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By Zach Cavanagh

The Halibut Derby heated up this week with four fish of 22 lbs. or more now on the leaderboard and nine legal fish caught on Sunday, Dec. 9. Photo Courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

The best fishing is headed toward the bottom as the Halibut Derby heated up this week at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching.

In his weekly report, Captain Brian Woolley said that the only game right now is well below the surface, with rockfish being a main catch. The weather last week mixed up the water, but it still made for decent catches of whitefish.

The big news was in the Halibut Derby as the leaderboard got crowded at the top.

The 25-pounder from the Derby’s first week is still on top, but there are now four fish of 22 lbs. or more on the board. Woolley said they are starting to see more halibut come toward the beach and out of the deeper water. The Clemente saw nine legal halibut caught on its Sunday, Dec. 9 trip.

Here is the latest fish count out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching:

Dec. 12 – 2 boats, 38 anglers: 1 sand bass, 5 sheephead, 70 whitefish, 75 rockfish, 120 vermilion rockfish, 20 bocaccio, 2 triggerfish, 25 bass released.

Dec. 11 – 3 boats, 63 anglers: 3 sheephead, 24 whitefish, 40 rockfish, 20 vermilion rockfish, 52 bocaccio, 1 lingcod, 46 bass released.

Dec. 10 – 2 boats, 34 anglers: 3 calico bass, 6 sand bass, 7 sheephead, 15 whitefish, 80 rockfish, 32 vermilion rockfish, 70 bocaccio, 1 bonito (13 lbs.), 65 bass released.

Dec. 9 – 5 boats, 95 anglers: 10 calico bass, 3 sand bass, 4 sheephead, 7 whitefish, 34 rockfish, 28 vermilion rockfish, 16 bonito, 9 halibut, 100 bass released.

Dec. 8 – 2 boats, 36 anglers: 3 calico bass, 7 sand bass, 4 sheephead, 82 whitefish, 152 rockfish, 175 vermilion rockfish, 63 bocaccio, 3 bonito, 1 halibut, 2 blue perch, 2 triggerfish, 21 bass released.

Dec. 7 – 2 boats, 36 anglers: 18 calico bass, 3 sand bass, 5 sheephead, 3 halibut, 50 bass released.

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