Crab pots and catching crabs and Washington State

not sure if this is the correct forum but what the hell. BTW, can I write “hell” in Cafe Society? But I digress.

A weekend ago we discovered what might be the saving grace of the greater Seattle area. I “hear” it’s been a bad year weather wise, but Jesus H Christ, you know it’s a problem in August when newspaper headlines are about the first 4 sunny days in a row for 2011.

My wife is from China and living in the US for the first time. Sheesh, my kids were made in China and living in the US for the first time. I’m made in America and living in the US for the first time since 1990. We all love fresh crab. Nothing a quick trip to Fred Meyer can’t fix on a Saturday morning. Permit is less than 20 bucks, dropped another 60 on a crab net and 75 feet of lead weighted rope, head off to the nearest public pier next to the Golden Gardens Park in Seattle with a turkey leg, and I shit you not, 30 minutes later we have a red rock crab keeper. Got 2 before the kiddos were too hard to handle. Win-win unless you happen to be a red rock crab over IIRC 5 1/2 broad.

We also went to Mukilteo and got 2 dungeness and a Red Rock on Sunday. And the wife and kiddos went to both Mukilteo (struck out) and back to Golden Gardens Park, actually I think it is correctly Shishole, and got 2 red rocks. We got a couple of others that were too small or were female or were soft shell and had to throw 'em back.

Good eatin’

I am about 99.9% sure we’ll try Kayak Point Park this weekend. And there has been talk of setting the crab pot out in Shishole if the younger twin wakes up early, as she is wont to do, on Sat or Sun and/or both.

Washington area dopers, have you been bitten by the crabbing bug? Any suggestions of good places that are publicly accessable?

Please pay attention to the news. This morning as I was driving in I heard that King County has suspended all shellfish because of dangerous levels of toxins found in clams, shrimp and oysters - they are especially toxic to kids and can make them seriously ill. For now crabs are still at an “acceptable” level of toxins, but at the quantity you are ingesting, it’s a good idea to watch this story very closely. Not trying to be Debbie Downer, just looking out for you and the kids.

And then depression set in. . .

I don’t like crabs - so I haven’t done this as an adult. But I do remember going to Anacortes and/or the San Juans when I was little. And learning how to tell male from female crabs. That is a bit farther away than Golden Gardens though.

The past two summers have been exceptionally awful - it might be just two bad years in a row, but it might be a change in what “summer” is going to look like.

thanks for the news. “Public Health - Seattle & King County is posting advisory along beaches and harbors warning people to not collect shellfish from these areas. The closure includes clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and other species of mollusks. Crabs and shrimp are not included in the closure.”

Looks like crab and shrimp are not affected

That would be clams, mussels and oysters. Shell fish toxin alerts have nothing to do with either shrimp or crabs.

These toxins only affect bivalves that filter feed on the plankton that produce the toxins. Shrimp and crab eat larger stuff and are not filter feeders.

Enjoy your crab!

I will thanks! Although we will put on hold our plans to branch out into shellfish. I can’t find whether yabbies are covered by the warning. Pretty sure that yabbies are not bi-valve but who wants to take a chance?

Crabbing has been about the first thing that’s really excited my wife at a truely personal level since we moved here a year ago from Shanghai. Fun for the whole family.

I don’t know anything about crabbing, but I have seen people doing it at Joemma Beach State Park. But that it is a bit of drive from Seattle.

Didn’t you take them over to the playground at Golden Gardens?

Yes, and I believe you (or another Doper) recommended that a year ago. We’ve been to Golden Gardens many times. My younger twin is autistic, so even though we go to the playground, I have to be constantly on watch. She really likes getting in the water, so we also usually go stand where the waves break on the shore for a while if it’s not too cold. So, even if it’s my wife and I, keeping an eye on all three girls and within hand reach of the youngest usually means we don’t go out for hours and hours.

Looks like we’re getting into a groove of throw in the crab pots, go play for a bit, come back and pull up crabs (hopefully), rinse lather repeat once or twice and call it a day.

Take some inflatable balls and frisbees, too. I got beaned in the head several times a couple weeks ago by some over-enthusiastic exchange students with bad aim. You can also make a fire in one of the 5 fire rings and roast hotdogs or s’mores.

I’ve heard crabbing on Magnolia Bluff is another option, but I don’t know about playgrounds or other child diversions.

Has someone mentioned the Edmonds dock? I don’t know how the crabbing is, but there are often sea lions to see, and scuba divers at the underwater park, maybe take the ferryboat to Kingston. Might be worth researching.

WE haven’t tried Edmonds dock yet, but it’s on the list. We went to Kayak Point State Park in Tullalip on Friday, and it was great. Man, what a nice, family friendly place. It’s a bit far, and even though we got on the freeway out of Bellevue before 4:00 on a Friday, we hit traffic at Woodinville, the I-5 and getting into Tullalip. Got 1 keeper Dungeness though. :slight_smile:

We’re probably going back to Kayak Point on sunday. It’s got picnic tables, BBQ areas, a nice kid’s playground, a safe dock, some ok shoreline, etc. Only an hour away if we don’t hit traffic, which on a sunday should be fine.

I guess to really hit the motherlode one needs to go around the mouth of the Columbia River. I’m sure we will go one of these days but it’s not a day trip for the bambinas.

I have only been crabbing once with a buddy who took me on his boat out by Bangor and we caught a bunch of them. So I don’t know the places here on the Kitsap Peninsula but I would imagine it is better than Seattle proper.

You could take a ferry out here (entertaining for the kids) and drive to someplace here. Also I understand that there are plenty of places to shrimp here too although I have never done that.

But alas I do not know the places here, I will see if I can find out anything and report back if I do. Have fun…although my experience I found it was just much easier to go to the store!

oh–you could do a longer day trip and stay overnight at a hotel and go up to Sequim and to the Dungenous Spit, isn’t it named after the crab (or vice-versa) so I assume it is good crabbing up there.

I haven’t been crabbing in a couple/few years. Just no time for it, it seems. I set my two pots out in the Strait of Georgia, off of Birch Point. Unlike others who plant their pots there, I’ve never reached my limit. But that’s OK. I can’t eat that many crabs. If I get two or four and I have a couple of friends over, that’s enough. Last time I crabbed I left the boat at home (wanna buy a boat?) and fished off the pier at Blaine Marina.

I like dungies. Red rock crabs, not so much. They have an attitude. Dungies will try to get away from you when you reach into the pot. Red rock crabs are like, ‘Oh, yeah? Come and get me, tough guy! I’ll pinch ya! I’ll pinch ya!’ It would be satisfying to eat them just for that, but I find their shells to be a bit tough and they don’t have much meat compared to Dungeness crabs.

If you’re worried about toxins, clean the crabs before you cook them. Place the crab on its back and lay a large knife (I use a bolo knife) along its longitudinal axis. Whack it with a mallet. This will kill the crab instantly (unless you’re not right on the middle, in which case half of it will try to pinch you). Wrench the legs from the carapace and rinse under cold water, removing the gills and anything else that isn’t meat or shell. Boil in salted water for 11 minutes. Cleaning the crab immediately before cooking lessens the (slight) chance of toxins, and you can get more in the pot. A friend’s wife is not especially fond of crab, but she said the ones I caught and cooked after cleaning were the sweetest ones she’s eaten.

Kayak Point county park is very family friendly. Has a big safe public pier, a nice playground 100 yards away, picnic tables and BBQ pits. We just spent a few hours there getting 3 dungeness and 2 red rocks, BBQ’d some hotdogs, and played around.

Some of the crabbers there throw out pots, then head over to the Tullalip Indian casino for some gaming before coming back to check their pots. Multi-tasking. :slight_smile:

There can be PSP inducing saxitoxins in the guts of crab so don’t cook them whole. I generally grasp the legs in my right and left hands with the crab facing away from me. Put the crabs face on the corner of the dock and pull, to pop the shell off, as you do this break the crab in half and flick the guts into the water. You might have to manually pull out some of the gills but the crab should be clean and ready to cook.

MPSIMS, my wife and kiddos caught a 7" dungeness today. Very good eating. :wink: All the other one’s we have caught were just over 6 1/4".

Anyone had any luck crabbing off pier/dock at either Joemma State park dock or Allyn Pier ?