heights don't bother me that much as long as the period (time apart) is not the same as height. If it is double the hight that is perfect. Example: 10' swell @ 10 seconds = rough.
10' swell at 16-20 seconds decent-nice conditions.

The problem is when the NOAA is wrong and you pull all the way down to find bad conditions.

rk2fish
04-13-2012, 04:01 PM
I seem to prefer Moss landing versus SC or Monterey because of the parking availability. Although it's been two years since I've been there. I remember overflow parking at SC & the main parking is kind of small, so plan on walking when you park your truck. Monterey for me was kind of a cluster because of all the tourist walking right in front of you when you are launching your boat, so I have only been there a few times. Also, don't forget the tourist traffic you have to deal with.

It might just be me, but it seems the farther up north you get in the bay, the calmer it seems to be(Monterey to SC). I am about 3 hours away also and have only been turned down once because of stormy weather. Also, you'll notice the entrance out of Moss can get kind of hairy, so watch for that. Hope this helps.