It's that time of the year again and it is personally on of my favorites. As November 4th draws closer I start to get that taste of crab in my mouth and that desire to find the best place to set our pots. The Deadliest Catch song "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi starts to play in the back of your head as you think about what to do differently this year.
Now I know we aren't on the show Deadliest Catch, nor do we catch that many crabs, but there have been times where I felt like I was up in Kodiak, Alaska. The weather coming into winter is not always perfect and the thing with crabbing and setting pots is, you have to go out regardless of the weather. One day it'll be nice when you set them and the next day when you have to pick them up, it'll be ass kicking. Most of the time you can plan ahead and look at the weather forecast, but sometimes you get caught pulling pots with huge swells and trying to spot the buoy in the rough water and fog.
Over the years, the Predator out of Half Moon Bay, has caught many crabs and we have mastered the way that works for us. Using the second steering station makes it easy to drive up on the buoy and use a boat hook to grab it. The second person on deck loops it over our hoist and turns the power on to reel it in. As the pot gets near, everyone peeks over the edge in hopes to see the pot first and call out how many we got. Two to three is an alright pot and will be a good average for the ten pots, but occasionally we get loaded with eight to ten crabs to a pot. When we are this fortunate, we throw back all the females and pick out the largest males. We throw out the starfish that cling to the sides and the occasional rock crab.
The pot is either re-baited or stacked on the back deck. All of this has happened while the driver has been navigating to the next buoy. If we spaced them right, it is perfect timing to grab the boat hook and retrieve the next one.
People that are on board with us watch and are just amazed at how efficiently and effective the operation is. They join in where needed and love to grab the crabs out of the pot and measure them. We use our bait tank to store them in, which keeps them alive and sorted. Large ones on one side and smaller ones on the other. We do this so that if we continue to get large ones, we throw back the smaller ones. Of course, never exceeding the limit of crabs on board of ten per licensed person.
Once the catch is over and we are back to the dock, we clean the boat and head home. We set up a pot of boiling water with a package of crab boil and we cook our crabs. The smell of fresh cooking crab brings out the neighbors and everyone gathers around to enjoy fresh cracked crab and an adult beverage or two.
In my opinion, there is no other seafood that brings people together like crabs do. And the best part is, it takes time to crack them and scrape out the meat which gives people time to talk and enjoy the surrounding company.
So with all that, you have less than two weeks to get those lines untangled and the bait traps secured. If you don't have a boat, find a friend that does and tell them you need to go crabbing! You can bet we will be down in Half Moon Bay for the opener of Dungeness Crab Season because who wouldn't want to eat fresh crab!
Fisherman's Warehouse is having a huge crab gear sale November 3rd and 4th. They are doing no tax on those two days so if you are in need of some gear, head over to one near you.
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