by Ron Ballanti - Strikezone

The availability of live bait this Spring has given a boost to what was already a strong halibut bite in San Francisco Bay.   Anglers now have the ability to drift over the bottom with live anchovies or shiners to score halibut from just keepers to 20 pounds and more. Many, however, continue to fill their fish holds by “bounce-balling” with dead baits or plastic “hoochie” squids behind a dodger.  This deadly trolling technique can out fish live bait fishing by covering lots of ground. It also works particularly well during periods of slack tide and/or wind.   Whether you drift or troll, C-MAP charts can be a powerful tool to put more “butts” in the boat.   Marking where you hook up on your chart plotter will help you see where these flat-bodied ambush predators are cruising and feeding — and it’s often near ledges, transitions from rock to mud or other subtle transition zones.   It’s no surprise that halibut are often caught along the edges of areas like Southampton Shoals, the Rockpile or sunken points and drop offs near Angel Island or Alcatraz. Detailed fishing charts and your chartplotter/MFD will help you discover patterns that lead to more fish.

 HDS12 AngelIsland lowres

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