Noyo Pacific Kayaking

A Resources for Beginers to Experts

 
Rock Picking for Abalone
Places to Kayak - Abalone Diving

Early inhabitants living along the Mendocino coast searched for abalone among the rocks and tide pools. This simple method of hunting abalone is still a reasonable way to obtain this north coast delicacy. Those early hunter gatherers had to endure the chilly waters protected by nothing but a layer of body fat. However, today we can enjoy rock picking abalone in the comfort of a neoprene suit to insulate ourselves from the frigid waters of the pacific.

Albalone

Rock picking is a challenge. First you must find a site which is conducive to abalone habitation. These areas often have limited access. Getting to them often requires negotiating steep cliffs or access by boat. Better access to the habitat is achieved at time of minus tides which exposes rocks normally covered with water and crashing waves.

Albalone

Rock picking is a cold, wet activity. Protection from the cold waters of the pacific is a must to protect from getting hypothermia. Neoprene suits, gloves and boots are well suited for this activity. 

Albalone

You must also be able to recognize the abalone in its habitat and must be willing to reach blindly into the cracks and crevices of the rocks to search out the big ones. One will encounter sea aneminies, sea urchins, star fish, chiten, octopus, and a host of other rock dwelling sea creatures. Occasionally a glory hole may be found and the pickings are easier.

Albalone

Even with 3 mil neoprene gloves the smooth abalone foot can be distinguished from the surrounding rocks. Once the abalone is located the next challenge is prying it off the rock. This can often be difficult as the abalone, when molested, adheres itself to the rock as protection from being removed. Most often the really big ones are located in areas which make removal a challenge. A pry bar must be inserted under the abalone's foot and the suction holding it to the rock must be released before it can be removed.After retrieving the mollusk, it must be measured and must be at least 7 inches across the largest length of the shell in order to be a legal "keeper". If the abalone is not 7 inches or larger, it must be replaced where it was found.

Albalone