|The Sportsmenís Report
Salmon fishing runs hot
Salmon off the Sonoma and Marin coast is hot, hot, hot. Dave Batt, president of the Redwood Empire Divers, camped on the coast four days last week. Day one, he was solo on his skiff and seas were calm. He caught only one salmon and lost it at the net. That is always a bummer.
Dave said, “I think the thing to do is to make that fish run out a second time after you reel him in close. Release the drag and let him run, then wrestle him to the boat again, if the fish is still frisky, do it again until he is calm enough to be netted.” Very good advice. Late that same day, Dave caught and netted a nice lingcod. In the end, a good day.
Day two, he met up with local divers and fishermen, Mike Mendoza and Paul Damguaard. They trolled a bit further out in Mike’s boat. After a few hours, Dave tried a lure change – Franks Bait Rotator in watermelon color, it worked. In fact, it worked so well they took turns fishing one rod and brought home limits.
Day three, Dave was solo again he took two 18-pound fish by 10 in the morning. Day four, it took him until noon to net one at 12 pounds and one 17 pounds.
Dave and some members of the dive club were south of the Russian River for a shore entry abalone dive. He said it was rough going but paid off with a pair of 9.5-inch abs.
Halibut are back in for the summer season. The club will be going out this weekend for flatties; they use a drift dive and shoot them just behind the eyes. Halibut settle in the sand and ruffle their fins, then they are buried with just their eyeballs sticking out. Unfortunately, the Angle shark looks nearly the same and is not nearly as friendly once speared. In fact, when an angle shark is on the other end of your spear gun, the best strategy is to let go and find the tackle later. This is possible because you attach to your spear gun a small float. If the fish on the other end is long and grey with a white belly and lots of teeth, get back in the boat and head for shore, lest you get on the menu.
Speaking of great whites, I was at the mouth of the Russian near Jenner looking down on the seals sunning themselves on the beach. There are lots of baby seals this year, very cute. It is a good policy to scuba or abalone dive away from baby seals, I call them shark candy bars.
If you are not a diver or do not have a boat, check with the Outdoor Pro shop for advice on charters.
They are doing great in San Francisco Bay as well. If you have not caught or eaten a California halibut, you are in for a treat. The folks there will also give you advice on salmon party boats. The commercial operators work out of Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg and S.F. Bay.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is past president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association.