Northern CA Saltwater

Shore-based crabbing and fishing kept Half Moon Bay people out

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 16, 2019

HALF MOON BAY — With boats tied to the dock due to rough seas, rain and wind, folks around Half Moon Bay who wanted fresh seafood dinners worked the jetty, pier and beaches. Catches included crab, rockfish, perch and cabezon.

As Sherry Ingles at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing said, “When the weather gets bad and the seas run big enough to make Mavericks go off, we do the wise things and stay tied to the dock.” That is the way it was all week, with only breaks now and then, but not long enough for the seas to settle sufficiently for boats to get out.

sanddabsareSANDDABS ARE THE main game in town now off the coast, along with crabs, and Joshua Ling of San Francisco loaded up on sanddabs in the south bound traffic lanes off Half Moon Bay aboard the Huli Cat in 278 feet of water.

Staff at the shop reported that during breaks in the wet and rainy week, quite a few people came to the Harbor. Some fished and crabbed from the jetty. Catches of fish included perch, rockfish, cabezon and monkeyface prickleback eel. Poke-polling for the eels was productive at lower low tides but with big swells running, poke pollers had to be wary and scramble out of harm’s way.

Casting snares from the jetty was also popular and people got both rock and Dungeness crab, with enough keepers for dinner. The public pier was also a good spot for crabbing with either hoops or snares. In either case, common crab baits were squid, anchovies and mackerel.

Joshua Pencek at half Moon Bay Sportfishing reported that the Pacifica Pier was open 4 days out of 7, but there was some good crabbing action on those open days. Boats tried to make it out, but conditions were fierce. Pencek said, “Commercial guys went out when they could, but my buddy Pat tried to run 50 pots on Saturday and only made it a mile out before turning back in his 34 footer.”

Surf fishing along area beaches was tricky when the swells were really up, and people always had to be wary of killer sets sweeping beaches. The reward for diligence was some very fine barred surfperch and redtail perch. Baits were sand crabs, pile worms, Gulp! baits and plastic grubs. Folks wanting the biggest perch and hoping for a stray wintertime striped bass cast hardbaits like Lucky Craft or Daiwa.

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