Saturday, November 30, 2013

The big sea on Thursday must have pushed some more crab into the bay since there seems to have been a bounce in the numbers. One group caught 14 Dungeness on the pier yesterday and some other people had similar numbers over by the number 5 hole. The outer bay had not much to offer for he guys that left them overnight or longer as the swell had sanded in in pots and opened the doors. A few hours with fresh bait caught dinner for some. Here's a report from Thanksgiving Day from Tomales Outlaw: We managed 9 nice dungeness around the Marker 5 hole on Thursday morning. With the bar being a solid wall of breakers the outer bay was, well, out. Apparently not too many people pay attention to your blog as we saw quite a few buoys going under in the current. We had to sort through many undersized crabs. It looks like the crabbing will be good again in couple months, but the bay seems a bit fished out now. Good clean livers can still get a few though. On a side note my buddy did a 3 hour soak off Pelican point Wednesday for nearly empty pots. Happy Holidays.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This pile of crab came from pots in the outer bay that had 24 hours to do their work. Looks like they worked well. The beer came from elsewhere. Ten Mile has been disappointing for most of the guys that have tried there recently, except for a few nice ones in 40 feet of water by the Keyholes. The bay is still giving up some Dungeness but you really have to work for them now. The pier has had a few but not many. One gentleman told me he'd caught three all day on Tuesday but had six this morning on the overnight soak. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just a photo of what you and I are missing. Who wants to fish on glassy water, anyways? Real men take a beating to get their dinner.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Here's a map of northern Tomales Bay. The yellow circles are the confirmed good spots for Dungeness. The green circles are not as good but worth trying if the other spots aren't panning out. Most of the yellow areas are also high current areas, so consider yourselves warned. Your gear will disappear, either underwater or out of the bay, if you let it stay in these areas through a strong current. Crabs don't like the current running fast, either. The boaters that worked these areas, especially by Marker 5 and near the mouth of the bay, did pretty well this weekend. Outside the crabbing slowed for some, although the outer bay is still pretty good if you can soak your pots overnight. Ten Mile was OK, although at least one fellow got skunked on Dungeness down there. I've been told that it might be his choice of stripers for bait, although some other folks have done alright with them. There were quite a few lingcod caught over the weekend. The largest I saw went about 15 pounds. There was also talk of a white sea bass caught off Tomales Point near buoy 2 but I never talked to anyone that actually saw the fish. Here's a firsthand report from Tomales Outlaw: We had a pretty good day Sunday ending up with 23 Dungeness for 4 of us all in the bay. Our outer bay pots did not bring in any dungeness just 6 red crab. We had to work hard for these crab and took a while to find them. My mother was along and she is still pulling pots at 69 years young!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I put six pots down on Ten Mile today and three in the outer bay. After four hours, Ten Mile had 22 Dungeness for us but only three from the other pots. The lings were still biting well and we returned a half dozen keepers (intentionally, not the usual way I return them) while trying to fill our limits of rockfish. We finished out our limits on nice-sized blues at Elephant in 100 feet of water. It would appear that the north end of the beach is played out as most of the commercial pots are avoiding the area between Abbott's Lagoon and the Keyholes. The Towers had a good grade of crab but you have to place your pots carefully to keep them out of the strings of commercial gear. After tomorrow morning the weather looks good for a while. The pier has actually had a bit of decent action with a couple guys going home with four or five Dungeness in the last few days. Not everybody did that well, but there were a few.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The ocean laid down enough for some boats go fishing and crabbing. Both were slow, at least for the guys I spoke to. One boat with three guys caught half limits of rockfish and crab; another boat had a few rockfish but only one Dungeness for four pots. These boats went to 10 Mile where the pressure had been light until last weekend. The outer bay wasn't red hot but there's still a few pockets of crabs out there. Nervous crabs, and not as many jumbos, but keepers. Tomales Bay has been pretty consistent with slow to very slow action on the pier to limits for the guys that know what they're doing in their own boats. I'd tell you if I knew, but when I've asked for their secrets the best answer I got was, "Good clean living." I'm not sure that works.

Friday, November 15, 2013

If you have a boat stored down here you'd better lock it up. A pair of guys in a white Ford Expedition with the license plates removed came in at 3:00 AM last night, hooked up to one of the boats parked here, and drove off for the gate. Unfortunately for them they were spotted and the gate was closed just in front of them. There was a bit of a scuffle and ultimately the thieves were allowed to leave without the boat. And a tooth. It's lucky for them that they met the one guy without a firearm. That has been fixed. Fair warning to other crooks: These trailers aren't all empty and it's a mile to the exit, plus another two miles to the first y in the road.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The nice weather ends today, apparently. The forecast calls for strong winds and big seas through Friday night. Saturday might be OK, Sunday looks good. The outer bay and Ten Mile have had good numbers of crabs and quite a few jumbos. The pier has been slow but a few people are catching some. Randy has been averaging half a limit of Dungeness or better per day from the pier, so it is possible to catch them, it just helps to have Randy's skills. Tomales Bay itself has been somewhere in the middle with a few guys doing well and a few not catching at all, with most guys falling somewhere in the middle.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Leslie Stokes made it onto our big fish bragging board today with this 20 pound lingcod. The fish was taken in 100 feet of water off of Elephant Rock and was caught with the aid of Captains Tom Cook and Joe Gantley aboard Brown's Old Boat.

Kevin and Kaitlin Fogal teamed up to catch limits of quality sized lingcod, bottom fish, and limits of jumbo Dungeness crab on Dennis Carter's boat, The Predator.

Lance Bain submitted this photo of the end of a good November day on the ocean. Dungeness crab don't get much bigger.
     The pier was still slow. Randy from Reno is here and I didn't get a final report but as of noon he had only taken four keepers, which is pretty slow for Randy. The bay was not fantastic but produced dinner or more for most of the boaters that ventured out today. A couple of boats of people had limits or near limits from the marker 5 area. Outside the bay the crabbing and rockfishing was good. Commercial Dungeness season opens on the 15th (pots start splashing on the 14th) and it sounds like there aren't many crab out deep so most of the effort will be concentrated in 40 fathoms or less (from shore to about 5 or 6 miles out). By and large, Dungies are what makes these guys' house payments, so they are going to be working pretty hard to get them while they can. The good times for crabbing, at least in the ocean, may not last past the 20th. Savor those crabs, Lance.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Still slow crabbing on the pier, better in the bay, and good outside. Ten Mile had excellent crab for me. We ended up with 50 jumbo Dungeness, 50 rockfish and 10 lings to 18 pounds.  We had to return over a dozen keeper lings before we finished our rockfish. I think the lingcod are in.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Dungeness crabbing on the pier is painfully slow but boaters have been able to pretty well in the bay if they can avoid losing their gear to currents and pirates. The current was the most prevalent thief and a lot of guys got their gear back at slack tide. The outer bay is still good and crabby but even there, some spots are better than others. Hopefully tonight will be the first night since the opener without someone stuck on the sand bar. The early evening low tides caught at least four boats in four nights. If you find yourself stuck out there the only fix is patience. The water will return and there's nothing you can do to hurry it up.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The weather was pretty nasty outside but at least one boat I spoke with had 30 keeper Dungeness inside the bay today. The pier was pretty slow, with even some of the regulars getting skunked. The strong currents probably didn't help any. Speaking of the tides, the second grounded boat in three days is being assisted by the Coast Guard helicopter as I write this. Boaters, beware of all the sandbars and mind the tides, because the water you went out on can and will leave. The sandbars near the mouth will have breakers over them before you get refloated if the seas are bad enough.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The outer bay yielded lots of Dungeness yesterday but Tomales Bay wasn't as good. The pier had some keepers but as usual there was far more crabbers than crabs. Gage wants everyone to know that he caught two on the pier yesterday and two more today, and they were giants. The numbers of crab in the outer bay are not expected to last long, especially with the amount of effort being applied in a pretty small area. A commercial fisherman passing through the area on Friday night said he couldn't believe the number of pots already soaking. He was also surprised by the number of boats darting around at 9:30 PM pulling other people's pots (it is assumed). You would expect the piracy to at least wait until the season was open, but I guess the early bird steals the worm, eh? Ten Mile had solid crabbing for the few guys that ran that far, even though they had a bumpy ride home. Late note: Star for the day for the Shrimp Boat for towing in, after dark, a broke-down fold-a-boat with two aboard that had been headed out to sea. Good karma to you, sirs.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Boy, a lot of people are suddenly interested in catching red crabs! The outer bay is full of boats coming and going, and if you listen hard, you can hear pots splashing into the water from the beach. Of course, Dungeness season doesn't start until tomorrow, so these guys must all be trying for reds. Good luck, everyone! The rockfishing has been pretty good, so it might be a good idea to try for some rockcod tomorrow while the pots are soaking. Just don't linger, because the wind is supposed to arrive in the afternoon, and just like unwanted houseguests, often it shows up early. And of course, now that the weather window is shut there is beautiful picture of warm, tuna-friendly water about 38 nautical miles out. Too bad you can't get there from here.