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Fishing in the San Francisco Bay Area, California for Striped Bass and Halibut

Posted by on December 1, 2011

Yes, you can catch fish in the San Francisco Bay Area despite whatever environmental warnings there are as well as the heavy ship traffic that occurs within the bay itself. But I have to say that there are a lot of great opportunities to catch a lot of fish out of the bay ranging from flounders to striped bass to salmon to even sharks! Yes, there are sharks but they are the smaller ones – Leopard Sharks not the dangerous great whites although it could technically be possible…

Like what I wrote about my time on the Half Moon Bay fishing charter boat, the Queen of Hearts, there are plenty of boats that specialize in fishing charters in the bay area. The boat that I went on was the California Dawn. Based out of the Berkeley, California marina, these guys have fishing rods and lures for rent and have the expert deckhands to help any fisherman catch fish out of the bay. I knew I would be needing that help after getting tangled with other fellow fishermen’s lines due to the boat drifting in an unusual direction (no thanks to the big cargo ships creating some big waves).

Nonetheless, I fished for awhile and didn’t get anything until I got a bite from something unusual. After reeling in it, the fish was not a fish at all. It was a ray of some kind which later I found out was called a bat ray.

Bat Ray, San Francisco Bay Area, raya del mar

Bat Ray caught in the Bay

Pretty unusual and yet, still cool to say that I got one but generally people let these guys go as they don’t have much meat on them so I let mine go. I tried my luck at fishing again for awhile but I was getting nothing. I was starting to get impatient with the whole thing after seeing others catch more and more fish. As the rookie fisher on this boat, I knew that I wasn’t on the Queen of Hearts where I’d easily out-catch others. But on this one, nope. Had trouble. In fact I had another big tangle with other fishermen’s lines that it turned into a big bird’s nest. After the deckhand got it cleared, he noticed something unusual that was there was a fish on the line. After reeling in it, I found myself with a decent sized halibut!

San Francisco Bay Fishing - Halibut, pez

My first halibut!

Alright! It looked like I wasn’t going empty handed after all and I was going to enjoy this one. After fishing a bit more and not getting anything, I finally got a big bite and this one fought a bit harder than usual. Within a minute or two, I got a visual on the fish and it was nice-sized striped bass! Wow, two first-timers. My first ray ever, my first halibut ever, and now my first striped bass ever! There was no way I could beat that (well, Mexico can…. but that’s a different story). I didn’t get any more fish on that day (I really wanted a leopard shark but not on that day) but still, I had a good time. And the fish were great on the dinner table.

San Francisco Bay Fishing - Striped Bass

I was more than happy with this Striped Bass to take home with me