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Author Topic: Duxbury reef, Marin county abalone and fin fish spot  (Read 565 times)

Offline todd

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Duxbury reef, Marin county abalone and fin fish spot
« on: July 14, 2010, 03:22:29 PM »
Day at the Dux

I dont know why I had never been to the largest shale reef in North America exposed by the tide, Duxbury reef!  I had heard all the old Italians talk about it but I just never went out of my way to check it out.  Man I wish I would have known better now that I have been and scored at the reef!  I put my rep on the line and made a call out a few days in advance to any Nor Cal Poke Pole Hunters on the forum and got no bites.  I feel that I had to tote the pole and represent the pokers who showed me the ropes on the reefs of Pescadero, Moss beach to Montara, Davenport Landing and my favorite once-was ab rockpicking and poke-pole favorite spots of Ano Nuevo, sharks dont scare us poke polers, you can wade out to the island at super low tide, those were the days....I needed some more shakry actions, a place that scares other divers and surfers away...  So on Tuesday 13th of july 2010 I woke up early and made the pilgrimage to the largest shale reef in North America, well actually its on the pacific plate due to the San Andreas ripping up bolinas lagoon twords Tomales.  Thats why the reef has been uplifting ad such a fast rate, over inch a year.  Its the same shale uplifted in Moss Beach so I felt I already had a clue to what was instore for the next day.  I woke up 3am, still excited about the mornings prospects, its that anxious feeling you get when you are going to a virgin spot never picked or hunted by myself before, no one to show you the ropes, no people to watch show you the way.  To add to the mystery there was a heavy fog bank leaving San Francisco and I could just make out Stinson beach lights in the distance.  Let me tell you, that part of hwy1 is was worse with curves than Bodega road, River road, and Boonville road put together, I rolled down the window and had the road to my self, didnt see another car the whole way to the Dux.  Would have got there sooner but missed the Bolinas road turn off, damn they really do take down the sign, but there are two forks from the bolinas side so you really have two quick chances to make it.  I found my west to Elm street, on the way pasing the 11 dear, 2 fox and the skunk family in the pre dawn dark.  At the end of Elm is the huge Agate beach parking lot, I parked on the south end.  Most people go down the trail to the north and get quick access to the reef which runs paralel to the shore, up to 150 yards out,streaching up and down the beach for one mile.  This is also good spot for easy access to poke pole and tidepool but there is better turf to the south, right off the point the reef at low tide goes 1000ft+ strait out!  thats where I am headed.  From parking lot south take the little train which petters out down the bluff edge, once there the reef is layed out in front of you, the shore reef to the right and then way off in the ocean thick huge slabs of blackness, looked like the size of SFO runway, totally exposed and terra firma for the next few hours.  Low tide is -1.4feet at 6am and I gave a hoot outloud when I saw the greatness before me, that really is the biggest....  I had my wetsuit on the whole drive up, everything layed out the night before in anticipation of having to walk along long beach then over reef, I planned on it taking a hour to get from parking lot to the slippery kelpy reef tip and it played out just that way.  At the southern reef  a huge flat toped slab of shale uplifed by fault activity, emerges in a strait path, like looking at 6 football fields lined up side by side slightly tilting on the east end, ultimetly slowly dissapearing into bull kelp forest, the north west edge was more uplifted and took the brunt of the NW swells, thus being created all the big surge channels, which started here and ran NW direction into the reef, the east side was wave protected, gently slopping into depper water but overall more shallow than the open ocean NW side.  It is a awsome reef, every inch covered with kelp and coraline algea, beds of bull kelp on the distant reef tip bobbing of the 2foot swell splashing the reefs edge.  It looked like abalone territory to me and the Bolinas Miwok have large mindens in the area to prove it.  It was like another planet out there, to really access the 3-4 reefs off the point your going to need to get wet, wadders are cool on the north beach access but not as good, especially on the way back when the surge channels close up and you need to stroak it reef to reef. This would be killer kayak spot but you cant fish from that way anymore due to regs....At low tide the wade is knee deep but comming back it fills in fast, the reef actually takes a long time to be covered so you get the feeling your being trapped in on all sides by the time you struggle to hike back out, I was done at 10:30am, a good 5 hours on the reef and I could have been out there longer.   I stood on the biggest most vast mussle beds I have ever been on, saw the most kelp exposed I have ever saw, everything was the biggest, but I did make a note that I didnt see any gum boot chitons....I had a small arm bag with license and gear, small number 4 hook on 5 inch wire leader loaded with epipodium strip for bait( i would have used local mussle or somthing but you cant inverts or kelp, only abalone and fin fish by shore based attempt) onto my trust 10 poke pole.  It looks easy from the cliff but it is the most challenging reef I have ever navagated, its man sized out there and so many holes and channels to poke I would never get it done in one low tide, I didnt have any past honey hole knowledge to go on.  But it only takes a fraction of a second to size up the situation and get to work.  I must have slipped more times than on any other reef, walking on musles was a blessing, the shale is so soft that when I hit up urchin beds I would break through the cliff edges if I wasnt mindfull.  The -1.4 low tide was really great and there was awsome habitat, not as much features top side and I thought that the abaole would be in deeper water by now so I decided to give more effort to poking, even in the deep tide pools the vis was only 1 1/2 foot, so diving would not be the best bet today, but on the inside stinson facing part of the reef it was glassy with abundant beds of bull kelp, very protected and not surgy at all the like side I was poking.  I would come up to Big deep pools lined with purple urchins and then see what I came for, about 10 adolencent monkeyface startled slithering back to their holes, time and time again I could see them dart off.  Poked a few wholes but abalone was not their favorite, my hand made carved abalone hook was too big for these smaller eel, I had a bunch or half circle bites knawed on my strip of bait from small fish.  I hooked up on a couple occasions but could not land the eel and they only give it one try then settle down, but I know where they are and will go get them next time with smaller hook..   I had calamari and live pile worms but I decided to stick with the gut and see if any cabazon would take the bait, one of the trophy fish for a poke-poler!  Besides the ab gut is great, never comes off the hook.Eventually half way out I was scrambling over surge channels when the next one came into view, it was just what I was looking for, a nice large channel connected to the outside, highly undercut shale slab, my mind was set, I took my time and sat downand probed the fissure to see how far it went, it took all of my ten feet, which again was impressive, I tapped the end and waited it out, again the same to the left and right all the time giving it a minute to relax after scenting the surge with my ab gut.  A set hit the reef and a fresh surge came in and at first I thought it was the water vibrating my pole but it was really yang and I instinctive flopped it out onto the reef!!!Damn it looks like a grass rockfish, it was huge and fantastic color, largest one I have ever poked!  I gave another hoot and hollar and busted out my camera and toke some shots, gps'd the spot so I can send my grandkid to get me some more when Im super old and cant risk my life on these cracks like I can these days.  I gave some thanks to the Abalonies of antiquity, who enabled me to catch the rockfish with the help of its "essence of taste" for bait.  Man, I was more impressed with this reef, it was everything I thought is was and then some.  I was daydreaming a bit and then it hit me, that rockfish was on to something, it hit my bait at full speed, it was firmiliar with the "essence", that was the clue, I must look and check out that hole better.  I layed out and dipped my head alittle and worked my arm back into the whole and there  to my instinctful delight , there they were, two or more abalone, legal size from the feel way back in the crack. I will be back for those later and maybe convince some hunters from the club to unite our efforts... That fish was smarter than you think and I wonder how long it had been staking out this area:)  So happy with my days trophy I spent the next few hours doing recon and mental mapping the reef.  By the time I headed in the sea was up and I had to stroak it back into shore over glassy bull kelp covered sea.  A bunch of kids were tidpoling the north beach section and I went back to the parking lot, got dressed and went to get some ice for my fresh catch.  Upon clean up its belly was filled with fresh and dissolved young kelp crab, at least 5 in there, and thats what it tasted like: the fish meat,once cooked was light, perfect flaking had the essence of shelfish crab underlying the background of taste.. the head was the best part to eat...the skin so fatty, crispy and like glue in some parts it was very gluttonous....I am now a deciple of the Dux, I will make pilgrimage anytime of the year at super low tide to check out whats happening on terra firma out there. Just plan on it taking a long time to get way out, you could really die out there, its dangerous and it only takes one slip, I had many close calls.....helmet for older and younger advised.... I have some good vid and pics comming , The pic shows my setup,fish, my ugly mug, reef with surge channel and strata that made environment satisfactory for both fish and abalone,  even the exact spot with gps,  but until I take those 1.6meg files and desize them we have to adhear to local laws and code enforced in the area for reasons sake, Bolinas natives frown upon signs or pictures, so in their nature the Dux will go without its glory it deserves for another day, North Americas greates slab of shale hidden in plain sight in secret off-the-map town of Bolinas.....

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« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 03:34:45 PM by MATT MATTISON »
Todd Stagnaro

 

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