With a price finally set and their traps in the water, crab fishermen who were ready to haul in their first catch found that the crustaceans did not take the bait.
Local crab fisherman David Bitts said Friday would have been a perfect day for fishing -- if they had caught more crab.
”It was a beautiful day, we figured out the current, the crew worked well together, but we just didn't catch very many crabs,” he said.
Crab fisherman Paul Pellegrini had similar results.
”I just pulled about 30 crab pots and got a one crab average,” Pellegrini said. “That doesn't pay for the bait. It's been really bad.”
Head fish monger Mark McCulloch of Mr. Fish Seafood in Eureka said no crabs were brought in by mid-afternoon on Friday, but he was hopeful some would be brought in later that night.
”I'm sitting here collecting splinters,” McCulloch said. “I know there are only a few sport fishermen's pots out right now, but it's still a barometer for what it will be like later on.”
Pellegrini said he and other crab fishermen were expecting a low catch.
”We knew there was no crab, and that's why we were arguing about the price for so long,” Pellegrini said. “There may be crabs in other areas along the coast, but nothing in this area. Nothing.”
After being up since 3:30 a.m. to prepare for the first day, Bitts drove home with low expectations for this season.
”It's going to be a short and sour season,” Bitts said.
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Will_S_Houston