Sat., April 12 - 25 anglers, 2 keepers to 10 lbs., lost one more
Thu., April 10 - 6 anglers, lots of hunting, no catching
Mon., April 7 - 10 Fishing Fools, gave it the good ol' college try
Sun., April 6 - 19 anglers, a few shakers but no keepers
Sat., April 5 - 21 anglers, rotten ocean conditions, only landed one mackerel
Saturday, April 12 - We finally got the skunk off the boat!
Captain Bob called in a little after noon reporting in that we finally landed the first keeper of the season on the Queen of Hearts, and not shortly thereafter fish number two made it onboard. A third fish was on but threw the hook and then jumped around out of the water off the back of the boat just to add insult to injury. Not a lot to write home about, but we're just glad to finally get on the board. Hopefully it's the start of something good. Bob said the whales were all over the fishing grounds giving one heck of a show and there was quite a bit of bait. The ocean forecast is calling for another good day tomorrow on Sunday, and now that we have a direction to try, maybe, just maybe....
Tuesday, April 8 - Unfortunately we've had to cross off our trip for tomorrow on Wednesday due to a large number of cancellations and will see if we can hold together the trip for Thursday. The reservations for the weekdays have been going up and down like crazy, so if we don't end up with enough folks on the books for the trip to go, we'll be sure to call by 3pm the day before the trip if not sooner to let you know if there's a change in plans. Please don't hesitate to check in with us the day before a weekday trip before you leave home if you're driving in from outside the Bay Area the day or going to stay at a hotel to touch base and check on the status of the trip. Our Fishing Fools gang covered a lot of territory on their charter yesterday on Monday and released one undersized salmon, so we know there are fish out there. Maybe Thursday will be the day we figure out where the keepers are hiding. Our trip for Thursday, April 10 is a go. Lots of room available; if you'd like to join us, check in at our shop between 5:00 to no later than 5:30.
Sunday, April 6 - It started out bouncy again today, but the tough weather finally started backing off and much calmer conditions were appreciated by all onboard by midday. Lots of ground covered again today. We did had a few shakers and one that got away that may have been close to the mark, but still no keepers to be found for the Half Moon Bay fleet. At least we know there are salmon out there somewhere. We've seen this before a few years ago; we just kept plugging away and finally we found a handful of fish and then it broke wide open. The weather forecast looks decent all week, so as long as we have enough folks onboard to keep the hunt going, hopefully we'll figure out where the fish are hiding off our coastline. We've crossed off our trip for Tuesday but we're set to go on Wednesday as long as we have enough folks interested in giving it a try. Give us a call if you'd like to join us, or you can make a reservation anytime day or night by going on our online system:
Saturday, April 5 - The 2014 fishing season is finally open! We ended up with a lot more wind than we wanted accompanied by a much larger swell than we wanted, but it was what we refer to as a "fishable day", one where you sure hope the fish bite so it makes it worthwhile to put up with the rotten conditions. But unfortunately the fish did not bite for us. The Half Moon Bay fleet split up and headed out and up and down the coast, but no one was able to find any fish to bring home. There was one fish landed...a mackerel of all things...but it was released. Even in spite of the terrible weather on the ocean, there continues to be all the right signs...bait, birds working, whales everywhere...all we need is to find the fish!
April 2 - The 2014 salmon season opens this Saturday, April 5th!...Just a couple of more days until we're able to put our lines back in the water and start catching fish again. Like we thought, the season will open with a two fish limit with a minimum size limit of 24 inches, and we should hear within the next few weeks when the size limit will be reduced. We've been running whale watching trips this past month and the crew has been reporting seeing lots of good signs that make them think there are salmon hanging around just waiting for us. Our trip for Saturday is full but we do have a few spots still open for Sunday. The ocean weather forecast keeps changing with each update (as it usually does). It's currently calling for a bit of northwest wind to contend with along with a bit of a swell but it looks like we're on for the weekend.
March 3 - Boy this winter is flying by. The salmon season will be here before we know it which is scheduled to open on Saturday, April 5. We'll get the official word on this year's season when this month's fishery management meetings wrap up in Sacramento on March 10th, but from everything we've been hearing it sounds like the season will open as planned with, more than likely, a 24 inch minimum to start like we had last year. Likewise, the minimum size will probably drop down to 20 inches like it did last year, but it's possible it might be a little earlier in the season. Looking back on last year, the month of April was the best month of the salmon season in our area, and hopefully it will be the same this year. The rockfishing season is a done deal with the same regulations as last year: the area below Pigeon Point will open on May 1, above Pigeon Point will open on June 1, and the season is scheduled to remain open through December 31 off our coastline. Are we taking reservations? Definitely! If the date you're interested in a future date that is not listed online, that simply means we are wide open for that date; just give us a call and we can get you set up.
I often get people calling and asking about what bait we use on our trips. So, here's the spiel and my soapbox moment for the day:
.....We do not use live bait for rockfishing. Why you ask? Do you catch any fish? Well, we have now owned the Queen of Hearts for over 20 years and have probably taken more people rockfishing over those years than any other boat in Northern California and probably more than most of the boats in the entire state. Over those years, we usually catch a combined total of more rockfish, lingcod and cabezon than any boat north of Morro Bay, and again more than most of the boats in the entire state. All of this is done WITHOUT using any live bait. The San Mateo coast is graced with great rockfishing, where limits of fish are caught daily more often than not.
.....Bob and I have always operated with the mindset of doing what we can to keep the recreational fishery thriving in our area for future generations. Bob has been actively involved in the fishery management process for just about as long as we've owned the Queen of Hearts, the last three-quarters of a dozen years or so serving on a federal committee that hashes out the management of groundfish along the entire Pacific Ocean coastline. It has been an unbelievable unending war to try to keep our right to be able to fish, with battles won and battles lost. By serving on that committee, Bob knows first-hand what is involved in the decision-making process. I do my best to try to explain what I see and hear to those I speak with on the phone, and those who come through our shop and read this website.
.....In our opinion, using live bait in our area for rockfishing will do more harm than good. And here's why: Rockfish tend to lunge at and "slurp" in live bait which more often than not lands the hook deep into the fish's gullet. Most people who have used live bait while rockfishing know this is true and will admit to it. The problem comes when/if that fish ends up being released. In order to get an angler's hook back, the guts of the fish are literally ripped out of the fish, and just about 100% of those fish die due to their injuries. However, rockfish typically bite differently when using artificial lures and those tipped with a strip of squid or a chunk of defrosted anchovy. The majority of the fish end up being hooked in the corner of the jaw or top of their mouth, allowing for release of fish without killing it...even though I'm sure they're going ouch, ouch, ouch as they swim back to where they came from. For those few fish that do get hooked too deep to live using lures, we do our best to educate folks to keep any fish that are not going to live. Fish thrown back that are considered dead count against our harvest totals just as much as fish that are taken home.
.....I could go on and on, but I'll stop. The bottom line is the more fish we save from being killed needlessly, the more we'll have for the future. And the more folks that understand that, the better chance future generations will be able to take their kids fishing, just like we've been able to. There is a time and place for using live bait (i.e., albacore, yellowtail, halibut), but as our longstanding record shows we don't need it to catch rockfish and now I hope it makes sense why. Oftentimes it's really tough to do what is right, but in the end it's worth it.
DEEP WATER ROCKFISHING TRIPS! - These trips are currently on hold as we are waiting to see if the permit will be resubmitted for approval in the future. The Queen of Hearts previously had an "exempted fishery permit" that allowed us to take customers rockfishing under strick guidelines set forth in the permit in areas along the coast outside 900 feet deep. Check out the report and info I put together on our Chilipepper webpage at www.fishingboat.com/chilipeppers.html.
The deep water rockfishing trips are more or less be just like any other rockfishing trip, with a few major exceptions: We have to fish where the ocean is at least 900 feet or deeper. There is still a 10 fish rockcod limit, and all customers take home their fish. Any and all rockfish landed must be kept until boat limits have been reached. The hope is to be able to target rockfish such as chilipepper rockfish that are suspended in the water column, hopefully far from the actual ocean bottom. This is not a research trip; it's an experiment to see if we can fish a different area without catching any of the "off limits" fish...canary, goldeneye or cowcod. As long as the boats conducting these trips don't catch those off limits fish, this experiment will continue as long as there is interest for an initial period of one year. An official paid government observer will be required onboard all trips to keep tabs on the catch. The key to the success of this permit will be avoiding the canary and yelloweye rockfish that are labeled overfished and have forced us into the current restrictions we've been dealt. These trips could prove to be vitally important to give us more fishing opportunities in the future. If you'd like to be placed on an email list I've started to receive updates about deep water rockfishing trips as well as alerts when trips are scheduled, please let me know by sending me an email to email@example.com and asking to be added to our Deep Water Rockcod Trips email list.
Heard of "Dog Eat Dog World," but...: I've been meaning to post this video for a while...you've heard of a "dog eat dog world"...well, how about a "ling eat ling world"?....check out the video our daughter Marie took on a trip earlier this year by clicking the picture below or going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz2A8uSPxKY. It could be a bit on the gross side for some to view, so fair warning, but it is pretty amazing.
FISHING REPORT ARCHIVE:
What happened to the older scores, whoppers and reports?? Well, just too much information to keep on one page! So we've created an "Archive" page. Click here to go to our Fishing Report Archive page. See the blow by blow, day by day rundown on the happenings on the Queen of Hearts since the beginning of the 2013 season, as well as the entire 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003 seasons.
PRIVATE CHARTERS: We are proud that we have built a very strong private charter business for the Queen of Hearts since we started over 20 years ago. We have a top-notch boat and crew, we run a clean ship in more ways than one and take care of our customers, and it shows with the repeat business we are very grateful to have. Most groups now know that they have to call early in the year for the best dates, several months in advance. Saturdays book very fast. So, if you have a group thinking about a charter on the Queen of Hearts, don't wait to long to reserve a date!
When we talk about weather on the ocean, that's what we're talking about: the ocean, the wind and waves, not the sky. We're not referring to the sun or rain, or to how hot or cold it may be. The ocean in our area is usually always on the cold side. Always dress warm, regardless whether it's January or August: jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket with tennis shoes or rubber boots.
I always emphasize: you can't judge what's going on in the ocean by what's happening on land. And you can't always count on the weatherman. It's not what the sky does that matters; it's the ocean itself. We do our best to let our customers know if there's a weather problem. For those interested, one of the websites I check out for the marine forecast is at:
Our area is covered by the "Point Reyes To Pigeon Point to 10 NM" section of the report. Just keep in mind this is a "forecast" and it covers a large area; it doesn't necessarily come true but it can be used as a guide.
Since August 1, 2005, the Queen of Hearts has proudly worked out of our own shop, Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle! We're located in the shop that was formerly Captain John's, just to the left of the Ketch Joanne restaurant in the row of shops in the main parking lot at the harbor across from the pier and harbormaster's office. Everyone asks if we bought Captain John's boats. No, we didn't. One boat and one shop is enough for us! But we are now booking for the Riptide and Que Sera Sera in addition to the Queen of Hearts out of our shop. These boats represent some of the most experienced and longest running vessels in the harbor. We did take over Captain John's phone numbers, so if you have those numbers in your phone book, just change the name to Half Moon Bay Sportfishing, the home of the Queen of Hearts!
The great part about us owning our own shop is that we can finally provide the products and services we have always wanted to give to our customers. We are constantly adding items to the stock at the shop. We now have a large selection of Izorline in stock, the fishing line that we use on all of our fishing rods, both for the boat and our personal rods: First String Monofiliment, Platinum and the top of the line XXX. We have Xtratuf deck boots, an increasing assortment of plastics, diamond bars, as well as rods and reels including Avet, Diawa, Penn, Shimano, Shakespeare and Calstar. WE ALSO TAKE SPECIAL REQUESTS! Slowly but surely, we now offer all the basics that meet our customers' needs.
So, call or e-mail us for reservations. On the day of the trip, come directly to our shop, Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle to check in (look for the BIG yellow sign in the front window that reads "TICKET OFFICE") and pay for your trip (cash, debit, Visa and Mastercard accepted). The crew simply asks, as always, that you wait at the top of the dock until they have the boat ready for boarding. If you need fishing licenses, tackle and rent rods, no problem...they're all available at the shop. Just one more way the Queen of Hearts continues to strive to provide the best service possible to our passengers. So don't forget, to go with the Queen of Hearts, contact the Queen of Hearts and Half Moon Bay Sportfishing!