Dungeness crab season opens for sport fishermen

The start of the recreational Dungeness crab season in California marks one of the busiest sport fishing days of the year in Bodega Bay, where campgrounds are full and people from all over California jostle for position at boat launches.

“People get crab fever,” said Rick Powers, owner of Bodega Bay Sport Fishing Center who plans to start dropping crab pots from his charter boat the New Sea Angler at the 12:01 a.m. starting time today. “They can’t wait for big, tasty jumbo crabs.”

About noon Friday, 12 hours before sport fishermen were allowed to set their traps, the mood was festive at Doran Beach Regional Park. Camps were set, beers cracked and barbecues lit.

John George, from the Sierra foothills in Calaveras County, sat in front of his recreational vehicle smoking a cigar and sipping suds with friends and family.

What started as an annual gathering between a small group of friends nearly two decades ago has turned into a family event with more than 30 people and three boats from across the state, George said.

“It’s a big party,” George said, “We have a camp with clam chowder, a camp with ribs, a camp with alcohol and a camp for kids.”

Photo by Christopher Chung/ThePress Democrat

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