December
15th 2011
California Dungeness Crab Fishing

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

 

The Dungeness crab fishing has been going very well the past few weeks with most crabbers going home with limits on each trip out. I had the pleasure of going out with friend Mike Strunk owner of Park Ave Turf  this past weekend out on Bodega Bay. Mike told me to get a couple other friends and meet him  at Spud Point Marina in the Bodega bay harbor. I made a couple calls and the 3 of us were in for a new experience.  Larry Benefield, Eddie Farewell and myself headed to Bodega Sunday morning to pull up crab traps that Mike had already set out on a previous trip a couple days prior to our outing. Not really knowing what we were doing, we found the Mike was quite experienced at crabbing. His 28 foot Farallon boat was very comfortable and with flat sea’s it made it even better. I thought we would be pulling up the crab traps by hand, but I found out different and was shown  just how the real crabbers do it. You don’t pull these traps up by hand when they are in 200 foot of water. You snag the rope with a long hooked pole, than feed the rope through a couple of pulleys in which one is electrically powered and in just 2 or 3 minutes up comes your trap. Remove your crabs which have to be 6 & ½ inches across the shell than rebait the trap and drop it back down.

 There is a little more to it than that, but Mike took care of that part. All the traps are marked with a number and when the trap is dropped a weigh point is marked on the GPS (global positioning system) so the traps can be located easily the next trip out. You also have to make sure you have a little slack in the rope and when the trap is dropped it is tossed like a frisbee so to speak so it lands flat on the ocean floor.

 You never know what the weather will do, there are times that the fog is so heavy you can’t see 10 feet in front of you. Mike told me that as long as the sea’s aren’t to rough that you can check the pots. It’s when you leave them out to long and you get rough sea’s your trap get buried under the sand that  you risk losing them because you break the rope trying to pull them up. Keeping in eye on the weather and at the cost of the traps, you have bad weather coming you make a little time if possible and retrieve you traps.

 Mike had put out 1 extra pot a couple days before we went out and he was a little disappointed because we didn’t get a full limit for the 5 of us that were on his boat. I can guarantee you none of us complained, we had a great time on the water and we still came in with 35 nice crab and he made sure Larry, Eddie and myself came home with our limit of 10 each, but not before stopping at his house enjoying a good lunch and boiling up all the crab, than it only took about 15 to 20 minutes to clean them and ice them down. I can’t wait to do this again. Not only the enjoyment of pulling the traps with anticipation of what they will hold, but let me tell you, fresh crab just can’t be beat. I fixed some fresh crab cakes for dinner the following night that just made your mouth water….yum. Oh and by the way I will be having leftovers the following night. Thank you Mike for a very memorable trip.

 

Well you can have fresh crab too this year if you hurry and grab a couple of tickets to the Dixon American Legion Post 208 “crab feed and dance”. The entertainment will be provided by “48 Straight”  which plays both kinds of music; country and classic rock…The best news of all is the price. There are only 200 tickets available and they’re $45 a person or $75 a couple…first come, first served. Better call the Legion at 678-6308.

 

   Striper Bite

 From what I am told the striper bite has gotten tough. There are still fish to be caught, but with the water temps dropping into the mid forties the fish are starting to get lock jaw. I spoke with Butch Carpenter this week who had been fishing the north delta and did manage to catch a limit, but noted that  most fish are running between 4 and 7 pounds. He said that Mark Cobb had the hot hand and had put 13 keepers into the boat the day he saw him. Trolling still seems to be the way to go in order to get a few bites. Butch mentioned that he saw Brett Leber on the water with Dusty Baker and they had been tossing lures most the day with little results. According to Brett who is known for wacking them pretty good on the delta, that until we get some rain and the water temperatures warm a bit the bite will remain tough. So it looks as though we could use a little rain which will warm the water and turn these fish on. I am planning a trip this weekend and giving it a shot myself. The bad thing is when they aren’t biting it makes for a long day, but you know what they say a bad day fishing is still better than a good day working. See you on the water and tight lines.

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