Salmon season gets a rocky start out of the gate

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Salmon season gets a rocky start out of the gate

Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle  

April 14, 2002

The Bay Area salmon season opened yesterday, but topsy-turvy seas made it resemble a gymnastics competition for fishermen stumbling around on boats.

A late-morning bite salvaged the day for Golden Gate Fleet with the top boat, Wacky Jacky, reporting 12 salmon to 23 pounds for 19 people aboard.

The top spot was 8 miles south of S Buoy in 40 fathoms of water, roughly 12 miles off shore Pedro Point in Pacifica. Another school of fish was located north of the Weather Buoy off Half Moon Bay.

The day's first fish was caught at dawn by Bob Swan of Vacaville to open the season. What followed was difficult for many with 15-knot winds 6-to-8- foot waves and 51-degree water. Those conditions kept boats under 24 feet tied up back at the docks.

That left the job of finding the fish solely to the big party boats. They found them by mid-morning, but had to wade through hordes of pesky jellyfish, which fouled lines.

The day was otherwise brightened by clear skies on the briny deep with the sea surface sprinkled for miles with vellela, "sailors of the sea," a cellophane-like cousin of the jellyfish. There were thousands of them.

On a personal note, this was my 21st straight opener, and after hours of zilch, I caught a 12-pounder on my last drop. Field scout Gary Stonaker of Novato, fishing to my right, had the day's biggest fish, a 23-pounder.

The salmon season will run through Nov. 10 with a 24-inch minimum size limit through April. In May, the size limit will be reduced to 20 inches.

Yesterday's scores:

San Francisco: Wacky Jacky had 12 salmon to 23 pounds for 19 people; Miss Sarallones had three to 17 pounds for four.

SAUSALITO: Outer Limits had nine to 14 for 28; Flying Fish had four to 12 for 25; Hog Heaven had seven to 14 for 18.

BERKELEY: New Fisherman III had 11 to 8 for 15; El Dorado had six to 16 for 17; New Golden Eye had nine to 16 for 39; New Easy Rider had six to 22 for 19.

EMERYVILLE: Seeker had four to 11 for 27.

HALF MOON BAY: Queen of Hearts had eight to 15 for 24.
 

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