Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dungeness Crab Fishing - Pacifica Pier


Kim holding a Rock Crab
Recreational Dungeness Crab fishing opened on November 6th.  It's easy to catch them from the Pacifica Pier in Pacifica, CA just south of San Francisco.  Best yet, you don't need a license to fish from Public Piers in California.  There are at least two different types of crabs you can fish for from the pier, Dungeness and Rock crabs are abundant.  Check the CA fish and game website  for size and take limits and information on crab species in CA.

A Triple Header!

Fishing from the pier can be done with a drop net and bait like fish heads or chicken but the take is usually rock crabs with that method.  Rock crabs are huge and delicious but their shells are hard so they are harder to crack after cooking.  They also have less meat but are worth it to try.  Sea lions also love to attack crabs feeding on drop nets.

I prefer crab fishing with a large ocean rod and snare baited with a mix of sardines and squid.  Crab snares, bait, tackle, measuring tools and advice can be obtained at the Rusty Hook fishing shop near the pier.  I have found that the best traps are sometimes sold on the pier for around $5.  It helps to put a small 2-3 ounce sinker in the basket before adding bait so as to get a better cast and to keep the trap put on the ocean floor.  Walk to the end of the pier if you can find a spot there.  Toss your snare as far as possible.  Let settle to the bottom and then reel in the slack until the line is taught.   Wait about ten minutes.  Then, reel in very slowly to get rid of any additional slack.  As soon as you feel the weight of the snare, pull the rod tip up hard and fast.  If there is a crab on, it will feel extremely heavy and hard to reel in.  Sometimes if you wait too long, the crabs will pull the traps into the sand.  If that happens just keep trying to free the trap and crabs by pulling up on the rod tip.  Be very careful when releasing crabs from the snare.  Rock crabs bit hard.

My friend Mel and I went fishing on a beautiful Saturday and caught this pile of "Dungies" and Rock crabs.

Rock Crabs and Dungies we caught



The Snare with an unwelcomed guest
Mel with Rock Crab and Snare
Fishing is also popular on the pier.  Kingfish, Jack Smelt, Perch, Striped Bass and even Salmon can be caught from the pier.  Baitfish like Anchovies can also be caught using Sabiki Rigs purchased from the Rusty Hook store.

Jack Smelt
Most important, the pier is beautiful and family friendly.  The view is stunning on sunny days.  Sea lions, and many bird species are common sightings.  One time I even saw a whale swimming in the distance from the end of the pier.  There is a coffee / snack shop called the Chit Chat Cafe with bathrooms conveniently located at the end of the pier.  

Finally, be sure to check the weather before you go.  It can be cold and the sea can be rough on windy days.  Get out there and have fun catching crabs.  The season runs through 6/30/11.

What a View!

A closer look at the huge claws of the Rock Crab

16 comments:

  1. nice searching for catching crabs and perfect blog were going to pacifica too i love it there...great blog...did you put any food at the end of the snare what else can you use to for crab fishing??

    ReplyDelete
  2. oops saw the drop nest and chicken...answered my own question..lol..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, the best bait to use in the fishing pole traps is squid or sardines. If you prefer the drop net traps, chicken is a good affordable option.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this. I was looking for just such a spot for the weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  5. is there a better chance of catching crab later in the season

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. depends on who your date is

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the information. What pound test line is generaly used to haul the crabs up to the pier when using a snare?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi, Now is probably the best time to catch nice sized legal crabs, although there are still many at the end of the season in June. Also, the line test is 20lb or higher. I use 20lb since I also use my fishing pole for fishing. I think most use 30lb test if they are set up just for crabs snares.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Does anyone know how much rope you need if you drop a net for crabbing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 125 feet is good you can pull in any slack

      Delete
  9. ^^^^ I had same question. How deep is it at end of the pier?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. depends on the tide between 30 and 50 ft

      Delete
  10. Hi, I don't know for sure but the Rusty Hook fishing shop in Pacifica would know and they sell nets there. If I had to guess, i would say it's 12-18ft deep BUT the pier is another 20 or so ft above the water so the ropes people use are quite long. Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fishing brings great joy to people around the world thanks to it’s relaxing properties and family friendliness. If you want to find out more about fishing, this piece can provide you with some excellent tips.

    Alaska Fishing Lodges

    ReplyDelete
  12. Minimum of 20lb pound test for pole snares.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What are the recommended specs and some suggested brands for on poles to crab fish with off the Pier @ Pacifica?

    ReplyDelete