View Full Version : Crabbing out of Bodega

09-28-2005, 08:23 AM

A couple of questions for those seasoned crabbers out there. I am planning to take my Achilles out of Bodega this year in search of Dungies. If I don't head too far out, can I catch crabs in the area south of the Doran Jetty? Everything I read says I should be looking for a sand or mud bottom but is there an ideal depth range I am looking for? I have several hoop nets and two of the Danielson (sp?) box traps which I am starting to rig up. Any tips on this as far as buoys or rope? Bait container versus fish carcass?

When I was younger, I did some crabbing out of Nick's cove and caught tons of red and rock crabs. Back then we used only the hoop nets but I am wondering if the same principals apply. A crab is a crab right ;)?

Any other info would be great.


09-28-2005, 04:32 PM
I too hunt Abs with a 9" gauge!
Your inflatable is your limitation for crabbing in Bodega Bay area. The best grounds are north between Salmon Creek to just above Jenner area, 180' to 80' contour line. Now I am speaking of Dungies not red or rock crab.
A crab is not a crab. I was corrected by an Alaskan crabber this summer. The King and Snow crab taste the best plus you get more meat per crab. In Alaska, crabbers throw Dungies back in the ocean. They tell me Dungies are to much work for what you get meat wise. But we are in California and we have no Kings or Snows!
I personally fish for Dungies and throw back the red,rock crab, to much work for what you get! (I sound like the Alaskan crabber) I must say I love fishing for dungies. It's like Christmas every time you pull your pot or net! What and how many will you pull next!!!
I got started in Bodega Bay area but really learn to fish Dungies in Waldport, Oregon in the Alsea Bay. Learn alot, great fun. 100+ crab/day alot of undersize, females, few keeper males. You learn the migration patterns of males, females, big males along with types of bait and how long you keep your net in the water. I took what I learned and applied it in the Bodega Bay area.
I do well through-out the season. The last day in june 2005 we came home with 30 crab for 3 people 50/50 sport to commercial size. We used ring nets in depths 30-80 feet in Jenner area. I do not consider myself a sourdough (oldtimer) saltydog, but I can tell you this:

1. Early season bait your rings with chicken backs (fatter the better) this keep the seals away from your rings. When the seals leave use fish anything cheap salmon, tuna, rockies,or squid.
2. Add more bait every fourth or fifth pull. Keep the bait fresh.
3. Pull your ring nets every 20-30 min(adjust the time as you feel needed). It is amazing how fast crab will find the bait.
4. Pull your ring nets steady until you reach the surface. Do not stop while you are pulling crab will jump out. Believe me, I have seen this many times.
5. Unless they are mating you will not find big males with females. You will find females with little males all season mostly. Big males maybe deeper or ? but keep moving.
6. Fish Bodega Bay (Doran Park to Golf course) between 20-60 feet sandy-mud bottoms. If you catch red/rock crab you are to close to a rocky structure. Move your nets next time set. If you want roed/rock crab fish the jetty or rocky areas.
7. You must move to find the big males but once you find them you will have fun.
8. Fish smaller tidal movenments. Big tides, crab seem to burrow into the sand for awhile. After a storm is a good time also. Keep records!

5/16" line and a good crab bouy 8lbs lift is good. You can get away with 3/8" line but the line drags more with the tide and has higher bouyancy (floats more). Which reminds me, if you are using floating line, weight the upper half of the line. It will keep the line out of propellers.
I use the leaded line for pots and nets with 8-11 lbs lift bouys. Buy your gear locally.
Mark your bouys with your cf# and hopefully you have a gps to mark your nets. It makes retrieving your ring nets much easer.
Fasten your line to your ring nets with a good knot and maybe a pigring for extra security. Ditto for the bouy. I hate loosing gear.
I hope this helps you find dungies or red/rock crab in the Bodega Bay area!
Dungie season opens November 5, 2005 so get rigging!
Support your local shops and check the fish and game regulation booklet before you crab. 1 measuring device/crabber, buy extra and leave them with your crabbing gear. And remember, crabbing is fun for the whole family kids and all!!!


09-29-2005, 06:40 AM
Wow, lots of great info in there.

Thanks, Jeff.

09-29-2005, 12:19 PM
I always turn down King Crab when it's offered, it's a littler better than red rock crab. Red Rock crab is watery and too juicey. King Crab isn't really that flavorful although the flavor is good, but it is stringy and for me doesn''t have a good mouth feel. Snow Crab, I don't think I have ever tried.

Now, dungeness, that's the best. Never buy shelled dungeness as it starts loosing flavor when it comes out of the shell and keeps degrading in flavor.

09-30-2005, 11:23 AM
Fantastic! Thanks Jeff.

BTW - Did you make your own Ab Gauge? I use a hand me down from good old grandpa ;).


10-01-2005, 02:05 PM
Started making my own gauges years ago. I could not see spending $10-20 for a gauge I can make myself.

10-05-2005, 07:57 PM
30 more days.
Got the campsite today....
I can smell those crabs a cooking now.

10-06-2005, 06:49 AM

10-06-2005, 01:54 PM
I'm also heading out there opening weekend. Been out there once like 15 years ago. But was wondering if any good fishing will be going on during that time as well?

10-06-2005, 04:37 PM
rock fish and ling cod will still be open
ling closes the end of nov.
rockies close @ the end of dec.
the fishing should still be great

as for putting out pots....
dont you have to wait till opeming day to set them out?


Fish King
10-06-2005, 10:28 PM
You are allowed to set them as many days ahead of the opener as you want. You're just not allowed to take any crabs before the opener. There are no rules saying that you can't set your pots a day or two early. If I'm wrong please correct me. ;)

10-08-2005, 05:07 PM
In the ocean??????????

Fish King
10-08-2005, 09:26 PM
Intimidator what do you mean "both"? And yeah we're talking about setting them in the ocean. I don't think crabs live in fresh water. lol. ;)

Fish King
10-08-2005, 09:27 PM
My bad...I just saw that you were replying to another post made by someone else. Sorry about that. :)

10-09-2005, 08:03 PM
How deep maximum would you leave your crab pots if you have a 100' rope?

Fish King
10-09-2005, 08:56 PM
I'd leave them in a maximum of 80 feet of water if you only have 100 feet of rope on your pots. If the swell builds 15 to 20 feet, like it almost always does during the winter, your pots will move. There's 125 feet of rope on my buddies pots and we set them in 100 feet of water. Genereally, just set your pots 20 to 25 feet lesss than the length of your ropes. Hope this helps. :)

10-11-2005, 05:39 PM
and please put weights on your ropes to keep them under the surface


10-12-2005, 12:22 PM
Is a 6 ounce weight usually enough?

10-12-2005, 01:34 PM
one 4oz in-line rope weight for every 50ft of line works great for me.sold at petaluma sport and dive or Outdoor pro shops

10-24-2005, 07:03 PM
I'd leave them in a maximum of 80 feet of water if you only have 100 feet of rope on your pots. If the swell builds 15 to 20 feet, like it almost always does during the winter, your pots will move. There's 125 feet of rope on my buddies pots and we set them in 100 feet of water. Genereally, just set your pots 20 to 25 feet lesss than the length of your ropes. Hope this helps. :)


A couple years back I retrieved some of your lost pots and returned them to you... *watch your rope length verse depth of water.... *

good rule of thumb is 33% more rope than depth.... * if you set in 180 foot you should have 240 foot.... * *150 deep you should have 200 length...100 deep you should have 133 length.... *if you don't leave pots out overnight you can stretch this.... * and remember, when pots walk they always walk to deeper water....

Fish King
10-24-2005, 10:22 PM
Hey thanks again for doing that for me. Last year I built 2 round sportsman pots and had them stolen or cut. I had them right in line with my buddies pots and when we went to check them one day just mine were gone. Same exact pots just different floats. I'm thinking that somebody thought that they were two stray pots and either took them or cut the ropes. That's the only conclusion that I've come to on this. And for all you guys that robb other people's crabs and pots, BACK THE F*** OFF!!!! >:(

10-25-2005, 05:02 AM
11 more days until we drop them in!!!!!!!!!

10-30-2005, 09:29 AM
When does the season start or get hot???? And what are you using for bait? I heard raw chicken is the way to go. I will be crabbing off the pier.

10-30-2005, 02:00 PM
dungeness season starts nov 5th if you are pier crabing in bodega you will want to go to the very end of the rock jettie and through your trap towards the beach i was drifting for halibut in that area and caught some dungeness crab on hook and line. use fish bodys forget that chicken or abalone guts they dont work. good luck

11-02-2005, 02:06 PM
3 more days.....
Salmon carcases......

11-02-2005, 02:37 PM
For you cats that are throwin' crab rings off of the Bodega jettys -

Make sure you have a bait cage or the seals/sea lions WILL take your bait.

Throw your traps out far and pull your traps in like you mean it. A half-assed pull-in will almost guarantee that your ring will get snagged on the rocks.

If you're into reds and rocks then get out there right now. On Sunday I caught more crabs on hook and line from Doran Jetty then I've ever seen out there. (Released, of course). So much so that at first it was pissin' me off, but there were so many it almost became comical as the day went on.

I've seen more dungees landed with snares than rings.

If the jettys aren't producing try a long throw from shore from Campbell Cove or Tides Wharf. Tides Wharf consistantly produces some of the biggest red and rock crabs I've ever seen...but only the occasional keeper dungee.

And, most importantly, pick up after yourselves. I'm sick and tired of bringing back half a bag of empty squid boxes and chicken styrofoam every single time I go out there.

11-02-2005, 03:53 PM
Any man that picks up trash that someone else left, is a good man! Crabs it'll be! Salmon hunt has gotten old! I landed one small salmon with sores on the side! :P

11-03-2005, 08:05 PM
Boats loaded,crab pots are ready.
lets just hope for some good weather.
Intimidator ch.77 Bodega bay.

11-04-2005, 11:10 AM
In case you don't know, it is illegal to catch a crab on a fishing line! I think somebody on here said they have done it before.

Fish King
11-04-2005, 11:51 AM
On a hook and line or what?? What about using crab snares that are attached to fishing line?

11-04-2005, 01:51 PM
Crab snares are legal. Keeping a crab you catch on HOOK and line is illegal.

I imagine this was implemented to prevent "snagging" of crabs.

Just my guess...

11-04-2005, 03:32 PM
Yeah, that sounds about right...the moral of the story...
If you are not sure about what equip. to use, use a crab net/trap, or ask a warden.

11-06-2005, 05:32 PM
What and operner!!!!!!!!!
Limts were are rule.........

11-06-2005, 05:44 PM
If the weather holds, we are planning to head out on Friday. Any tips on where to launch (15ft Achilles)? Doran? Westside? Any other sniffers going after crabs next week?


11-06-2005, 08:18 PM
glad to hear about all the crabs
i'll be trying to get over there next weekend
quick starter change(yeh right)
then off to the crabbing zone


11-06-2005, 08:49 PM
I'm interested in doing a little crabbing. The closest thing I've come to crabbing is catching crawfish in a trap for some bass fishing.
How do I get started and where can I purchase some rigs and what rigs are best for the dow?
Next, is there any crabbing out of santa cruz? What is a good area and depth?

Lookin to fill some steamin pots with some of my own soon!


11-07-2005, 11:59 AM
Piers are good, and any jettys if there are any there.