As fortunate West Coast anglers, we’re set up with a tremendous variety of what we can catch, where and how. From fresh to salt to brackish waters, there’s no shortage of choices. There are folks that scour local lakes for bass, trout, and crappie. There are old timers that love their traditional deep-sea fishing on party boats. There are little kids creeping through our backwaters hunting elusive corvina. And there are the shellfish gurus, from free divers tracking lobsters to kayaker anglers hoop-netting for crab. It’s no wonder that our California/Baja coastal stretch is one of the most prolific, attractive fisheries on the planet. The options are truly wide open.
Me, personally? I love it all… literally everything. And up until last week I had done just about every type of fishing possible, except for the last mention – crabbing from the kayak. As one of the original kayak fishing guides starting in the early-mid ‘90s, one of the things I taught was a lobster hoop netting clinic. As phenomenal as it was and still is, it’s the Dungeness I’ve missed out on; unfortunately, they just don’t make it to our Southern California zones. Up until now, I’ve bitten the bullet and just spent my hard-earned money buying the “Dungies” from local fish mongers. The dense crab meat is considered some of the sweetest and worth every penny.
The solution? Phone a friend. I called to check in on my old partner in crime – Dennis Spike, founder of Coastal Kayak Fishing. With our friendship pushing three decades, we’ve kayak fished spots within 1,300 miles of coastline… from Fort Ross to the East Cape of Baja. “Spike” is now a 10-year expat of sorts living just outside of Bodega Bay, CA where he guides salmon, rockfish and crab trips from the kayak. It was the latter that I was focused on, and it unveiled a solid excuse to get the band back together. Saving the story for next week, I’ll just say that we hauled enough crab for multiple recipes, so here’s the first. And if you can’t make the trip north to find the crab, support your local fish monger and enjoy making this unique dish. Part 2 on how we got ‘em coming next week… stay tuned.
Next Recipe: Crunchy Yellowtail Tacos with Passionfruit and Lime