Crabfest is the first event of the year for NCKA (Nor Cal Kayal Anglers Forum) anglers. This event is only open for memebers of NCKA. If you would like more information on future events visit norcalkayakanglers.com and become a member.
Crabfest has always had variable weather year to year and it was nice to arrive Friday to a sunny and non-windy day in Bodega Bay. It has been the event that brings NCKA together for the New Year. The first thing I noticed when we arrived on Friday was that anglers were already on the water searching for crab while families enjoyed their time on the beach. I knew this was going to be a great weekend.
Crabfest 2017 did not disappoint, the weather and crab decided to cooperate and gave us some of the best conditions Crabfest has ever seen. The day use area had a line of vehicles waiting for the gate to open with anglers waiting to register. The day started off with some wind, but soon turned out to be a beautiful winter day on the Sonoma Coast.
The Dungeness crab were in attendance this year with many anglers bringing in limits, while some still struggled to find one of legal size. There were over 40 crabs brought to the measuring station, with some red crab reaching the size of jumbo Dungeness crab.
Lunch time rolled around shortly after the check-in table closed and once again the potluck was brimming with good dishes to be shared by all. Some of the items that stood out to me were the ab chowder, fried striper and sturgeon, Crabfest pie, duck, oysters, crab, and bistek. There was so much food, and you could hear people talking about the spread. I didn’t get to eat much since I was getting ready for the awards, but next year I will make sure to check out everything and take a moment to grab some food.
This event has been free since day one and runs on the donations from sponsors. This year’s primary sponsor was Native Watercraft and they donated a Manta Ray Propel kayak to the raffle that was won by “Big Al”. There were demo kayaks from Native Watercraft available the day of the event and the day after provided by The Headwaters kayak shop. The Headwaters kayak shop was another primary sponsor this year, including Promar/Ahi USA. Both Promar and the Headwaters have been sponsors since the first Crabfest at Doran Beach in 2011. Crabfest 2017 marked the sixth year of this event. Supporting sponsors included Orion Coolers, YakAttack, Kala Brand Music, Kokatat, Hoo-Rag and 707 Embroidery Zone.
There were some big crabs this year and all the winning crabs measured in over 7 inches. There was a perch category this year, but none were entered.
Biggest Red Rock Crab-
The biggest Red Rock Crab went to Brian Turner, who has one this category before. His crab weighed in at 2.2 lbs and measured in at 7.11”. This crab was almost as big as the third place Dungeness crab.
3rd Place Dungeness Crab-
Third place went to Myong-Jae Kin whose crab weighed in at 2.51 lbs and measured in at 7.23 inches. Myong-Jae had several crabs that measured over 7 inches.
2nd Place Dungeness Crab-
Second place went to one of the most kind and positive person I know. Raydon Shippey took home 2nd place with his biggest crab weighing in at 2.55 lbs and measuring in at 7.31 inches.
1st Place Dungeness Crab-
Annie Nagel took home 1st place this year at Crabfest. Her biggest Dungeness crab measured in at 2.47 lbs and measured in at 7.40 inches. Annie continues to amaze all of us with her fishing skills. She caught the winning crab while still having time to fry up the sturgeon she caught just a week before. Congrats Annie on the win!
This year’s raffle raised over $3500 and all proceeds will be going to Diabetes Youth Families (www.dyf.org), an organization that supports families and children living with type 1 diabetes. The funds raised will help send some kids to camp for an experience they will never forget.
Each year, there is so much work that goes into putting this event together. My goal has always been to keep it free and family friendly. This weekend reminded me why I continue to do this event. Thank you to all of the NCKA family that make this event possible.