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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 10:42 am | Partly Cloudy 61º


Captain’s Log: Fish Tales Just in Time for Halibut Season

Capt. David Bacon holds up a halibut, which tend to start biting well and spawning in May, but an early spring means their early arrival.
Capt. David Bacon holds up a halibut, which tend to start biting well and spawning in May, but an early spring means their early arrival. (Capt. Tiffany Vague photo)

A group of fisherfolk got together last week in south San Francisco to share their excitement over their seasonal allergies and particularly what it means for their fishing plans for February.

All of them were sniffling and had irritated eyes, but their excitement was evident and their logic was clear as a bell.

Early season allergies mean an early spring (that groundhog in the Midwest ain’t got nuthin’ on these guys!) and therefore an early arrival of halibut. Now, this is usually considerably early in the season to begin halibut fishing in earnest, but they followed their stuffy noses, fired up their boats, fished the South Bay and danged if they didn’t boat a few “flatties.” Their logic produced fish!

Around the Channel Islands, halibut tend to start biting well and spawning in May. Do rising water temps have something to do with it? Maybe so, but my own theory is that by May the length of daylight each day puts enough sunshine on them in shallow water to bring about metabolic changes and they begin to eat in preparation for spawning efforts.

Some folks feel that when mustard seed blossoms fill our local hillsides, bass spawns begin. The bass are not much interested in mustard seed, but they rely on some of the same things to tell them it is time. Up north, late winter freshwater flows get herring spawns going and sturgeon show up in force. Some relationships are easy to understand and some are more coincidental.

In Vallejo, a feller was fishing on a pier one evening last week when he hooked into a serious fish. Without the ability to stand and move around quickly, he was limited in his ability to keep his line straight out from the pier (a favorite saying in fishing is, “No angles, no tangles”). There were other fishers on the pier willing to help, but the feller wanted to fight the fish himself.

After a lengthy battle that could easily have gone either way, he managed to bring his fish to topwater next to the pier. At that point, among much cheering, everyone on the pier stopped fishing to help bring his fish up over the rail of the pier and then help him stow it so he could get it home.

It was a heartwarming example of community spirit among the recreational angling community.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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