Crabbing Bodega Bay & Ft. Baker

Its been awhile.  Weather’s been not so hot, so I haven’t gotten out much.  Maybe only once or twice since the last update?  There’s a poke pole trip I made a little while ago on 11/22/2014:

You can maaaybe see the small shark I walked next to around 4:18, but the glare off the water sorta messed with the GoPro.  If I’d known I’d have scooped it up in my bucket to get a better picture.  Figured since I was filming I’d have it… guess not.

walking next to shark at half moon bay while poke poling
Some kind of shark?

If you’re able to identify this by this crappy picture alone, please let me know!  I haven’t a clue what it was, but it was cute :3

Anyhow, tide was a -0.8 ft. or so, peaking around 4:30 with a sunset at 5.  Timing worked out okay.  Was right after a long rain storm.  I was supposed to take some coworkers out on a poke poling tour, but rain was forecasted.  Hadn’t been out since Sept. though, so I decided I’d go rain or shine.

Couldn’t reach my favorite spot.  That’s the reason I was wading out into the open water.  There’s a little bar you can follow that’s shallower than following right along the jetty.

Anywho, did okay.  Not great, but made do with the few spots that were available to me:

poke poling pillar point jetty for rock cod
Small kelp fish from half moon bay jetty

brown rock crab from half moon bay
brown rock crab from hmb jetty
poke poling fish from pillar point harbor
brown rock cod from poke poling half moon bay jetty

I saw some other people poking but didn’t look like they were having any better luck than I did.  Sure do miss those monster -1.8 ft low tides from the past…

Anyhow, come 12/6/2014, the opportunity to go crabbing out at the Bodegay Bay jetty (the smaller one, not off Doran head) pops up (thanks for the invite Nite!).   I didn’t even have to drive!  Deal of a lifetime man.  So off I went, content to sit in the back and chill for 2 hours.

Unfortunately it seems we got there during a high tide?  Here’s what I remember it looking like:

Yea, this is one of my earlier videos.  Still don’t know why windows movie maker decided to screw me on the quality… and I lost the raw footage /siiigghh.

But look at all the rocks!!!  All that space!  Compared to this time…

Doran Jetty
Bodega Bay Jetty
doran jetty bodega bay at high tide
bodega bay jetty at high tide

There was crazy little space to walk/jump around on…

Sadly, it took like 20 minutes to get out to where we stopped.  Then we turned around and hoofed it back in 10 minutes later since the rest of the group was apparently down by the Spud Point Pier (aka spud marina pier).

The Spud Pt Pier walkway was remarkably narrow.

spud pt marina pier is narrow in bodega bay
spud point pier is narrow in bodega bay

A bunch of landings that were wider, but for the most part is was like 1 person wide.  Very odd.  We met up with the rest of the group (Nite’s college alums) and threw our crab hoop in.  Checked around and the group already had 2 legal dungies.

dungies from spud pt marina bodega bay
dugneness crab from spud point pier in bodega bay, ca

We saw maybe 4-5 dungies & 2-3 red rock crabs pulled up by people along the pier.  Shortly after our net went in this happened…

Kind of a bummer.  That was a new bait holder, first time out. :[  Guess the plastic ripped, since we still had the metal clip at the end.  We were forced to use a crab snare in lieu of a real bait holder.

Didn’t really catch anything for an hour or two.  I tried looking around the rocks on the shore for some shore crabs, but couldn’t find a single one.  Maybe you can’t find them during high tide?

Threw some lures & bait (carolina rigged) and didn’t get any nibbles at all.  While wandering back and forth I heard some people pulled up some big dungies maybe 40ft from the start of the pier, so we moved our stuff down to give it a shot.  Rest of the group wasn’t really having any luck either.  We didn’t get anything for the 20 or so minutes we tried at the beginning, and decided to pack it up and hit up Fort Point Pier (the one on the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge) since it was on the way back anyway.

Seems like the best spots for crabs (dungies or rock) is the 2nd to last landing (iirc this is the one that’s after the curve and on the straight away).

So we got to Ft Baker Pier (off Moore Road & Horshoe Bay) and arrived to see a DFW/DFG officer seemingly trying to keep the peace.  Seemed like two people were sort of at odds about what happened…  Seemed like one guy claimed another woman caught & kept something she wasn’t supposed to.  The woman claimed she was bringing it up to the pier to unhook & release it.  That’s about all I overheard as we passed by, but the warden was around for like 10 minutes dealing with it.  Promptly left after.  Not sure if he was coming through on a routine check, or got tipped off by 1st guy?

Anyhow, we didn’t really see anyone crabbing so it was free pickin’s as far as spots.  As it turns out, the current is possibly too strong at ft point for a crab hoop that’s not weighted… or at least too strong for my hoop.  It seemed like it got pulled out until the rope was taught…

Even so, the group managed to get a bunch of baby dungies:

dungeness crab at for point pier
dungies at fort baker pier
crabbing fort point pier
legal size dungeness from fort baker pier

Above one was actually over the 5 & 3/4″ limit, but season was closed inside the bay (or you can never keep dungies from inside the bay?).  I forget what the deal was, but everyone was sad & asking the crab why it didn’t get caught back at Bodega Bay where we could’ve kept it d=

fort point dungeness crab crabbing
what is crabbing without pictures?

Surprisingly we didn’t pull up a single rock crab, baby or normal size (as far as I know anyway).  I always thought rock crabs were the more common for the two piers at the mouth of the bay, but I guess what do I know…

I spent most of our time at this pier fishing & trying for some rock cod.  Didn’t have much luck.  Tried bouncing a carolina rig baited with squid awhile for nothing, not even nibbles.  Swapped to a minnow lure and had some luck!

I don’t care what you say, accidental or not, luck is always welcome!

perch from moore rd pier
perch from fort baker pier
perch caught at fort baker pier
foul hooked perch from ft baker

Poor guy must’ve been swimming around nearby and I hooked him in the gut accidentally…  And that was all the action for the day for me.  A lady and another guy near the foot of the pier, facing towards the harbor were having a lot of luck.  One was fishing a hi-lo rig as far as I could tell, the other was using a bobber and maybe 3ft of line with hooks below it.

Both caught a bunch of perch, and the bobber guy actually landed a cabezon!  Undersized & released, but damn that’s cool!  I got more posts coming soon (sooner than the last post soon)!  Back home from holidays and working on pumping these out!  Ones a poke pole, and ones my final rock cod trip of the year.  Oh also did you hear it might be opening in APRIL in 2015?  And the ling limit might be up from 2 to 3?!  Crazy stuff man. For more pics, head to the gallery:

Oh and, I hear the sand dabs are out, if you like Fort Point or Fort Baker pier, give it a shot!

Leave a Reply