How to Catch Your Own Crab in the Bay Area

How to Catch Your Own Crab in the Bay Area


As of this week San Francisco fisherman continue to stay docked while a large West Coast strike continues over a crab price dispute. So if you're craving a tasty crustacean, now is the time to learn to catch your own crab in the Bay Area.

Set Your Own Crab Traps

True DIYers will be thrilled to know that crabbing piers abound in San Francisco, Berkeley, Sausalito, and Pacifica. In the city, the most popular crabbing spots include Municipal Pier in the Marina, Pier 7 at Fisherman's Wharf, and Fort Point and Torpedo Wharf in the Presidio. You don't need a fishing license to set crab traps from a public pier or jetty, but you will need to bring yourself up to speed on local Fish & Game regulations, bring your own crabbing gear, and bring in your crab pots when the seals show up, lest they shred your nets to snack on your bounty.

Urban Sea Foraging Classes

If you want your hand held, sign up for Forage SF's two-hour Urban Sea Foraging walk ($40, December 29), or take a San Francisco Coastal Fishing and Foraging Tour, both led by Kirk Lombard of Sea Forager.

Set Sail for Dungeness Crab

Because Dungeness crabbing is off limits in San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, you'll need to board a boat and buy a fishing license to catch those, and you'll need to do it soon. For those willing to risk seasickness and pay for the privilege, several charter boat companies offer combination crabbing and fishing trips through the end of December, along with the required fishing license. Berkeley Charter Boats offers full-day fishing and crabbing adventures ($120 per person) from the Berkeley Marina to the Farallon Islands where passengers lay crab traps, then fish for rock cod while waiting for the maximum six Dungeness crabs per person to wander into the traps. Emeryville Sportfishing offers daily open "Crab Combo" charters from the Emeryville Marina ($120 per person), and Osprey Fishing takes passengers fishing and crabbing for $175 per person, embarking from Point Richmond. Most charters leave the dock at 6am and return eight to ten hours later, though San Francisco Party Charters offers a four-hour foray to the Farallon Islands from Fishermans' Wharf.

Luxury Crabbing

If you'd prefer a luxury crabbing experience, Little River Inn on the Mendocino Coast is offering a "Sleep with the Crabs" package, available Sunday through Thursday between January 4 and January 29. The package for two includes a two-night stay in an ocean view fireplace room, dinner and breakfast for two in the Garden Dining Room, a bottle of crab-friendly 75th Anniversary Little River Inn Chardonnay, and a four- to five-hour crabbing charter out of Fort Bragg's Noyo Harbor. Upon returning from your crabbing adventure, the charter crew will be on hand to cook and clean your catch for $1 per crab. Packages begin at $645, and reservations are required at least seven days in advance.

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