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By Zach Cavanagh

Bonito has been the top catch in local waters recently, including this one held by Captain Brian Woolley for angler Phil LaClair. Photo Courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

Bonito continue to stick around, and the famous halibut derby is on the horizon at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching.

In his weekly report, Captain Brian Woolley said the water has been perfect for the bonito at 66-67 degrees, and there’s been plenty of bait in the water to keep the bonito biting.

Iron and chrome jigs are getting the job done, but the majority of the bonito catches are coming on sardines. On some days, boats absolutely load up on the bonito, and the fleet has been able to put together good trips by pairing that with some rockfish from the hard bottom on the way out.

The big thing coming up for local anglers is the annual halibut derby, which kicks off on Nov. 1. Dana Wharf’s first drift trip will depart on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 a.m., and drift trips targeting halibut catches will be scheduled on Fridays and Sundays.

The halibut derby runs through March 31 with the top five halibut catches earning a cash prize, including the $1,500 top prize. The top 25 anglers will qualify for a free fish-off trip on April 7 in which the top angler can win a $500 prize. There will also be monthly winners.

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

Oct. 24 – 3 boats, 58 anglers: 97 bonito, 11 calico bass, 2 sand bass, 13 sheephead, 1 whitefish, 163 bass released.

Oct. 23 – 3 boats, 86 anglers: 410 bonito, 1 calico bass, 12 bass released.

Oct. 22 – 3 boats, 52 anglers: 1 yellowtail, 6 skipjack tuna, 53 bonito, 2 barracuda, 24 calico bass, 13 sheephead, 29 rockfish, 38 vermillion rockfish, 24 bocaccio, 80 bass released.

Oct. 21 – 6 boats, 193 anglers: 4 skipjack tuna, 49 bonito, 14 calico bass, 1 sand bass, 3 sheephead, 19 whitefish, 75 rockfish, 117 bass released.

Oct. 20 – 5 boats, 138 anglers: 506 bonito, 6 calico bass, 2 sand bass, 2 sheephead, 22 whitefish, 65 rockfish, 29 bocaccio, 20 mackerel, 59 bass released.

Oct. 19 – 4 boats, 72 anglers: 14 yellowtail, 37 calico bass, 1 sheephead, 30 whitefish, 102 rockfish, 122 vermillion rockfish, 32 bocaccio, 25 bonito, 27 blue perch, 49 bass released.

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