Half Moon Bay Crabbing & Jetty Hoppin’

Finally getting all caught up on these reports!  Went crabbing on Saturday by kayak, and was out hopping around the rocks of the north jetty at Pillar Point harbor on Sunday with Calvin & Patrick.

I decided I was done with those giant behemoths of crab traps from danielson (the metal foldable ones).  Just so heavy, bulky, difficult to deal with.  I’ve seen lots of kayakers running around with Promar collapsible traps (tr 102W, get the newer ones with escape rings).  When If first received them I was skeptical as to how well they would work, but after Saturday I’m sold.

Dungeness Crabs & Rock Crabs in Promar Crab Trap

Anyhow!  Plan from last weekend was to go out and catch a bunch of crab so we could make crab & corn chowder.  I failed to wake up early, and crawled out of bed around 7am.  Got to half moon bay around 8am, but didn’t launch until 9:15am.  Didn’t get all my gear ready before hand, so took awhile setting stuff up on the beach :x.

Finally launch from the old pier.

Nice weather!

I’ve heard there are occasionally sand dabs along the shore where you crab, but was both late and lazy.  Didn’t want to bother trying for those.  But next weekend I’ll probably be going out of Monterey, weather permitting, for sand dabs! 😀

Looks nice above when I launched.  But as soon as I got past the jaws, holy swell.  I think we had 7-9ft swells forecasted that day.  Figured hey, that’s not that bad.  I won’t be going through the reefs to rock fish, I’ll be in open waters, shouldn’t be too bad.  Got out the jaws and…well.  6-9ft from your butt while sitting, is an unpleasant height for water to be looming over you D:

It looked like the waters calmed down further out, so I paddled out about 20 minutes, nearly got to the dungeness crab grounds, and then it started getting bad.  Swells started getting white caps, waves nearly breaking over me, even slicing through the waves I was nearly getting tipped out of my kayak!

It was awful out there.  Especially when a boat passed by, it got even worse.  Every 10-15 seconds, when a large swell would come through, I honestly was never sure if I’d make it through it or get toppled into the water.  Spent the next 40 minutes slowly paddling back into the harbor, praying I wouldn’t get thrown off…!

Finally made it back in safe and sound, oh man.  So much stress, and the day started so nicely…but at least it was calm in the harbor.  Dropped 2 crab hoops, and 2 crab traps for 3 hours or so.  Focused most of my efforts along the north jetty wall.  Tried 2-3 soaks along the south wall near the jaws, but only pulled up 1 rock crab (but it was a keeper!).  I know there’s a spot out there somehwere that’s supposed to net 6+inch crabs (both dungies and rocks) all day.  Still haven’t been able to locate it though.

Dropped one pot along the south jetty wall, and soaked a hoop there.  Nada.  Bait that seemed to be working that day was frozen herring from Marina Foods, and 4+ month old freezer smelt.  At one point I checked my pots and crabs were munching on the fish, but not any of the squid/chicken liver.  I may change up bait tactics in the future, it was pretty eye opening.

I pulled up a ton of baby dungeness crabs.  Many per soak for the traps (non-hoops).

Crabs caught at Half Moon Bay

Dungeness crabs were easy to pick out of the traps, but rock crabs seem smarter about grabbing random things within their claws’ grasp.  At times I had to get creative and hold the net/rope/whatever they latched onto in the water, so that they’d release their grip and go back into the ocean.

Also ran into like 4 rock crabs that were veerrry close to 4″.  Too close to risk, so they all went back.  Had 2-3 dungies that were 1/4″ or less from being legal too.  Dang!  Pretty much called it after a few hours, was going slow.  Had 3 crabs when I called Calvin to meet me at my place to make the chowder with Devin & Veronica.

Went to go pick up all my pots that had been soaking for nearly an hour.  Managed to land 1 more keeper dungie, and 1 more keeper rock crab.  Brought my total up to 4 rock crab, and 1 dungeness.

Crabs caught at Pillar Point Harbor

Did our chowder thang.  Its late though, and I’m quite tired, going to skip over that.

Come Sunday morning, 3 of us gather at the north parking lot for our trip down the north jetty at Half Moon Bay / Pillar Point.  Amazingly the tide seemed to be low enough that we could walk out to the first bend before we had to climb up onto the rocks.  That was awesome, the first leg of the jetty is usually slippery and extra jaggedy.  And we got to skip it! ^^

Ran down to the bend just before the last leg before starting to fish.  Basically if you draw a line across the channel/jaws of the harbor from the south jetty to the north jetty, we stopped just short of that spot.  Never wound up passing it, but there are some spots to fish beyond it.  I know from personal experience that at low tides the water can pull nearly out to the spot we stopped at, so that’s where the deeper water & bigger fish ought to be.

Patrick started the day off by landing 2 small/medium rock cod out of the first spot.  Exciting!  I don’t have any pics since I was pretty far away.  Had moved further down the jetty to somewhere I could reach the water from.  Hope Patricks got some pics.  Oh, now that I think abotu it, the second fish might have been a greenling or something.  It looked different from a regular rock cod, even at range.

I started the day off by dropping down onto a black rock I thought was dry.  Turns out it was wet, and I promptly slipped off and super slammed my toe into a rock.  Then from there, I flinched, slipped again, and with all my weight behind it, slammed the same toe into a rock further down.  For a few minutes I would have been okay with you chopping my toe off.  Could not have hurt more.  I was in a most uncomfortable position, but still couldn’t move.  Toe hurt so freaking bad.  My lord.  But it went away after a few minutes, enough so that I could at least move again.  Didn’t feel broken, so I continued on.

Calvin’s friends showed up, and he was on the phone directing them where to go to meet up with us.  He had his bait soaking in the water at his feet, near the end he gave it a short tug, realized it was snagged, and was like “DAMN IT!”  Turned out to be an eel though!  And a big one at that, a monstrosity!

Calvin’s eel from the half moon bay north jetty
so cool

I ran over to marvel at the size of it!  It was so large we doubted we could lift it all the way up the jetty and decided to run back and get the bucket.  Just as I was turning to leave, it thrashed, and off the hook it came! D:  Noooooo!

So Calvin rebaited, and pulled another one up later!  And this time I managed to get it on film too!

At some point Calvin joined the blood tribute club:

Calvin’s Hand

He wasn’t sure how it happened.  /shrugs, brought in the fish!

Wooo!  There were so many eels at that spot.  I lost 4-5 fish/eel.  For some reason my hooks just weren’t going through.  They’d just get pulled to the surface, then swim off.  Another 2 times I hooked into something HUGE.  It was taking drag even though I had it clamped down pretty tight.  But both times I couldn’t muscle it out with 20lb line, and it just rubbed against rocks until the line was cut :[

But at least I ended the day on this note:

A nice chubby grassy rock cod.  Sorry the video doesn’t stay focused, I was trying really hard not to drop either the rod or my phone into the water 😡

Ah and what we were using?
Rigs: Carolina rig.  1/2oz sliding egg sinker above a 2/0 octopus hook snelled directly onto the main line.
Bait: shrimp & squid
Line: 20lb mono, some heavy braid.

Around 1pm we decided to pack it in with Patrick, rounded our stuff up, headed back.  The entire time the stupid eels kept flailing around in the bucket, nearly getting out.  Multiple times they’d squirm, then half an eel would be hanging out of the bucket.  Got a mouthful of slime at one point too :[  BLECK

On the way back, Patrick paid his blood tribute as well:

He must’ve fallen really fucking hard.  That looks painful :[

When we got to the car and finally sat down, I could feel my toe throbbing.  Wasn’t until I got home and took my sock off that I saw what had happened:

That white line in the middle of the big toe?  Yea, I think I broke a nail…

This wonderful blood spurted out when I was getting into the car.  Managed to get my nail caught on the door, and oawhut8y80yhujitwrhubg-jhpnkyesihkjo-mrhwet.   Couldn’t move for a bit again.  I don’t think I can even fit my toe into a shoe anymore.  Going to work tomorrow is going to be interesting seeing as I have to take BART :[

So yea.  Fun trip.  Everyone made it far on the north jetty, and everyone paid their own blood tributes.  Everyone caught fish, and we walked away with some quality sized fish!  Also ran into a DFG person taking census data on fish.  Nice guy :]  He measured our fish and weighed them while chatting with us.

And that was my weekend!  I’m exhausted, its after 1am and I have to go to work tomorrow…asdf.  So here’s the link to the album with many more unused images:

And on that note, the fog seems to be rolling in.  G’night ya’ll!

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