November 08, 2017    Headlines

  Crab LIMITS!
Rockfish Limits

Bodega Salmon
That delicious time of year otherwise known as the Dungeness crab season is off to a great start.
The weather was drop dead gorgeous on Tuesday 11-7. Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler had 40 clients on board and reported 40 limits of quality reds, browns and coppers adding 53 lings to 29 pounds. The crab gear was stuffed and Rick sent everyone home with ten commercial grade crabs to 3 plus pounds. Rick has limited room this week and more spots next. Limits should be the rule into December.
This writer is headed to Colorado for my first elk hunt. I'm joining an experienced gang of long time hunters and looking forward to my first ever elk hunt. I don't expect much here will change over the two weeks I am gone. If the weather cooperates limits of crabs and rockfish will remain the rule.

Some People Suck Department
Crab thievery has been a big problem for many years. I've experienced being robbed many times and the reason I fish gear offshore and don't disclose exactly where I'm dropping pots.
Some people suck because of what happened to my son (pictured left with the pair of salmon) today. Ty is 22 and a hard core local surfer and kayaker. He really enjoys getting out on his kayak and chasing salmon and rockfish and is a regular on the surf break at Salmon Creek on his days off.
Ty and a friend both got off work early and met at Doran late Monday afternoon to set out five pots. Paddling a mile off the beach in a stiff 10 to 12 knot breeze and loaded kayaks they set their gear.
Returning first thing Tuesday morning they pulled through their five pots. One pot had 7 keeper dungies, another with one and the other three had rock crabs. They left the dungeness crabs in the gear, dumped the rock crabs and rebaited. They then paddled down to the first estero to see if they could find some rockfish or something to pass the time. Two hours later they returned. All their pots had moved (Ty has a great Lorance fish finder /GSP on his kayak) one by several hundred feet. While they were fishing some scumbags came by and robbed all their crabs.
Here are a couple of kids who put in a ton of effort (and would do anything to help anyone) and are robbed by someone to
F(*^#ing lazy to buy their own pots or bait.
Ty was very disappointed not so much as he didn't return home with crabs but that some people think nothing of doing this.  All I could say was "Yes Ty.... some people suck. Just learn from this and know that those people have never tasted crab as delicious as those you worked for".

On Monday 11-6 the weather was flat and sunny with light winds over a 5 foot swell. Rick on the New Sea Angler reported another great day. Chasing rockfish off Point Reyes Rick reported 39 limits of quality reds, browns and coppers adding 25 lings to 18 pounds. The crab gear is now loaded up after a long soak with 15 to 20 plus crabs per pot and they added 39 easy limits of crabs. Rick has room this week.
Jeff was on the helm Samantha Irene and reported 18 limits on Sunday over three trips and six limits of rockfish and limits of crabs on today's trip. Jeff has a few spots open for combos and is also offering some limited afternoon trips that will open up when the weather cooperates.
We expect that limits of both crabs and rockfish will be the rule the next few weeks. Crab counts here are good but with a high abundance on the North Coast many of the big "slammers" will stay north this year. This means that the local stocks will not be hammered by out of area boats and numbers here should remain solid into December.  

On Sunday 11-5 the weather was flat and sunny and more great reports are coming in on the crab front. Rick on the New Sea Angler reported 47 LIMITS of rockfish adding a huge limit count of 59 lings to 20 pounds. Rick said the calmer weather had the lings on the chomp and those clients who knew how to work a bar were rewarded with up to 6 lings each. In the crab pots they found stuffed pots and sent everyone home with limits of big commercial grade crabs to 3 pounds. The New Sea Angler has room this week.
On the private boater front we received several reports of 10 to 20 crabs per pot for those soaking gear in the 125 to 200 foot depths from Carmet to Tomales pt and up to the Russian river.

The weather was a tad rolly and sloppy but not blown out and many anglers found good action out in the deeper waters opening day. Jeff Caramella was at the helm of the Samantha Irene and reported 12 limits plus crew on two straight crab trips. Jeff was fishing out in 150 feet and said they had a solid 15 crabs per pot on a short soak since midnight. Jeff only has some limited room and standby spots this week. Other readers chimed in with Ed reporting 4 limits on a four hour soak off the river adding near limits of rockfish and 3 lings off Ft Ross. Dan worked a couple of pots in the Outer bay for 5 crabs in four hours and left the gear to soak overnight.
Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler reported 43 limits of crabs to over 3 pounds, 43 limits of big Pt Reyes rockfish and 14 lings to 21 pounds. Rick has room weekdays this coming week. 707 875-3344
The weather looks to improve on Sunday with NW winds of 5 to 15 knots over a 5 foot swell.

 The hugely popular Dungeness crab season opens this coming Saturday. New regulations aimed at preventing anglers from soaking gear ahead of the opener are posted below. At this time it looks like opening day and possibly Sunday could be wet and windy.
I just want to remind private boaters to check the weather before you go and to know our own limitations and those of your boat. The first few weeks of the season brings out 1000s of anglers many of whom have little experience of winter ocean conditions. Every year several lives are lost (just off the Sonoma coast) often due to weather, lack of experience and becoming entangled in crab gear in rough weather.
I personally see many boats that look as if they just came out of ten years of storage or others with four or five anglers in a 12 foot boat designed for three max.
The number of anglers fishing from kayaks is also seeing a big increase. Last season when setting gear in the middle of opening night Rick Powers reported app. 30 kayakers working gear inside the jetty and the Outer Bay. Many did not have any navigation or work lights and there were several close calls as Rick worked his way though offshore. Kayakers need to "light up" and make sure others can see you.
In a nutshell be sure to know your limitations. Remember by law if you are running the boat YOU are responsible for the safety for all on board. Be sure that your vessel is in good working order including all safety gear is up to date. Most importantly if the weather is questionable wait for another day. No ten crabs are worth your life and better weather days will come.

The super popular campground and launch location, Lawson’s Landing at Dillon Beach has applied for an amendment application for an improved wastewater system to improve showers, full hookups, and bathrooms at their site, and a hearing will be held on Wednesday, November 8th, at the Bodega Bay Marine Lab at 9:00 a.m. to decide the fate of this application. They are also proposing improvements to the roadways and buildings around the entrance of the campground that would reduce traffic congestion and improve services available for our guests in that area, and they asking for as many supporters possible to attend the meeting, and volunteers to speak to the commission to help keep their prices affordable. According to Lawson’s Landing opponents to the amendment are asking for a complex and expensive system that would jeopardize the feasibility of affordable camping or even possibly create the financial risk of keeping our doors open to the public. Those unable to attend the meeting can send emails to the California Coastal Commission no later than 5pm Friday November 3rd at including in the subject line: Public Comment on November 2017 Agenda Item Wednesday 10a - Permit No. A-2-MAR-08-028-A2 (Lawson’s  Landing)


New Recreational Crab Regulations Aim to Reduce “Ghost Fishing” and More

October 5, 2016

Measure Dungeness crab through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab must measure at least 5 inches across. CDFW illustration

This year, the recreational Dungeness crab season opens statewide on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The daily bag and possession limit for Dungeness crab remains ten crabs per day that are at least 5 inches across, measured by the shortest distance through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab can be taken in all ocean waters of the state where they occur, excluding San Francisco and San Pablo bays. They can be taken using hoop nets, crab traps, or crab loop traps (also known as crab snares), or skin and scuba divers may take them by hand. Dungeness crab can be taken in freshwater areas of the state between Del Norte and Sonoma counties only by hand or hoop net during the open season; the same daily bag and size limits apply in freshwater areas.

Prior to the upcoming season opener, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would like to remind crabbers of the new regulations and procedures for crab traps that became effective on August 1, 2016:

Crab traps must contain at least one destruct device made from a single strand of untreated cotton twine, size No. 120 or less, that creates an unobstructed opening anywhere in the top or upper half of the trap that is at least 5 inches in diameter when this material corrodes or fails.

Destruct devices prevent the continuous trapping of organisms in lost or abandoned trap gear, in a process known as “ghost fishing.” It is important that the cotton twine be a single strand and untreated in order for the material to corrode relatively quickly on lost or abandoned gear, and to keep the twine from snagging on itself once it comes apart. The smaller the size of twine used, the faster the material will corrode in lost or abandoned trap gear. The opening must be located in the top or upper half of the trap in case the trap becomes silted in over time. A common method to meet this requirement is the use of untreated cotton twine attached between the metal or plastic hook and the rubber strap that keeps the top of the trap lid (or trap side) closed. The cotton twine should be attached with a single loop in such a manner as to aid the destruct process.

Crab trap buoys must display the “GO ID” number of the operator of the trap. The GO ID number is the unique, 10-digit identifier assigned by the Automated License Data System to your profile. This number will appear on all documents purchased through CDFW (for example, your fishing license).

Crab traps not operated under the authority of a commercial passenger fishing vessel (also known as charter or party boat) must possess a buoy, and each buoy must be legibly marked with the operator of the trap’s GO ID number as stated on his or her sport fishing license. This regulation will help to ensure that crab traps are being used by the designated operator of the trap in order to prevent others from unlawfully disturbing or removing crab from crab traps. If you are using another person’s trap, written permission from the owner of the trap must be in your possession in order to operate the trap. This regulation is not applicable to hoop nets.

Crab traps must not be deployed or fished seven days prior to the opening of the Dungeness crab season.

For this upcoming season, crab traps used to take either Dungeness crab or rock crab can’t be used or deployed in state waters from October 29, 2016 until the Dungeness crab fishery opens at 12:01 a.m. on November 5, 2016, and any crab traps found in ocean waters prior to this seven-day period should be removed from the water by October 28, 2016. This is to prevent the unlawful take of Dungeness crab before the season starts. Take is defined as hunting, catching, capturing or killing of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans, or invertebrates, or attempting to do so.

Other regulations that remain in place for crab traps include that every crab trap be outfitted with two rigid circular escape openings that are a minimum of 4 inches in diameter and located so that the lowest portion is at the most 5 inches from the top of the trap. This is to allow small crabs to easily escape from the trap. Crab traps can only be used in state waters north of Point Arguello, Santa Barbara County. There is no limit to the number of crab traps that can be used by recreational crabbers, except the limit is 60 when operating under authority of a commercial passenger fishing vessel license.

Round trap (or “pot”) using rubber strap, single strand No. 120 untreated cotton twine, and hook to secure lid of the trap. When No. 120 untreated cotton twine deteriorates, the lid of the trap opens and meets the minimum 5-inch diameter destruct device requirement. CDFW photo by A. Roberts and J. Hendricks

CDFW would also like to inform recreational crabbers of the best practices with regards to deploying crab trap gear to reduce surface lines as much as possible in an effort to reduce entanglements with animals, especially marine mammals and sea turtles, as well as other vessels. More information can be found by accessing the Best Practices Guide released by the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. Although there is no time limit for checking crab trap gear (as there is for hoop nets), frequent visits will ensure that traps are in good working condition and that crab captured in the trap are not held for too long.

For the latest information about California crab, visit the CDFW Crabs website.

“Millions of Californians on hook for water plan”
Read at our website.

Today, The Associated Press published a story confirming rumors of “expanded funding demands” for the Delta Tunnels proposal. New documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal that dozens of local agencies representing millions of Californians may be required to pay for the tunnels, even though they have not been asked to participate in the project, nor would they receive the “supply reliability” benefits promised to CA WaterFix participants. This follows years of assurances from the Brown Administration that only local water agencies actively participating in the tunnels would be the paying for them.
A telling quote from Santa Clara Valley Water District board director Richard Santos reveals that State Water Project contractors have been pressured into participating in the tunnels project.

Ellen Knickmeyer and Scott Smith write, 
“Asked if California intended to cut off state water deliveries to those districts that refuse to help pay for the tunnels, Lien-Mager said only ‘opting out would not affect their existing contracts, but their actual water supplies from the SWP could become less reliable in the future.’
That message has begun trickling out as water agencies around the state decide whether to raise rates to pay for the tunnels.
‘That’s what we’re being informed — our contract ends if we don’t participate,’ said Richard Santos, a board member of the Santa Clara Valley water district, which supplies water to Silicon Valley.
If it plays out that way, Santos said, he will fight. ‘If they say they’ll cut off our allocations if we don’t participate, then let the courts take it on,’ he said.”
To read the entire story, click here.

Abalone Bay 
Sea Ranch Ocean Front Vacation Rental.
Welcomes You to the
Beautiful Mendonoma Coast

One of the best OCEANFRONT Sea Ranch rentals.
 Abalone Bay is a classic oceanfront 3-bedroom/ 2-bath vacation rental that sleeps 6. You’ll find Abalone Bay to be perfect for a romantic getaway, girls’ weekend, family abalone adventure, or relaxing retreat. 
Abalone Bay also welcomes your dog on holiday.
Please visit our website for more information and to book your dates.

Nearly all the salmon caught along the coast this year are there thanks to the Golden Gate Salmon Association. If not for their efforts to push both state and federal hatchery managers to truck fish over the past three years of drought we would have likely NOT had a season this year or next. I encourage readers to support this great organization and their efforts to return our salmon fishery to it's past glory. You can visit their website and see all that they are doing to make that a reality.

Vacation Rental at Point Arena
 Brand New House in Irish Beach with 2 bedrooms and a huge loft. Sleeps 6. Blue Water Ocean View to the Point Arena Light House and great local fishing. The house is located on a private court with access to the Members only Irish Beach.


Upcoming Events:
USAFishing proudly supports the many fishery and wildlife organizations that benefit anglers and hunters throughout Northern California. Does your organization have an upcoming event? Contact us at and we will gladly post the information on our reports pages.

California Waterfowl Dinners and Youth Events Calendar

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar

 Party Boat Contacts:
The Bodega Bay Sportfishing  Center is currently booking trips on the New Sea Angler. They also book the six pack Sandy Ann, Profishn't and during the summer the Predator. Reservations can be made at 707 875-3344.

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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46013

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46013

Marine Weather
With the Point Arena, San Francisco and Bodega Bay buoys all out of service it's been tough to judge conditions. There are some land based weather stations, wave rider and even webcams that readers can use to assess current conditions.  The Point Reyes wind observations or wave conditions at the San Francisco wave rider buoy are good tools for Golden Gate anglers.  For Bodega Bay anglers you can use both the Point Reyes wind observations and the Bodega Bay Marine lab web cam at Horseshoe Cove and conditions at the Point Arena light house. For Monterey based anglers looking for conditions inside Monterey bay can use the Monterey Bay Aquarium buoy.




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