SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Dungeness crab season is now officially open in San Francisco.
Fish and Wildlife delayed the season due to whales off the coast.
ABC7 News went to Fisherman's Wharf Thursday morning where people were eager to buy the first catch.
"That's it. That is the money right there. California gold," said crab fisher Neil Frazer.
The freshest catch can certainly feel like striking gold.
"It feels really good to finally get our chance to go out and do this -- bring them all back to San Francisco," Frazer said.
Pound by pound, bag by bag, even bucket by bucket, the wait is over for the eight-legged clawed shellfish San Franciscans adore.
"I usually steam it, do it fresh. Because if you're getting fresh, you want it straight up. Kinda like your tequila, you have to have it straight not on ice," said Leslie Wong, San Francisco resident.
And this is straight up great news for commercial crabbers, finally getting back in business after a delayed season for the past five years.
It usually starts in mid-November, so this is the latest fish and wildlife has ever opened the season.
Matt Juanes was the first to sell off the dock.
"The last three years, I came in early to make sure my customers had the freshest they can get on the opening day," Juanes said.
When 8 p.m. hit Wednesday night, fishers were off and waiting for the clock to strike midnight.
"12:01 a.m. is when we were allowed to pull. So we were out there ready and waiting," Juanes said.
Juanes said they came back to a line of people ready to buy right off his boat.
"It's a huge relief off my back. I was stressed to the point where you get sick going and then everything builds up it was like, 'Ah, something fell off!' It was great," Juanes said.
The difference between this year and last year: the crabs are a lot bigger. Juanes says they were about 1.5lbs last year. This year, the ones he brought in were over 2lbs -- a treat for anyone buying crab off the dock.
"We're blessed to have this. It's sweet meat so to speak," said San Francisco resident Rosanne Attencio.
"This is dinner, and there is some people waiting in L.A. and after dinner. I am going to hightail it back home and distribute these to my beloveds down south," Juanes said.
Usually, it's a holiday tradition. But for Juanes, his crew, and his customers, it's sure better late than never.
"We kinda missed the holidays, but we're here for you now," Frazer said.
And everyone, on the boat and at the table, is happy about that.
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