Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeling Adventurous This Weekend?

By Dr. Marc Davis

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have a new experience (as an elementary student I loved fieldtrips…nothing has changed there) but 3:30am?

Some friends and I and some of our kids decided to spend Labor Day on the Oregon Coast crabbing. In 23 years of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest I had never taken the opportunity to go crabbing.

We woke up at 3:30am, met our friends at 4:30am and were on the coast a couple hours later. We wanted to get there early to be there for high tide. Also, because it was a Labor Day, we wanted to beat the rush (both with traffic and renting our crab baskets and bait).

Some things to keep in mind from my perspective as an amateur crabber:

  • You will need a license for anyone 14 and older (kids under 14 can crab for free).  You must get the license in Oregon such as at Bi-Mart or Sports Authority. It is $11.50 for a three day pass or $20.50 for an annual pass. You will need to know the Social Security number for anyone for which you want to get an annual pass, but not for the three day pass. I got an annual pass for myself; however I did not have my 15 year old son’s SS # on me and calling him did not provide the needed information so I settled for the three day for him.  One day passes are not available.  These are rates for Washington residents.  Oregon residents are presumably less.
  • Garibaldi Marina in Garibaldi, Oregon is a popular spot to crab, and the people at the marina are professional and personable. You can rent a boat for about $60 (seats 6) for a few hours I am told. All the boats were reserved because of the holiday weekend and our spontaneity. Instead we went to a local pier and crabbed along with about 30 others.  Pier access was free.
  • We rented our crabpots for $5 each and the bait (frozen fish) for $3.
  • You will need a bucket filled halfway with the bay’s water for collecting your crabs. You may only keep male crabs over a certain size.  According to you can keep male crab larger than 5 3/4 inches across the back.  In Washington, the legal size limit must be at least 6 inches across the back.  Smaller than that, you must throw them back.  Check with the bait shop or the marina to be sure.  It seemed that we would catch 5 for every one that were “keepers.”  It is nice to buy the crab measuring tool available where you rent the crab nets for a under $3.
  • Some of our group used frozen chicken legs which were well received by the crabs. Also you can buy smelly jelly that can make the lure even more attractive to crabs (the more pungent the better, apparently).
  • Even tough it was early September, instead of sunglasses and sunscreen, we needed warm clothing. I was glad I’d brought a sweatshirt.
  • Gloves such as the kind that are yellow used to clean the kitchen are helpful to not feel the pinch so hard (although I never got pinched, some in our group did without gloves and it hurt but usually did not seem to draw blood). Also the gloves are vital to prevent rope burn from quickly pulling in the crabpots.
  • Bring a chair (and your patience and/or a good book or a friend to talk to)…it takes time. We were there on the pier from about 7am to 1pm (with a hot chocolate break somewhere in between). 
  • The anticipation was fun.  One in our group caught 11 crab (the limit is 12 per license per day). My son and I caught five between the two crabpots that we had.
  • Once we were home I realized that, being amateurs, we did not own the correct utensils to enjoy eating the crab. I had to make a last minute trip to Wal-Mart and for $2 bought nut/shellfish cracking tools and picks which I found in the sporting goods section.
FUN FACT:  To tell between Male & Female crabs look on their belly.

The female shape "looks like the US Capitol Building,"

while the male shape "looks like the Washington Monument."

Need to know how to prepare your crab?
Here's a YouTube video that is informative and will have you enjoying your crab quickly!

There's nothing like a crab feast!
Unless of course, you are allergic to shell fish.
Any adventures in store for you this weekend?

Best in health, naturally,

Dr. Marc Davis

First crab photo
Crab shell photos and information source.


a little bit biased September 13, 2011 at 11:09 AM  

cool post Dr. Marc! Sounds like a fun get-a-way and that is so interesting to see the pictures of how to tell if they're male or female!

Health Disclaimer

This information on this web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting Dr. Marc, your pediatrician or family doctor.

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