A journal of outdoor adventure travel

Albacore fishing in Northern California

By Skip Bankert, OJ Staff

Now, the "mainstream" tuna ports ringing Monterey Bay, Half Moon Bay, and the landings inside San Francisco Bay have all repored good scores of albacore. For once, Northern California anglers got a break, but whether that good fortune will hold out depends much on the winter storm patterns.

Early in September, the action started to build and the first 100-plus scores hit the boards when ocean conditions became perfect in the middle of the month. Currently, an unusual early cold front has mixed up the warm currents and the bite seems off again.

But the extended forecast, something that tuna anglers always monitor, promise a return to high pressure and that means conditions more conducive to allowing warm currents to push towards shore again.

Vital with the warm currents pushing close to shore are calm sea conditions. Part of this requirement is the obvious, but the aspect that many overlook is the fact that when the ocean is calm, even small private boats will run for tuna. Typically, the more boats out searching for fish, the better for the fleet as a whole. A kind of informal network exists in California's offshore fishing via VHF radio. When one boat finds fish, its crew is obligated to send out lat/long numbers for others.

Rough seas means that only a few boats will be out searching, and they can't cover the water required to always pin down the fish.

With luck, a few more weeks of tuna fishing will provide some action to keep the fleet fishing for awhile longer. Unfortunately, salmon has been slow, and bottomfishing will close early on Oct. 1 for the waters between Pigeon Point and the Oregon border, that fishery a bread and butter standby for the sportfishing operations in the fall months. After that, the only bright spot will be another popular opener, the sport Dungeness crab season in November.


Handy links:

Party boats offering tuna trips:

Berkeley

Emeryville

Half Moon Bay

Monterey

Moss Landing

Santa Cruz

Shelter Cove

Vital private boater links:

Coastside Fishing Club

Terrafin Sea Surface Temp

Bay Area Tuna Club

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