If it was only April, May, June or Sept / Oct. I’d have some local S.F. Bay DIY salty stuff for you.
The “ Bay Area “ takes in a lot of real estate and getting into and out of some areas on what will be a holiday week ( Mass exodus from the Bagdad by the Bay. ) can literally add hours to your travel by car, unless you travel at off peak times. Can’t begin to tally up all of the hours we’ve sat in bumper to bumper, creeping traffic on I-80 & 580 trying to get in an out of the bay area on the days leading up to and after a major holiday.
So here’s an idea that will keep you out of the long and east / west migration. If the weather and tides cooperate, head to the coast.
Yes, the traffic over the roads that lead to the coast from the bay area, namely Sharps Park Drive, Highways 92 and 17 can still get pretty snarled during the holidays, but the distances are far shorter
, than heading to the inland locations.
The weekend before you arrive the California fly shop in San Carlos ( that’s on the peninsula just a few miles south of S.F.O. ) is putting on one of their Surf Fishing Tailgate Talks ( 11 / 17 ) & Buddy Fish Outs ( 11 / 18 ).
That clinic would provide you with enough info to fish the rest of the week on your own or with a pal.
Gear guide can be seen here:
See: Fly Fishing » Dan Blanton » Forum » Bulletin Board » Message Board
If you can’t readjust your schedule to take advantage of the clinic, not to worry. I’d still give them a call in advance of your arrival and ask to speak with Bill Scharninghausen or Victor Inouye about the how’s, when and where’s ( get specifics from them on the where to fish and how to avoid the Marine Life Protected Area’s or MLPA‘s. ).
I doubt the guys would hold the clinic on those dates if the tides weren’t favorable for their fish-out and with the clinic fresh on the minds of the staff and the shop “ Usual’s “, there should be a free flow of info about.
Then when you arrive, stop by the shop and get a handful of surfperch flies, etc. and some last minute pointers.
If you’re still interested in booking a guide, inquire about a surf fishing guide who’ll work with you on the San Mateo and/or Santa Cruz county coast areas. I haven’t a clue whether anyone is offering walk-in trips on those beaches currently, but it’s worth a shot.
Another idea is to drop by the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club ( GGACC ) out in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It’s open to the public and offers the use of some pretty sweet casting ponds. While there, you might inquire with some of the club regulars about coastal locations to fish, since the clubs just a stones throw from Ocean Beach.
The coastal steelhead creeks ( Pescadero, Waddel, San Lorenzo etc, ) don’t open up until Dec. 1 and then, only on Sat, Sun, Wed and legal holidays. They’re also highly influenced by the rains, which have been pretty mild to date. Although there is a system moving in as I write this.
San Luis Reservoir ( South and east of the bay, via S 101 to 152 East ) and directly below it, the O’Neil forebay can be very good for landlocked Stripers this time of year, but without something to get you out on the water and being a first time visitor there, you’re chances would be low. Again, highway’s 101 & 152 leading to and away from the bay area on a holiday week can be a pain. Just got to pick your travel times.
The Delta for Stripers is a possibility, there are rental boats available at Sugar Barge , but being a novice on those waters, good fortune would have to shine pretty brightly. It might be getting a little late to find a top flight Delta fly fishing guide with an opening, it’s the “reasonable” part of your inquiry that might be the limiting factor there.
Sugar Barge Resort & Marina on The California Delta
Delta Rental Center located at Sugar Barge Resort and Marina
If it were me, visiting the East Bay, Peninsula or South Bay on Thanksgiving week, wishing to fish more than drive and if the weather holds, I’d be on the coast.
Hope it helps, TT