Crab Snaring by the Golden Gate Bridge

Baker Beach - San Francisco, CA (San Francisco County)


by Jerry Back
3-24-2016
Website

With the commercial crab season about to begin on Saturday, the 25th of March, I wanted to hit the beach one more time as a recreational crabber.  I don't think we really compete with each other--if we did, the boats and their thousands of crab pots would win hands down.  With striped bass season hopefully around the corner, I needed one more crab snaring fix.

A lot of crab snaring activity in San Francisco area happens on or around Baker Beach.  It's expansive and doesn't have a lot underwater rocks upon which to snag your line.  Today, however, I wanted to return to a personal favorite location just a little bit north of Baker Beach.

This particular beach is even closer to the esteemed Golden Gate Bridge than Baker Beach.  Getting there, however, is not for everybody.  First, there's a 25 minute hike down some precarious and paths, through some overgrown trails, down uneven stairs and across some muddy trickles of wannabe streams.  In short, it's not easy getting your stuff down to the beach and even harder hiking back up to the cliff side road where you parked your car.

I hesitate to type the beach’s name because it's not easily accessible, and, as you'll soon read, not the easiest place to throw out a crab snare.  Still, if you send me an email (at bottom of this report), I'll be happy to provide.

I hadn't been back to this beach since last spring and boy did the recent El Niño storms do a number here!  What used to be a long stretch of sandy beach was now mostly large rocks that had been uncovered by a relentless pounding of the ocean’s fury.  Detritus such as driftwood was everywhere and as was a large, unmoored buoy.

Part of the appeal here, though, is this beach’s relative remoteness.  There are far fewer people.  Perhaps one or two people per hour would walk by me.  I like that.  People that do make the effort to get down all the way to this beach appreciate its special solace and I do, too.

Like most places in San Francisco, the views tend to be spectacular.  Looking west, I see Point Bonita Lighthouse and its mini-suspension bridge (a somewhat white-colored replica of its nearby larger golden-colored cousin).  The waves are approximately 3 to 5 feet at 10 AM this morning, but would get larger as the day progressed.

I found my regular spot on the beach, but there was hardly enough sand to insert my sand spike.  I kept hitting rock after rock.  Because the tide was halfway already coming in, I was pushed back against some huge rocks.  I finally found spots for the sand spikes, but I'd eventually pulled them out lest they tip over with the rising tide.

Well, in went my two crab snares.  After about five minutes, I pulled out my first crab.  Dang, too short.  Toss it back and toss out the snare again.  I check the second rod and--bam--another crab.  Again, though, a shorty.  Was today going to be a bust?

No, because I'd soon pull in two keeper-sized crabs and eventually two more--all over about 3.5 hours of time.  In all, I pulled in my crab snares 12 times and there were eight crabs.  Four were tossed back--their only crime was being under the 5.75 inch requirement.  Four were over 5.75 inches and were kept.

Oh, I forgot to mention.  This is a clothing-optional beach.  The occasional naturist may be spotted, though, they mostly stay discreet and are sunbathing behind some large rocks or Gilligan Island-fashioned blind made out of driftwood and small rocks.  Almost 100% men, as well, on this beach from what I've observed over the past few years.  Just FYI, you'll find more gender parity among this group on the northernmost side of Baker Beach.

You'll occasionally see some of the world’s largest container ships pass by not far from this beach.  The Hamburg Süd has its own Wikipedia entry and many other sites associated with it.  I plan to learn more about it and maybe even email this photo to them.  I'd think they'd like it.

Whenever someone walks by that I deem pretty friendly, I ask them to take my photo for posterity.  This chap hailed from the state of  Washington and as a fly fisherman, himself, he had a keen interest in crab snaring.  I let him know that these crabs were named after Port Dungeness, Washington, so he should figure out crab snaring when he gets back home.

So, here are my four crab.  Not the biggest I've caught, but they weren't light in weight, either.  We ate them for dinner already.  I probably won't return to this beach until next season.  Hopefully, by then, it will have gotten back some of its sand.  We shall see.  Finally, if you’re new to crab snaring or it seems interesting to you, be sure to click on the below tutorial link.

Jerry Back is a television research executive residing in San Francisco, California. Other outdoor interests include fishing for Striped Bass (a.k.a., “stripers”) and anything else he can catch on the beaches of San Francisco. Jerry can be contacted at jerry.back@gmail.com.

Jerry also wrote an article for MyOutdoor Buddy titled "How to Catch Dungeness Crab with Rod and Reel," which can be found here. An archive of his recent articles published on Norcal.Fishreports.com can be found here.


Jerry Back is a television research executive residing in San Francisco, California. Other outdoor interests include fishing for Striped Bass (a.k.a., “stripers”) and anything else he can catch on the beaches of San Francisco. Jerry can be contacted at jerry.back@gmail.com.

Jerry also wrote an article for MyOutdoor Buddy titled "How to Catch Dungeness Crab with Rod and Reel," which can be found here.  An archive of his recent articles published on NorCal.Fishreports.com can be found here.


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