Lingcod and Rockfish Limits

posted in: Articles, Ocean and Bays | 0

Berkeley/San Francisco

Farallon Island Trips Kick Out Lingcod and Rockfish Limits

BERKELEY – Charter boats departing from the Berkeley Marina are bagging limits of both rockfish and lingcod on trips outside of the Golden Gate to the Farallon Islands.

“We have excellent lingcod fishing right now,” said Jonathan Smith, Captain of the Happy Hooker. “The Happy Hooker returned to the dock with limits of both rockfish and lingcod up to 16 pounds during a trip to the islands on Saturday, September 11.  The previous trip to the islands by the Happy Hooker produced 22.limits of lingcod up to 24 pounds and limits of rockfish.”

James Smith, Captain of the California Dawn also reported great fishing for lingcod and rockfish at the Farallon Islands. The California Dawn and New Eldorado 3 came back to the dock with 41 limits of rockfish (410) and 41 limits of lingcod (82) to 32 pounds and one cabezon on September 11.

On Friday, September 10,, Smith reported,  “We experienced solid fishing along the coast today. The winds kept us from going off shore, but we still managed to catch limits of rockfish and fish per rod on the lingcod. The final count was 21 limits of rockfish (210) and 22 lingcod to 20 pounds.”

The Bass Tub out of Fisherman’s Wharf has been booking both salmon and rockfish trips lately. The boat tied up at the wharf on September 11 with 9 salmon up to 31 pounds, according to Captain Aaron Anfinson. The anglers trolled with anchovies off the Marin County Coast. The previous trip on the boat yielded 9 salmon up to 31 pounds.

Mike Rescino, captain of the Lovely Martha, reported on September 11, “Today was another fun day on the water. Our private charter had beautiful weather and caught 11 salmon to 25 pounds.” 

Written by: Dan Bacher


Bodega Bay 

Charter Boat Anglers Nail Limits of Rockfish and Lingcod 

BODEGA BAY – Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been wide-open off the Sonoma County Coast lately. Good numbers of salmon are being hooked, but many are being lost because of their large size.

“We are seeing world class fishing off Bodega Bay,” said Rick Powers, Captain of the New Sea Angler. “Over 500 lingcod have been landed on my boat over the last three weeks.” 

On Friday, September 10, the 12 anglers aboard the New Sea Angler bagged 5 salmon to 27 pounds and full limits of rockfish and lingcod for customers and crew. “The fishing was just off the hook,” noted Powers. 

On Saturday, September 11, the 25 people aboard the New Sea Angler landed  50 lingcod to 23 pounds and limits of rockfish.

“We caught a mixture of copper, brown, vermilion and other bottom-dwelling rockfish,” stated Powers. “The anglers used an array of swimbaits, jig bars and trap rigs to catch the lingcod and shrimp flies to hook the rockfish. We have been catching the bottomfish in near-coastal waters less than an hour from the dock.”

“In all of my years of fishing, I’ve never seen salmon averaging as big as they have this year. For example, two deckhands and I trolled for two hours during a recent afternoon and we were able to land only 4 of the 13 fish we hooked. Every fish was over 20 pounds,” explained Powers.

Anglers trolling aboard the New Sea Angler have landed 2 kings over 40 pounds so far this season, said Powers.


Half Moon Bay

End of an Era

A little over 20 years ago I bought the Huli Cat after operating other people’s charter boats. Prior to that I had a Boston Whaler 20’ Outrage for fishing and diving since 1977. It seems incomprehensible, however, due to California politics and policies, change is coming. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the California Fish & Game Commission ruling that recreational Dungeness crab would be subject to the same opening rules as commercial. California Department of Fish & Wildlife bears a little responsibility for the upcoming change.

I’ve been involved in as many research projects as I could possibly find. Engo’s promoted a ‘best available science’ to assist governing our Federal fisheries. I always hoped I was adding to our knowledge base and filling gaps about populations and conditions on the Pacific Ocean. I sat on 2 different Regional Working Groups attempting to preserve as much fishable area for recreational anglers and divers. I’ve worked on recreational and commercial EFP’s to answer questions about populations and techniques. I worked on stock assessments to validate fish populations. I’ve participated in lingcod, halibut, salmon, albacore and Humboldt squid research projects. I’ve spent 5 years on the Dungeness Crab Task Force Whale Entanglement Group representing CPFV.

I attempted to get projects like the EFP for recreational chilipepper, that was identical to a commercial project I successfully completed. Chilipepper is classified as an underutilized species as recreational and commercial fisherman are not catching enough. That was shot down by the California Department of Fish & Game. I talked years ago about an opportunity for the recreational sector to go after petrale sole fishing over 150 fathoms at the PFMC and listened to commercial fisherman bemoan, “There goes recreationals trying to ruin another commercial fishery!” When we had depth closures, I tried to get recreationals to go after black cod and chilipepper to take the pressure off the nearshore. Work in the Ano Nuevo MPA and reference cells contributed to a new method to interpret rockfish stock assessments.

There is an old saying, the two best days of a boatowners life are the day you buy a boat and the day you sell a boat. There is something about being offshore on saltwater that makes that difficult to believe. Travelling across open water, anxious to catch salmon, rockfish, albacore, Dungeness crab instills a certain joie de vivre. Seeing how happy anglers are bringing up their first or their 1000th fish is soul satisfying. Seeing a crab pot come up full of Dungeness crab. No concrete, rarely ever a traffic issue, enjoying a whale show, dolphins, birds and shark sightings beats anything you can find on TV. Working with the Maverick’s Surf events and movie, ash scatters at sea, taking Veterans out on special trips, Police Activity League trips, Children of Deaf Adults, disadvantaged youth trips, Christmas boat decorating events at Pillar Point Harbor, marrying people on the boat, parties on the boat, seeing three generations of a family fishing together, salmon, rockfish, Dungeness crab and Humboldt squid all remind me of good experiences.

I have a Simrad system on Huli Cat. I looked at some of the long term statistics. I have traveled over 18,000 nautical miles on the current set of electronics. Prior to the current John Deere motors, I wore out a set of Cummins engines, those replaced a pair of Detroits. I found it almost incomprehensible it was possible to wear out propellers.

The California Fish & Game Commission meeting where it was decided recreational would be subject to the same rules as commercial Dungeness crab opening was pitiful. Director Bonham started by saying it would be done. There was massive public comment against this, the 5 Commissioners were unanimous in aligning the seasons if whales were present due to a lawsuit by CBD. 

The was no consideration of how few recreational entanglements had ever been recorded, no credit to no CPFV entanglements ever recorded. Rockcod crab combos are incredibly popular. Adding red buoys to recreational crab pots? Add the data moderate Quillback and Copper rockfish issue at the PFMC, be thankful presentations by the public saved that for now. Don’t think it is just fishing CDFW has challenges with, the California deer population is down 70% from the 1970’s.

This is the end of an era. I sold the Huli Cat. In addition, the new owner will change the name. The Huli Cat will only exist in memories.

Written by: Captain Tom Mattusch


Monterey Bay

Season’s First Long Range Rockfish Trip Yields Limits of Vermilions in 40 Minutes!

MOSS LANDING –  The first long range rockfish trip of this year along the Big Sur Coast aboard the Kahuna produced top-notch fishing for vermilion rockfish.

“The 19 anglers landed their limits of 5 vermilion each in the first 40 minutes of the trip.,” reported Carol Jones of Kahuna Sportfishing. “They had to move along for other species, rounding out their bags with full limits of rockfish including 1 cabezon and 8 lingcod to 15 pounds.”

The 12 anglers aboard the latest rockfish adventure aboard the Kahuna on Saturday, September 11 bagged 7 lingcod up to 15 pounds and 120 rockfish. A previous trip up north yielded 11 lingcod up to 15 pounds and 210 rockfish for 21 passengers.

Anglers are hooking the rockfish and lingcod while using an array of shrimp flies, jigs, swimbaits, bars and cut baits. 

Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey also has been concentrating on rockfishing, with limits of rockfish the rule. The 11 anglers aboard the Star of Monterey on September 11 landed 110 rockfish (limits); the 17 anglers aboard the Check Mate checked in with 170 rockfish (limits); and the 14 anglers aboard the Caroline returned to the dock with 140 rockfish (limits). 

Fishing for salmon and bluefin tuna is slow. “There were a few salmon caught at Soldiers Club in 200 feet of water on September 11,” said Todd Fraser of Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz. “The few boats who went looking for bluefin did not see anything in the morning and then the wind blew them off the water.”

“The halibut fishing was good near 4 Mile and Davenport. There were a few halibut caught near the Mile Buoy. The rockfish action was good on the west side and near Davenport. The swell was small, but the wind did blow in the afternoon,” stated Fraser.

This group of anglers show off their lingcod after an awesome day fishing with the Pacific Dream.