Meandering Angler: It’s the best time to fish the San Francisco Bay

September is the best month to book at boat for a day of fishing on San Francisco Bay. The temperatures are mild, the winds lighter and the fish are biting. Right now, halibut and striped bass are being caught all over the bay. Some anglers are catching salmon off Cal City, near Tiburon.

Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael is the best source of fishing information for the bay, including recommendations for party boat captains and places to fish from shore.

One of his favorites is Capt. Trent Slate, owner of Bite Me Charters, who operates out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael, an easy 45 minute drive from Sonoma.

Trent is an excellent captain and a great guy, and knows where to find fish. He offers both half and full day charters. The maximum number of anglers is six. Minimum is three. Half day trips are $200 per angler, full day is $250 per angler.

With three or more people, it’s like having your own private fishing boat with someone else doing all the work.

During normally calm weather of fall, one of the best and most scenic trips on the bay is a half-day, late afternoon to sunset. You can bring your own cocktails, wine and food, catch some fish, enjoy a cruise on the bay, and bring home some fresh-caught fish for the next day’s dinner.

For more information, check out Trent’s website,, or call or text him at 415-307-8582.

The Pacific Ocean right off our own Sonoma Coast is a great place to fish this month. I talked to Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing, this week who reports not only superb fishing but gorgeous weather. Rick says that the ling cod and rock fish are biting like crazy and he’s also catching some really large king salmon on his combo trips. This week, one of his clients brought in a 26-pounder.

To get to Rick’s boat you just head head east from Sonoma, through Petaluma to Bodega Bay. It’s an easy drive and very rewarding. Call him at 707-875-3344 today to book a trip.

The Napa River, even closer to Sonoma than the ocean, is the place to go for striped bass. If you want to fly-fish for them, call Capt. Patrick Mackenzie, Sonoma’s own fly-fishing guide, 707-721-6700. Even if you’re not an experienced fly-fisher, Patrick can give you enough instruction so that you can catch some fish. The only thing you need is a fishing license. Patrick has all the equipment.

September and October are great months to fish the Napa River for striped bass, but Patrick is a popular guide, so call right away to book a trip.

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