Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dungeness Crab Opener at Bodega Bay

Last November 3rd was the crab opener. It may not have been the best opener in Bodega Bay, but the weather was beautiful. I arrived in to Doran beach Friday afternoon and noticed there was already a big NorCal Kayak Angler presence. I parked the truck set up camp and got all my crabbing gear ready. Walked over to the other NCKA camps and it seemed like everyone had decided to go out at 12:01 AM. It seemed like forever for that time to come. We all hung around the fire, eating rock crab, flank steak and Japanese pizza waiting for 12:01 to arrive.

At 11:00 I headed back to my camp and decided to bait my traps and get everything ready to launch under the moon. Doug, Dave, and Tony were at my site and getting there gear together also for the midnight launch. When everyone was all set we gathered our gear and yaks and proceeded to the beach. The water was so flat and calm, it looked like a lake out there. May have been the calmest I have ever seen Doran Beach, with the moon shining there was no need for a head lamp. I decided to only drop 2 traps and bring the rest out in the morning. After dropping the two traps, Tony and I realized how great the conditions were and we had to go and get some rings to use for an hour. Tony went and got his ring and I used my Promar Ambush ring. After a 15 minute soak, I pulled up the ambush net and had a little over 15 dungeness crab in the trap, and 5 keepers, but after looking at them, I realized they were all females and back they went. I decided to put the trap back  down and let it sit for some more time. Crabbing under the waning moon may have been one of the most magical kayaking experiences I have ever had. There was a bioluminescence to the water and rope when pulling up the traps. The water was so calm, I kept joking with Tony that you could almost sleep out here. There were many people on the jetty with head lamps it made it look like a search and rescue crew at night.  On the last pull of the ambush trap I was able to pull up one keeper and we decided to call it quits and head in and get some sleep. Before we went in we decided to check one of the traps, which was probably not a great idea. I pulled up one of my square traps to find a good 10 crabs working on the bait and then some of the bait fell out and all that was left was one chicken leg. Since it was already late I sent down the lonely chicken leg in hopes of it being able to last into the morning.

Dougs first time crabbing off a kayak

Lights on the water

Tony kept on getting all the little ones

Tony enjoying the calm water and waning moon

First pull of the 2012 Crab Season with a Promar Ambush net

Woke up around 7:00 and there were already people out on the water, and they day use parking was full. I figured there was no rush since my pots had been soaking overnight. It was amazing to see all the kayaks on the water, it looked like land mines with all the bouys and floats on the water. There were so many it actually took me a little bit to find my first trap. I pulled it up and there was nothing in there and the bait was gone, the lone chicken leg did not make it through the night. On the second trap I pulled it up and had 5 keepers, one which was a jumbo and the other just over 6”. The rest of the day was hard work to get a limit and I ended up finishing the day with 9. I sent two home with a friend to share with his wife and child. 

Taking the Caribbean 14 out on a beautiful day. 

There were kayakers, shore crabbers and Power Boats

Calm and Sunny

Kayaks lined up on the beach

On Sunday after leaving the pots out overnight I was only able to come up with a few crabs for the whole day. Tim S. on the other hand was a able to get some big Jumbos to take home off of the Jackson Cuda. Tim is actually building a crabbing kayak and I can’t wait to see it. There were also some kayakers who went out to fish while there traps soaked.

Tim Crabbing off the Jackson Cuda

Tim kept pulling up Jumbos one at a time

A couple of the crab from Sunday, a Jumbo and one a little over 6"

This little guy fell out of the trap

Ruben with some sweet fish!

Narisa and Melo enjoying the sun

This years crabbing has been off to a slow start for Bodega Bay, while those launching their kayaks out of Half Moon Bay have been getting limits within a short time. Hopefully the crabbing picks up in Bodega Bay, maybe it has something to do with the warm weather. In the end, it really didn’t matter how much crab were being caught, it was just great to be spending time with friends on the water.

Article Written by: Victor Woolworth

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall Guys Trout Tournament

Well as you know, there has been a recent addition to my family and that means that fishing time is at a premium. Fotunately my wife was nice enough to let me attend the Fall Guys Trout tournament last weekend at Amador Lake.

When I arrived at Amador Lake, I was pleased to see a nice turnout of folks and lots of new faces. All in all I think there were about 20 people entered. We hit the water at 7:00 sharp. I could not have been more excited. I knew from reading fishing reports that the lake was full of trout, which should make for a great day of fishing. I was also excited to try out the new track system I had installed at Headwaters Kayak Shop.
Sweet track and rod holder setup I had installed at

I paddled out of the launch ramp cove and deployed 2 rods, one with a 2 inch Powergrub with no weight and one with my trusty cowbells tipped with a nightcrawler. Almost immediately I saw other people catch fish. I had to anxiously wait about 15 minutes before I got my first hook up on a the grub. Whew! One in the boat, the pressure is off.

I continued trolling the grub and switched the other rod out to a wooly grubber. I had a few more strikes on the grub, but nothing would stick. This problem was compounded by the fact that you could see fish hitting the surface eveywhere. Hours passed. I kept changing lures, but no luck. It is now 11:00 and after talking to some of the other anglers, I was getting nervous. I  bumped into Adam Coons, another member of the fishing team and asked if he had had any recent action. He said he had just had a strike on a crankbait. I already had a rod rigged with a shad style crankbait and I tied a Diawa DC Shiner on the other rod and paddled the length of the lake back to the dam. About halfway back the rod with the DC shiner on it sang out. Fish on! I started reeling my second rod in, the line snagged on something in the kayak. I set that rod down so I cou.d reel in the fish. As I'm fighting the fish I hear the sound of a rod sliding across the deck and plunk. I quickly grasp the line and rap it around a hook on the kayak, all the while still fighting the fish. I finally get the fish in and get it secured on the stringer. Now to deal with my deep sixed rod. Unfortunately I had the drag set really loose so that when a fish struck I could hear it. Fortunately the rod that went over was for bass and reel was spooled with 15lb test. I was able to retrieve the rod by spooling the reel and pulling it up by the loop of line tied to the reel spool. My lucky day.

Now that that was over, back to fishing. I let the DC shiner out again and 10 minutes later the reel sang out. I got that fish boated and another angler offered to take a pic of me. I lifted the fish out of the net and the fish gave one last giant kick, which was just enough to free it from my grasp. Into the water it went. Oh no! Luckily the fish hit the water and just floated, so I was able to re net it. Yet another calamity averted. It is now about 12:00. Thankfully I now have three fish in the boat. I let the DC Shiner out again. About 20 minutes later I got another srike. I slowed down to let the fish grab the lure again. I then look over my shoulder to see a massive pontoon boat bearing down on me. I paddled out of the way quickly. No fish is worth getting keel hauled.

The lure I owe my 3rd place to.

  I ended the day with 3 trout, the largest was 16 3/4 inches. That was enough to put me in 3rd. I was a happy camper. Thanks to Jim for hosting the event and thanks to Headwaters for the awesome track rigging.