“Crabs ‘N Dabs!”

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing

by Allen Bushnell

“Crabs ‘N Dabs!” That’s the catchphrase for our charter fishing boat fleet in Monterey Bay these days. Since rockfish season closed at the end of December, most boats switched over to fishing deeper water for tasty sand dabs. Sand dabs are found in abundance on flat sandy areas from 60 on out to 300 feet of water or more. The small flatfish are a prolific species in our waters, and a member of the Family Paralichthyidae, or large-tooth flounders. These little fish are voracious, and caught easily on multiple hook sabiki rigs. They also quite delicious, as evidenced by their inclusion on menus of many a gourmet restaurant.

Beth Norton from Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters operating out of Santa Cruz may have said it best. Earlier this week she quipped, “Fred Flintstone says ‘Yaba daba doo’ Today, our clients said ‘Yaba daba daba daba daba doo’ 200 times. 200 sand dabs. Then they said ‘Craba craba craba’ 40 times, for crew limits of Dungeness crab. Captain JT took them to fish off of Pajaro in 280 feet of water.” Monterey boats are in on the action as well. Although the crab count is a bit lower for the boats in Monterey, the supply of sand dabs seems endless. Chris’ Fishing Trips averaged half-limits of Dungeness crab for their clients this week, who also caught sand dabs by the bucketful and some bonus Spanish mackerel while fishing from the Check Mate and the Caroline.

Sam Bishop from Santa Cruz reminds us the yearly salmon feed sponsored by the Santa Cruz Fly Fisherman Club is now schedule. Bishop says, “this is our fund-raising dinner featuring a raffle and auction along with a wild caught salmon dinner grilled up by members of the Rotary of Santa Cruz. The fly fishing club, established in 1977, holds this yearly event to fund wildlife habitat conservation efforts, youth outdoor programs, and local school watershed education. “ Further information can be found on the Fly Fishermen website www.santacruzflyfishermen.org.

Also, the 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour will make a stop in our area next month. Organizers report, “The F3T is a one of a kind experience. Each year anglers of all ages gather in big cities and small towns alike to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts yet unmade.” This year the film tour shows on February 18, at the Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co. in San Carlos. Even if you do not care much for fly fishing (like me), this is a beautiful and inspiring experience.

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