Spike’s Blog

Not Waiting for Spring


Hoping Everyone had a Happy Holiday Season and Wishing You A Very Fishy Year in 2019!!!

Come January, while many fisheries are gearing up for next season pursuits like striped bass or waiting for various fisheries to open, others appreciate winter targets.  Northern fishing lodges are long shuttered and somebody somewhere’s out there checking the ice.  Thinking back on the years, it’s clear that kayaks make the season longer for most fisheries where you don’t need an ice hut.  Beyond the Golden State, I’m seeing a lot of nice action along the Gulf for redfish and it appears, kayak bass fishing never slows for anything but bad weather.


Here on the California coast, we’re lucky to be able to fish for something every month in most years. Even when storms are frequent, the windows of opportunity add many productive days to the season.  Dungeness crab opened the first weekend of November here on the Sonoma coast.  Spiny lobster is open in the south and the bugs are crawling. That’s parallel to fishing for trophy lingcod and rockfish that stays strong until the last day of the year in our region, reopening again April 1st.


That said, it was a sensational fishing season on the Sonoma coast that started with a fabulous show of king (chinook) salmon that followed a dismal forecast.  Salmon were landed well into the Fall, a reminder for why salmon season is open until October every year.  We fished mostly baits on the troll and I only saw a few lead balls dropped as more kayak anglers incorporate descending planers and utilize downriggers.  Anchovies packed the nearshore for about 3 weeks and humpback whales put on quite a show scooping up the bait, nearly alongside the kayaks a few times.  Whale photo attempts were unsuccessful, the fishing was great!

The season-long onslaught of lingcod continued with guide Tommy Welborn taking home a few nice ones and releasing 15 more one day.  Lots of fish made it to the table for our guests and lots more were released.

So here we are in the first week of 2019 and rockfish is closed for 14 weeks or so.  In between ocean swells and rainstorms rolling off the Pacific, we still find plenty of summer-like days. We’ll harvest crab, fish the river (by kayak) for steelhead, gather mussels and clams and fish the coastline from the kayaks for perch with a chance of seeing something bigger like halibut or stripers..

Outlook-Parallel to Crab Trips, kayak fishing for steelhead on the Russian River is our other main pursuit for the next 3 months. Fishing for lingcod/cabezon/rockfish and The Coastal Kayak Fishing School trips will resume in April with crab combos offered through May.  Reserve trips well in advance with a small deposit at the site.  Trip deposits are fully and unconditionally refundable.  Salmon will open in April or June (it differs by coastal fishery region) and with last year’s surprise showing, we anticipate some good runs this season.  Salmon and steelhead trips require quick action for success and are booked “on call” with one to 5 days notice when the fish show up.

Contact us directly to go “on-call” for notifications. Like all our trips, you’ll learn what you need to know to tackle this fishery on your own if that’s what you are after, or just let the guide put you on the fish.

Come fish with us in one of the best kayak fishing destinations in North America!-   Lots of fish, eye splitting splendor and easy to get to.

We can fully outfit your fishing trip as needed.  Many popular fishing kayak models available including pedal drives.

Originally based in So Cal, I came to the Sonoma coast nearly 12 years ago from the Sea of Cortez near Cabo.  Simply stated, with lingcod/rockfish, salmon, dungeness crab and a lot more including endless freshwater opportunities, the Sonoma coast is one of the finest destination kayak fisheries in North America. This fishery is easily accessible too!  We get more guests on more quality fish here than we ever did on Baja’s East Cape. We catch different species in a completely different fishery with better results. In comparison, the number and size of fish from lingcod to salmon, the variety of species, lots of double digit fish and the sheer number of days we get to fish on the Sonoma coast continues to blow the minds of guides and guests alike.

Kayak fishing opportunities exist year `round in our region and like any fishery in the U.S., fishing regulations have a lot to do with it.  The only month(s) I missed in the past few years was due to a broken hand this past Aug/Sept.  Thanks to everyone who knew I was benched and doubled down on sending me pictures of their catches to make me “feel better”!  Thanks a lot.

Getting here is easy flying into San Francisco or Oakland (about 90 minutes away) and renting a car.  Quality camping and rreasonably priced lodging is available in Bodega Bay, Occidental, Jenner, Fort Ross and Sea Ranch.  With so much to do around here, you can have a great buddy or a family trip they’ll want to do again.  If you are into wine……..San Francisco to the south, Mendocino north, Napa…. but most folks keep busy as they want right here in West Sonoma County.

Late Update: The groundfish season has been extended from last year and opens April 1st in the SF region.  No joke!  The limit on lingcod is one fish per day (precautionary management action), canary rockfish is 2 per day. Overall, this is great news for a fishery that went from open year round to complete closure just a few years back. I don’t think anyone thought we’d likely see the fishery open 9 months out of 12 so soon.  That’s testimony to real progress in establishing a healthy, sustainable fishery.

Whack `em!



kayak fishing

3/25/18-Kayakfishing.com’s 21 Year Anniversary


Hello Anglers, Spring is showing here on the California coast and will be coming to all the kayak fisheries soon!

Several years in the making, here’s a fresh version of the website that compliments the beginning of a new era for the Kayakfishing.com effort.  We turn “21” in August!

“The Olde Site”– The pioneer online venue to the sport, Kayakfishing.com has been a first stop for the majority of kayak anglers making their first online searches for over 20 years.  Many anglers have saved a fortune through our direct referrals, kayak recommendations and guiding anglers on how not to ruin and lose their gear.  A unique feature to the site has always been easy access to a guide with email and telephone links for 24/7 support.

Resourced by entry level kayak anglers globally since August 1997, Kayakfishing.com was the first special interest website published to the section.  It also hosted the first kayak fishing forums (BBS) representing fisheries from coast to coast.  The site profiled guide trips here in California and Mexico and through the boards, helped the sport evolve in real time coast to coast.  It took a few years for other kayak fishing sites to launch and when they did, the sport exploded like popcorn.

About “The New Site”

We wanted to generate a fresh format that newly provides resources and information for veteran kayak anglers plus, reason to return once in awhile (coming soon).  With more than enough online magazines, regional forum based sites, online stores and more, fleshing out a pertinent format where readers spend more time on the water than on the website, is our ultimate goal.

Spike’s (my) Blog– I’m looking for a better name for this.  The first kayak fishing publication was a subscription newsletter I published in the mid `90’s called “The Yak Attack”.  Reviving it would likely cause a silly fuss since another company since adopted it. My column title from that newsletter, “Spike Speaks”, is too strong to use I think.  Any suggestions?  All the blogs will be used to inform and educate on everything pertinent to anglers and kayak fishing with comments enabled.

Regional Blogs are being added to the site.  Most are hosted by regional entities with content to guide local anglers and draw attention to the many unique fisheries.  With several regions booting up, we are looking for local kayak fishing guides, writers, recreational fishing lobbyists or just active anglers who might, along with their fisheries, benefit by hosting a Regional Blog at Kayakfishing.com.  Contact us directly if this might be a fit and please share it if you know someone.

No Advertiser Obligations-The names branded here look like ads but based solely on the value of their return, they are really endorsements that individually generate a token return, if any. Declining advertising requests, we solicit the endorsements branded here and in most cases, the products and services we’ll feature.   One sage company from each if a dozen or so sections that make up the sport.  Kayakfishing.com does not accommodate Fishing Team or Pro-Staff contributions.   We don’t promote new gear unless it’s deemed special and proven.  You won’t see us hash-tagging companies in our contributions, referring to gear by brand and model or otherwise shamelessly promoting ad based products or services.  Of course with some products like JPW Dry Bags (that are truly superior in our experience with them going on 20 years) and other pertinent gear featured here, we’d be remiss not to lend exposure.  We hope you like what you see!

Automated Trip Booking at the Site– Forrest Gump started the first kayak fishing guide service.  No kidding.  Just search “Jimbo Gump”.  With all of my “firsts” in kayak fishing, I was actually the second kayak fishing guide, just the first dedicated to the sport. After 20 years of booking trips manually, We installed this bitchen software that takes just a few minutes to book a trip, takes a deposit to hold the spot(s), completes the transaction a few days before when we know we have good conditions, transacts refunds and send a confirmation with detailed trip info, directtions,  a list of stuff to bring and contact info to your guide….all AUTOMATICALLY!  Man do I love this software. Trips are listed on a dropdown from “Guided Trips” in the site header.  Easier trip links are on the way.

Publishing this new version in realtime to get it where we want it, the site’s about half done now with content and features being added daily.

How we got here-I’d like to acknowledge Chuck Marlett who created Kayakfishing.com, kept it published for 20 years and remains “Webmaster Emeritus” from his base at the base of Death Valley.  Chuck’s contribution made the sport of kayak fishing grow bigger and faster, globally.  That’s a fact many later “pioneers” have laid claim to.   Mac Skinner built and hosts the new site.  A native Californian angler, Mac is not in the kayak fishing business.  Mac is co-owner of Two Rock Amps https://www.two-rock.com  ….something every guitar player should know.

Kayakfishing.com has always been here to lend guidance to entry level kayak anglers by providing pertinent content plus, unique to just about every site that followed, email and telephone contacts so anglers can reach a guide directly for information most anytime.  From “is this kayak right for me?” to how do I target crappie (and every other specie) from my kayak?”, we’ve helped guide a score of anglers into the sport with direct contacts over for over 2 decades.  Creating a new site format that enjoins the first generation brings a lot of excitement to the whole Kayakfishing.com effort and we hope you’ll drop by.

Continued Good Fishing and Stay Tuned!