I remember seeing Johnny L.A.'s thread a while back about Dungeness crab fishing a while back and thinking, man, wouldn’t it be great to live in an area where I could go Dungeness crab fishing. I actually drove up to Canada looking for some real estate in Dungeness crab territory. I was checking out activity partners on craigslist, and found someone who wanted to go lobster fishing. Hell, I live in a major league spiny lobster fishing area. So I give the guy a call and went out lobster fishing tonight.
Lobsters are nocturnal so it’s best to go at night. Yesterday it was 80°F at midnight but we had howling offshore sundowner winds (In L.A. they call them Santa Anas or hot winds coming off the desert). I was seriously worried about getting blown out to sea. Today it was 90°F during the day, but it was dead calm this evening. I am always sketched out going through the surf, and at night it is a lot sketchier. The surf was very mild though, but my genius lobster trap holding contraption was not working worth crap and they kept falling off the kayak.
Well I eventually made it out. I was cruising along thinking man, I am really out of shape. This guy I’m with is paddling a two man kayak and going way faster than I. I finally get out to our drop point and notice that my spotlight had fallen out in the surf and I was dragging the damn thing the whole way.
Well, I managed to catch a legal red rock crab, but unfortunately, no lobsters, not even an undersized one. My buddy caught a legal lobster though. It’s pretty fun just getting out and you will always catch at least some marine life. I caught a spider crab, but I have no idea what size is legal to keep, so I threw it back. It was smaller than the ones I see at the fisherman’s market, so I assume it was illegal.
The sea was glassy and the air temperature warm. So, despite the lack of lobsters, I had a blast and will do it again.
That oil spill sucks! Right at the peak of Dungeness crab season. We don’t get Dungeness crabs down here. We get red, brown and yellow rock crabs, which have harder shells and less meat than Dungeness. They are delicious though. I think people in San Francisco would be disappointed.
Basically, you use hoop nets like you see people tossing off of piers. They are open at the top and have a submerged float which keeps them cylindrical (sort of). The key thing is to pull the trap up super rapidly as to not let the critters escape.
I’ve got an ancient Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro. It’s the one with two hatches. I am super pissed at Ocean Kayak because they no longer make hatch covers for this model. Mine broke and they told me I was shit out of luck. I managed to score an old one from a dealer, but it doesn’t fit perfectly well, which is a problem on a kayak. I used to have two Scupper Pros until one got stolen off my porch. They are super sturdy beasts though and will last forever if taken care of properly. They are also super easy to learn on and taking out a first timer could not be easier. Except when you go out during the middle of a winter storm with a 6 foot swell. Ocean Kayak is the kayak of choice for recreational kayak rentals because they are so sturdy and so easy to use. I’ve seen them on every continent (except for Antartica, haven’t been there).
I go out from Ledbetter because I live just up the hill. We went out in those kelp beds right at the point. Several people told me that a good place to go is the lighthouse, kind of near 1000 steps ( a local term for a beach access down a cliff). I don’t like lugging kayaks down a 160 steps (the 1000 steps is a bit of an exaggeration). The guy I went out with last night has a boat that must weigh 500 pounds (another exaggeration). Christ, the thing is like the Titanic, and it’s a two person kayak.
I’m thinking of launching from Ledbetter or Hendry’s and either go up or down to get to the lighthouse. A good way to go is to go with a buddy and leave a car at Ledbetter and launch from Hendry’s, thus following the prevailing current and wind. The guy I talked to today said that lobsters like to hang out in eel grass, which there is a fair amount around that area.