Northern CA Saltwater

Half Moon Bay: Boats haul crab and sanddab

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 04, 2020

HALF MOON BAY — The action was good on all-day trips out of Half Moon Bay, with Dungeness crab and sanddabs being the two main target species. The jetties served as casting platforms for snare crabbers and for bait fishers. Beaches were good for various perches.

pottedcrabsPOTTED CRABS — Crabbing is still the “other half” of trips for the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay right now, as their sanddab/crab combo trips are in full swing. The best pot of the day held 19 crabs, shown off by Matt Long of Santa Cruz, deckhand Zach Hassan of Half Moon Bay, Ian O’Conner from San Francisco, and Dan Woods from Mountain View in the back.

There were good numbers of crab and bigger numbers of sanddabs that came over the rails of partyboats Huli Cat and Queen of Hearts . On a Huli Cat trip, 13 passengers took home 130 Dungeness crab (full limits) plus 233 sanddabs which were as many as the passengers wanted to haul home. Jeanne Tognoni caught an impressive 11.5 incher on an Ahi sanddab rig in 280 feet of water 14 miles west of Pillar Point harbor. These are amazingly tasty little fish, so people tend to take home enough for each family member to have 2 or 3 fish per meal.

Josh at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing reported that Queen of Hearts ran combo trips, finding the sanddabs to be wildly willing to bite baits, but crab to be hit and miss. With big swells and winds moving in, the skipper’s plan was to pull and relocate the traps to try to find an area with bigger numbers of the highly desired Dungeness. The quality of the crab has been good, they just need bigger numbers.

Pillar Point Harbor jetties had good action. Josh at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing said, “The South Jetty is most popular with people casting snares or poke-poling for monkeyface prickleback eels. Some are fishing hook and line with baits to catch perch, cabezon and rockfish. Our public pier is still closed, people have to use the jetties.” Another option is driving up the coast to Pacifica Pier where the crabbing and fishing have been decent. With the swells running all week, it was wise for people to check to make sure the Pier was open before making the drive.

sandabsareSANDDABS ARE FILLING in for saltwater anglers, along with crabs, until other seasons kick in again. CJ Nugent from Big Sur brought in 4 sanddabs at one time on his multi-hook gangion, and also caught the biggest sanddab of the day coming in at 10 ⁄4 inches. He was fishing aboard the Huli Cat on a sanddab/crab combo trip in 280 feet west of the Pillar Point harbor.

A BIG ’DAB — Most sanddabs are pretty small, and when you get one that’s almost a foot long, that news! Harvey Miller of San Jose caught this 113⁄4-inch sanddab using an Ahi sanddab rig in 280 feet of water 14 miles west of Pillar Point Harbor aboard the Huli Cat.

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