View Full Version : Sand Dabs ?

09-30-2005, 05:09 PM
A week ago I fished the Farralons with Quang Vo and we were using Sand Dabs for Lings. My question is that I see that people fish for them to eat, how are they as far as table fare ? Also, the biggest one we caught for bait was around 8", how big do they get ?

09-30-2005, 06:31 PM
They are VERY TASTY, and in fact one of my favorite fish. As you noticed they don't get that big, but you can get some 12"-16" fish. Either way just gut them, scale them, and fry the whole fish with the skin on. They taste great.

I wish the party boats would fish for them again like last year when rock cod season was only 3 months long. Oh well, just take home the bigger ones you can use for bait. You wont regret it.

10-01-2005, 01:33 AM
I agree. Ling Cod love sand dabs, and so do I. A quick pan fry with a little salt and pepper is all that is needed.

Azsprig, when you were using them for bait, did you miss and bites and bring the sand dab up? Man, they get huge gashes down their body from the big lings teeth. I bet that must be scary to be a sand dab at that point. Have a big ling chase you and eat you only to be ripped out of his mouth. And they they put you right back down.

10-01-2005, 08:32 AM
Oh yea, the Lings tear them little dabs to pieces !

10-03-2005, 05:35 PM
salt,pepper,olive oil,butter, yum yum ::)

10-03-2005, 06:28 PM
Hey, I've heard this before and actually "fishguts" and I caught a few of them to try. What about the bones? We gave up on trying to clean the little critters, we thought someone was pullin' our legs about the whole "just gut em' and fry em'??

10-03-2005, 06:57 PM
I love to eat sand dabs but I am tired of paying for them in restaurants :-[ how and where can I catch them in Bodega?? ;D
Thanks for any help

10-04-2005, 07:55 PM
fishbutt i have been fishing bodega for over 10 years now,and never heard of anyone catching dabs. they are always out of the bay area landings. I am pretty sure that they are not in range of the bodega bay boats. :'( i am sure that some one will chime in.

10-04-2005, 09:41 PM
I love to eat sand dabs but I am tired of paying for them in restaurants :-[ how and where can I catch them in Bodega?? ;D
Thanks for any help

We caught some out of Bodega last year. It was one of those situations of "hey, I hear we can catch Sand Abs out here, lets give it a shot." So we did. If I remember correctly we were straight out from the Whistle in about 140 feet of water. We only caught about 1/2 dozen or so... but they are out there.

10-05-2005, 08:57 AM
Sand Dabs like deep sandy bottoms. The only time I caught any and it was an accident was in 90 feet of water off of Moss Landing in Monterey Bay. I was catching them on a Halibut mooching outfit using squid.

They say that when you find them they are a nuisance because you can' keep them off the hook. I'm not sure where you go off of Bodega, but I've heard they are there. And there is no limit and no depth restrictions on them. Since they are small they are light biters and hard to feel, so calm days and light weight help.

As for eating, I'm not a big fan. They taste fine, but I'm not into the delicateness of the meat. I like firm meat, ling or rockcod, but that's more of a personal taste sort of thing.

10-05-2005, 07:16 PM
Wash them out, lay them down, sharp knike to cut off entire stomach. I use a large wok with enough olive oil to cover 3 to 4 fish in the lowest middle part. med high heat and a little salt and pepper. I fry them completely till they get knid of crunchy to the point that the whole dab can be eaten (everything)! A little bit of spicey salsa (chipotle, chile de arbol, with cilantro of course) a dab of lime and a cold brewski!! Now this is an appetizer that can become a complete meal!!


10-05-2005, 07:18 PM
like basil said, at like 70ft out to 300ft
there everywhere theres sand on the bottom...
from the mile bouy to the soquel hole out 4miles
there almost everywhere....
easy to catch if you stay in touch with the bottom
and use a #2 hook or smaller as they have small mouths
although I have seen bigger ones inhale a whole chovie.
as for cleaning there easy to clean too....
as for eating them frying them is easy and fast
and they do taste awsome, like a trout you just
have a few bones to get thru....

10-05-2005, 09:11 PM
Not a ton of meat but great table fare! Very tasty. I probably won't hear the end of this, but I like them more than salmon - okay I said it ;D

10-06-2005, 07:18 AM
I am going back out this coming Tuesday and I am going to keep a few of them for the grill.

10-07-2005, 02:58 PM
salt,pepper,olive oil,butter, yum yum ::)

What? you got sumtin against a little fresh garlic with them 'Dabs??? ;D ;D

You can scale them with the hose just like salmon, cut the fins/tail off with kitchen shears and one whack with a sharp knife for the head and gut cavity and they are ready to go.

10-11-2005, 11:17 PM
When I 1st got married, I took my wife to moss landing near the PG&E stack , where a nice place to eat near a dock was located. My wife ordered, and I noticed they had sand dabs; which I ordered. When our orders came; I offered my wife a bite of sand dab. She took my plate of "dabs" and said "boy these are really good!!" Hope you like my Snapper? Later....Ed

10-12-2005, 06:19 AM
I'm not sure of the times (it may have already happened) but Fort Point and Fort Baker Piers both get good runs of 'dabs every year.

10-12-2005, 03:24 PM
Caught a bunch of Sand Dabs on the Fort Baker Pier last December. In fact, the best day was XMAS morning, when my son and I caught about 20 of them.

10-12-2005, 08:24 PM
Pretty much where you drop traps you can catch dabs. size 4 hooks tipped with squid. Try some of those live bait anchovie rigs. Sabiki rigs are what they are called. I've caught them a bunch when I'm trying to keep the poachers off my traps. They bite like baby stripers.

10-15-2005, 06:04 PM
I think Bodega Bay boats don't generally target sand dabs. We left emeryville and headed to the islands for rock cod and ling cod. We started just southeast of the islands in about 90ft of water, and caught the sand dabs for bait. Then, we moved about 2 miles north and started fishing for the rock fish.

I figure the islands are within range of bodega bay, but overall I think sand dabs get "the short end of the stick" because they are small. I don't mind loading up on them, and was actually a little bumbed when we pulled anchor to go after the rock fish after only fishing sand dabs for about an hour.

If you cut out the gut cavity you take most of the rib bones with it. Once you fry them the meat just falls right off the bone. Usually the bones are not a problem. If you can get some 10-12 inch dabs they are perfect for one meal. If not just fry them up like previoulsy mentioned by someone else, and the bones wont be a problem.

I think the Emeryville boats will probably be going after sand dabs again once rock fish closes at the end of December until they can go out for salmon in April again. We'll see...

10-15-2005, 10:19 PM
Sport boat skippers ignore 'dabs as they are not considered what one would call a "Glory" fish.

These guys are in the business of taking fishermen fishing and sand dabs don't draw fishermen like 100 pound sacks of rockfish or 30 pound lings do.

That's why often times you will see them pull off a perfctly good dab spot to look for other fish.

Dabs and sole are great eating fish and well worth the effort to catch.

The smaller ones can be cooked in the toaster...sort of a "Fishy pop tart" ;D

10-17-2005, 01:26 PM
We stopped at about 120 ft of water out of Santa Cruz and tried for dabs Friday morning. Every time the bait gets to the bottom, 2 kingfish were waiting there. I mean, we never had to wait for the bite. No dabs. I guess it must be because they didn't have a chance to get ahead of the kingfish. Anybody could give me a clue how far I have to go out to avoid the kingfish and have 2 sanddabs waiting at the bottom?

10-17-2005, 05:42 PM
2? i thought you could use more hooks for dabs?


10-17-2005, 06:26 PM
try 180ft thats where i remember catching them. and if no rockfish are onboard you can use as many hooks as you want.

10-18-2005, 12:54 PM
It's not about how many hooks are legal, I just wasn't expecting to catch too many each time. Maybe I should tie more hooks next time, or just use a bait rig.

10-31-2005, 07:36 AM
What? you got sumtin against a little fresh garlic with them 'Dabs??? ;D ;D

You can scale them with the hose just like salmon, cut the fins/tail off with kitchen shears and one whack with a sharp knife for the head and gut cavity and they are ready to go.

I forgot about the garlic ;)