Sunday, November 10, 2019

Veteran's Weekend 2019

    Of the many boats launching from here this weekend, these folks were the only ones tha didn't go crabbing. It looks like specializing pays off. The largest ling weighed in at 17.5 pounds and the weird looking fish on the left is a wolf eel. 

    Thumbs sent in a picture of this big ling, caught at Point Reyes on Dungeness opening day. He says it was pushing 30 pounds. There's some big lings out there right now. This time of year the largest ones are usually females full of eggs, so if you get a photo and let them go, that's okay too. 

   The southern three-quarters of Ten Mile Beach has a lot of crab. Doug Bagley and I dropped seven pots along the northern half on Thursday. The two pots closest to Keyhoe Beach had a combined six Dungeness. The other five traps averaged 12 per pot. The outer bay has some decent crab if you can soak a pot overnight in the right spot and be the first to pull it. Otherwise it's been difficult. A few guys are still catching fair numbers of Dungeness crab in the bay but there's way more wrong spots than right ones. Most bay crabbers are doing well to catch a couple of legal Dungeness. As long as the weather keeps cooperating, go south if you can. The rockfishing is really good down south, too, in case cleaning a bunch of crabs isn't enough for you. Commercial season is on the books to start this week, although I heard a rumor of a single bad crab in a recent test, so there may be further delay. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

    Here's an excellent report from Kyle Maclachlan: "Just wanted to share some pics from our crab opener. We worked 3 pots and had 3 good pulls.  My 22” pot had 10 crabs, 2nd pot for 8 and 3rd had 16! All were from ten mile beach and the fish were from point reyes reefs. Couldnt believe the t- shirt weather down at the point. Hopefully a catch like this is worthy of the fishing report, I always follow the reports, thanks."  Absolutely worthy. It doesn't look like the dirty water bothered the crab or the rockfish, at least for you. There is a CDPH warning now for crabs caught south of Point Reyes (to Pigeon Point) and north of Point Arena. It's the standard "clean 'em before you cook 'em" warning for two crabs that were a few parts per million over the warning threshhold. The crabs out of Bodega and Tomales Bays have tested okay and the other areas should be clear before the commercial fleet gets their chance at them on the 22nd.
     There are some nice Dungeness inside Tomales Bay and in the outer bay but the guys getting decent numbers are really putting in the time and fuel to drop and test, then move and drop and test, trying to find the place with the crab. Letting your gear soak all day where the crab aren't is not a good way to get your limit. These guys know where the crabs are. Or were. 

    Mike Mack and Tim Nelson made a run down to Elephant on Saturday for some ling cod and they found them. The big one was in the mid-twenties. It was nice to see a few fish among all the Dungeness madness.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The weather was fantastic today but the crabbing was kind of average for the opener. A few guys killed 'em and a lot of guys didn't. The outer bay was spotty with limits for some and scratching for a few for some others. Ten Mile Beach was very good for the boaters that didn't mind spending a little more on gas. I talked to one boat that ran up to the Russian River in 60 feet of water and it sounded like that was not the place to be. The longish stretch of flat seas has probably let a lot of Dungeness move in close to shore, so dropping your gear shallow may help.

Friday, November 1, 2019

    Not too much fishing going on. I guess everyone is prepping their crab gear. Nathan Porter, John Brezina and I gave the albacore one last try yesterday. We ran out to 38º 28' by 123º 54', or about 45 nautical miles from Tomales Point. I didn't get skunked (barely). Nate caught eleven and John caught five. I guess a few tuna didn't know that it was over. Also not over, there were a couple halibut and a striper caught back near Marshall on Monday The rockfish have been biting pretty well, too. As of the time of this post, no health warnings for domoic acid in the crab. Remember, no traps in the water until 12:01 AM Saturday.

Friday, October 25, 2019

   Joe Downing took advantage of the flat ocean today and ran to the Point Reyes reefs. He only got one bite but that bite was a 22 pound ling. If you're only going to catch one, make it a good one.

    Tim Nelson sent over this report from Sunday:"Caught these two on straight bait in the South Bay, Mike also caught a shaker halibut and a silver salmon.The north end of the bay has cold water and I couldn't find any bait in it yesterday. Two hours of looking around and then chumming for no bites or sign makes me think that the live baiting for halibut is over. Looks like Tim and Mike are still catching with the dead stuff, so do as they did if you go. 
    There's been a couple of barely-over-the-line crab test results, one from Fort Bragg area and one from Duxbury, while the retest from Bodega Head passed. What's it mean? For us sport guys, probably the season starts as planned with warning from CDPH to clean before cooking. For the commercial guys, their start should be on the 15th but could be delayed due to domoic acid and weight testing and whales. Whale entanglement is a huge issue for the commercial fishermen and will become an issue for us as well. Here's some tips to minimize your chances of being the guy that kills a whale:
• No excess lines should be floating at the surface. Floating line should only be between the main buoy and trailer.
• When changing set location across depths, adjust the length of trap lines by adjusting shots (i.e., measured length of line) to maintain taut vertical lines.
• Avoid setting gear in the vicinity of whales whenever possible.
• Communicate the locations of high whale activity with other fishermen.
• Maintain gear to ensure lines and buoys are in good working condition and will not break under natural conditions causing gear to become lost or irretrievable.
• All gear should be clearly marked consistent with applicable regulation.
• Use the minimum amount of scope required to compensate for tides, currents and weather.
• Remove all fishing gear by 11:59 pm on the last day of the season when gear is no longer allowed in the water.
   That first one there that says no floating line? That's a damn good rule.