Sittin on the dock of the bay
April 17, 2012 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me everything you know about fishing from the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Bonus points for East Bay specifics.

As a kid growing up outside Philadelphia, I spent a lot of time fishing in lakes and streams with my cousin and stepdad. We caught trout, bass, perch, bluegill, etc. We went on a couple deep sea fishing trips for sea bass as well.

Now I live in the East Bay, just half a mile from Point Isabel. My cousin lives up in Washington state and is still an avid fisherman. We were chatting the other day and he pointed out that there is probably some good fishing fun to be had very close to me.

I haven't fished in years, barely ever in the ocean, never on the west coast, and I know nothing about fishing in the SF Bay.

Assuming I'd be fishing from the shore and not from a boat: What kind of rod/reel/line would I need? What type of bait? What kind of fish could I expect to catch? Would I even want to eat any fish from the bay? Do I need a license? What are the best times of day to fish? Any local etiquette I should be aware of?
posted by gnutron to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a guide to what's safe to eat (and how often) if you're fishing in the Bay. That's all I got.
posted by rtha at 2:55 PM on April 17, 2012

This doesn't exactly answer your question, but....

There are, as you know, a lot of refineries in the East Bay. You may want to instead consider a short trip to the Delta. I believe it's considered much safer in terms of pollutants.

Your best way to get this info is to call a tackle shop in the area you're considering fishing.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:13 PM on April 17, 2012

Response by poster: Just to note: I'd be happy to catch and release. I'm not necessarily set on consuming fish from the bay.
posted by gnutron at 3:21 PM on April 17, 2012

I'm not a salt water fisherman, so I can't give you any recommendations for that, but have you considered fishing San Pablo Reservoir? It's also nearby, it's beautiful, and it probably has the best fresh water fishing within the Bay Area proper. They have a marina with boat rentals as well as shore fishing, and the fishing there is actually quite decent.

Another good freshwater choice in that general area is Lafayette Reservoir in Moraga. It's smaller than San Pablo, but the fishing there is also decent, and it's also very restive.

If you're willing to travel further inland to one of the many reservoirs in the Central Valley or Sierra foothills the (freshwater) fishing choices continue to improve.

And of course, if you have access to a boat or are willing to rent one, there's the whole Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta system that supports a world class warm water fishery.
posted by mosk at 3:39 PM on April 17, 2012

Grarrr..."restful", not "restive"...lousy auto correct :forehead slap:
posted by mosk at 3:41 PM on April 17, 2012

I'm not a guy who fishes much but this is the first year in a while where we've had a salmon season. You can rent a spot on a Salmon Party Boat - I've been out on both the Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha from that list and had a blast.

Also even rookies are pretty much guaranteed to pull in a fish on those boats so you can bring an adventurous friend and they'll probably have a good time.
posted by bitdamaged at 5:00 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kayak fishing is huge in the Bay and has an avid following. Check out some of the local clubs. You will learn more than you wanted to know about fishing the Bay!
posted by fshgrl at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2012

There's also fishing at the Berkeley Pier.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:41 PM on April 17, 2012

You're going to get the best introduction to fishing in the Bay on a charter boat. You can buy a one-day fishing license on the boat and they'll provide or rent the rod, reel and tackle. They'll show you how to do everything and try their best to make sure you hook in. Your fellow anglers on the boat will probably love to answer the kinds of questions you've asked here. I only go on trips that are staying inside the Golden Gate because I tend to get seasick in the ocean.

I had a great time on The Happy Hooker but these guys are probably also fine. Ask what they're fishing for and where they're going. Dramamine. Have fun.
posted by lamp at 1:26 AM on April 18, 2012

To get set up and also receive great advice for all the of the bay area go to Hi's Tackle Shop. . They are in S. San Francisco they are very knowledgable and friendly. The web site also shows the proper riggings for SF bay fishing.

Pick up a copy of The Fish Sniffer (one of the best names ever) they are nor cal based and have updated listings of where and what is being caught. They list all the party boats going out and what they are catching also.

When the stripers are running you can toss large Kastmasters right off the end of the channel at pt. Isabel. They catch salmon stripers and sturgeon off the vallejo pier and same thing in San Rafael.
posted by pianomover at 9:23 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also trout season opens in two weeks. The major rivers that feed the delta all have great trout fishing a couple hours drive away.
posted by pianomover at 9:29 AM on April 18, 2012

x2 for Hi's Tackle Shop. That place is fantastic!
posted by mosk at 11:15 AM on April 18, 2012

« Older Non-religious quotes for graduating university...   |   Morbid in Margaritaville Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.