Tailgating for crabs: Half Moon Bay gears up for Dungeness crab season

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- Recreational Dungeness crab season in the Bay Area is one of the most anticipated openers in California and it started at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 3.

The boat slips at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay were full of fishing boats and the parking lots were packed with RVs and trucks on Saturday. People set up camp, like an extended tailgate ... for crabs.

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Woody Woodward lives in Milpitas and brought his boat to Half Moon Bay. He plans to name the boat "The Limit Out."

"Spent the last two weeks getting the boat ready for crab season," Woodward said.

"So it's a brand new boat that we just got, we brought it up from San Diego, so it's been about eight days on the water. This is the crew that was on the boat for that whole trip. A lot of people," Woodward explained.

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When asked if he was sick of his crew (and friends), Woodward smiled and said, "I can't answer that."

For the past 20 years, Woodward has spent the first week of November in Half Moon Bay, fishing for crabs.

"At the beginning of the season, we're not taking anything less than likely a seven-inch crab," Woodward said.

That would be a jumbo Dungeness.

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"People go nuts for it, they love it," Woodward exclaimed, though he admits he generally only eats crab the first two days of the season, then gives the rest away to friends and family.

Woodward explained that for him crab season is more about hanging with his "best buds" than catching and eating mountains of crabs.

"It's just amazing. Everyone comes together, to put this effort in to make everything work, and it's just a great time," Woodward said.

There's a catch limit of 10 Dungeness crabs per person. The commercial season opens on Nov. 15.
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