Crabbing and Fishing in Fort Bragg

An update to the 101 in 1001 : 003 – Go on a crabbing/fishing trip.

This was on both Ryan’s and my list of things we wanted to do. Rather than just grab some bait and a line and bring it down to the local pier, I decided to make it part of his birthday surprise.

After exploring Fort Bragg and Glass Beach the first day, most of the second day was spent on a boat out in the ocean. Armed with Ugly Stiks [haha!], we tried out fishing for the bottom feeders [mostly cods of all kinds] for the first time. It wasn’t so easy, and I [along with most people] was surprised by how well we did!

I had trouble figuring out when the line hit bottom, and on many occasions, my line would get stuck. :/ Very frustrating, but finally we were able to get the hang of it. Unfortunately I never took photos of the larger fish we caught, but I did take one of the very FIRST fish that I caught. It was smaller than my hand. Ryan’s first fish was a little bit smaller than that.

It was encouraging enough for me to keep trying, and by the time we left Fort Bragg, we had thirteen fish [various cods ranging from 2 to 5 pounds] in our ice chests and some crab too! Totally worth the money, time, and experience. The crabbing portion of the trip was really taken care of by the crew of the boat. It was made a little interactive by them telling us to help measure the crabs or to help reel the lines in.

Crabbing and Fishing in Fort Bragg

Crabbing and Fishing in Fort Bragg

Some tips when crabbing and fishing in Fort Bragg (or really anywhere) –

1) Don’t forget to bring a snack or two. They provide donuts and coffee already, but if you prefer other food items, BRING THEM. Common sense would have told us to bring food, but it was early and we were too tired to think about that. Needless to say, we were starving by the time the trip was over.

2) Wear layers that you don’t mind getting DIRTY and SMELLY. You’re fishing. Of course you will smell like fish! It’s cold in the morning but tends to warm up as you become more active or as the sun comes out.

3) Bring cash for the trip. If you lose setups of bait, you’ll need to pay for replacements [we lost 4]. You will also want to tip your deckhands. They work REALLY hard, so that you don’t have to! They’ll also help you out whenever you need something. Whenever we would reel fish in, they would come by and help us make sure that it got into our burlap sacks. Rockfish are extremely sharp and spiny.

4) Bring cash for the trip. Let them filet or gut the fish for you! We have a tendency to like to eat our fish whole, so we didn’t have her help us filet them. We should’ve at least had her gut ’em though. It’s SUCH hard work that takes her a matter of minutes! If you end up crabbing too, take the crabs home AFTER they boil ’em for you. They’ll keep better.

5) Make reservations! The original plan was to go out on Saturday, but I’m guessing I made reservations much too late [a week or two in advance], so it was a Sunday trip.

Anyway, it was a grand old time! My car smelled of fish for a little while since I had to transport the goodies back to SF. If you are looking for a boat in Fort Bragg to fish with, I’d definitely recommend¬†Telstar Charters.

Telstar Charters
Sport Fishing and Whale Watching Charters
Fort Bragg, CA
(707) 964-8770

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  • This looks pretty awesome, I’ve bookmarked telstar to try!

    • Hey Neil! Yeah, it was a very cool experience. Look forward to hearing how it goes if you DO use Telstar! :)

  • I don’t know how I found your site but I read through a few pages this morning and loved it. Your 101 list is one of the most interesting I’ve seen. We go to Fort Bragg at least once a year and I’ve never once fished. I think we’ll have to give it a shot this year.

  • Never seen a starfish with that many tentacles before ? coooool