Mike McNeilly reporting from Bodega Bay

Posted: July 22, 2012 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Out of Area, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead
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Hey Chris,

I see that you saw my recent salmon trip photos on my facebook page. Here’s a report for Triple A from down south:

Since the ocean season opened in early April, there has been a red hot bite for kings somewhere along the California coastline. In the first month of the season, the bite was red hot in and around Monterey Bay, and since then it has progressively moved north. Currently, it is red hot outsie my favorite port of Bodega Bay. The wind has been a factor all season long, and despite the abundance of fish, having conditions safe enough to fish in have been hard to come by.

Finally, the wind layed down, and my work and personal schedule opened up enough for me to put my boat in the salt. Fortunately, my best fishing partner, Jeremiah Wattenberger, and his family had rented a house right on the beach. It was the perfect scenario.

The night that I arrived at the house, I gave my crew the pre game pep talk. “Alright guys, I know we’ve been hearing stories of limits, but I’ll be happy to just put a few nice fish on the boat.” I wanted to manage expectations from the get go, although I was guardedly optimistic. Needless to say, all of our expectations were surpassed.

When I pulled out of the harbor into the wide open ocean in the 5:00 a.m. dark, I had the decision to either go north or south. I wishy- washed around for a mintue, and finally decided to head north. Good choice. I motored us a few miles north of the closed MLPA area, and we dropped our lines in. We had three rods on the riggers, and one sinker rod out. We didn’t even have time to get all of our rods out. Rod three that went out was the sinker rod, and as soon as 40 pulls were counted we were hooked up. Actually, JW’s brother, Jessie, (that doesn’t fish) was holding the rod when he exclaimed “I think there’s something tugging on this rod!” We told him to start reeling, and it turned out he was hooked up to a nice 13lb king. Meanwhile, the boat was in nuetral and my rod is just hanging off the downrigger. At this point, I’m basically mooching an anchovie, and guess what happened? Double! My rod starts bucking in the d.r., so I yanked it out chaos ensued. Jessie’s fish put up a determined struggle, and mine came right to the boat. Unfortunately, mine came unbuttoned right at the net. Jessie eventually landed his fish. We doubled back through the area and immediatley hooked up again. That fish also made it into the box, and it became very apparent that it was going to be exceptional fishing to say the least. After that point
we had a few lulls in the action, but we never went more than an hour without hooking up.

The following day, it was just my main man, JW, and myself. We have every expectation of catching more king salmon this season than we can possibly use, so we cherry picked our fish and did some catch and release fishing. A few years ago when California’s salmon population was in the toilet, I never thought I’d see the day that I would throw back a 15Lb king. It was just too easy. from 6:00 a.m. till 10:00 a.m. we hooked 20-ish kings, landing 15 of them. Our average fish was about 14Lbs, and the final fish of the day that we decided to end on was 20Lbs on the nose. We heard of radio fish in the 30-40Lb range, but we didn’t hook any of them.

Here’s the final tally: over three days, we hooked approximately 50 salmon bringing 32 to net. 2 of our fish were clipped Coho that we had to release under California law. Why? I have no idea. Oregon and Washington anglers have wacked thousands upon thousands of Sacramento and Klamath Chinooks in their ocean waters. So, why shouldn’t we be allowed to harvest a few of Oregon’s precious clipped Coho. When we finished our day of salmon fishing, I would motor the boat into some rockpiles and try for rockies and lings. The rockfish and ling bite was surprisingly slow, but we put a couple of quality browns and coppers in the box. We also released some monster Canaries in the 5-6Lb range. In fact, we caught more endangered Canaries than any other species. All in all, it was an awesome trip.

This is shaping up to be an amazing year for us California salmon fishermen. In case you guys up north haven’t heard, we are expecting 800,000 kings on the Sacramento, and are you sitting down? 1.6 million fall run chinooks on the Klamath River. From what I’ve seen out in the ocean, I believe it.


A little about Mike….

I live in Reno currently, but I went to school in Anderson Ca. I like Reno, and I will stay here as long as I have a job. I pretty much live to fish, and I spend all of my spare time and income in that pursuit. I have been married to my wife, Michele, for a couple of years, but we were together for a while before that. We have a baby girl, Olivia, and she has been much more fun than anticipated.

*If you’d like to see more content from Mike McNeilly search his name, Michael McNeilly or his moniker ‘Mr. Sockeye’ right here on AAA….

  1. The Hustler says:

    Great Report, Mr Sockeye. I enjoyed reading that. Those are some impressive numbers to say the least. Tight lines!

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