Author: Terra Firma Tackle
El Nino Visit to Southern California: Tuna Crab
Fishing is an amazing sport. In the pursuit of their quarry anglers are exposed to the unpredictable and at times amazing nature of the ocean and nature itself. While sometimes this can mean fantastic catches, other times it means even more bizarre encounters with seemingly otherworldly creatures!
One spectacular example of this was a few years ago here in Southern California. It was the year after an El Nino event, and the resulting warm water brought all sorts of exotic, unique and strange creatures to the coastline. Among these alien visitors was the Pelagic Red Crab (Pleuroncodes planipes). Known also as “tuna crab” or simply “red crab” these pelagic squat lobsters swarmed the local coast by the millions (possibly billions!).
These amazing little crustaceans were only around for a short time, but while they were all the gamefish in the area were cued in on them, eating almost nothing else! Luckily, they were pretty easy to harvest in bulk with the use of a bright light and umbrella style bait net...
As far as using them for bait, finesse was the way to go. Fluorocarbon leader (https://bullbuster.net/fluoroc...) was a game changer. The crabs themselves are pretty light, so added weight is a must for casting. During the night they float on the surface, but in daylight they seem to spend more time on the bottom so vary your presentations as needed based on the conditions. It may be a little while before these little guys visit the coast again, but be prepared and ready! They usually herald in unprecedented fishing!
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