I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
In Emery Cove where we are moored there are a few big fishing charters managed by Emeryville Sportfishing. They go out almost daily. With Thanksgiving looming I thought I would go out with them in hopes of getting lots of seafood at a good price. Targets are seasonal, and my trip sought crab and rockfish. Right now, the commercial crab fisherman are all on strike, holding out for a better wholesale price. This means any Dungeness Crab in the area is imported and expensive. To get your own crab would normally require lots of gear and a day of hard work. But the charter boats are more like commercial crabbers. They already have 10’s of traps out there, and they haul them up with powered winches. You don’t set the traps, operate the winches, measure the crabs or store the crabs. In fact, all you do is get a bag with your 6 crab limit in it at the end of the day. It is fun to watch the expert hands haul in the traps though. Hundreds of crabs are pulled up in 30 minutes.
The fishing wasn’t as productive, unfortunately. The weather out at the Farallon Islands was a little rough and to spare the customer’s stomachs the Captain stayed close to shore. We caught plenty of fish, sure, but they were all around 1 pound or less. The limit of 10 rockfish doesn’t seem as generous with such small samples. Two lucky anglers caught huge Ling Cod. I caught a ton of Black Rockfish.
On the bright side their small size means that I will be able to cook them a few at a time until I get it right. I’ve beheaded and de-gutted them, but left their bodies intact. I expect to wrap them in foil with butter, lemon, herbs and wine, and bake them for a while. Then serve them still wrapped. The blast of heat and aroma when you unwrap the foil is part of the experience. As is forking what little meat there is on their tiny bodies away from the bones.
The crabbing and fishing were fun, but it was fantastic to get back out on the ocean again. When we came around Point Bonita the ocean was much calmer than when Kristin and I came into the bay. Which is good, because we thought we timed it well and it was murderous. Its good to know that while I am sure it can be rougher, it can also be calmer. All in all the trip was a good deal. If I ever need of a ton of seafood I will consider it again.