Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition 3813 June 7-21 2019 - Page 30
June 7 - 21, 2019
VOL.38 • ISS. 13
Halibut Frenzy Aboard The Pacific Dream!
ive bait season is finally here. For
what seemed liked like an eternity,
the wait is now over. Bay Area saltwater
anglers welcomed the arrival of the
anchovy with open arms. Early season
halibut and striped bass scores were good,
however party boats and private skiffs
were limited to trolling dead bait.
Thanks to social media, when word
got out that bait was finally available,
the news spread rapidly. From day one,
fish counts immediately skyrocketed. At
the epicenter of this hot bite is Happy
Hooker Sportfishing. Aboard the Happy
Hooker, Captain Jonathon Smith has been
experiencing great success drifting live
anchovies for halibut and striped bass.
Not to be out done, aboard the newest
member to the San
the Pacific Dream,
Captain Chris Smith
has been making his
with excellent fish
scores as well.
Not wanting to
miss out on the
action, I booked a
trip with Captain
Chris aboard the
Pacific Dream for
a day of live bait
fishing. I have fished
with Chris a number
of times before, but
this was my first time aboard his new
boat and I was impressed. The boat is big
and wide with plenty of deck space and
room to fish. This boat truly fishes like a
At 6am on the dot, Captain Chris
pulled out of the Berkeley Marina and
made a path for the bait receivers at Pier
47. When we arrived, we were in good
company as the entire fleet was cued up
waiting to get bait.
With the bait tanks full, Captain Chris
made way for the South Bay where we
came to our first stop not far past the
eastern span of the Bay Bridge. After
a short drift with little action, Captain
Chris instructed us to reel up our lines in
preparation for a short move to an area
closer to the Oakland Airport.
This proved to be a wise move, as once
the tide got right, it did not take long for
the fish to start biting. The anglers on
the bow were first to hook up and soon
the halibut were coming over the rail at
a steady clip. With my rod in the holder,
I waited patiently and monitored my tip
for a bite. After rebaiting with fresh bait, I
Anglers drifting live bait in various areas of
S.F. Bay have been averaging 2 fish per rod
to limits while targeting halibut.
Photo courtesy of PACIFIC DREAM
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got my first bite of the
day. My rod tip loaded
up and then it quickly
went slack. I reeled up
my gear to find the tell
tale signs of halibut’s
teeth marks on my
anchovy, I had been
I rigged up with
a fresh lively bait
and dropped it to the
bottom. Before I had
time to put my rod
in the holder, I felt a
halibut grab my bait.
I waited until the rod
loaded and then I
began reeling quickly
to set the hook and it was
game on. After a short
fight I called for the net
and soon deckhand Joey
had the fish on board.
One look at the halibut
and I could see that it
was on the borderline.
“Sorry Mark, it’s just
short,” said Joey as he
released the fish back
This big California halibut grabbed a live anchovy drifted on a
into the water.”
three-way rig in early May.
Little did I know but
Photo courtesy of PACIFIC DREAM SPORTFISHING, Berkeley.
this was a pattern that
would repeat itself for
the rest of the day. Close but no
cigar. It seems I had been bitten
by the “Shaker Bone”.
Fortunately for the others on
the boat, they were not relegated
to the same fate as me. The
halibut bit at a frenzied pace.
Drift after drift, deck hands
Joey and Steve were a blur of
action as they netted fish for
customers. At the end of the day
when Captain Chris fired up the
engines for the last time, the final
tally was almost two halibut per
rod for the 25 anglers plus nearly
a dozen striped bass as well.
On the trip back to Berkeley,
I had sometime to chat with
Captain Chris and what he told
me was hard to believe. “The
halibut fishing this year has been
exceptional, especially now
since we have live bait,” said
Captain Chris. “As good as it is
now I expect that it will only get
If you would like to book a
trip on the Pacific Dream or
the Happy Hooker, you can
visit their website at http://
S.F. Bay halibut fishing aboard the Pacific Dream has
been excellent with big fish like this impressive halibut
com and book online or call
hitting the deck daily.
Photo courtesy of PACIFIC DREAM SPORTFISHING,
(shown with optional equipment)
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