Location: San Francisco
|Today I went out to the Half Moon Bay south jetty to try poke poling. This was more-or-less my first time fishing. I had a 10 ft garden stake from home depot and an assortment small rigs tied with 100# mono. I figured I'd start cheap just in case I hated it.
It was a very low tide, -1.6. I'm not sure if this made things worse, but scrambling on the jetty near the water line was way too much work. Walking along the top was fine, but to get down near the water was to risk slipping and going into the water, which I was very much trying to avoid. I ended up spending most of my time on the harbor side on the sand or over very shallow water. There were still plenty of pools and holes on the jetty within reach.
I caught three little fish, none worth keeping, including a baby cabezon which I regrettably gut-hooked. So it's fair to say the fishing did not go that well. But I did catch two large rock crabs. They foolishly followed my baited line out into the open, putting them in easy grabbing range.
Later in the afternoon, as I was readying to leave, another fisherman asked if anyone wanted his monkey face prickleback. Yes, yes I do want that. Together with the two crabs, I figured that made enough for a dinner. I gutted the prickleback and put it on ice with the crabs.
Once I got home, I set about turing these mostly-intact animals into food, something I'd not done before. I was dismayed to find that rock crabs, unlike dungeness, have most of their meat in their claws. This was especially disappointing since one of my crabs had no claws at all. I boiled them in salt water, then broke 'em open to scoop out the meat, which was pretty scarce. I think I got about 1/3 of a cup in all. I mixed the meat with some melted butter and used it to dress a baked potato.
The monkey face eel looked much more promising, if only I could separate the meat from the bones and skin. Even in death, the eel managed to be an evasive and slippery adversary. It took an unseemly amount of sawing and hacking and cursing to get the meat off that fish. In the end I got it off in four pieces, which should put me in good standing for halibut season. I fried the meat in butter with some shallots.
The eel and the crab were excellent. And I do like the idea of catching my own wild dinner. So I'd call this a success, even if the catching was sparse, because the eating was good. I'll be back out tomorrow in Pescadero to collect mussels.
Last edited by ryanrs on Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:13 pm; edited 1 time in total