When it comes to Dungeness crab, Chad Salter knows his stuff. The son of Pillar Point crab fisherman Jim Salter, Chad grew up around the harbor, and commercial fishing was a large part of his life.
His first fishing trips were when he was just a child, salmon trolling with his father on the F/V Ace. By the time Chad finished high school, his father owned the F/V Westerly and had developed an extensive market for Dungeness and rock crabs.
However, fishing did not seem to hold much promise, and instead Chad went to work as an iron worker. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that he began fishing fulltime, “helping with the family business.” His father, meanwhile, took a job at Ocean Shore Hardware which furnished some much-needed medical insurance.
Chad fishes the Westerly, a 39-foot wooden troller which was by Wilbert Humbert in 1969, and purchased by his father in the mid-1980s. His father still joins him onboard as his schedule permits, harvesting Dungeness crabs for their San Francisco area markets.
Look for the Westerly on “G” Dock at Pillar Point Harbor on Half Moon Bay. If you’re lucky and the season is right, the Salters may be there selling live Dungeness crab.