Chris Lauritzen Fish Report - November 11, 2016

In thirteen days it will be Thanksgiving oh happy days a day off.

We continue to have some of the best fall weather for striper fishing that anyone could ask for with day time temperatures reaching into the mid 70’s or better here at the Antioch Bridge with very little wind.

I’m told based on how full our launching ramp parking lot has been this past week that striper fishing is still going very strong.

Based on a conversation I had with one of the all time great fishing guides in the delta a week ago fishing in Honker Bay or Grizzly Bay is one of the areas where there is great striper fishing going on right now and that has been the case for over the past month when I have seen this guys with his guests out just about every day.

Other spots that are just as great this time of year are Fraser Shoals in Broad Slough, Montezuma Slough near Chain Island, Sherman Lake, the sand bar out in front of our harbor, the sand bar near Eddo’s, above the barges at False River, Santa Clara Shoals, and finally San Andreas Shoals to name just a few spot.

Others that need mention as well are Franks Tract and Mildred Island. Until I don’t see the fishing guide I mentioned launching from here any more I would say that Grizzly Bay and parts west are the places to be fishing.

Don’t fish were you don’t see any boats fishing fish where there is a fleet. Don’t be in such a hurry as you are motoring up or down the river to your favorite spot check out each and every boat you pass. Do they have the net out are there fish hanging?

Is that boat working a fish, are there birds working a particular area and no boats around (chances are birds are working a bait ball that no one else has picked up on yet)? These are just a couple of hints that will help improve your fishing success.

For every striper you clean at our fish cleaning station I want to thank you it means one more quality bait I have for crabbing at Bodega Bay.

It’s no surprise that since duck hunting opened up on October 22nd that hunting has been pretty bad. The weather is just not cooperating. Yep we had lots of rain in October (a record by some accounts) but no real storms to push the birds around so you are not seeing many hunters out hunting most of the duck guys that I have spoken to that launch at the harbor have gone back to striper fishing since the weather and water conditions are just perfect for fall striper fishing.

I have to admit I did something pretty dumb last weekend. I was one of those guys out of Bodega Bay that was dumping crab pots starting at one minute after midnight Saturday morning.

I did it for several reason mostly I was running out of time as I am up in Edmonds Washington taking two radar classes (ARPA and ECDIS) to advance my 500 ton Coast Guard License, So if I waited until day light and then waited another six hours or so for a soak before I pulled the pots I may or may not have had much crab in the pots.

The crab pots that were in the outer bay between the jetty of Bodega Bay and Tomales Bay had a five crab average lots of rock crab in the pots and lots of female rock crab in the pots as well.

I put a string of pot in 120 – ft of water off Tomales Point and those pots are averaging 10 – 12 crab per pot and nice size 1.5 – 2 – lb crab.

I have some crab pots out in 180 – ft of water as well as 210 ft of water and those pots were producing 10 – 12 – crab per pot all nice size.

The longer the commercial season does not open the longer we sport guys have quality crab to eat. When the commercial guys do open up the easy crab will be gone in a number of weeks.

The commercial guys need a pay check just like you and me, I hope the season opens up for them soon so that they have a good holiday season because my commercial fishing friends did not make any money crabbing this year, and they had a poor salmon season just like you and me.

I was fascinated by how many people, boats and kayaks were out in or on the ocean dumping their pots or fishing for crab at midnight.

As I motored past the launching ramp at Doran park the launching ramp was very busy launching boats like the opening of salmon season. As I rounded the turn near Campbell Cove there had to be over 100 folks along the shoreline fishing for crab some with fishing poles some tossing crab nets out. Most of the folks had bond fires going and all looked to be having a great time.

As I passed through the jetty at Bodega Bay there were people every where with their head lamps on climbing over rocks like ants getting to a spot that will still available. It seemed that every possible spot was taken by someone with a fishing rod or net or both.

Manuvering out of the jetty by boat was just nuts. I had every size and shaped boat heading out from kayaks to over loaded boats with very little free board to boats my boats size and larger.

I would not have been out if it was not for the fact that I put on one of those big bright lights that blinds anything in front of you. The light helped me avoid kayakers and floating crab pot lines and buoys which is why I purchased the light to begin with.

I will say straight up that I do not believe in having a bright light on when navigating at night because you have no night vision, with that said the only exception is when out crabbing.

I will also say that the opening Saturday is the only weekend that I will crab at night all season long it is jut too dangerous I don’t care how good a boatman you are.

The commercial guys do it because they make a living at it and sometimes they make a mistake and pay for it with their boat or their lives, it just is not worth risk versus the reward.

In closing I just want to say the Fish and Wildlife Commission got it wrong on this one. By opening up the crab season at 0001 hours on Saturday November 5th they put a lot of people lives at risk. A lot of people were out on the water in very small boats that had no business out on the water at night or day light hours.

I observed boats with very little free board over crowded by the number of people on board and then crab pots and gear added to the weight of the boat.

I was done putting my crab pots out by 3:30 am and tied up back at my dock in Mason’s at 3:31 am the Coast Guard put out a report of a missing kayaker. A friend of the kayakers had reported the kayaker missing from Doran Beach.

The fog came in the kayaker didn’t know where he was so he (hugged a tree and stayed in the same spot to be found) tied himself up to a channel marker between the jetty and Doran Launching Ramp. We had spotted the kayaker on our way in. We thought he was crabbing but he was asleep.

I advised the Coast Guard that I had seen a kayaker at that channel marker. The Coast Guard asked that I go back to that area, I did.

There was Anthony with his head set on listening to music, asleep sitting up lashed to a channel marker at 4:00 am in the fog in Bodega Bay. We got Anthony and his kayak in my boat and took him over to the Doran Launching Ramp where there was a waiting ambulance to check him out medically.

That is just one instance as to why we need a sunrise opening for crab season versus this crazy midnight stuff.

Enjoy this great weather as long as it lasts we need a lot more rain and more importantly we need snow pack in the Sierra’s for our reservoirs for next year.

See you on the water Delta Chris

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