TIL: How to Trap Crab

Can we just say the interwebs make things seem much more fun than they really are? Also, mistakes were made.

This all started with a conversation with CC.

CC: Hey, my friends are going crabbing, do you want to have dinner with them after?
Me: Can we go with them instead? I’d love to learn to crab.
CC: Ok, let me ask. I’m sure it’ll be ok, they’ve asked me to go before, but usually, I just go eat.

Ahead of going we each had to get a fishing license. Which I learned you can get from Walmart of all places of course, or online.

We arrived at Half Moon Bay early and met Gary, Ray and some of Gary’s family friends and kids. Nine of us would be heading out on the bay today for some crab action! It’d been rainy the couple days before, so I didn’t really plan as well as I could for this adventure. We stopped by Starbucks in the morning where uncharacteristically I ordered a chai.

I wore a very heavy waterproof coat, thermals, and waterproof pants. The day ended up perfectly sunny. I instantly overheated and had to remove layers. Heading out of the inlet the bay waters were choppy and rolling. I didn’t feel too bad until we started picking up the traps. There were 8 of them.

What I didn’t really consider before deciding to go crabbing was that unlike fishing, we don’t just jet out in one direction to then plant the boat in one location and then let the boat drift. The goal is to head out to a GPS location where the buoys were located, then angle and dart the boat till we could hook onto it.

My second mistake was not taking Dramamine. I haven’t had issues with being on smaller boats, but the darting was what would cause me to be nauseated for the roughly 9 hours we spent out on the water.

Retrieving the first of the traps was entertaining. We stopped, plugged in the electric pot puller to the side of the boat. Used a long hook to grab on to the ropes around the buoy and pulled them in. Once the ropes were loaded onto the pot puller you flipped a switch and up the rope came. Once the rope started moving you had to make sure that you laid the rope in a large enough continuous loop on the deck so that it wouldn’t tangle when dropping it back into the ocean.

First trap success! There were 13 crabs in the container and being that it was prior to the commercial fishing season they were all huge. After we emptied out the crabs into buckets, making sure to grab them by the butt so that we didn’t get pinched, we refilled the bait. The bait was made of chopped up squid bits from the chinese supermarket and some other stinky stuff, then we tossed the buoy back off the back of the boat.

The novelty of the first trap wore off as we went to retrieve the rest of the traps. This when my seasickness kicked in and I spent the rest of the time either puking off the side of the boat or passed out in the cabin with this other guy who also was terminally sick as well.

I would wake briefly to realize that the kids wanted to go fishing, and then force myself to go back to sleep until we were back on shore. Oh, thank goodness. Out on the open water, the seas were super choppy.

Back at Gary’s house we pulled out all the crabs and set them out on the deck and boiled them all in a turkey pot outdoors. After all 66 crabs were boiled CC taught me how to easily break apart a crab and then we feasted. All in a days work.

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