Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    The swell peaked at over 16 feet at Point Reyes today so I hope everybody got their shallow crab gear out of the water. If you didn't, I guess the only good news is that you don't have to go get it now. Maybe the big swell will push a few Dungeness into the bay. I poked my nose out for a quick rockcod trip yesterday and caught dinner but they weren't biting real quick, at least for me. The water was flat and the 59º temperature at the Point Reyes buoy looked kind of interesting, as this is supposed to be the time of year a few big bluefin go by. I guess I'll let 'em pass. The crabbing inside Tomales Bay has remained slow (I spoke to a gentleman on Saturday that had caught 16 in three days crabbing, 9 of them from the pier and 7 across the bay) but definitely safer than outside.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Just a couple quick notes. I heard that a commercial boat sank off of Point Reyes yesterday morning. No other news than that, so hopefully it means that everybody got out okay and disappointed the news media. I also heard that somebody put some dye balloons on their gear and found them popped today when they checked their pots. So, like SETI, we should all be on the watch for little green men. That's proof. Just because someone is catching and you aren't doesn't mean they're cheating. Spend a lot of time on the water and pay attention and your catch goes up. At least, that's what Gage told me.

Friday, November 16, 2018

    The commercial boys dropped their gear on Wednesday morning and started pulling it yesterday. The numbers of crab South of Bodega Head are likely to fall off pretty quickly, which probably means that most of the guys still crabbing will move their gear North if they haven't already. There's a fair amount of water North of the Head, but I bet you'll still find most of the buoys in clusters. There was another bad crab (52 ppm) off of the Russian River, so the commercials need two clean tests to start fishing above the Head. Looks like it won't be until December. The outer bay crabbing has slowed down quite a bit, even though the boat traffic seems to have increased on the South end of the bay. Inside Tomales Bay there's still a few Dungeness being caught but only a few. Gage caught four in one pot on an overnight soak in five feet of water at a secret location inside the bay but that's all he'll let me say. I heard of a halibut caught in a crab pot inside the bay today, so while they may not be biting at least one guy was catching. FYI, the law says you must release any fish you catch in your crab trap, no matter how much you want to keep it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

    It's not the halibut he was looking for but Mike Mack seems okay with his striper he caught while trolling near Marshall. He said that there's still a lot of bait back there and he also lost another, larger silver-colored fish. Salmon? WSB? Only the fish knows. The crabbing slowed a bit more, both in and out of Tomales Bay. Ten Mile has held up so far but the commercial pots will start dropping in the water on Wednesday, so the size and quantity of crab there will likely drop rapidly. North of Bodega Head will be open to sport fishermen only for a while longer, so that'll be your best bet for good numbers this weekend through Thanksgiving week, depending on the crab tests.
    You know, one of the benefits of living here is the ability to check your crab gear from your front yard. With a decent telescope you can count the number of crabs in your pots when other guys pull your traps. This got me to thinking; If a bank can put a dye bomb in the bag of money carried away by a robber, is there any reason why a water balloon full of bait dye attached to a crab pot line would get somebody in trouble? The balloon pops in an electric pot puller and marks the offender without harming him. Asking for a friend.

Friday, November 9, 2018

    Not much new to report. Inside the bay has been slow for the Dungeness, although a very few guys are catching limits or close to limits. Wednesday a boat with three guys limited by noon and another boat had 16 Dungeness for a pair of fishermen over the course of the day. So, it's possible to do well in the bay, just really unlikely. Ten Mile has been consistently good and the outer bay has a lot of good ground still. These crabs in the photo are outer bay crab from an overnight soak. I haven't heard of any halibut since the opener. The water temperature has dropped to 51º which probably isn't going to kickstart a feeding frenzy. At least the rockfish don't mind the cold.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

   Dungeness season in Tomales Bay started off kind of slow and then has tapered off from there. The outer bay still has some good crab but it seems that many of the pots are moving North. I'm not sure if that's because the crabbing is slowing down in the South part or if there's some vain hope of escaping pot pirates by going farther away from the busiest port (Newsflash: They're like Visa -"Everywhere You Want To Be").  If you feel you must go farther, these gentlemen in the photo told me that yes, there's still quite a few crab down on Ten Mile. Running out of Tomales Bay means crossing over the bar which was breaking today (8-10 foot swell). Everybody made it in safe, but one crabber noted that it might be a good idea for our store to carry clean underwear in the future. 

    Here's a close-up of one of these Ten Mile crab with an extra claw on his claw. It kind of reminds me of John Madden's six-legged turkey. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

   The Nursements and crew got to witness one of Mother Nature's killing machines doing what they do best on Sunday as the "Man in the Gray Suit" performed his duties on a sea lion off of Bird Rock. "Uncle Bigbite" never came out of the water but they could see his shadow cruising around, waiting to make sure dinner wouldn't flop around too much. I'd like to think that it was the sea lion that was trying to eat my salmon a few months back. I'm sure it wasn't, but I like thinking that it might be. Unless you're a surfer, great white sharks (and sunfish) do the lords work, eating the things that bother you when you're fishing. If you're a surfer that fishes for salmon, I guess you may have some really complicated feelings about the mighty whitey.

   The final report on Ten Mile crabbing from Team Nursement:"Even with crappy seas our haul was good and tasty!!!"

    Here's a crab report from Kelley Roy :"Hey Willy
Did ok down on 10 mile on the opener Saturday, we were able to do a 4 hour soak and were 1 shy of 3 limits – had to let a couple of questionable ones go but our keepers were decent size crab.
The ocean was not the prettiest and my son who was on his 2nd crabbing trip commented there has to be an easier way to get crab, I am thinking right along with him…..having trailer and motor  problems only added to the work.  I only crab once a year as the crab is my least favorite sea fare – give me anything that swims in the ocean but I leave the shell creatures alone for the most part."

Sunday, November 4, 2018

   Inside Tomales Bay it was pretty tough crabbing for Dungeness yesterday but most of the guys I talked to were lucky enough to catch a few. The smiling gentleman above and his fishing partner limited on nice-sized Dungeness by noon but they were the exception. Those that braved the ocean waters did better on average but just being in the outer bay was no guarantee of success. Remember folks, if you aren't 100% sure that you're on the crab, check 'em soon after you drop 'em and find out. There's nothing like that sick feeling when you realize you left your gear all day to soak in a blank spot and the guys 100 yards away clobbered them. Trust, but verify. There was about a 12 pound halibut caught across the bay on Friday but I think all of the crab gear pinned the fish to bottom on Saturday. Today the wind that had been forecast showed up on the beach and made things unpleasant, especially in the ocean.The forecast is bad for the next couple of days.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

   So, no pictures, just observations. Not too many Dungeness crab being tossed back by the red crabbers in the last month. The crabbers were complaining about the Dungeness, then not. From my dive under the pier a few weeks ago I can say: doesn't look good inside the bay. An outer bay red crabber (I know; I didn't think such a thing existed either) said that there were a disappointing number (for him) of Dungeness crab in the outer bay. I hope that remains true. It would seem that inside the bay may (suck) not be that good but outside might be good for a while. The weather forecast is sub-optimal for the weekend but more disappointing than possibly fatal (windier than swell). I think that the outer bay will be doable and Ten Mile, maybe (depends on your level of abuse tolerance). The rockfish bite is so-so, as Gage and I caught only 9 fish today (I missed his ling with the gaff; should have been 10) in two hours of fishing what should have been a premiere area (Ten Mile). Nice sized fish, 2 to 5 pounds, but still, you could see schools on the meter and they mostly wouldn't bite. We threw a pretty good variety at them for just a few takers. As I said, disappointing, but damned tasty. One other thing, I have heard that trophies have been prepared for the opener. Awards like "Most Dangerous Crabber" and "Voted Most Likely To Foul A Prop" will be attached to some of the longer floating crab pot lines that will inevitably appear tomorrow. The anonymous awardsman's intent is to educate and entertain. I'm sure that nobody that reads this blog would win such an award, but if you see someone else "winning", make sure they they know how to be a submerged-rope-loser like the rest of us.