Dungeness crab. Need I say more? If you have had the opportunity to taste one of these crazy looking creatures, you know what I'm talking about. They are absolutely delicious and my most favorite meat.
During the course of the year, we collect our crab bait. Leftover tuna carcasses from canning, kokanee heads, shad, old meat, etc. The more oily and smellier the muck, the better they like it.
Crabs can be caught either off of the docks or using a boat. You'll want to check your tide tables before you head out. Crabs feed during the in coming and slack tides when the food is most accessible. We usually start throwing the crab pots out a couple of hours before slack tide. Slack tide is the period of time before any turn of the tide. If using a boat, crab generally live in sandy to mildly rocky bottom accompanied by eel grass, a type of seaweed.
Although Oregon allows crabbing all year, a good rule of thumb for crabbing season is, if the month has an "R" in it, it's time to crab. For example, SeptembeR, OctobeR, NovembeR, etc. The months that don't have an "R" is generally when the crabs are molting and growing new shells. Crabbing during this time often results in crab that are empty or nearly meatless.
|Using an old piece of plywood and two sawhorses, here is a workstation I set up in the garage to process the bait. |
(click on pictures for larger view)
|While traveling, we like to house the motor on the floor of the boat instead of it riding on the transom.|
|Who wouldn't want to have this guy as your skipper?|
|At the dock ready to go |
|Bait to be loaded into trap|
|Loading up the trap. |
Unless you want to smell like bait for days,
I highly recommend wearing a heavy rubber glove of some kind.
|"Bait tank" filled to the rim with your top of the line stinky, yummy tuna carcass.|
|If you have this style of trap, be sure to secure the door on your bait. |
There are a lot of other creatures down there that would love to have this snack.
|My most favorite captain|
|If we aren't fishing, we like to take in the sites while the pots soak. |
This is the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge connecting the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend on U.S. Route 101. Spanning over Coos Bay, it is 5,305 feet long.
|Seagulls. Both annoying and entertaining, but very efficient at finding their next meal.|
|This one earned the name 'Oscar', as in 'The Grouch'.|
|While taking his picture, I earned the privileged of getting barked at and nearly spit on.|
|The Oregon Coast is filled with beautiful landscape|
|This is a typical crab 'gauge' used to measure the shells of the crab to ensure that they are legal.|
|Differences between male and female |
(courtesty of ODFW)
|A cooler full of goodness|
|Some of the oddest looking creatures that have a fairly disgusting diet...but oh my are they tasty.|
|Clean up of gear is ESSENTIAL after it has been exposed to salt water.|
|The captain giving the boat a bath.|
After we returned home from our trip, my husband being the giver he is, gave half the neighborhood crabs.
"The crab that walks too far falls in the pot." -- Haitian Proverb