Fort Baker Pier Report Part 2 - This time, it's personal... 9-6-18

Couldn't pass up the favorable tides this week and convinced the wife to come down to try Fort Baker again. Same deal, left Reno at 0130, hit Pier 45, and then rods in the water by 0630, with the pier all to myself for most of the day. Lots of juvenile anchovies in the water around all sides of the pier, and Mr. Sea Lion made an appearance every now and then. I set one rod up on the deep water side, towards the gate, with a trolley rig for salmon using 10 ft. leader and a live anchovy. Another rod on the near side of the pier with a three way rig for halibut. Very slow action until about 0830 when I caught a shaker 18" butt. Had two more "halibut" bites that nibbled but never committed. About noon, I moved my halibut rod to the other side of the pier facing the marina. When I went to go grab the rest of my gear to wheel it over, the rod doubled over and was yanking line steadily, but not like a ray....some bouncing and hesitation. By the time I sprinted back, the fish had let go of the rig as it headed almost under the pier. Continued to fish the marina side for another 2 shaker halibut. Lots of crab activity as the tide slacked. Moved both rods over to the original near side of the pier by the dumpster at around 1500. At 1520 I finally had a solid take down, with the nibbles and a suicide run. Locked the baitrunner and set the hook and immediately knew it was a nice sized halibut by the way it was fighting. After about a 5 minute fight, got him to the surface, and from 10 ft above the water, this guy looked to be about 28-30 inches. Had him pretty worn out from a nice battle, but my wife had left to go buy food and there was no one else on the pier to assist (even the tourists had disappeared). Managed to carefully walk him down the pier rail to my crab net and lower it quickly to the water. I am very experienced in landing my own fish, and the halibut was tired, but the problem was that I had him barely hooked in the membrane in the side of his lip. Right as he was just halfway into the net, he sprung back to life and gave a nice "flop and roll" and bam! He was gone. Yup, total shock and disbelief that the late season keeper I've been chasing the past 4 trips to the bay was just in reasonable reach, and fate decided otherwise. I was pretty tore up, but naturally, I re-rigged up and kept at it. At about 1600 a school of stripers came through, because I nearly had a double hookup, with one fish hitting and as I was hoisting up to the pier, the second rod spooled off. Luckily another gentleman was fishing with his son by this time and he was able to help me hoist up the first fish while I tended to the second with my wife who had returned. Both fish were keepers at 19 and 20 inches, and very healthy so we decided to have striped bass for dinner. Had a third fish hit about 20 minutes later, and he was released. Action slowed down after that and I decided to throw in the towel since I had been at it for 11 hours straight and I was in need of a hot meal. Strange that all of the action came when the tide bottomed out.... I usually have more luck with the incoming tide. All said and done, it was a real heart-breaker of a day (I'm still mourning my loss), but I did get some action and we have a fish to eat and one to give to my extended family, so I cannot complain. Tides are a bit stronger next week, but I may give the south end of the bridge a shot, who knows, I've heard of halibut action in September and October in the past.
Baker Striper.jpg
Thanks guys, I think I may try Fort Point next week and see if it makes a difference. Has anyone heard of any success near Fort Mason or Crissy field?
Thanks guys, I think I may try Fort Point next week and see if it makes a difference. Has anyone heard of any success near Fort Mason or Crissy field?
Muni or Ft point have done well for me this year. For Ft point at the tip of the “L” casting out towards the direction of the yacht club, and for muni, try fishing in the slots that’re facing out in the bay and not the inside of the pier.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Those are two piers that I also need to revisit soon. Been talking of heading up there all fall but one thing after another seems to come up. I need to get fresh pictures (and fish) all the SF peninsula piers.