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Fishing for Stripers and Halibut in the San Francisco Bay (continued)


On the final drift at the Rock Cal hooked into something that we knew was not a striper. From the second it hit the bait it felt different. With the signature head shakes that make rod tips come alive he knew he had a Halibut on the line. He worked the fish up towards the surface and it looked like heavy lifting as he really put the Shimano Terez rod to work.


The tables are turned as Cal uses my outfit to muscle a halibut to the surface


The rod responded confidently and the winching power of the Shimano Calcutta D 300 was more than enough to gain control of the Halibut. It was at this point that both the dogs onboard ran right up to the rails and started barking vociferously.


Ahi and Mochi bark loudly at an approaching Sea Lion


They had spotted a sea lion making a bee-line for the boat. While the sea lions are a beloved sight among San Francisco Bay tourists they are not a welcome guests among party boaters that are weary of fish stolen right off the end of their lines.


The halibut goes ballistic once it is netted


I remember the first time I went mooching for Salmon and I was taking my time reeling the fish in when a sea lion grabbed the fish from behind. I continued to reel defiantly and actually managed to get the fish back to the boat, well…. at least half of it, as the sea lion had shredded the fish not far back from the Salmon’s head.


What's for dinner? Halibut.


Cal wasn’t about to let the sea lion get our first halibut of the day and quickly picked up the pace, guiding the fish into range of the net. The second the net hit the fish on the surface it went ballistic but within seconds it was safely secured on the deck of the Tigerfish. "I like big "buts" I cannot lie," I sang as Cal held up his catch triumphantly and exclaimed “it looks like we were going to get some halibut for dinner.”


Fishing for halibut on the other side of the bay with the Golden Gate in the distance. Inshore scenery just doesn't get much better than this.


After that drift Captain Al head to the Northern part of the Bay and we ran a tight deep drift as the tide was changing. The fast currents made for a fast yet very exciting drift where we averaged another fish or two on each drift for the boat. We stayed out almost until 4:00 that afternoon, and while many of the other party boats had gone long ago Captain Al was convinced that with the tide change and the currents slowing we would have one more shot at catching a few more halibut. The extra time out there paid off as three anglers, myself included, picked up some quality halibut to finish the day.


Thanks to Captain Al and a little extra time on the water we bag one more halibut


Our day on the Tigerfish was a vastly different experience than fishing on the deck of my bass boat, but certainly a nice change of pace, and it was great to see the fishery delivering plenty of quality fish. While we didn’t catch any giant stripers Captain Al explained that both quality and quantity of stripers in the Bay this season was the best he has seen in years. Judging from our haul for the day I think most anglers would agree. We had 15 anglers on the boat and we finished up with 15 limits (2 per day) of stripers and also 12 quality halibut. A pretty productive way to spend the day out on the water, all with the beautiful milieu of the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate in the distance.


The Tigerfish back at the marina


This is my third trip on the Tigerfish and this operation is quickly becoming one of my go to charters when it comes time to test inshore tackle. Captain Al not only knows how to find the fish but he and his crew always seem to go that extra mile to make sure that everyone has as positive an experience as possible.


The Tigerfish delivered with a limit of stripers and plenty of quality halibut. This is what party boat fishing is all about


On this particular trip there was a mix of individuals from the seasoned saltwater hardened anglers to rookies just wetting their line for the first time, and everyone went home with a smile on their face and a fish in their cooler. There were plenty of saltwater fish stories swapped and plenty of laughs to go around, and even when the fishing slowed down everyone was still having fun, which is exactly what being on a good “party boat” is all about.


If you want to get in on some San Francisco Bay fishing give the Tigerfish crew a call at (650) 455-9599 or visit their website, and just tell Captain Al you want the TackleTour treatment.










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