Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Never miss a local story.
Delta striper and sturgeon bites very good, Tony Lopez said. Monterey rockfish and white seabass action hot, Bayside Marine reported. New Melones rainbows hitting, Danny Layne said. San Luis striper bite continues, Adam Moore said. Success bass responding, Calvin Foster said.
I was explaining to a friend how hard fishing can be on your body and he asked how that could be. Most folks don't realize how tough fishing can be, especially if you practice an involved, active and physical style of angling.
I guess it's my athletic background talking, but when I'm fishing, it's on! I'm working in a high intensity sport. It involves casting with total concentration, and working lures and baits effectively. And that's after lugging things around to find the best location, changing plugs and everything else. This is how most serious anglers approach the sport, but it takes a huge amount of energy, as well as putting significant wear and tear on your body.
It hit me the day after a trip to San Luis how sore and achy I felt. Looking back, I realized it was over 8 hours of fishing in rough waves. Moving around on a pitching, rolling deck works all the muscles in your legs and back, just about like trying to stand on one of those balancing boards they put on top of a workout ball at the gym. It's a good thing I don't have any real problems or it would be next to impossible to keep it up.
Another tough task is using the trolling motor for long periods. I used to just stand on the front of the boat with no pole seat rest, putting all my weight on my right foot while I ran the trolling motor with my left foot. A few hours standing in a contorted and unnatural position along with some waves to keep you scrambling earns a lower back ache and a sore right foot. This happens no matter how good a shape I'm in, but I admit I don't practice working out in the Lotus position much either!
My neck got pretty bad, and my wrist and elbow had to be taped to protect from tendonitis developed while incessantly casting and working 9-foot rods for hours on end. I'm sure most of you have suffered the same or worse.
Another hazard -- albeit a good one -- is getting your hand chewed up from catching too many big fish. This is when your thumb area is scraped raw and bleeding from lifting them out of the water by their mouths.
Others insist fishing helps them enjoy a nice day. Challenging my sanity, they ask, "How can you take it so seriously, beating yourself up for a fish?"
At first I think maybe they're right, but I realize other passionate anglers and I have some big dreams they don't understand. That's why we're willing to pay the price. Just call it a warrior thing!
Roger George can be reached at email@example.com
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* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
New Melones Reservoir
Bass ** Crappie ** Catfish ** Trout *** Kokanee *
Rainbow trout action is best for trollers as Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service reported, "Rainbows averaging 2 pounds are very active off Carson Creek, in the Spillway and off Bear Cove with ExCel lures, Shasta Tackle Cripplures or Speedy Shiners at depths from 35 to 50 feet. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said "Water temperature is really dropping now, and is 67 to 69 degrees." The lake will turn over when surface water cools to the same temp as the deeper water around 53 to 54 degrees. This usually happens around Thanksgiving, and then the trout bite really turns on for bank anglers and trollers alike. Lewis reported fair to slow bass fishing, and the smaller spotted or largemouth bass are biting California Reservoir Lures jigs. The fish are moving into deeper water due to the rapidly falling water levels, and they are feeding heavily on the threadfin shad. Plastics such as the 6-inch Robo Worm Hologram shad or Prism Shad, hard and soft jerkbaits are working well, and vertical jigging with spoons is effective once you locate a shad ball. A number of large catfish have been landed including a 10.75-pounder taken by Al Judnich of Jamestown on a crawdad from the banks in Angels Cove and a 9-pounder landed by Adrian Cayabyab on anchovies. Catfish are in coves and in shallower water with some large whiskerfish being landed on sliding sinker rigs with a ball of night crawlers, anchovies or frozen shad. Lewis advised moving the bait often, rather than letting it sit still. The crappie and bluegill bite is slow as the water temperatures are cooling. The best action is under lights with red worms or small minnows. The lake dropped 5 feet to 1,047.63 feet in elevation and 81% capacity. At the downstream reservoir of Lake Tulloch, Layne has been rolling shad at depths of 20 feet over the river channel from Black Creek to the bridge for rainbows to 3 pounds.
Call: (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass ** Trout *** Crappie ** Catfish *** Bluegill **
Bass fishing has been slow for the most part, but Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait on Bakersfield saw pictures of large fish at 11 and 7 pounds on Monday taken on a drop shot. Matt Barton of Sierra Gateway Sporting Goods in Lake Isabella confirmed the elusive bass bite, and he touted an improved bite for rainbow trout in the cooling water temperatures and recent plants of Alpers trout. Power Bait in Rainbow Garlic or garlic has been effective at the mouth of the North Fork, Paradise Cove and along the main dam. Clams or frozen shad are working for catfish in the 1.5- to 3-pound range with the best action in the deeper water in the coves. The bluegill bite is improving with live crickets, wax worms or meal worms in deep water near rocky areas. Crappie are located around the marina docks or holding on structure in the deeper water at depths from 20 to 30 feet with small minnows or minijigs. The lake dropped 2 feet to 2,560.31 in elevation and 30% as the seasonal water releases continue. There have been few reports from the upper or lower Kern River. Buena Vista Lake is scheduled for trout plants prior to the Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on Nov. 12, and minnows are working for crappie or bass. Trout were planted in the small impoundments of Truxton, Woollomes, Ming, Hart Park and the Park at River Walk, and Power Bait or night crawlers are working for local fishermen.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Stripers *** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
Action in the big lake remains very good, although the winds made fishing difficult at the start of last week. Adam Moore of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis caught and released 15 keeper stripers from 4 to 8 pounds on a mid-week trip at depths from 40 to 60 feet while drifting jumbo minnows. Moore advised anglers to have some method to decompress the fish upon their release, since bringing them up from the depths rapidly causes barotrauma. There have been several released stripers floating on the surface, so a device such as Shelton SFD release designed for rockfish is a handy accessory for anglers. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in San Jose reported slightly slower action than last week, but he said, "It is still a good bite." Boaters will have to search around to locate the fish in the higher water conditions, but the Trash Racks or Portuguese Cove are still the top locations. Trolling is working, but has been less effective than live bait. Bank anglers are tossing Lucky Craft 128s in Aurora Black American Shad or Spotted Shad, and Super Flukes in white ice also are working from Romero or Dinosaur points. Ly Tu at Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose touted fly fishing with Clowser Minnows for the linesides. In the Forebay, the lake levels have been low, but Tu reported an improved striper bite with a variety of lures and cut baits. The main lake still is receiving water from the Delta, and it rose to 84%.
Important note: EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, VESSEL INSPECTIONS FOR QUAGGA AND ZEBRA MUSSELS TO BEGIN AT SAN LUIS RESERVOIR SRA. All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection. These invasive species threaten recreational opportunities, the water delivery infrastructure of California and the aquatic habitat of San Luis Reservoir SRA. Failure to allow inspection of any watercraft will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Andrew Steele of the the US Army Corp of Engineers Ranger Station reported a major improvement in the bass bite with reports of 18-inch fish taken in the past week. The majority of fish have been on the small side, but the best action remains near the Dam or the Day Use Area at depths from the banks to 30 feet with watermelon Lizards, plastics in Sexy Shad, bluegill or green pumpkin on the drop shot, or vertical jigging with spoons. Patrick Movey said, "The bass are spitting up tiny bluegill." He advised using a rainbow trout patterned swim bait once the trout plants start next month. Steele reminds boaters of the significant danger of being struck by lightning if they tie off to the line at the Dam Tower. The lake is starting to release water, potentially exposing boating hazards such as rocks and tree stumps. The area of the lake extending upstream along the Chowchilla River still is closed beyond the Buoy Line. The lake dropped 2 feet to 565.89 feet in elevation and 75% capacity.
Bass *** Trout * Catfish *** Crappie **
Things are on the upswing at this reservoir with Adam Moore of Valley Rod and Gun reporting a decent cut of bass found up the river arm or near the Dam with Senkos, brown/purple jigs, crank baits or plastics in green pumpkin, or shad-patterns on a Texas-rig. The bass bite will continue to improve once the lake levels drop and the fish move toward the surface. Trout plants are expected by mid-November and tossing a rainbow trout patterned swim bait will bring a chance for a large bass. The lake dropped less than a foot to 488.84 vertical feet and 31%.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
Stephanie Powell at the McSwain Marina said last week's Calaveras Trout Farm plant brought large fish, and the banks have been the best location for limits with Power Eggs or Power Bait. Limits have been taken from the Campgrounds, the Brush Pile and the Handicapped Docks. Chartreuse/white Power Eggs, garlic Power Bait or Roostertails have been effective offerings. Trolling has been slower with an average of a few fish per rod, and the best action remains from the Floating Restrooms to Gilligan's Island with shad-patterned Kastmasters.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers *** Catfish **
With local anglers heading further north for the hot bite at San Luis Reservoir, few fishermen are targeting stripers in the aqueducts or canals. In the south Aqueduct near Taft, Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "The striper action remains good with anglers hooking as many as 20 linesides to over 10 pounds with Lucky Craft 128s in American shad or Aurora Blue with similar jerkbaits by River2Sea also being effective." The water has cleared without moss or debris.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ** Stripers * Trout ***
Adam Moore reported an improved bass bite with drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics at a variety of depths from the banks to 50 feet, but the majority of fish are still small. A 7-pound spot reportedly was taken on a jig near Sky Harbor, but this is the exception. Robo Worms in Hologram Shad, green pumpkin or Margarita Mutilator have been the most popular colors with brown/purple jigs also working. In the early mornings, there is a brief window for top-water lures. Striper reports continue to be minimal. The lake dropped 5 feet to 520.24 feet in elevation and 54%. In lower San Joaquin River. Patrick Movey of the Fishermen's Warehouse reported good action with salmon eggs or Power Bait at the Handicapped Area at Lost Lake.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass ** Trout *** King salmon *** Catfish **
The king salmon bite has been limited to large numbers of 10- to 12-inch fish, and there has been a high mortality rate when anglers are releasing these fish after they rise from the depths of the lake. Since so many fish have been dying, trollers are recommended to keep their limit of the first five fish landed rather than culling for the elusive larger fish. Patrick Movey said the best bite has been on large spoons at depths from 70 to 110 feet near the Power Lines. The larger lures also will hook fewer of the miniscule salmon. A better bet is seeking rainbow trout higher in the water column at 35 feet with some large trout even found on the surface. Adam Moore reported a 21-inch rainbow was taken on the surface with a Rapala, and spoons have been effective on lead core at depths from three to six colors. Bass action continues to be dominated by small fish with single tailed Hula Grubs on a quarter- or eighth-ounce jig or drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics being top techniques at 25 to 30 feet. There is still a small window for top water in the early mornings. The lake dropped 5 feet to 864.64 feet and 56%. Trout fishing in the Kings continues to be fair for planters with salmon eggs, live crickets, Kastmasters or Roostertails, and trout plants are scheduled for the next two weeks.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout * Catfish **
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported good action for small bass on shad-colored patterns of plastics on the drop shot or cranking with deep-diving crankbaits. The spoon bite has been hit or miss in the cooling water temperatures. Their final tournament of the season will be this coming Saturday with the tournament of champions the following weekend. The lake has risen enough to limit bank access. Trout plants will start next month, and the banks will be full once the plant truck arrives. The lake rose 3 feet to 604.04 feet in elevation and 12% capacity.
Bass *** Trout * Catfish **
Calvin Foster of the US Army Corp of Engineers Ranger Station caught and released over 20 fish Saturday while fishing a few hours with wacky-rigged Senkos, jigs or drop-shotting with dark-colored plastics at 12 to 18 feet. The fish are fat and healthy, ranging from 12 to 15 inches with a 4-pounder landed on an adjacent boat. The spoon bite has slowed with the cooling water temperatures, but the lake should stay stable for some time. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield confirmed the hot bite with area fishermen driving to Success for 40-fish days. There is a healthy shad population; and with the cooling temperatures, the shad up to 4 inches are starting to die off with grebes and pelicans moving in to forage on bait fish. The Tule Point and Rocky Hill launch ramps are open, but the best access is at Rocky Hill. The lake dropped 2 feet to 588.27 feet in elevation and 9% capacity.
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon ** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
Live crawdads have been the ticket for spotted bass with a few anglers cashing in with large limits to 22 pounds fishing the crustaceans near the cliffs at the Locks. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported limits of bass also were taken on live crawdads near the Dam or at Barrett's Cove. They have been selling dozens of crawdads for bass and catfish. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted the River2Sea SWaver in either light trout or baby bass as a great option for spots to 4 pounds with the majority of fish being taken off humps or submerged islands at 30 to 40 feet. Drop-shotting with Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Pro Gold red/flake also is effective, as well as brown jigs with a Reaction Innovation's Kinky Beaver trailer in California 420. Trollers have to search around for trout, but the cooling water temperatures are making for more active fish. Dragging shad-patterned Needlefish or Shasta Tackle Cripplures, particularly in the mornings, is effective near the Dam and in Cottonwood Creek at 40 feet. Brighter colors work during the middle of the day. Catfishing has slowed in the past week with the cooling water temperatures. The lake dropped 4 feet to 812.24 feet in elevation and 67%.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro
Bass *** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon ** Catfish **
Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service reported a very good bite for rainbow trout to over 3 pounds off Hatch Creek, Graveyard Bay and Laughlin Island in Fleming Bay at depths from 25 to 40 feet. The threadfin shad are small, and the rainbows are gorging themselves on the baitfish. Needlefish, small ExCel lures and Sockeye Slammers in shad-patterns are the best choices. Monte Smith at Gold Country Sport Fishing advised looking for signs such as birds working the surface or bait jumping since the fish will be scattered at this time of year. Manny Basi said the best thing going for bass is the River2Sea SWaver swim bait in light trout with drop-shotting with shad-colored plastics such as Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Pro Gold also being effective at depths from 30 to 40 feet over submerged islands and humps. Brown jigs with a Kinky Beaver trailer in California 420 at similar depths are another good option. Catfishing has slowed down with the cooling water temperatures.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
The lake dropped to 46% capacity making launching next to impossible. The courtesy dock is out of the water, but a few die hards are dragging their aluminums down to the water's edge for a launch. Trout plants and inflow will improve the action within the coming months, but in the meantime, fishing from the banks is the best option. There are two scheduled quarry blasts this week: one was 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, the second is 12:15 p.m. Thursday. A blasting schedule should be updated every Friday and is available at cranevalleydam.com/blasting-schedule.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout *** Smallmouth *
Huntington remains a good option for trollers and bank fishermen, but fishing interest has waned with the cold weather in the high country. Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger, blade/crawler combinations or Apex lures are working for trollers with banks fishermen scoring with chartreuse or orange Power Bait. The kokanee are staging in Rancheria Creek for their attempt to spawn. Huntington remains high at 93%. At Shaver Lake, the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project voted at its October meeting to purchase approximately 2,500 trophy-size trout for planting next spring. It is planning to order additional trout if more donations are collected within the next 20 days. Anyone interested can send donations to the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project at P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA 93664. A letter of appreciation with SLTTP's non-profit tax number will be returned to the donor. Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters is vying for an additional 500 fish to be purchased for 2013, requiring an additional $5,000 to be collected. All $1,000 donors become Trophy Club members and are included in all stationery print and acknowledgments. The lake has dropped to 3% and will be dormant until the trophy trout are introduced.
Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Young's Sporting Goods 841-8271, 841-2522, 841-2740
Adam Moore reported good action at Courtright for trollers long lining Rapalas on the surface. The courtesy dock is out of the water at Courtright. The lake levels at Courtright are still high, but Wishon has dropped to the point that launching is problematic. The best action at Wishon has been from the banks with inflated night crawlers, Power Bait or Kastmasters. The creeks are very low, and fishing basically over until the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Brown trout ** Trout ***
With temperatures plummeting in the high country, few anglers are heading over to the Alpine lakes; however, trout trolling is excellent for rainbows and the occasional brown trout with blade/crawler combinations or spoons in the open water at Mammoth. All the lakes remain high for this time of year with Edison at 85%, Florence at 81%, Mammoth at 65% and Redinger at 49%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Stripers *** Rockfish **** Leopard shark **** Salmon **
Rockfishing remains outstanding with limits on all party boat trips over the past several months. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker had a huge load of passengers Saturday, and they put in 40 limits of rockfish within an hour and a half south of the Golden Gate. Smith said, "The bite was wide open, and there was a big grade in the sacks." Afterwards, Smith ran into San Pablo Bay near Point Pinole for 17 stripers to 8 pounds to go with the rockfish limits. Salmon fishing had slowed to a crawl with a few large fish found off the Marin coast, and the season closed Sunday at sunset. Rockfishing also is outstanding at the Farallon Islands with the Captain Hook and the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing combining for 39 limits of rockfish and 37 lings to 15 pounds Sunday. Captain Don Franklin of the Soleman put his clients on to five limits of stripers with live anchovies in the Red Rock and Point Pinole area on Sunday with a couple of fish over 10 pounds a to go with a halibut, losing a couple more halibut in the process. He said, "There are bass everywhere we looked in San Pablo Bay." Franklin also touted the terrific shark fishing in the bay with his trips strictly catch and release at this time of year due to the females being loaded with live baby shark. He put his clients on to 18 leopards on a recent trip to go with a pair of soupfins. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, "You could put 30 locations in San Pablo Bay in a hat, and you could limit in any one of the choices. Striper fishing is that good right now. All of the party and private boats limited out on Saturday, and most of them limited on Sunday." Bullheads, pile worms, grass shrimp or ghost shrimp all are working for the linesides with bass on the anchor being in the 4- to 8-pound range with trolling bass being smaller at under 5 pounds on average. Drifting for stripers at the Brothers was good over the weekend on the incoming tide, but the tides won't be right again for this location until today or Thursday. Sturgeon fishing was slow over the weekend, but Fraser is looking forward to the next series of minus tides in late November. Halibut action remains decent with Fraser exclaiming, "It's November and there are still halibut to be had with anglers having a chance for a couple of flatties." The Morningstar put in nine quick limits of bass Saturday, and another 17 easy limits of bass Sunday. Also in San Pablo Bay, Joel Sinkay at Leonard's Bait has been busy with particularly large crowds for live bait on the weekends with the very good striper bite from the Port Sonoma shoreline. "Port Sonoma has been hotter than either Sonoma Creek or the Napa River," said Sinkay, who has been working overtime to procure enough live bullheads and grass shrimp to meet demand. Even with the minus tides, Sinkay has been able to drag up grass shrimp in the past couple of days, and they have been selling an average of 1,500 bullheads per week. In the south bay, John Akina at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli in South San Francisco said, "A 36-inch halibut was landed off the pier on Sunday to go with a 21-inch striper, and a couple of 24-inch stripers and a 26-inch halibut were brought over the rail on Saturday." Frozen anchovies have been the bait of choice, and these are the first halibut and stripers off the pier in some time.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Salmon ** Stripers ***
Rockfishing continues to be strong both north and south of the harbor, and there is great anticipation for the crab/rockfish combination trips starting Saturday. A few huge vermilion rockfish have been placed into the sacks, including an 11-pounder on the Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing and another large red landed by John Somers of San Francisco on the Huli Cat in 100 feet of water off Three Rocks on a shrimp fly. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, "Rockfishing is so good that we haven't even had to go south of Three Rocks to the Martin's Beach area. There have been a number of ling cod hitchhiking, but the jellyfish have been very thick." Captain Guy Anthony of New Gravy Sport Fishing took a salmon charter off the Marin coast on Saturday; and after striking out on the salmon with only one short fish hooked, they settled for rockfish limits on the way back home to the harbor, including a couple of ling cod. "One of the lings was taken on a straight anchovy on a crowbar while trolling for salmon near Rocky Point." Several boats will be running crab/rockfish combination trips starting Saturday, including: the New Captain Pete out of Huck Finn Sport Fishing, the Huli Cat, and the New Gravy, which will be limiting its passenger load to 10 anglers. One bonus for local crab fishermen is the option to have their crabs cooked across the street from the harbor at Princeton Seafood Company for a nominal fee per crab with its crab pot starting its boil at 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. north of the harbor. Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said, "Top-water lures are working for stripers off Ocean Beach in San Francisco, our local beaches and the pier." Sales of crab snatchers and nets are high in anticipation for the Dungeness opener Saturday since the Pacifica Pier is one of the top locations for shoreline access.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish **** Albacore ** White seabass ***
Rockfishing remains great with the Star of Monterey and Checkmate out of Chris' Landing posting quality limits at Point Sur on Saturday. On Sunday, the Star stayed local, but it came back to the harbor with limits of a good grade of fish. Chris' is running crab/rockfish combination trips, but they are full Sunday which is the first day of the combination trips. Chris' has plenty of room in the subsequent open days of the season. Tuna action was very slow Sunday with one skiff boating two large fish near 30/30 with another taken south of the 601. Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz reported continued good white sea bass action in the area with large fish taken in 60 to 90 feet of water near Capitola. Rockfish/lingcod action remains strong near Natural Bridges with halibut taken in 40 to 60 feet of water off Four Mile Beach. A few boats ran out for albacore, but the action continues to be slow in the 36'30/122'30 area.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod ****
Virg's Landing in Morro Bay reported 200 passengers landed 89 ling cod to 17 pounds, 697 vermilions, 982 assorted rockfish, 145 coppers, 14 bocaccio, seven cabezon and a sheephead on its bottom-fishing trips this week. Top local rockfish anglers were John Van Dam of Tipton, Robert Smith and Jose Garcia of Fresno, and Ron David and Jack Stiles of Bakersfield with ling cod at 17, 10, 8, 8, and 7 pounds respectively. Their local trip on Saturday on the Princess produced 22 lings to 14 pounds, 203 assorted rockfish, 90 vermilions, seven cabezon and the sheephead for 30 anglers fishing off Estero Point. Virg's is running a fall special for shallow water rockfish with jigs for only $89. It's next two-day trip to Cape San Martin and Lopez Point is Saturday-Sunday for $205 per angler. Rockfishing at Port San Luis remains outstanding with the Pacific Horizon boating 46 limits of rockfish, including 13 cabezon to go with 27 ling cod to 13.5 pounds on Sunday. Sean McCombs of Taft landed the jackpot ling of the day. They have landed a running total of 2,354 ling cod since the May 1 opener. The seventh annual Ling Cod contest will run until Dec. 31, and current leaders are: 1, Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces); 2, William Chong (19-0); and 3, Brad Hudson (18-12).
Call: Virg's Landing, (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass *** White bass ** Stripers ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Nacimiento will be hosting two tournaments over the weekend, including the Bass N' Tubes event. As a precaution, boaters should be on the lookout for float tubes. The lake was loaded with anglers prefishing over the past weekend, and there was a good bite reported in Bee Rock Cove with chrome jigs while Dip Creek Cove also kicked out spotted bass to 2 pounds on Kastmasters or crank baits. The narrow rock cliffs just inside the mouth of Town Creek also have been productized with 4-inch shad-patterned or dark-colored plastics dropped on top of the suspended fish. Top-water action has slowed. In San Antonio, a few boils are taking place in the mornings, and small top-water lures such as PopRs, Ricos or Zara Spooks are picking up a few fish. Striper action remains fair with the best action on large shad-patterned spoons with top-water baits such as Zara Spooks or Pencil Poppers working early or late. Drop-shotting plastics or jigs on structure are the top techniques for smallmouth bass, but when the fish are chasing bait. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed. Randy Pringle is starting a new bass circuit known as Best Bass Tournaments in the central coast lakes. Information is at bestbasstournaments.com. Its first tournament is Dec. 10 at Lopez. Nacimiento has dropped to 67%. San Antonio is holding at 72%. Santa Margarita and Lopez are at 82% and 89.3% respectively.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass *** Salmon ** Stripers *** Sturgeon *** Catfish **
The striped bass have flooded into upper Suisun Bay as far upriver as Pittsburg, and anglers are reporting easy limits of linesides in the 5- to 8-pound class. Salmon bite has slowed to a crawl with Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reporting, "Salmon have been non-existent in the past week." As a result, anglers are targeting sturgeon and stripers, and these species have filled the void. Sturgeon fishing has been very good in the Big Cut and at the Glomar. Lopez said, "There were at least 15 boats on the anchor on the sandbar south of the Glomar on Sunday afternoon, all tight in the shallows targeting both sturgeon and stripers." Bank anglers have experienced their best action under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge where the crabs have been absent, but there are plenty of bait-stealers off Ninth Street, 12th Street and in Glen Cove. Striper fishing remains strong at the Firing Line and the Middle Grounds. Bullheads are the bait of choice, and Benicia Bait, like every other bait shop from Mike's in Oakland to Hap's in Rio Vista, is blowing through dozens and dozens of this bait. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing put his clients on to four keepers over the weekend, and he moved upriver to the Pittsburg area on Sunday to discover the graph looking like an aquarium. Captain Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg Marina reported an excellent striper bite at Seal Island with four limits ranging from 5 to 6.5 pounds Sunday. "The fish were reluctant to take a live bullhead, and we scored seven of the eight keepers with cut bullheads with the head dangling," Delnero said. In addition to the limits, they released a few other legal bass and a shaker sturgeon. The Fin Addict will be offering value charters at $660 for a limited period of time. His boat is one of the more comfortable fishing platforms in the bay/Delta. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, "The parking lot is full on Sunday afternoon, and people are catching stripers like crazy." He weighed in a limit at 15 and 17 pounds on bullheads, and the sculpins are working in the area with nearly 40 boats on the anchor from the front of the harbor east to Chain Island. Buoys 34 and 1 also have been hot areas. Ghost shrimp is working for sturgeon with mudsuckers being effective for smaller stripers to 5 pounds up the river. The salmon bite off the shoreline has dried up. Jay Sorensen fished the San Joaquin River with fresh shad over the weekend, and he reported a heavy infestation of grass, specifically the grass known as witches hair and egeria gensa with a huge amount of water hyacinth on the surface. He said, "We had to clear our lines every three to four minutes on the ripping, incoming tide. I haven't seen a tide like this in some time." They ended up with a 20.5-inch striper off Light 14 on the Sacramento River, and he had to use 4 ounces of lead to stay down on the incoming tide.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger/Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303, Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645
Thursday: Central Sierra Anglers Meeting at Marie Callender's on Shaw and Cedar avenues, no host dinner from 6-7 p.m., meeting at 7 p.m.
Thursday: John Albidrez on Bass Fishing, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse
Thursday: Bill Ferrero of Mokelumne River Guide Service on Steelhead fishing, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Saturday: Visalia Bass Club (final tournament of the season) at Kaweah; Western Outdoor News at Nacimiento; Orange County Bass Club at Pine Flat
Sunday: Angler's Choice at Pine Flat; Hook, Line and Sinker at Delta/Russo's Marina; Future Pro Tour at Delta/Ladd's Marina
Nov. 12: Visalia Bass Club Tournament of Champions at Kaweah; Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Buena Vista; Angler's Choice at San Antonio
Nov. 12-13: California Striped Bass Association Fresno Chapter at San Luis
Nov. 19-20: Catch and Release RatLTrap Striper Derby at Delta/Lauritzen's Yacht Harbor in Antioch
Dec. 10: Angler's Choice at Nacimiento; 101 Bass at Lopez
Dec. 11: Angler's Choice at McClure