The long awaited and highly anticipated approval from California Fish and Game finally has given the green light for commercial and sport fishermen to hit the open waters of the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean in search of world famous Dungeness Crabs.
My journey begins today well before the break of dawn. The car is packed with an assortment of clothes, what could be half of my closet I believe just in case. A piping hot tumbler of black coffee in hand, a cooler full of cold beers and a few snacks to get us through the day and I am off on a new adventure – CRABBING!!
After a quick operations run through and safety check, our 25-foot Boston Whaler boat hits the chilly waters of Tomales Bay just before sunrise, in the distance the fog ladened coastline will serve as our marker as we head out to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. The plan is to get into about 100-feet of water before the days work begins.
Mother Nature is kind to us today; the water is calm, almost like a sheet of glass. It provides for a rather surreal feeling, a huge smile and the anticipation that it is going to be a great day!
We reach our destination after about an hour boat ride, and now my ‘hands-on’ education begins on how to bait the crab pots and get them into the water. As they say, no better way to learn than trial by fire. As we drop the crab pots to the ocean floor, each will be marked with florescent colored buoys and GPS so we have hopes of locating them later in the day. It is only 8 am now, and the waiting game begins.
To kill the time, what’s a man to do… of course it’s time to fish! Mounted on the stern of the boat, our weighted lines bend the fishing poles to half-mast as we troll hoping to grab a King salmon or two. Our three-hour attempt at fishing takes us 9 miles out into the Pacific, and not a darn bite! Oh well, the beers are cold and we still have hopes of full crab pots. Time to head in.
The GPS guides us in the right direction and with the first buoy in sight my excitement is building, I’m feeling like a child on Christmas morning. We grab the first crab pot and hoist it up from the ocean floor. The captain yells, “we have color” and as the crab pot breeches the surface there are at least a dozen Dungeness and Rock crabs. SUCCESS! By the time we bring in all the pots our final count for the day is 37 Dungeness crabs.
Tonight there will for sure be some good eating. And now I have one heck of a fishing story to share with family and friends.