I was talking to a dungeness crab fisherman at the dock in Princeton and he goes: "rock crabs are garbage, I got no interest in that."
And that's just fine with me, buddy!
It all comes down to what your particular version of the American Dream happens to be. Mine is unique, I think, in that it doesn't include a lot of expensive stuff. And because of that, I can make underground, under-utilized, non-mainstream fisheries work for me. But not everyone can.
It's funny though, I have to say, commercial fishing a string of hoop nets! You guys think I'm kidding but that appears to be the best way to capture rock crabs (more on this later).
Even funnier, since we started doing this with our buyer (and benefactor!) I'm seeing rock crabs all over town. Copy cats! Got more demand for eels than I know what to do with. Got people talking about the different kinds of smelts (FYI: there's a huge demand for jacksmelt... yes, jacksmelt. Worms and all!)
Anyway, Mikey and I have been dropping pots everyday. Okay, let me rephrase that. Mikey's been dropping pots everyday, I've been tagging along occasionally. But, we are starting to learn a few things:
1. rock crabs are smarter than dungies
2. rock crabs are very good at escaping from conventional crab pots
3. hoop nets work well because you have to pull them up every 15 minutes and so the crabs don't have a chance to escape.
4. getting pinched by a rock crab deeply sucks (their claws are designed to break clams, yo).
5. we need a different kind of pot.
It's weird, even with weighted doors and 3.25 inch escape rings we can't seem to keep these buggers in the traps over night. Drop a few hoop nets on rocky bottom and you catch more rock crabs in an hour than you do with a 48 hour soak. Very strange. I think what's going on here is that rockies unlike dungies evolved to deal with getting in and out of holes. So as soon as they eat all the bait they start searching the cage for a way out... and they figure out the door quite easily. I have this image in my brain of one rock crab, the leader of the jail break, holding the trap door open while all the others escape... might have to sink a GO PRO down there... anyone wanna volunteer a camera?
Anyhoo... as far as fishing goes, this is what I've been up to lately (see movie). Nothing stupendous but some nice footage of our little operation, the wonderful 18 foot Whaler that has been provided for us by our crab buyer, Kenny (mensch of the 7 seas), and the foggy shores of the local coastline. I think it's fair to say that in a month or two we will be able to triple our catch.
Again, if there are any former commercial rock crab fishermen out there reading this, I'd love to pick your brain for a few minutes... beers on me.
Anyway, here's my first movie since steelheading on the Trinity...
Happy New Year!
PS: if any of you have photos from my tours down in Halfmoon Bay/Princeton/Mavericks I'd really appreciate you forwarding them to me, especially that monster cabezon Mikey got poke poling!