California King Fishing Takes Off

This week’s hot bite.

Anglers with multiple king salmon
Great king fishing under the Golden Gate bridge? Who knew? Courtesy Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures

Hot Spot: San Francisco, California
Species: King Salmon
Captain: Virginia Salvador, Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures

“The hot ticket item is king salmon,” reports Captain Virginia Salvador at Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures. Hailing out of San Francisco’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, Salvador says king salmon fishing has been excellent.

Salvador has seen larger salmon this summer. “The grade is 20 pounds plus with a lot of fish over 30 pounds,” she tells us.

According to Salvador, fishing has been easy. She laughs, “We pass under the Golden Gate Bridge and make a right.”

Salvador slow trolls along the Marin coast in 30 to 60 feet of water. “The salmon are gorging on bait and getting fat and juicy.”

To catch king salmon, Salvador pulls six rods with flashers and anchovies. She uses Yakima Fish Flashers, a sinker release, 30 feet of leader to an anchovy on a wire rig.

Before dropping back the bait, she makes sure it is spinning correctly. She looks for the bait to spin with a regular, tight pattern. “You want it to twirl,” she says. The objective is to imitate an injured fish falling out of a bait ball.

Salvador runs six rods with the baits closest to the bow set at 22 and 24 feet deep, the center rods are 28 and 34 feet deep and the stern rods are 34 to 48 feet deep. She uses an eight-foot Super Seeker 270 rod with an Accurate 400 Valiant reel spooled with 65-pound braided line.

According to Salvador, bait presentation is key. “Check your baits every 15 minutes,” she says. One piece of grass or jellyfish will shut down the whole spread. “You’re pulling a scarecrow, you’re no longer fishing.” She also encourages anglers to arrive early to the fishing grounds. “The early bird gets the worm,” she says. Often, the bite may only last a few hours first thing in the morning.

As summer progresses, Salvador expects fishing to get even better. She looks for the largest salmon at the end of the season before the fish move upriver to spawn. “I hope the bite stays consistent through September,” Salvador says.

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