Northern CA Saltwater

Rockfish and crabs entice Half Moon Bay and Pacifica people

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Dec 06, 2017

HALF MOON BAY — Half Moon Bay partyboats went after rockfish and lingcod south of town, or ran combo trips to add Dungeness crabs to the haul. Harbor people worked crab snares or hoops for rockies or Dungies. Pacifica Pier had shutdowns but saw big crowds of crabbers when open. Surf fishing slowed for striped bass.

Queen of Hearts and Riptide worked diligently for bottomfish at favored spots down the coast near Pescadero, Ritz Carleton and Martins Beach. Capt. Bob Ingles on Queen of Hearts said, “Use the shrimp fly rigs, optionally tipped with squid strips and fish it right near the bottom for the bigger fish like reds and coppers. We even pick up lingcod on the shrimp fly rigs, but more often than not a medium-size rockfish will bite the shrimp fly, then a lingcod bites the rockfish and hitchhikes all the way up.” Lings under 10 pounds were common, but there were some taken up into the teens.

TWO DOZEN DUNGIES — Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay went on a rockcod and crab combo off of Pillar Point. Nick Carrillo from Pacifica, Ian Gunderman from Belmont, and Peter Akimo from San Francisco hold up a pot brought up with 24 crab during a rockcod/crab combination trip aboard the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.

Crab combo trips were the norm for Huli Cat and other boats. The drill was to quickly load up on rockfish and lingcod in order to save some time for pulling and emptying pots, rebaiting them, dropping them back down for another overnight soak and then moving on to the next one. Capt. Tom Mattusch said, “Crabbing may have slowed down, but we had back-to-back days of limits of Dungeness. Rockfishing was great but slowed down with the huge swells. It will surely pick back up when the swell subsides.”

Pacifica Pier was closed Saturday morning due to a combination of very large swells and high tide. Rob Chaney at The Rusty Hook Bait & Tackle shop in Pacifica noted that there were nearly 50 people waiting in front of the pier for it to be reopened. Once going full bore, those folks hauled up some nice Dungeness.

Shore fishing was good for barred surfperch and redtail perch, but not so good for striped bass. Chaney said, “I fished a couple of evenings this week for just a couple of hits.”

crabsareaCRABS ARE A great addition to rockfish and lingcod on the crab/cod combination trips, and the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay went out on one south of Pillar Point with the Southside Anglers Fishing Club. Ray Garcia from San Jose, Ed Tani from Hayward and Alan Tani from Saratoga next to a pot pulled up with 25 Dungeness crab, in addition to the 35 lingcod and 6 cabezon for 22 anglers.

hitchhikerling445HITCHHIKER LING — This 8-pound lingcod decided to make a rockfish that was already hooked up his meal, hitchhiking on the smaller cod all the way to the rail of the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay where John Rogers of Emerald Hill added it to his bag.

heftycabezonHEFTY CABEZON — Ben Solinksy of Hayward drove down to Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay to fish aboard the Huli Cat during a rockcod/crab combo trip and caught this 5-pound cabezon while using shrimpflies.

TWO CABS — Ray Garcia from San Jose holds up 2 cabezon to 7 pounds he caught on a swimbait aboard the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay that went out on a rockcod and crab combo.

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