A Rare Male Keeper

nolandw

Active Member
#21
Legendary! Super impressive this late.

If you feel comfortable sharing, I'm curious on when (if at all) you decide to stop targeting halibut in the Bay. (I guess you also never know unless you try...) It seems like in recent years they are staying around later and later?
 
#22
Legendary! Super impressive this late.

If you feel comfortable sharing, I'm curious on when (if at all) you decide to stop targeting halibut in the Bay. (I guess you also never know unless you try...) It seems like in recent years they are staying around later and later?
I think you're right about them staying around later and later, and I suspect part of that is because they seem to be arriving later and later. Seasons seem somewhat skewed in the last...five years, maybe more. Possibly it's because the halibut do not enter the Bay System to spawn as a single large wave, but rather in sporadic spurts. Weather? Climate? Who can say for sure. (I personally think the latter.) I also think there is some truth in the relocation of spawn areas, so that the Bay is not exclusive. Humboldt and more northern estuaries, for example. Or farther south. The numbers certainly indicate the fall-off of halibut catches locally. Once upon a time, party boats (so called "sport" fishing boats) could boast about three fish per angler, then it got down to two, and more recently it's a big deal if they can score one halibut per customer (over $100 per fish, yikes!).

I do not think over fishing can be blamed. This year there were tons of shorties.

Most people like to target halibut during the "season," in other words during the heyday of the spawn, yet you can find these fish year round. Crissy Field, for example, is one place where you can catch them on lures every month of the year. To be sure, not with the same potential as during the spawn, but still a chance. I have caught these fish in every month of the year.

I like to fish with live bait or lures. My own "target season" for the flattie is typically from mid-February (when the solitary large females start wandering the deep water channels and sometimes stray to the shallows for small fish--big jacksmelt are worthy offerings) through late October, but when there is a prolonged drought I believe I can "stretch" that season a bit both ways. Point Pinole used to be a go-to location for late autumn halibut, but I rarely head there thanks to the balloon fishermen. Not a fan of crossed lines. As I get older and more lazier, it just seems comfortable to sit on live bait and hang out, or patrol the shoreline with artificials. Wintertime is more of a transition to plastic grubs on the ocean shore for large barred perch.

Sorry for the long reply. Lots of factors in play, however. I guess if there were a short answer, I'd say I shy away from halibut fishing when the water gets cold and the runoff from the Delta is fierce. But these are, as I'm sure everyone can agree, strange times.