Special Times Are Here… Recreational Dungeness crab season just opened, with time to go get yours for Thanksgiving. Let me pass on some solid information that I learned in Western Outdoor News.
First, in our ocean area, the California Department of Public Health advises anglers not to consume the viscera of crabs you catch because of the presence of toxic domoic acid that collects in the gut. Daily bag limits and possession is limited to 10 crabs. Legal size is 5¾ inches in width, as measured by the shortest distance through the body from edge of shell to edge of shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines).
To catch them, you can use hoop nets, crab traps or loop traps (crab snares), or scuba divers may take them by the use of hands only. There are very special requirements for identifying crab traps. I found the official information from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at bit.ly/2NKJ9kZ – scroll down to “Crab trap buoys must display the GO ID number of the operator of the trap.”
So, What’s Happening?… Crab is the apex of the combo trips out of Bodega Bay. Look at some of these early results reported in the Monday Hot Sheet: “… 24 limits of ling cod, 24 limits of huge dinosaur rockfish and limits of jumbo crab.” And another count: “48 limits of rockfish, 48 limits of Dungeness crab and 22 ling cod to 18 pounds.” Better go get yours, and sign up now. A couple of boats I follow are the New Sea Angler at Bodega Bay Sport Fishing (875-3344) and The Argo six-pack at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf (415-361-7757). In a quick scan of the crab hunters out of other ports over the weekend, there were limits all around. That’s 10 crabs per angler per day.
More Special Times… Winter holidays are coming fast, with some attention needed to be paid to those gift-giving opportunities. Outdoor sports are a wonderful addition to your family’s recreation. How about these wonderful gift possibilities: fishing and hunting licenses wrapped in an additional sport-specific gift. I’m looking at a new rod and reel rig from Sweeney’s on Imola, where their tackle experts can help you pick the right set-up.
How about some fly casting lessons from Jose Rubio at Sweeney’s? Call him J.R. and ask him to start your kids on a lifetime of special adventures catching fish on a fly. Make a date by emailing him at email@example.com or calling him at Sweeney’s (255-5544).
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A Guided Fishing Trip… is the perfect gift that keeps on giving. Make it a two-day trip and go up the night before. This gives you a golden chance to spend quality time with your children and create memories that will last forever.
For me, one of those was a trip to Lake Almanor when my son Alex was a teener. We drove up to Chester, where we went to an iconic old steak house for supper. It was the first time he ever reached into his pocket to pay the tab – a milestone. Even more important was our catch. Alex’s was highlighted by two 5-pound rainbow trout, I fooled an 8-pound brown trout, and we grinned all the way home.
Close by, I recommend pro guide Bob Myskey (349-4460) on Clear Lake up in Lake County. I have fished with Bob for over 20 years with great success and lots of fun. Bob is especially patient with novices and young people. Clear lake is the fourth-best bass lake in America, as judged by Bassmaster Magazine, so you will be targeting trophy size bass. Bob has guided me to two 10-pound largemouth bass – the holy grail of bassing. It has about the same magnitude as a hole-in-one in golf.
For the best and most varied river fishing, pro river guide Kevin Brock (800-995-5543) is your best choice. In the 27 straight years that I have fished with Kevin, we have wet our lines in the Sacramento River for wild rainbow trout at Redding, king salmon at Chico, stripers at Colusa, and sturgeon in the Delta. Add in salmon on the Feather River and wild steelhead on the beautiful Smith River, and you’ve got a full platter of choices.
My biggest salmon with Kevin was 45 pounds on the Feather. And, I watched him put Stan Press onto a 20-pound steelie on the Smith. Kevin, too has a magic touch with young and novice anglers – they learn and follow his prompts because of that. He has fished three generations of the Ryans.
It’s Time Again… for my annual disclaimer. I pay retail, just like you. That is very important to me. How could you trust my recommendations for goods and services if you thought I was getting spiffed to say some nice words? In my first fishing column back in 2002, I promised you that I would always pay retail. I’m not going to go back on that promise now.