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  • Writer's picturealexosen

Rockfish and Crabbing Trip to Fanny Shoals and Point Reyes

Our original plan was to troll for Tuna around Cordell Bank, where the warmer water pushed in. Then we would drop down to the Fanny Shoals area, get on rocks, and fish for rockfish. After that, we’d run down to Drakes Bay at Point Reyes and drop our crab pots.

Admittedly, the plan was quite ambitious, but we thought there is a chance we could pull it off. A couple of days before the trip the weather reports turn for the worst. We almost called the whole thing off and decided on a last-minute game-time decision. Sure enough, the night before the trip the weather started to look a little better and we decided to go for it.

We left the house at 4:30 am and launched at Alamada around 5:30 am. We ran the whole channel in the morning dark. The sunrise caught us right under the Golden Gate bridge. We were the only boat there. The ride out was absolutely epic.

It took us around 2 hours of hard running under the rising sun to get within 2-3 miles of Cordell Bank, however, right away we saw there was a problem. About 300 yards in front of us there was a wall of fog stretching as far as the eye could see. We hit the wall and it got dark and rough very quickly. It felt too rough to troll for Tuna and Capt. Wayne made a call to run back to Fanny Shoals for rock fishing.

Once we got on the rocks, we dropped double-hooked rockfish rigs with yellow shrimp imitation lures, baited with squid strips, and terminated with 12 oz weights. We fished for around 2 hours at around 200-220 feet depth hopping from rock to rock using the fish finder. We eventually got limits and were ready for the last leg of our trip - crabbing.

Rockfishing is a lot of fun. It’s action-packed and a decent workout, believe it or not. Dropping and reeling up fairly sizable loads from 200 ft plus is quite exhilarating. Since the swells were quite big, the boat rocked and we always had to stay mindful of our footing. It’s a multi-dimensional physical and mental challenge and it’s hard to keep the cameras going and getting good angles with all that action plus constant spray and fog hitting the camera lenses. The video came out ok, but I’ll do better next time.

It took us around 45 minutes to run into Drakes Bay, where things were a lot calmer. Dropping crab pots sounds fairly easy in principle, but it’s more technical than I thought. This was my first time, so I did my best to help the guys get it done. Different lengths ropes must be used, depending on the depth. Also winding the rope in just such a way that it uncoils smoothly during the drop is important. Once we drop a pot, we’d mark it on GPS and go to the next drop location a few minutes away.

We found that 80-110 ft of water is the best depth, and there is probably no need to soak the pots for more than 30 minutes. We took the time to fillet all of our rockfish before picking up the pots and found a lot of our bait eaten to the bone. I wish we’d picked up our pots sooner. I think we’d have double the haul.

If you have a chance to go out rock fishing and crabbing this season, don’t pass it up. It’s one of the most fun fishing adventures you can do and fill your freezer with good eating.

Our full story video is below.

Cheers and tight lines.


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